Wandering around Perugia is one of my favorite past times, I have found out. I have gotten lost, at least three times, and I feel entirely safe while doing it. I have seen children playing calcio, in the squares, and quaint lamp posts underneath beautiful arches. What I love though is seeing people sitting on steps! I went to another quiet town, and there were not any people sitting on steps, and the church bells only rang on the hour. Why would such things be so normal to me after only living here for about three weeks? If you had asked me a month ago if seeing people sitting on steps would make me feel comfortable, and welcome… I would have thought you were wrong.
I see that people making use of this public space makes me feel safe, its like they are the eyes and ears of the neighborhood. As long as they are there the streets are being protected. They watch over i bambini playing, and the fumbling tourists, and the students on their way to class, and most of all they watch over each other! This sense of community, is what I love!
I have also noticed that there are always people walking, at all times of the day, even at three in the morning, and I have noticed that schools are not on their own separate island, a sacred place, which is only busy during school hours. The schools blend into the communities, making them hard to spot, and the steps to schools are open, as long as there is sun light, even though school is not in secession that long. I found it intriguing that students would want to hang out on the steps even after school was out. I have noticed that children are also out as long as adults, it was 1.30 in the morning on a Friday night, and they were just sitting on the steps. Again, people on the steps!
I was walking to my apartment, and I got distracted because I knew some one who was sitting on the steps, so I went over to say, “Ciao!” It was supposed to be quick, but I sat down, and when I got up well three hours had passed and I had just had one of the best conversations. and we people watched, too. We went back to my place, and had dinner, I had just made a really good friend, while sitting on the steps.
When I signed up for this class, I did not know exactly what I signed up for, but now, well, I guess I’ll let the steps do the talking for me!