Pedestrian Strolls and Promenades in Italy

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“The magic of the street is the mingling of the errand and the epiphany, and no such gardens seem to have flourished in Italy, perhaps because they were unneeded.  For the Italian pre-dinner stroll – the passaggiata – many towns close down their main streets to wheeled traffic. The street is the pivotal social space, for meeting, debating, courting, buying and selling.” 

      Quoted from: Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, pp. 178-179.  http://www.amazon.com/Wanderlust-History-Walking-Rebecca-Solnit/dp/0140286012

Solnit quotes Edwin Denby: “In ancient Italian towns the narrow main street at dusk becomes a kind of theatre.  The community strolls affably and looks itself over.  The girls and the young men, from fifteen to twenty-two, display their charm to one another with lively sociability. The more grace they show the better the community likes them. In Florence or in Naples, in the ancient city slums the young people are virtuoso performers and they do a bit of promenading anytime they are not busy.”  Of young Romans, he wrote, “Their stroll is as responsive as if it were a physical conversation.”

 

      Solnit’s quote from:  “In ancient Italian town the narrow main street”: Edwin Denby, Dancers, Buildings and People in the Streets, introduction by Frank O’Hara (New York: Horizon Press, 1965), 183.

 

Photo Source:   https://www.google.com/search?q=florence+passeggiata+images&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=iwQFU6LrMpCFogSF84LAAw&ved=0CCQQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=566

Alert Eye Picks Next Foothold

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“There’s all sorts of walking –

                                                from heading out across the desert in a straight line

      to a sinuous weaving through undergrowth.

          Descending

               rocky

                   ridges and talus slopes is a specialty in itself. 

It is an irregular dancing – always shifting – step of walk on slabs and scree. 

           The breath and eye are always following this uneven rhythm. 

                  It is never paced or clocklike, but flexing –

                              little jumps –         sidesteps –

    going for the well-seen place to put a foot on a rock, hit flat, move on –

                            zigzagging along and all deliberate.

 The alert eye looking ahead, picking footholds to come, while never missing the step of the moment. 

      The body-mind is so at one with this rough world

              that it makes these moves effortlessly once it has had a bit of practice. 

    The mountain keeps up with the mountain. 

 

Quote by: Gary Snyder “Blue Mountains Constantly Walking”

Quoted in:  Rebecca Solnit’s “Wanderlust” http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/1419449-wanderlust-a-history-of-walking

Picture source: http://www.123rf.com/photo_1498523_trekkers-walking-along-a-mountain-path-mont-blanc-valley-west-alps-italy.html

 

Rolling an Idea Around in Your Mind? Take It for a Walk.

 

 

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Need encouragement?  Consider these wise conclusions from experienced travelers. Then ponder their words, on foot… 

       “Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow”.  (Henry David Thoreau)

       “I have walked myself into my best thoughts.” (Søren Kierkegaard)

       “The rhythm of walking generates a kind of rhythm of thinking, and the passage through a landscape echoes or stimulates the passage through a series of thoughts.  This creates an odd consonance between internal and external passage, one that suggests that the mind is also a landscape of sorts and that walking is one way to traverse it.”  (Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust)

       “It is solved by walking.”  (St. Augustine)

 

Picture Source: http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/09/26/photos-of-the-day-sept-26-2011/