The interesting debate (article and images here) which started in Barga Vecchia this week which quite nicely defines and brings into the light of day one of the gradual changes that is taking place in this community has just taken a new turn.
As we said in that article – once upon a time there was a great pride in the city, its architecture and history and people looked after, felt responsible and conserved what was around them.
Gradually that is now changing and for some people these days, that kind of social responsibility finishes at their closed front door – anything outside of that is the responsibility of somebody else; be it at a comune, province, region or national level.
In 2005 the Comune bought and installed some new street furniture – benches, signs, rubbish bins and two large cast iron circular seats which were positioned in the two principal piazzas of Barga Vecchia – Piazza Angelio and Piazza Salvo Salvi. Visitors to Barga could rest their aching legs and admire the plants that were planted in the middle of the large cast iron circular bases.
The plants that were chosen were not pretty flowers or even hardy shrubs. No, somebody, somewhere decided that the best plants would be a particular strain of a holly bush, well known for its puncturing and pricking powers to all who ventured close by. These plants flourished well, thrived and grew in stature until they had more or less taken over all of the seating area making it impossible to use them to all but the very hardy or foolish ….. (not counting the Barga cats of course, who managed to squeeze their way into the middle of the holly bushes and use them as their own private cat toilets)
Added to which, after a couple of years, the one in Piazza Angelio was pushed to one side of the piazza to allow the stage to be built for the festas and as these circular seats were extremely heavy, once pushed in the corner – it stayed there.
The same thing happened to the one in Piazza Salvo Salvi. The thriving and now thoroughly uncomfortable-to-be-close-to seat was left to its own devises in the corner.
That is until Marino and some of the regulars at Aristos bar took things into their own hands and manhandled the heavy object back in the middle of the piazza and after some tactical pruning restored the bench to its former (usable) glory.
A couple of years later the prickly bush had now grown to such proportions as to make it impossible to use the seat – this time something a bit more drastic was needed.
The whole plant was summarily removed from the centre of the cast iron and taken away to be planted in a more “user friendly” area of the city.
Next, a quick trip out to a local farm to get some good earth to replenish the by now very tired looking ground in the middle of the container followed by a visit to the local shops to choose some suitable flowers and in the space of a couple of hours it was “job done” and nobody was any the wiser.
This is after all council property – any changes should be done by the council and not private citizens but hopefully nobody will be complaining as the piazza now looks so much more inviting and above all, finally it is possible to sit back and enjoy the peace and quiet of the piazza without the danger of painful proddings from that miserable holly bush. (full article here)
This week volunteers started work on renovating the circular seats as the recent hard winter conditions had reduced the wooden slats to a peeling mess.
People power in action once again.
And now the story gets interesting – this morning workers from the Comune arrived and started work on repainting the benches in the piazza and yesterday the garden above the Memory Museum can also trimmed and sorted out and the “la vedette” sculpture by Mario Bargero is once more in full view.
Now could it just be that there is a small problem with translation and somebody from the Comune has read the previous article (here) and thought that the title “Private property or communal responsibility” questioning individual responsibility and that of the community and instead thought that it saying “Private property or responsibility of the Comune” ?
There was not a high level of criticism intended but more just a way to start a serious discussion but either way, the piazzas are now looking far better so a big thank you to all those who were “responsible” – those from the Comune and those independent volunteers.