Luana Luchetti: Beyond the Bar
Stepping back in time a thousand years is no easy task. Stepping into an uncertain future is equally as hard.
Each day, 23-year-old Luana Luchetti sees both of these realities. As a resident of Cagli, a medieval city of 15,000 located in central Italy, Luana spends her summers tending bar at Il Chiosco. She spends the balance of her year attending the University of Svizzera in Lugano, Switzerland.
Luana tends bar well, remembering orders and serving drinks. She knows many in the bar by their first names. In addition to Il Chiosco, she tended bar at this year’s Beerfest, a five-day festival in Cagli featuring beer, bands, and food.
Sitting on the deck of the bar, with translation help from a friend, Luana talks about education, economics, and life in and around Cagli. She says she wants to finish her master’s degree in finance. After that, she will need to move to another country to find high-paying work.
Luana talks with despair about Italy’s economic condition. She gestures to a table in the bar surrounded by 10 young men. “They are all without work,” she says, adding that despite her roots in the community, she has few chances to use her education in Cagli or elsewhere in Italy.
Although she attends college in Switzerland, Luana has lived in Cagli all her life. She still lives with her parents. Because he has a newborn, one brother lives upstairs. Her uncle, who helped her father build the house, lives in the other half of the house. Luana says she could never afford to live in Cagli if it weren’t for her parents. Their home is spacious and tastefully decorated with several newer-model cars in the driveway.
Luana has worked at Il Chiosco for three years, and, next year, she hopes to move permanently to Switzerland. One of her professors has talked to her about employment opportunities in Brazil. No matter what, she says, she will not stay here. Despite an Italian tradition of putting family first, Luana sees no reason to stay.
Like Cagli, Luana is caught between tradition and necessity; Old Cagli, she says, is filled with bars and little else. New Cagli is mostly houses with few job opportunities. Luana feels she has had to work twice as hard as her parents did at her age but she earns less reward.
The economic crisis of the last six years has thrown much of the world into turmoil, and Cagli is no exception.
Luana says Italy is far behind in modernizing much of the government paperwork. She believes that, if everything were computerized, there would be more jobs because of increased efficiency.
“I would fire everyone in the government who does not know how to run a computer,” she says. “They are slowing everything down.”
Her homeland needs to improve its chances for survival in the 21st Century, she says. Italy “needs to change.”