Strolling along Corso Garibaldi towards Piazza Caduti (Square of the fallen), a poignant Ungaretti poem echoes through my head:
‘Si sta come
What McDonald’s has to do with Italy, I’ll never understand; the land where cuisine is second to none
le foglie’ (Soldiers are like the falling leaves in autumn.)
The slabs of stone clatter beneath my heels; all embued with an ivory hue.
On I walk past the Bank of Napoli where stands Eraclio, the landmark giant bronze statue, encased in scaffolding for a makeover, whilst around the bend, smart shops and cafes abound.
Barletta is very attractive in parts, though some places have sold their soul to modernity.
Now McDonald’s encroaches on every Italian town and it did upset me to see its prime position in the main Leccese piazza; it was the same in Bologna.
What McDonald’s has to do with Italy, I’ll never understand; the land where cuisine is second to none.
I sometimes despair at the soulless modern palazzi too, when compared to their gorgeous ancient counterparts; twenty-first century functionality.
I wonder how it was before this invasion, as I think it precedes even me.
But in spite of modern technology and fast food, Barletta still has old-fashioned appeal.
Flowers and signs; flags and colours all give the centre an ambience that says Italy without question.
So, I head back to my old haunts: Via Brigata Barletta where I used to work and its nearby shops, then on to Via San Antonio where I used to live.
It’s the same but different somehow; whitewashed by time and my altered perceptions.
The small park still remains with its dab of foliage and underwear shop.
I recall being rather amused (perhaps wickedly) on hearing that this shop of nether garments had once been robbed.
I couldn’t help but imagine the thieves choosing from the vast array of stockings there on display, to pop over their heads in true burglar style – seamed or red?
We’ll never know.
A racing scooter brings me sharply back to the present so I clutch my bag a little more tightly.
Now it’s green tea or any herbal of choice.
Our homogeneous world has caught up with Barletta.