As the world continues to crumble and the week winds down, so does Bill de Blasio’s break from it all, an eight-day trip across his ancestral homeland. But the mayor, his wife Chirlane, daughter Chiara, and teenage son Dante made the most of their visit to Italy, having spent the week waving from balconies in Rome (and pretty much anywhere else there was a balcony), boating off the coast, devouring pizza (by questionable means) in Naples, and soaking up the adoration of thousands who really, really love that final vowel in their last name.
Thanks to the hordes of reporters and photographers following their every move, it felt like we were with New York City’s first family pretty much the whole time. The least we could do was make them a vacation photo album.
While we would not object to a Dante version of Home Alone, he made it safely into the SUV with the suitcases. Because de Blasio is the people’s mayor, there was no Gucci luggage allowed. Good-bye, Brooklyn, with its white flags of surrender. Buongiorno, bella gente d’Italia.
The Italians must have been expecting Michael Bloomberg or something, because they were shocked — shocked! — to find that the mayor carried his own bags off the plane: "De Blasio sbarca a Romae si porta i bagagli da solo," read the Corriere TV headline, which sounds dramatic. The press was waiting, and de Blasio’s Italian was actually pretty good for someone named Warren Wilhelm:
Mayor Dad had on khakis, naturally, but style icon Chiara showed up in a customized basketball jersey from an Italian team, with her hair in a new ‘do "that featured multiple mini-buns, reminiscent of the Icelandic singer Bjork," the Daily News reported. Asked about it, Chiara, like a paparazzi pro, laughed and said, "No comment."
While in Rome, Mayor de Blasio met with the Italy’s first black national official, Cécile Kyenge, who gave him a "mirror-image feeling," according to the New York Times. (Reporter Michael Grynbaum was forced to trail the mayor around Italy for the entire week, which must have been really tough. He somehow managed.)
Kyenge, who has mixed-race children and has faced disgusting amounts of racism in the still-bigoted country, said, "If you take away the words we exchanged, if you just look at our two families, it shows how the world has changed." De Blasio towering over everyone does not change overseas.
De Blasio also met with Rome’s Mayor Ignazio Marino, "one of the great mayors of the world," de Blasio said, selling Rob Ford short.
The Pope was too busy to start plotting a Marxist world takeover this week.
Dante zooming around shirtless on a boat. Killing it.
The father-son time was very special:
In what the Times called the "emotional peak of the mayor’s Italian itinerary," the de Blasios were welcomed to the small town of Sant’Agata de’Goti, where the mayor’s grandfather was raised more than a century ago. A "Welcome home, Bill" ceremony awarding him honorary citizenship was attended by 4,500 people with an intense interest in local New York politics.
There was similar adoration in his grandmother’s native town, where everyone is apparently a grandmother:
There were many official ceremonies:
Really, a lot of ceremonies:
And the serious faces that come with them:
… even more pledging:
Oh, the custom pizza, which did not look very delicious:
The personal pizza, which does:
But when in Naples, you can do it both ways:
The Semi-Glamorous Part
In Capri, even Cameron Diaz, Lea Michele, and Lindsay Lohan, "just three of the celebrities spotted on this exclusive island in the past few days," could not outshine the de Blasios, who opted, of course, for public transportation.
The mayor even went way casual. In sandals:
In New York, de Blasio was questioned over the length of the trip — should he really be away so long? But in Italy, they were skeptical, too: "De Blasio Does Rome in a New York Minute," read a headline in La Repubblica. ”For us, it’s quite a strange thing to discuss about this subject," said the paper’s editor, "because for us, nine days’ vacation is not such a long time." For us, at least, it really flew by.