It is political-festival time in Italy and throughout this Mediterranean land hundreds of "friendship" and "unity" festivals organized by the ruling Christian Democrats and by the second-place Communists are in full swing.
In the Adriatic city of Pescara, however, where the Christian Democrats are holding their second annual national "festival of friendship," the mood is somewhat somber.
Four months ago, Aldo Moro, the Christian Democrats' most influential leader and major political mastermind, was murdered by leftwing terrorists who had kidnaped him two months earlier.
Not surprisingly, the Christian Democrats have dedicated this year's festival to Moro. Thus, inthe evenings, the festival area is dominated by an illuminated giant photograph of Moro, that gazes out over the throngs with the late leader's characteristically melancholy expression.
Like most Italian political festivals, the "friendship festival" combines the qualities of a political rally with those of a country fair.
But this year the major theme is Moro and his murder, for which the Red Brigades group claims responsibility.
MILES AWAY, at Terracina on Italy's other coast, Eieonora Moro and her children are winding up their summer in the bustling resort town where she and her husband had vacationed for the last 18 years.
Angered by the party's decision last spring to bar negotiations with the kidnapers, despite desperate pleas from Moro, she has no plans to attend the festival or to make any other attempts at healing a rift that is unlikely to ever be repaired.
Mrs. Moro, called "Norina" by her husband, arrived in early July at Terracina, where, under the watchful eye of Brigadier Rocco Gentiluomo, she opened the family's modest seaside apartment in a four-family house.
Keeping her company were three of her four children - Maria Fida, Agnese and Giovanni - as well as Luca, Moro's grandchild. A fourth child. Anna, who gave birth to a daughter after her father's death, lives in Grosseto with her doctor husband.
Insiders says that Moro's tragic death at the age of 62 has greatly reunited a family so divided that Moro wrote repeatedly in his letters of the special problems that made to it necessary for him to live.
The problems appear to have been largely political in origin, with Mrs. Moro bitter over the time her husband dedicated to politics and with some of the children split toward the opposite side of the political specturm. Anna and 20-year-old Giovanni, now involved with a leftwing Catholic group, were said at one time to have been close to a far-left Marxist group called "Continuous Struggle," which blames Moro and the Christian Democrats for many of Italy's problems.
There was so much tension that insiders say Moro was reluctant to spend time at home, which partly explains the frequency with which he was seen, even when prime minister, alone in the back rows of Roman movie theaters.
Moro might be surprised to know that today Govanni is reportedly considering closer ties with the Italian Socialists, the country's third largest party.
As part of an attempt to differentiate themselves from the Communists, the Socialists were the only major group here to favor negotiations with the kidnapers during Moro's two months in captivity.
FOUR MONTHS after Moro's death, there is hardly a town or village in Italy that has not already named a street, piazza, school or bridge after Moro. Dozens of statues bear his image and his name is on scores of medals, literary prizes and institutes.
Some observers says this semi-cult does not necessarily mean that the country really understands the significance of Moro's loss. They believe his capacity to pull the warring factions of his party together and to forge alliances between different ideological groups was unique. They point out that since his death political in-fighting among the five parties that support the current minority Christian Democratic government has greatly increased.
Arguments are hardly what Italy needs when there is a general conviction here that after the usual summer lull, the country's terrorists will launch yet another bloody offensive. And, despite headline-making summer trips to West German and Egypt by examining magistrates assigned to the Moro case, the new interior minister Vincenzo Rognoni, will have little of substance to say when he submits his report on Moro's death to parliament later this fall.