Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The "Downside" of La Passieggetta

You’ve heard some of the wonderful things that happen on La Passieggetta, but none of the not so great things. So, in order to provide a balanced perspective, let me share some of those. In the evenings there are a lot of street vendors, who can drive you totally crazy. They sell purses, sunglasses, scarves, toys, and art. I guess they do not have licenses, or permits, or something to make this entirely legal because they wrap their wares in sheets, set them down and start to sell, but something triggers a mass exodus, and in the blink of an eye, they grab the ends of the sheet and bundle their wares off down the street. Someone or something gives them the signal that the police are coming and they move on and then back again once the coast is clear. You can get some good deals from these vendors, although I think it is also illegal to purchase from them, but everyone does anyway.

They don’t bother me much anymore since they have seen me around a while.

There are always men walking alone in the evenings, and they always want to talk. By now, I call Piazza della Signoria, "Pick up Piazza". There are a wide range of types of men out there all wanting to go for coffee or a glass of wine. I have met a lot of people, but some that I must say, I did not care to spend time with.

Some of the ones that I say no to are very persistent and get angry. I have learned to stay calm and just as persistent with my "no" and even add a "Basta" which means, "that’s enough." This definitely gets the message across. In every piazza there are foot patrol police officers. I don’t know why they are there. I have not seen any crime or mishaps, although the tour books speak a lot of pick pocketing and petty theft. Anyway, a walk in their direction usually gets rid of the undesirables.

You have to be prepared for showers when walking around town at night. There is no cover should it start to rain. You also have to look out for dog poop. There are a lot of dogs in the city and people walk with them and take them everywhere (in stores, restaurants, etc) Most people are pretty good about bringing along plastic bags for disposal, but not all. Between the cobblestones and dog poop, it can be like a mine field out there.

Aside from the "hazards" of "la passieggetta", it is still one of my favorite things. Can’t wait for you visit to show you what it’s like!

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