Bersaglieri! Avanti!

Today, the Bersaglieri will be running/parading/running through Pescara. They’re a military unit that started in the Kingdom of Sardinia in 1836 (pre-unification!) which is known primarily for (1) wearing hats with many, many feathers (2) running everywhere instead of marching.

I am told they are very popular with the children of Italy, because what’s more adult and impressive than a lot of feathers in your hat and running everywhere? Nothing.

Apparently, during the Crimean war, they briefly switched to a fez, in imitation of the French zouaves, but this was obviously a mistake and they quickly switched back again. Mostly. They do still like the fez and the red beret. But cermonially, when it’s time to mean business, black feathers. For instance, when they deploy with NATO they attach huge bunches of black feathers to their NATO helmets.

The black feather hat is called a vaira. Now you know all the important bits of Italian military history.

Bersaglieri web

(Although I’m making fun of my own sincere fixation on hats, the actually important bit is the running. Sometimes while blowing a fanfare. The idea is that they can run or bicycle fast enough to keep pace with cavalry or tanks.)