The Italian Black Feathers

The Alpini are known as Le Penne Nere (“The Black Feathers”) in Italy.

For those of you who follow my Facebook postings, you may remember a short video I posted back in September. The Video showed a group of Alpini honoring dead comrades from World War II.

The Alpini marched all the way to the church proudly wearing their hats, with the black feathers. In Italy they go by the nick name Le Penne Nere, During the war The Black Feathers fought hard, in the mountains, with few necessities, exposed to the elements, while the enemy fought better equipped and well fed.

Nowadays their get togethers are legendary. They take over the town, drink hard and sing a lot of old folkloric songs.

I went with one of my best girlfriends to watch the Alpini, her husband among them. We both got teary eyed when they marched and sang.

Me: “I didn’t know your husband was an Alpino.”

GF: “He wasn’t.”

Me: “Huh? So what is he doing here? Where did he get the hat?”

GF: “The hat was our son’s who doesn’t like these gatherings while my husband loves them, he finds them very bonding…plus, they travel everywhere an old Alpino needs honoring or a ribbon needs cutting.”

Me: “He just shows up with someone’s else hat and no one asks him a thing?”

GF: “Well technically the last name of the hat owner is the same. He signed up as a ‘sympathizer’ and don’t forget he’s a champion mountain skier, gold medal in his age category. That counts.”

Her husband marches by, we exchange big smiles and waves…he fits right in even if it’s not his hat.

I’m not using any names to protect the innocent and the totally guilty. We are from a small town and most of the young are on Facebook and understand English.

“The Alpini, are an elite mountain warfare specialty of the infantry corps of the Italian Army. They are currently organized in two operational brigades, which are subordinated to the Alpine Troops Headquarters. Established in 1872, the Alpini are the oldest active mountain infantry in the world.” – Wikipedia

2 Responses so far.

  1. Debbie Franko says:

    I learn something new every day! Very interesting.