From our apartment we can hear many sounds. It’s not annoying at all, it is just the sounds of life in an Italian working town. I enjoy it.

This morning, as I was standing in the kitchen, I realized I was hearing the sound of a lawn mower! “So?” You say, “It is not an unusual sound”. But it IS here. It is a sound so familiar from living in suburban US neighborhoods that I hardly noticed it, until I realized I never hear it here. Or certainly not the ubiquitous background hum of hundreds of them in a grassy neighborhood in the US. It’s something I hadn’t thought of until today.

Another thing I never hear here, and I certainly do not miss, is the sound of fans. Intake fans, exhaust fans, air conditioners, heat pumps. I hated it when we lived in the city. Even the ever present fans in our homes pushing the air through all the ducts and vents of our forced air heating systems. Forced air heat isn’t a “thing” here. Almost all homes are heated with gas hot water radiators. Or they are heated with wood or pellet stoves. Quiet systems.

So…what am I hearing now? Well, from the front of our house, I call it the “town” side, I hear the sound of the morning rounds of the little street sweeper. It is a small vehicle that can fit through our narrow streets. It spins and twirls across the piazza. Cleaning up after the partying of last night. There are trucks making deliveries on the piazza. And the sound of the construction in the apartment next door. From Bar Mary downstairs I hear people calling “ciao” to Irene who works the morning shift. And calls of “Ciao Angelo” to the Alimentari owner. Irene is constantly shifting the chairs and tables, returning them to their proper places. They scrape on the stones. Later the Briscola players will come. Old men pensioners, who spend their days playing cards. The games can get heated, and loud. 🃏

From the “country” side of our casa, I can hear the bird songs. There are chickens nearby and I can hear them clucking loudly as they lay their eggs. The rooster, who I heard every morning, is no longer needed, and has gone into the cooking pot I presume. The dogs, kept penned up on the farms nearby bark. Little kids call out from a playground beyond the copse of woods. The starting gun of the fishing contest scares the pigeons who roost on the roofs and they fly, en mass in big circles, their wings whirring until they settle again.

12 thoughts on “Sounds

  1. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Hi Vian. All places here are evocative with all their own special sounds. It’s why I love it so. Glad you liked the piece.

  2. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Oh gosh Royane, thanks so much for those wonderful complements. I really enjoyed writing it. It kind of flowed right out! I love the sounds.

  3. Vian Andrews

    Liked this Nancy. We are in a hamlet, but while the sounds are not as busy as they may be in your town, they are as evocative in their way.

  4. royane mosley

    Gosh Nancy, this is such wonderful writing. You are so talented in that way (and cooking ) and probably much more that I have not experienced yet. I want to share this particular writing with a few friends Thanks for the speakiing those words that fill my head with the images you describe. R

  5. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Thanks Louann, it’s something I’ve always appreciated here. The sounds of everyday life around us. And I sure don’t miss the noise in the US. Both when we lived in the leafy suburbs and when we lived in the city. Each had their own noise pollution. Safe journey to Ugento and I hope you have a great time.

  6. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Thanks Matt, it is true that Spello lacks a “center”. One of the few towns I know of without a main Piazza.

  7. louannchapman

    Very clear picture of your neighborhood sounds! Felt like I was there with you. I am excited to leave for our new house in Ugento in a week where I hope we hear different sounds than leaf-blowers and mowers 24/7. Noise pollution in the city just gets louder and louder. But it’s not the people noise that is annoying; it is all the vehicles backing up beeping and the machinery noise. It will be nice to hear different noises for a break!

  8. Matthew Daub

    A very poetic post, Nancy! Barb and I lived in Spello for a month about 20 years ago. The one complaint we had about the town was that it lacks a really nice piazza at the heart of the town for gathering. There’s one at the base just outside the walls and another about midway up the hill near the commune, but neither have that nice feel of the one outside Nancy’s apartment. We’d sit with the old ladies where they rinsed their clothes near our villetta – just a bench and a fountain.

  9. Nancy Hampton Post author

    Oh, don’t worry, you will find “your” bar in Spello. There are quite a few good ones.

  10. Stephen Stamps

    Nice post it’s cool that I can recognize & “hear” those sounds also after being there only a few days. Say “ciao” to Irene. That’s one bad thing about the apt. in Spello, we won’t be having an aperitivo @ Bar Mary.

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