My neighbor, Charles Merkel, the world traveler I wrote about in the March 2017 issue of the Hill 2000 newsletter, told me about and old Italian custom, La Passeggiata, and suggested we adopt this in our neighborhood. He directed me to the website, where I learned that La Passeggiata stems from the Italian verb passeggiare meaning to stroll or take a slow walk, emphasis on slow.

The article describes people of all ages walking slowly in small groups up and down a tiny town square, chatting, laughing, stopping when they reached the end and repeating the walk again. They did this many times. There were small cafes with people standing and indulging in expresso. What we wer seeing was a custom and tradiiont practiced in every Italian city, town and village that is the most Italian part of any day. Between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. there is a mass exodus from the businesses and homes as passionate Italians take to the streets.

“La Passeggiata is the social event of the day. Friends meet and catch up… on weekends the entire family goes for a stroll. It unites young and old within the community and keeps the flames of culture burning bright.”

Would this for for us? Days are growing shorter, and daylight savings time ends November 5th, but I invite anyone interested to meet at the tables outside of Gelato di Riso at 6 p.m. on Thursday Ocober 5th. We can decide which evenings are best and what time to start and make plans for winter walks and more in the spring.

See you there!

-By Mary Balmer