Thursday, June 18, 2015

Il Vicinato: my Italian Neighborhood

The  term "vicinato" indicates not only the physical collection of buildings, piazze and streets that make up a neighborhood, but also the values, the people, the identity and  the human fabric of friendship and solidarity.
Spartaco,Marcella and Dolly

Il  vicinato still exists in small towns throughout Italy; an example  to follow to rediscover the joy of  being together  and live with a quality of daily life which contrasts the individualism and egoism so common in the big city.   
view of the piazza del Sole with 1851 wash house

Il vicinato of Vicolo del Sole,  one of the  neighborhood communities in Vetralla,  includes  inhabitants  born and brought up there plus other acquired members who have arrived from far away: Finland, Holland,Tunisia and USA. 
Together they take care of the little medieval   piazza that is their outdoor living room and share the joys and problems of everyday life.
Marcella takes care of the roses 
The  cobblestones are swept daily and  countless vases and flowers are watered  by Marcella and husband Spartaco, while mascot Dolly runs after lizards and  announces any newcomers to the piazza. 
Enzo and Tunisian-born Naila are consulted about flowers and plants while 85 year old Angelino and Maria  pass the late afternoon on one of the benches  chatting about the old days and traditions, narrating stories of when they were young and worked the fields.

Il vicinato of Piazza S. Egidio waiting for the procession to pass
The need to communicate, socialize and exchange memories is  the main characteristics of the vicinato-here everyone is always ready to offer help and solidarity when a problem arises.
What is your vicinato like?