Buon Giorno!

After a 24 hour travel time from Charlotte to the hotel in Reggio Emilia, I’m finally here and am settling in.  I had to have a bit of “drop down” (nap time in Lex Alexander’s term) and a shower, and then hit the streets.  I first looked up spots that were recommended, either by Lex and Ann or someone else).  Map in hand, I started exploring.  Soon I just gave up the map and let my instincts guide me, and what a revelation that was!

The streets of Reggio Emilia are not laid out in a linear fashion like NYC, so if you just allow yourself the gift of the moment your reward is…unexpected.  When I gave up on the map, I just let myself meander, turning when the views down that path looked promising.  One of the spots I was looking for (vaguely) was a place called Piazza San Prospero, but as I wandered from street to street, treasures were revealed.  I would turn the corner, and there would be a beautiful piazza, dotted with trees and filled with people.  Tables and chairs, benches, and other inviting spots welcomed a weary traveller, or a resident who just wanted a bit of community time.  The streets and piazzas were  lively with folks out for a lovely Saturday evening, and there was a sense of place that is hard to recreate.  Bicycles, children, families, and folks my age were all mixed together, enjoying the glories of spring.

When I was a little girl, my grandmother’s favorite “out of the house” activity was to park on Main Street in little Lincolnton and to sit in the car, watching the people who passed by. This was such entertainment for my Jenny–a cheap thrill.  Tonight I thought of her as I bought a glass of wine and sat at a table outside and spent a grand hour observing the folks who passed by, thinking of their lives and what they had planned for today.  I looked at the children who went by with their parents and wondered, “Will that little girl with the pink glasses be in a class I observe this week”?

The sticking point for me today is that the cities are built for community, from big cities like Rome and Milan, to smaller places like Reggio Emilia and Stiggliano.  Our family came to Italy when our boys were younger, and this was our big “take away”.  The cities and towns have places to gather that aren’t necessarily parks, but are almost pocket parks, all equipped with benches and tables, for that is what invites people to sit down together.  All of these pocket parks are ringed with businesses that sell food, gelato, wine, pizza…encouraging folks to sit down together and enjoy the day.  Providing folks with a place and time to meet and connect with each other is so important.  I am reminded of “All Trinity Reads”,  Art Before Dark, and kindergarten’s portfolio picnic last year and wonder what else we can do to bring folks together.

More tomorrow with pictures!  Ciao!




6 thoughts on “Buon Giorno!

  1. Oh Linda! It sounds so peaceful and beautiful there. I imagined you going through your first day and all that you would see, hear, taste, and do. I am so glad you spent that wonderful bit of time with glass in hand watching the folks going by. I did the same thing when I was on my Light the Fire experience in the UK…especially in Scotland. I can’t wait to see pictures!

      1. I can’t wait to hear about your day. Your first post made me feel like I was there with you. I could practically hear the conversations of folks and the laughter of children. Have a beautiful day. I can’t wait to see your next post! xoxo Tachi

  2. A quote from an article in today’s Charlotte Observer: “As we walk along our pathways, may we be ever mindful of what we might find-unexpectedly-and ponder our own sacred responses to all we come across.” We could not have a better observer with a keener eye for detail and empathy for the world, both human and natural, than Linda. A good writer is a good witness first to the world which she encounters. One of the first rules of writing is “show, don’t tell”. Give us the picture. Let us engage our sensibilities through those of the observer. We’ve all traveled and been wearied by the ‘getting there’, only to recharge and then fall under the spell of the new place by wandering into this world and seeing it for the first time. I fell like we are riding along in Linda’s pocket, able to see what she encounters as she shares this blog. I’m reminded of one of the TES activities with which Linda charges her Kindergarteners as they leave her class at years end : the Noticing Book . It’s a diary of sorts but the special endeavor of noticing is nuanced by the ‘eyes’ of the Artist & the Scientist that the K staff helps their children to develop throughout their year together.
    Wonder on wanderer and thanks for showing us!

  3. So happy for you ,Linda!! I,too am enjoying the joys of community and city life this weekend! By myself staying at our loft going to the Full Frame doc film festival! Have a great time in Italy! Ox Ann

  4. Sounds amazing and there is no better person to experience and benefit from that experience than you… Keep us posted !

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