La Passeggiata

The passeggiata is typically a pleasurably purposeless, slow, non-exertional mode of ambulation (fig. 1) perfected over the centuries by the Italians. It is meant to be enjoyed outdoors and preferably in good company (fig. 2). As the American concept of “mall” seems to have been accepted, you can now witness the absurdity of Italians of all ages spending hours wandering and shopping within glamorous steel and glass gigantic atria (fig. 3), having for a time abandoned the traditional strolling experience around town. In its classic form, the passeggiata is leisurely performed in the late afternoon or evening after dinner, based on the weather, of course.

Should the stores still be open, a little shopping (fig. 4) might take place as well. Depending on the location, it could be a grand affair (figs. 5,6). However, even the most remote and humble village (fig. 7) offers plenty of great opportunities to indulge and “see and be seen,” – this often being the undeclared motivation.

In big cities one might run into horse carriages (fig. 8), always the favorite of the tourist crowds, however few, if any, of the locals would be caught in them – unless involved in a desperate attempt to conquer the heart of a young American ragazza. Daytime passeggiate are perfect with the kids (fig. 9) on Sunday mornings before il pranzo, better yet if by the sea or a lake (fig. 10). Most restaurants will then be very busy with families in search of local specialties and culinary pleasures, which is quite the norm, indeed, throughout Italy. And to fulfill the day, nothing better than a wonderful cup of gelato (fig. 11), al fresco, of course!

More in this category: « Shopping… al fresco!