Tis Returns to Italy! Day 59: The Life in Strada San Sebastiano
Here in Bari, I live on a lively street in the old town called Strada San Sebastiano. What makes it lively is not that it is full of shops, bars, and restaurants, but instead, it is full of life.
I am fortunate to have a front-row seat to the life of Strada San Sebastiano. Every morning I get up, get dressed quickly, and open my front door so I can enjoy watching everything that happens. From my first few days here there are a few clear things I have learned about my neighborhood, in no particular order.
1–The ladies run things. They are always busily going about their days in the street, running to the market, checking in with their neighbors, cleaning their apartments, and yes, cleaning the street outside. As they were having a heated disagreement about something in the street a couple of days ago, occasionally a man would walk by and say something almost under his breath, but quickly passed, seemingly knowing his place.
2–No one minds how you live your life in your space as long as you don’t interfere with others and how they want to live in their space. For example, every morning for about an hour between 10 and 11 am, the neighbor a few doors down, plays some music that, how can I say this politely, might not be to most people’s liking. However, it’s not too loud, never lasts too long and no one seems to mind.
3–They are a family. They fight and argue passionately in their street, but later that same day, they are visiting each other and chatting happily.
4–They are kind to strangers who respect their neighborhood. As you may know from previous posts, there was a large plumbing problem flooding the lovely Strada San Sebastiano and it was coming from my place. When I realized I was the source, while I was trying to get the problem resolved, I told one of my neighbors in my best Italian that I was sorry and was trying to get it fixed. As soon as I acknowledged that it was my problem and I was trying to solve it, she said “Niente” (it is nothing), went into her apartment, and shut the door.
5–There is a lovely man that seems like he could not easily get work. He is the friendliest soul, always stopping in front of my open door to say hi and make sure I’ve had lunch as I am working. The citizens of Strada San Sebastiano leave their garbage and recycling hanging on their doors and he comes along and takes it down to the bins for them. They give him some euros for his trouble. In Strada San Sebastiano, they take care of their own.
6-They just make things work. They get bike deliveries to their windows as cars cannot pass down the street. Their homes are small so the laundry dries in the street. They make fresh pasta in their homes and sell it on the street outside their door.
Anything goes in Strada San Sebastiano!!
I have fallen in love with most of the towns I’ve stayed in and I know I always say this time it is different. But I can honestly say that two of the most interesting places that I have truly loved are Bari and my first true love, Genova. In both places, they just get on with things while loving their neighbor, even when their neighbor gets on their nerves. They don’t take anything too seriously which makes life much easier and a hell of a lot more fun.
Bari, ti amo! ❤️
Ciao for now!