Minor Differences: EU Flags in Italy


A telling minor difference between the UK and Italy is that virtually every time we saw an Italian flag, an EU flag was next to it and flown at the same height. In the five years I lived in England, I don’t remember seeing a lot of flags, but those I did see were nearly always the flag of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland i.e. the Union Flag on its own.


Each of the parts of the UK has its own flag, but the flag of England tends to mainly be used for football. The flags of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland were combined to create the Union Flag:


Wales and England have been in a union for so long, that perhaps that is why the Welsh flag was not incorporated. If Scotland ever does leave though, I’d love them to add it in to whatever new flag they create:



As I am sure all our readers know, Britain recently voted to leave the EU. I suspect it just never felt anywhere near as integrated and this is why EU flags are unusual in Britain, but are a common sight across the city of Bologna and probably other Italian cities.

We had a very interesting conversation in the Bologna airport that I really wish we had filmed. It betrayed another difference between the UK and the US and Italy and possibly the rest of the EU. We asked a woman in an airport shop what Italians typically thought of Britain leaving the EU. She said she didn’t think they should have been allowed to vote, that she thought the common people were too uninformed about economics and too emotional to make good choices. She even went so far to say her grandmother shouldn’t be allowed to vote because she’d had her life and her mother’s vote wouldn’t be valid either because she didn’t have a university degree. She even disenfranchised herself on the basis of not having a degree in international economics.

I found this anti-democratic attitude deeply disturbing. I feel that that is a massive difference from the US and the UK. I cannot imagine many Americans thinking they could cheerfully tell a stranger that a vote shouldn’t have happened because they didn’t like the result and certainly not that their grandparents and parents shouldn’t be able to vote due to being old or due to lack of formal education to a certain level. Even though some British people petitioned for a second election, I have a feeling most would not have quite so openly said what this woman said, that they felt the population was too stupid or uniformed to make major choices about their affiliations. However shocking many people found Britain wanting to leave, I am equally shocked by this anti-democratic attitude and quite surprised by her excessive level of trust in her governing body. This is a significant difference.

Here is a short video with a lot of flags:

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