Saturday, May 18, 2013

Best of Sulmona, Part II

"Noi non potemo perfetta
(We cannot have a perfect)
vita senza amici."
(life without friends.)
~ Italian Saying

"Here they come again," I laughed as we left the apartment to walk to the town center tonight.  "Hide.  She has the damn camera again."

"Don't the ever go anywhere without that thing?" Mike joined in.

"How long are they staying here anyway?"  I was laughing a little too much, and the couple in front of us turned to look at me.

"Passeggiata is cancelled until they leave."

What the heck, I'm sure you might wonder, is a passeggiata?  It is our absolute favorite thing about Sulmona, although I'm sure that doesn't help you at all.  Let me explain further.

The passeggiata is simply an evening stroll usually taken with a friend or friends or a loved one.  This absolutely lovely Italian tradition usually starts somewhere between 4:30 and 6:00 PM (depending on the town or neighborhood) and ends anywhere from 8:00 to 9:00.  Some towns even have a second version after 9 PM, although mostly the younger crowd participates in that one.

Mike and I fell in love with the passeggiata our first time in Sulmona in 2010.  Every night we head to Corso Ovidio around 6 PM, walk the length of the street (closed to traffic), have a cappuccino, and watch people enjoy each other's company.  Some people we see every night, and others we see a few times a week.  Some people drive their cars to the area and get out and walk.  Others ride bikes up and down the street. 

Sometimes they link arms and walk two, three, four people abreast.  Sometimes they walk alone.  Many times we see them stop and talk with each other.  On the street.  On steps.  On benches.  Many times they enjoy gelato as they walk.  Sometimes they go into the plethora of shops on the corso. A lot of them bring their children and their dogs.

Some will sit or stand and watch others go by, yelling to catch someone's attention at times.  "Hey,  Enzo! How are you?"  or, "Peppe! Where you going so fast?" or "Maria, what did you buy?"

The walkers are all ages. Old.  Young.  Very young.  Kids run from side-to-side or hold tight to mom and dad.  The teenagers laugh and joke with each other, strutting around as teenagers do. If there's a soccer or basketball game going on in the park, many will join in.  And you know what? They're always polite. Always.

Mike and I think this is one of the greatest lessons we've learned in Italy over the years.  These people stop to enjoy life and each other.  They have this constant human interaction. They don't race their cars down the street, skid  into the garage and shut the door before anyone sees them.

"Maybe we could start a passeggiata in Siena," I wistfully said to MIke one night while we watched people.  (We live in a subdivision called Siena, for those of you who don't know.)

"It would be a good idea," he replied almost as wistfully, "but it would never happen.

"We could do it up and down Siena Monte (the main street)," said I pretending I didn't hear him, "and maybe even get the Bistro to sell cappuccino and gelato. Maybe if everyone did it, they'd talk and understand each other."  I think he rolled his eyes, not so much at the Bistro part but at the understanding part.  (It's a story you don't want to know.)

At any rate, we'll enjoy the passeggiata while we're here.  Maybe when we get back to LV, we'll do our own passeggiata (with Riley, of course)in the neighborhood.  Maybe one of you guys can bring us a cappuccino (and a dog biscuit) when we walk by your house.

PS The mercato was this morning, and we were there for a few hours.  I told you I'd let you know if I bought anything, which I did... It's getting warm, and I don't have a short-sleeved t-shirt.  Well, I didn't have one.  Now I do.  ;-)

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