Memories of Monte Capanno 1970, Page Ten: Remembering Perugia

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Perugia. Below are some excerpts from residents' writings in 1970 about the town, and some thoughts about it more than 30 years after.  Do you have any similar diary entries or letters?  What do you most fondly remember now about that most beautiful of Italian cities?
 
Perugia as it was Experienced:  "... Perugia, Italy was chosen to be the site for the experiment, and David wrote to secure accommodations... and by early February, we began to trickle in to the Perugia area...  Diedre Ranier and Terre Eakins took an Italian class at the University of Perugia for Foreigners." (from Gordon's diary, to read more go here)
 
"Perugia is a pretty big place, contrary to what I expected.  The city is surrounded by a big city wall, which somehow survived the barbaric invasions after Rome dominated it (10th or 11 century?)  I've been told the city itself became pretty powerful in the 13th & 14th centuries & was well known then.  Now I think the many thing that puts Perugia on the Italian map is the chocolate factory (and the university)." (from Cathee's diary, February 7, 1970, to read more go here)
"I went into Perugia yesterday with Andre (the contessa's son, David, Maija and some others.  The first thing we did was go and get pastries.  It's something I've been drooling about for what seems like a long time...  By the way, the government in Italy has fallen.  There are many, many strikes, one of which is postal." (from Linda's letters, February 15, 1970, to read more go here)
"II. The Open Market In Perugia.  Today is February 17 th.  Or maybe 18th.  Yesterday was Tuesday.  Terre Eakins and Cathy Roberts and Cathy White and Mark Fissel got up about 6:30 to go to Perugia in the Low Flying Whale to buy food for everyone at the open market, where a lot of produce from round about is sold in stalls." (from the diary of David Zack, to read more go here)
"...[I]n Perugia, signs are seen with Nixon spelled with a swastika as the X in it.  It is up in fresh paint on many buildings.  Here everything is on strike, even all the gas stations occasionally!!  June 6 is election day and lots of banners span every main street of all the little hick towns around here.  Big rallies, ones that families attend, are held by each of the 20 parties often.  We got stuck driving through a march the other day in Citta della Castello.  It turned out to be 100 little girls in white veils chanting jibberish in unison at something called "First Communion."  (from Gordon's letters, to read more go here)


Perugia as it is remembered:

"About a month prior to the start of the Monte Capanno 1970 project in the fall of 2000, Linda attended an art show at the Beverly Street Gallery in Staunton, Virginia.  On display were a set of oil paintings done by students from the area who had travelled to Perugia in the Summer of 2000.  One painting rekindled her warm feelings for the town.  It was a depiction of one of the first class hotels near the Center of Perugia; so she bought it.  During the time it was being re-framed to suit the decor of our living room, Mark Fissel contacted us, and the Monte Capanno 1970 project got started.  These sorts of serendipitous coincidences surrounded our time in Italy, and have continued during the many years since the sparkle of life fell on us there."  (by Gordon, Fall 2000).
An Incident Near Perugia is remembered:
"Here's one for you. Does anyone remember a couple of MC residents
ooozing behind the counter of a Columbella Bassa ice cream parlor where I understand they began dipping into the various gelato vats to taste with bare hands?  Someone phoned La Contessa and she 'had a word' w/ DZ who had drunk that morning from the same pitcher of blood red electric orange juice as everyone else, he then had to drive to town in his low-flying whale and sort it all out with the local shop owners or authorities ??  did I hallucinate this ???  Someone said 'If you can remember the 60's you probably weren't there.'  Of course I can't remember who said it..." (John Dean, May 2002).
Law Enforcement, Italian style:
"Perugia was not what one would call a city designed for the twentieth century. Its narrow streets were the descendants of cow paths along which buildings had been erected, fell down and were rebuilt over the millenia. Cows don't walk in straight lines for very long and a street map of Perugia has every appearance of wet spaghetti noodles tossed down on a plate and just about as wide. All of which is to say parking is a problem.  Trip to town in Craig's car. After driving around for an hour or so trying to find a parking place - enough time to see the city a couple of times over it finally dawned on us that the natives solved the problem in typical Italian fashion: they parked wherever they wanted, usually two and three cars deep along the side of the street.

" Well, when in Rome...  We returned to the car some time later to see a platoon of traffic police moving resolutely through the street, ticketing every illegally (illegally!?!) parked car, including Craig's. What exactly does one do about a ticket in Italy, anyway? We approached one of the officers whose age, bulk and numerous chevrons clearly designated him as being in charge of the operation and explained our predicament.

" 'Studenti Americani?' he asked, holding our ticket. Yeah, si, that's right (officially, anyway).  Looking very officious himself, he scowled at the ticket and then at us.

" 'Een America,' he began, 'Theesa very eemportant,' thumping our ticker for emphasis. Then smiling profusely, 'But in Italy...' and proceeded to tear it pieces and let them blow away.

" 'Wow!' we said, mustering a typical 60's response to the affair. "How cool!" As we drove away, the policemen continued their work down the street, we noticed other drivers arriving at their cars, casually lifting the tickets off their windshields, tearing them up and tossing the pieces into the wind.

" 'But in Italy...' " (by Wes Shaffer, February 2001).

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Navigation Guide: There are twelve pages of Memories of Montecapanno, you are on page 10.
 

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The Genesis of the Trip
The Trip to Perugia
Daily Life: Eating, cooking, sleeping, keeping warm, etc.
Governance: did Anarchy work?
Entertaining Ourselves at Monte Capanno
Our Guests
Remembering our Leaders: The Zacks
Our Memories of Each Other at Monte Capanno
Our Italian Neighbors
Trips taken elsewhere around Italy and Europe
Remembering Perugia
Assessing the Meaning of it all
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