Beyond the Fontana Maggiore by Giselle Cruz Pena

In my first week in Perugia I had not ventured so far out of the square of the Fontana Maggiore, in fact it was all I knew besides the Coop store on the other side. However, my first walk past the fountain was, unknowingly, to Borgo Bello due to their Mezza Notte Bianco special. The night was filled with music, loads of people, and a lively experience. I don’t think I would have really visited Borgo Bello had it not been for the Placemaking class, or if I had, it would have been later in the semester. Now I know where to find a quiet place to enjoy a moment alone or even a backstreet with colorful paintings to admire. Borgo Bello has the outdoor movie theater where many go to watch movies at night and socialize with others, I had been looking for this since I had arrived in Perugia!

While roaming around Borgo Bello, I saw the vertical gardens, the paintings, and the revamped hidden spaces of Perugia. These places all have contributions from previous Umbra students and communities. The objects in each setting are reused items that now serve a higher purpose: to make a place. They serve to make a place comfortable, inviting, sociable, relaxing, and so on. With the help of the signs that lead to them, there has been higher traffic there and you can see that the people actually move things around, like the chairs, to form circle when they visit the areas. These are good and motivating signs to continue making places for everyone.

Upon meeting Orpheus Ambrosi, the President of the Borgo Bello Association, we were introduced to his passion and devotion for his neighborhood. He has previously worked with Umbra students before for placemaking and I am excited to be part of the experience this year. My definition of a community has always been a group of people that have at least one thing in common, may it be that they are at the same place at same time or that they all share common spaces and/or interests. Of course, there are various types of communities, by making a “new” place, we can make a “new” community.
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