4th of July Fireworks in Milan, Expat Style

Last year I attended a 4th of July barbecue-aperitivo organized by various expat groups. I didn’t partake of the buffet but I was there more for the company than anything. This year the BBQ was on a Sunday and I was out of town, so I was lucky enough to be invited to a small gathering of U.S. expats and friends.

Ok, I’ll admit it. I look for any excuse to celebrate something. Isn’t the day better when you’re celebrating? At work I offered a coffee to those that were around and tried to soak up some of the blazing sun that came out right after a particularly dreadful hailstorm that morning. There was a nice wind blowing and my coworkers joked that just down the street was the seaside (Milan is landlocked).

But as I recounted what normally happens on the 4th of July back home, I connected two very important points in my brain that hadn’t previously been in contact: Americans set off fireworks on the 4th, and exactly one block from my house, there is a fireworks shop.


I just went to pick up a package of sparklers.

I left the store only because I ran out of cash.

I felt maybe we deserved a little fireworks, too! Luckily my host and her husband were excited by the prospective fireworks. They too were looking forward to sparklers, and perhaps took a step back when I brought out what S called “la batteria” – a solid block of fireworks the size of a car battery. I couldn’t resist!

With every good 4th celebration, you have fireworks, and FOOD! We were lucky to have a nice mashup of expat-smuggled food (my Pepper Jack cheese was opened) and locally found ingredients. Guacamole, Pepper Jack Cheese Barbecue Bacon Burgers (yum!) and Nachos and Salsa. Drool.

4th of July in Italy - the food!

Then it was time for the fireworks. We walked out of the apartment building and went around the corner to where there was a bit of an abandoned building and open space to set off fireworks. We started off a bit timid but started to really enjoy them as they were finishing up. Fewer people poked their heads out of the apartment buildings to see what was going on than you’d think, although one did say, “Mica che e’ Capodanno?” (It’s not like it’s New Year’s!)

Fireworks 4th of July 2007

Fireworks 4th of July 2007 Collage

And of course, there were sparklers. Next time I’ll buy more (and take more pictures)!!

Sparkler Time

Fireworks 4th of July 2007

I was reminded by Copyblogger about the classic Schoolhouse Rock video of the Preamble of the Constitution – here’s my bit of patriotism – Schoolhouse Rock really rocked! (Click through to view the video):

I hope those celebrating had a good time yesterday! Anyone else, if you need fireworks at your next party, I’m available!

About these ads


  1. Giulia says

    We had a small get together yesterday with some friends. Nothing big, just burgers and hot dogs, but it was sufficient! :) I was expecting to see some sort of firework display last not, seeing as for the past two weeks, at the stroke of midnight, some town had been shooting them off. Unfortunetly, last night, of all nights, no fireworks! Boh?
    That last sparkler photo… are you spinning it around? That is a cool photo!

  2. says

    Fun! We had a festa here on Sunday complete with fireworks, so I just pretended that was the 4th ;) Actually I’m quite afraid of sparklers–got burnt once as a child, but the photos sure are purty!

  3. says

    Sounds like a fun night! I miss sparklers – haven’t done those in years. AND Schoolhouse Rock. Gosh those were great songs, I will never forget how a bill becomes a law. hehe

    Happy late 4th!

  4. Frank says

    I guess the 4th of July reminds one where they came from….the history. It is an inherited ritual
    that is performed each year to remember the beginning of a great experiment that continues today. We will all miss you and S this Sunday…love dad

  5. Rose in Cali says

    You had a fun night! Here in SF, we watched the traditional fireworks show over Crissy Field and Pier 39. The 4th of July is the one day that brings the left and right together, I think. Glad you and other expats were able to celebrate!

  6. lieludalis says

    Oooh, fun with the fireworks! Makes you feel like a kid again, huh? Food looks great too!
    I’m back in Boston this week and they are a little insane with the Independence celebrations…especially the food! Haha!

  7. Jay says

    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing better than overwhelming crowds and drunken mayhem in Ocean Beach SD
    !!!!!!!!!! The fireworks were nice too…

  8. says

    I wish that I could be as amped about the 4th, but each year it goes by without so much as a salute. Oh well!

    As for Miss Frascati…she didn’t even taste good…I mean she had no taste.

    That sounds a bit more acceptable. Muahahaha!

  9. says

    Hey – I just discovered your blog & it’s wonderful! I recently moved to Naples & although I love it, I did get homesick for the 4th of July celebrations.

    There is so much to see & read on your blog – keep up the great work! As the governator once said, “I’ll be back!”

  10. says

    What a great job you did! That’s certainly the way to celebrate.

    I, who rarely work, had to work. Actually, shouldn’t celebrating mean doing something you don’t usually do? So I celebrated.

  11. Lula says

    HELP!! .. where did you buy fireworks in Milan last year? I’ve asked so many people here in Milan & they said you can only buy them around New Year’s. I’m dying for some sparklers & would love to get some fireworks too. Pls help!! .. & I’ll save you a few sparklers promise!! Thx!!

Leave a Reply