January 13th, 2013

La Passeggiata

Dusk at city square of Martina Franca

Puglia, a province located in the heel of the Italian boot, is a totally different world. Driving, siesta’s – it’s all the Italian way. But nothing intrigued me more than La Passeggiata, the evening stroll where all the elderly men walk their laps while chatting on the main square of Martina Franca.

The “Thomas Cook Traveler to Puglia” (never leave home without it) describes the area, the people and some of their habits as follows. “The area is also commonly referred to as the mezzogiorno – the ‘midday’ – and this nickname is apt for its allusion to the slow pace of life and sleepy ambiance of the noonday sun. Within a day of being in the region, it becomes apparent that Italians in this part work to live, rather than the other way around. Little will get in the way of their traditional and unshakeable siesta, when entire towns and villages batten down the hatches and shut up shop for as much as five hours, leaving bemused visitors strolling through ghostly streets and echoing alleyways, bereft of any human activity. And if the siesta is a stubbornly immovable custom, so too is the passeggiata, the evening stroll through the streets as the town reawakens and people come together for coffee, an ice cream and a gossip.”

Fuji X100, 2.0/23mm lens at 1/20s and ISO 1600.