The Mayor of Cinque Terre

As we walked through one of the towns, a resident said to us in passing, “Don’t listen to her. She lies.” — joking, of course. Train conductors would tell her which cars are the least crowded, or “don’t get in that car because the door is broken”; restaurant owners give her clients the best service. She knows little passageways to avoid crowds, and then will stop to show capers growing wild on the side of a cobble-stoned street and exclaim, “What a country — you can eat off the sidewalk!” Her level of enthusiasm for her job and her home is amazing, and contagious.

Anyone who knew her would make some kind of comment, and as I said, she knows everybody. But all these interactions didn’t interrupt the flow of the tour. In fact, it added to the fun, and again, that’s what I’m there for.

As we made our way back from the La Spezia train station, she had us pass through a piazza and told us about a recent mayor of the city. This dude thought it would be a good idea to put a new fountain in the piazza. He was quite excited about it and when it was ready he had an unveiling ceremony for the townspeople. When the cover was removed, the citizens didn’t know what to make of it. In the end, what the artist was trying to convey didn’t matter because the residents came up with their own description. When they want to get together, they say, “let’s meet at the fountain of the big ass”. This same mayor also thought it would be a good idea to remove the trees that lined the most beloved piazza in the city and replace it with a sculpture from a French Architect. The residents call it the Car Wash Piazza.

He’s no longer the mayor — maybe they should consider Fulvia?

Car Wash Piazza

The Car Wash Piazza

The Fountain of the Big Ass

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