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Gia-Gina Across the Pond

So I've decided to follow my husband to his native Italy. Follow our adventures as we eat, drink, travel, adapt to and explore this remarkable country. Part food blog, part photo blog but mostly my rants and raves. After our two years in Italy, we relocated across the Atlantic "pond" and are back in the States.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

An Observation on Playgrounds

This week we had a friend over this week from London to see the baby. She brought her 4 year old and one afternoon we decided to take him to a playground for a few hours. There happens to be a great one within walking distance from my house. As her son played and explored, she make some comments about how nice the playground was (all the equipment was in working order, not much graffiti, no visible dog poop and garbage on the ground, the surface of the playground was made of the cool spongy, rubbery recycled tires and there were other cool innovative and safe looking play structures.) She made a comment about how rare these nicer playgrounds were in Rome. (She is from Rome.) Demetrio then piped up and said a playground like this would only be vandalized in Rome. He looked a bit sad as he said this but seemed to be resigned to his opinion.

Why is it that public parks, monuments, and structures seems to get more run down and damaged the further south you go in Italy? (This is not only my observation but also that of many Italians I have polled.) I know that the Piedmontese have a reputation of being cold and unwelcoming to foreigners but are they more law abiding, environmentally conscious and more likely to respect public property? I have no idea but the thought makes me sad. I want to be able to enjoy Rome if and when we move there and comments like the one Demetrio made really make me think. I guess to gain some and lose some no matter where you go. Can you tell I do not really want to move?

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At 12:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi - we have some lovely playgrounds in Bologna - all vandalised though I'm afraid. Hope you have better luck in Rome!

At 2:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've just stumbled upon, myth or not, the mezzagiorno question. It is a subject that could cause much heat so talk to hubby and you'd understand why that is generally the case.

At 7:53 AM, Blogger Kataroma said...

Well, I'd hardly call Rome the "mezzogiorno"! :)

But anyway, I was amazed to read about your nice playground in Torino. I live close to several parks and there is only one playground that I know of anywhere in a radius of my house. It's ok but graffiti covered and run down. The kids still enjoy it though.

I thought there were no playgrounds here in Italy because there are no kids - but I guess not since you have them in Torino.

At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, this definitely means that you should stay in Turin so that we can take Zubin and Veronica to that playground (where exactly is it?). But seriously, as much as I want you to stay for selfish reasons, I do think that Rome would be a better place than Turin to raise kids for the following reasons: 1) the weather is heaps better so you can spend more time outside 2) there are many more green parks, if not clean playgrounds 3) people are warmer and more open, especially to "foreigners" (Torinesi think that someone from Rome is "foreign," so what hope is there for us?) 4) there is a larger ex-pat community for playdates. Ok, I'm going to stop now because of course I'd prefer you to stay in beautiful Turin!!!! :(

At 3:42 AM, Blogger Kataroma said...

Well, having never been to Turin (or Milan for that matter) what do I know? But here in Rome they are sort of open to foreigners, but you have to be the "right" type of foreigner. Rich country good - poor country - bad. People have been really nice to me as an "Australian-American" here - however I've heard some really racist things about "extracommunitari" here and my boyfriend's Romanian friend has experienced racism and discrimination is all its forms.

At 7:40 AM, Blogger nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

That is interesting Kataroma. As a black American woman I have experience more blatant racism in the U.S. than in Rome. True, I don't live there (yet) so I haven't had to deal with renting an apt., getting a job etc.

I do know other black American expats who live mostly in Rome and Florence and overall feel more welcomed there than in their own country. Granted if they were from poor countries moving to Italy for economic reasons as opposed to well-off educated Americans their lives would be very different.

It's the same in the U.S. poor immigrants have a tough time here as well.

At 12:30 AM, Blogger Crafty Green Poet said...

I found Torino to be very friendly to me as a foreign tourist. Speaking italian definitely helped!

As for playgrounds and the like, have you discovered Serendipity in Torino? It's a wonderful play centre which does a lot of arts and crafts from recycled materials. I don't know anywhere in Rome, never having been there, but a useful website may be: http://www.ludobus.it/ - it has details on playcentres and playbuses (ludobuses) across italy. Hope its helpful.

At 6:39 AM, Anonymous www.mueblesensevilla.com said...

This will not have effect in fact, that's exactly what I suppose.


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