After an exhausting morning at the flea market of Porta Portese i head to Pigneto, the quarter i will try to put my main focus to in the next days. The atmosphere is very calm, amazingly peaceful in fact. The scale of the pedestrian area is welcoming, little bars have their terraces outside. I see mainly young families enjoying their afternoon with their friends and kids.
I notice some preparation work at Via Pesaro, after a little investigation i find out that Yetti cafe is setting everything up for an evening event – a book presentation and a movie screening. I chat with an icecream seller pointing out that during the times i lived here, there were no such events.
“I feel like Pigneto has changed a lot, especially in last two years. It is much calmer now, before you wouldn’t see a child on the street but now it has become very attractive for young people with kids. The feeling of community is much stronger now and yes, time to time they organize events like this”
I wonder what contributed to these changes “You know, before it was full of drug dealers here. There used to be one of them at each corner offering stuff to people passing by, even during the day! But locals were not happy about that, there were many complaints addressed to the municipality, I also went to a protest that tried to kick out the dealers from this area. Then there was a strong police intervention, for a couple of weeks we had cops everywhere and since then all the dealers disappeared. I think it is much nicer to live here now.”
Strongly impressed I quickly take a chance to interview a young couple with two kids enjoying their ice creams.
“We are actually not from Pigneto. We live in EUR (very distant part of Rome) but we like to come here during the weekends and hang out with kids. We find it lovely here, usually we take a walk in the pedestrian area and sometimes we arrive all the way to Necci (famous local cafe).”
I am interested if they ever visit Pigneto at night: “No, not anymore. Now we come only during the daytime. But we loved to come here for a couple drinks before we had kids. It was very vibrant area back then, a lot of students lived here. I believe it’s equally busy at night even now, but it has become too expensive for students. I think it’s mostly working middle class and artists now.”
I want to hear if they remember any conflict between generations, the older residents must mind the noise… “No, not really! I think that people who live here have accepted this place as it is, with all its advantages and disadvantages. Everybody who moves in here, must already know how this place works. And the older residents.. they remain, because they don’t find it disturbing, otherwise they would move out…. I am sure you noticed that this place feels more like a village and not like a part of the capital city. People know each other and say Ciao on the street. Here it feels like the elderly collaborates with the youngsters, which reminds me of the old style way of living. Old people go for a walk in the evening, they don’t scream from their windows to shut up the people on the street.” This is a very interesting answer that i will try to confirm in the next days interviewing older residents.
In the evening I come back to Via Pesaro. The event is beautiful, the tiny street has become an open air cinema.