We live in a relatively quiet street, I would say. If you walk down our street you will arrive at the main square of Cittadella, which is often pretty lively, but our street is rather quiet. Quiet, except for maybe one thing …… people talking.

There are certainly a couple of differences between living in the Netherlands and living in Italy. One of them is that people definitely have a lot more face to face communication in Italy. Especially the older generation. Which means that practically every day around the same time in the morning and the afternoon a group of older gentlemen gathers in the middle of the street to have very animated discussions about whatever subject.

(Our quiet street)

Often I’m not really paying attention to what they’re saying, partially because I don’t understand their dialect and partially because I don’t want to eavesdrop. However, their debate on the weather or (this is, I believe, the most popular topic) food can be so clearly audible (let’s be honest: loud) that I sometimes find myself trying to understand what they’re actually talking about.

This is what I have deduced: one of them is always upset about something (I’m not entirely sure about what, but at least once there was some food issue involved). It is always the same guy and the others are always trying to calm him down. This I gathered from the numerous “stai calmo” (“stay calm”) uttered during their discussions. They often end their conversation with a “non ti preoccupare” (“don’t worry”), before they disperse and go their separate ways.

Last week it rained a lot, according to Italian standards, and I noticed that the talkative gentlemen were no longer roaming the streets, but staying safely and dry inside. To be honest with you, I missed them. It is actually a very comforting noise to hear when you are working alone in your apartment. Fortunately, this morning the sun was shining and around 9.30 I heard the familiar voices that had been absent for a couple of days now. I heard the same agitation in one voice and the reassurance in the others.

All’s right with the world again.

From Italy with love,

Merel