December 19, 2011

Bologna, Italy. May, 1988

When I visited my friends Giovanni and Renata in their hometown of Ravenna, I was charmed by how few cars there were in the centro, how many pedestrians and, because the city is relatively flat, how many cyclists. And then, a week later, I came upon this sight in Bologna. Yikes! It was outside a school, and I guess there’s a bike rack in there somewhere. How could you possibly find space for another bike? And how could you find your bike when you wanted to leave later in the day? But I do understand the joy of cycling through a smallish city. When I met friends Antonio and Roberta for dinner in Lucca (often described as being what Florence was like 100 years ago), I’d forgotten some small gifts I’d brought for them, and Antonio gave me his bicicletta in order to get to my hotel and back subito. It was thrilling pedaling along through the narrow, empty streets, pretending that I lived there and, of course, did this every day. In Naples? Rome? Non, grazie. But in Lucca, anytime.

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