My first impression upon walking to the Salotto con Vista, was how peaceful the little terrace felt. I had just walked there from my last class further up in Borgo Bello, and the streets of the city were full of people out on their lunch break, either walking to restaurants or in their cars on their way home. These crowded streets, combined with the temperature that was unseasonably (for me) climbing into the seventies created a stressful, hot, and noisy environment that made me want to get away as quickly as possible.
My arrival at the Salotto con Vista put these feelings to rest. As soon as I walked out onto the terrace, I felt the hubbub of the city fade away as a cool northern breeze wafted the scent of trees and fresh air towards the terrace. As Rachel and I continued to observe, it seemed that other people felt the same sense of calm that I did.
When we first arrived, there was a man sunning himself on one of the adirondack chairs (an activity that looked quite pleasant to me) and smoking a cigarette (the butt of which he even threw away!). Soon after he left, a young couple came down with their lunch and stayed for almost the same duration that we stayed.
While the couple was seated at the table, a woman came down with her dog. While her dog was peeing, the woman struck up a conversation with the couple eating lunch. It was hard to tell whether or not the these people knew each other previously, but it doesn’t really matter if they did or didn’t; I see one of Salotto con Vista’s purposes as a place to meet people, and I was extremely happy to see the space fulfilling that purpose.
Soon after the woman with the dog left, a young family with a young boy came down and took some pictures of the view, fulfilling another purpose of the space: a pleasant place to stop and take in the gorgeous Appenine hills rising in the distance.
All this is not to say, however, that the space was not without a few negatives as well. There was definitely an increase in cigarette butts after we cleaned it last week, and there were 4 new piles of dog poop dotting the gravel.
Collectively, though, I would consider the ways we saw the terrace being used to be a smashing success. The fact that we did not even see 10 people during the hour we observed is what I see as one of the terrace’s main advantages: a place where solitude and quiet can be had in the midst of a bustling city.