CONOSA DI PUGLIA OVERVIEW
Conosa di Puglia was one of the most animated towns/villages/cities along the 2013 Giro d’Italia course yet. The crowd/spectators/fans ranged in age from babies to centenarians; there were gangs of teenagers, throngs of students, masses of college kids, thousands of couples, legions of old people, et cetera. Everybody had a whistle; everybody under the age of 12 was using it without refrain. Everybody was shouting. Music was everywhere. Everybody was in pink. And E V E R Y B O D Y wanted their photograph taken. Except the Police, they are generally NOT okay with being photographed.
Gesturing: pinch fingers together, shake-pump slowly but forcefully. It happens even while talking on a mobile phone. It’s done even when reading texts.
At one point as I started to walk the course I was chased down by a cherubic young man in a pink jersey and chocolate on his face. Through pantomimes and because photo is basically foto in every language I was made to understand that he would like a family portrait taken. I did that, only to have similar interactions happen over and over over again as I walked up the middle of the barricaded course through town. I was shouted at, laughed at/with, yelled at, begged, prodded, coerced, chased, followed, accosted, heckled, grabbed, etc., in the hopes that I might take a photograph – regardless of where the photograph was going and/or how it would be used. What’s also curious is that everyone was completely unconcerned (possibly disinterested) with seeing the photograph for themselves or arranging to get copies of the photograph at a later date.
Eventually Ian and I found a corner we liked for photographing the race. Not long after, the Giro Merchandise Sprinter Armada made it’s way past. Then the Pepto-Pink scooters (we are unclear about the purpose or function of the pink scooters) made their way past. With each wave of race functionary – basically every time something/anything whizzed by – the crowd grew louder and louder and more animated. By the time the Police motorcycles drove past, sirens a-blaring and horns-a-honking, the crowd was beginning to reach a Noise & Spectacle-induced frenzy of sorts.
That’s when I realized that for many in attendance today and yesterday and tomorrow, the Giro d’Italia is a high-speed parade, a spandexed flotilla.