Shadows in the Piazza

It is 18:20 Sunday on the piazza. The central fountain gurgles, audible only to those nearby. Parked Mazdas, Mercedes and Fiats surround the fountain, obscuring it from the view of those who come to the piazza to relax. Evening in the Piazza

Two women are having a discussion about when or where to meet later. One is dressed in brightly colored clothing and the other in a black shirt that sparkles in the sun. As they walk to their cars, their heels make a clopping noise on the cobblestone, much different from the “clicking” of heels on pavement in the U.S. Both women get into their cars and start their engines. The two small cars sound more like large trucks.

It is 18:30. The sound of the piazza clock cuts through that of the fountain and the almost constant traffic. The motorini are loudest, buzzing around the piazza and away down one of the connecting streets.

600 year old shadows creep up the west walls of the buildings surrounding the piazza. At the base of city hall, the discussions of elderly – or at least retirement-aged – men join the din of the many other voices coming from the nearby cafes and that of the birds squeaking overhead, flying from fountain to building to building and beyond.

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