Impressions of Borgo Bello By Christina Rossetti

During our walkabout of the Borgo Bello neighborhood, I was surprised to find that I have unknowingly made my way down these same streets in weeks prior. In an attempt to familiarize ourselves with the city of Perugia, my roommates and I would frequently wander, and simply “get lost” in an effort to expand our knowledge the territory which comprises our new home.

As our group explored the main streets of the city, we were delighted to see the diversity that these alleys appeared to offer in comparison to the elements which comprise the Perugia city center. We passed cafés, bookstores, tattoo shops, plant stores, and a variety of restaurants that appeared to deviate from Italian “norms.” It became quite clear within the first few minutes of being on these streets that this neighborhood is unique.

I am thrilled that we will be working within this area in the weeks to come, as it holds a notably different atmosphere than the Perugia city center. Seeing streets lined, or walls covered in, urban street art fills me with a sense of excitement. Knowing that we will be helping to improve a community which already contains creative individuals means that they will likely be willing to contribute to whatever projects we chose to embark on.

The presence of street art immediately brings to mind ideas of how we might be able to elicit a stronger community response in terms of maintenance of previous Umbra projects, like the Living Room with a View.

The view from this outdoor “living room” terrace is nearly unparalleled by the other views of the city which I have seen thus far. The problem however appears to be that many people simply are not aware of its existence, despite valiant efforts in past years.

While exploring the various streets and alleys of Borgo Bello, we happened upon faded dandelions which were spray painted onto the sidewalks. We noticed them from the pictures which had been shown to us in class, and attempted to follow them to reach the terrace. Although the flowers are a cute touch, had we not been previously aware of the existence of the terrace, we likely would not have followed them.

We felt as though the groups in previous years made great efforts at bringing notoriety to the spot, however, a few more signs dotted throughout the community would likely aid in improving awareness. Circling back to what was said previously about the strong street art presence in the community, it might be beneficial to ask some of these artists if they would have any interest in contributing to the project, like producing new signs to hand around the neighborhood, or create art installations which draw locals to the terrace. Involving the community in this way may aid in their sense of involvement, and thus, they might be more willing to take part in maintaining this area if they have a reason to do so.

Overall, I am looking forward to interacting with the community of Borgo Bello, and leaving some sort of personal mark on this city. As we explored, we were able to come up with many ideas which may lead to improvements for the terrace area, which may be beneficial if discussed in a group setting. I am excited to see just what sort of change we will able to produce this semester as a class, and what development it might bring to the community as a whole.

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