It All Starts with the Piazza
Many people in America and around the world love Italy because of the Italian lifestyle. And the foundation of the Italian lifestyle is the piazza.
The piazza functions as a powerful catalyst for community life. It has the ability to encourage social interaction, provoke a sense of well-being among its citizens, ensure a strong community, encourage civic engagement and provide a learning environment for young people.
Arriving at the piazza makes you feel like you are at the heart of a community or neighborhood. There is the anticipation of: encountering friends or acquaintances, engaging in festivities, exchanging information (and gossip) and so on. No matter how large or small the piazza, you can be sure there will always be a crowd of people walking, talking and interacting with one another.
Due to this abundance of social interaction, the piazza provides a sense of well-being to its citizens. People find pleasure in simply running into someone they know and having a face-to-face conversation. And it is often in the setting of the piazza that children learn how to interact in a wide range of social situations. The key to the Italian piazza and the community life it engenders is the feeling of inclusion; a feeling of belonging in the community.
Fortunately for those of us who do not live in Italy, there are piazza-like places in most towns and cities where one can go for a walk, meet friends, have a coffee, have lunch, read a newspaper or just watch the passing scene. American piazzas are a little harder to find than their Italian counterparts, but they do exist.
For people of all ages, the piazza reinforces a sense of belonging. And a visit to your local piazza allows you to enjoy the Italian lifestyle anywhere you go.