Community life in Italian town
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2006 16:33:55 -0800 (PST)
LK Dingeldein <lkdingeldein1 [at]> is the author of the message below.
It was posted by Fred the Cohousing-L list manager <fholson [at]>
after changing the subject line and deleting the quoted digest.

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>From lkdingeldein1 [at] Sat Apr  1 16:10:40 2006
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2006 23:44:53 -0700
From: LK Dingeldein <lkdingeldein1 [at]>
To: cohousing-l [at]
Subject: Re: Cohousing-L Digest, Vol 26, Issue 59

Dear Cohousers,

I own a home at Milagro Cohousing in Tucson but am presently on a years stay in
Italy with my husband and son.

We are staying in a small medieval village, Orvieto, in Umbria. There are about
8,000 residents living here.

We have found life in this community to be rich and rewarding. The physical
layout of this village lends itself to interaction, There are two main streets,
limited to pedestrian use mostly, where people must pass along to go to the
train or parking lot, do their shopping and socializing. Every evening the
Orvietanos "Meet and Greet" as part of the age old custom of the "passagiata" or
evening stroll, before dinner. Almost the entire town turns out, often dressed
for the occasion. A lot of business is conducted right there on the street (One
person told me this was a chance to catch up with his friends and his enemies.)
People do not use the phone to call one another very much as they are sure to
run into one another on the street or at their favorite local bar or outdoor
market. The homes, built from the 10th century through the 18th century
primarily are small so prefer people get out and spend their free time sitting
in the square or cafes. I have seen a number of elders, primarily widows, who
may have moved there in later life to be close to everything, from the farms
outside the village. I have seen many families with babies and young children.
On the weekend, I often see groups of family members and friends of all ages,
strolling around with gelatos. No one is in a hurry at these times and a meal
can take 4-5 hours (Orvieto is a "slow food" village). I marvel at  this and
wonder whether it could be imported to the US, for example, where there never
seems to be enough time to linger and stroll and, how to  design communities
that encourage people to take that kind of time. Community life is enriched by
these unstructured times.

Libby Kelley Dingeldein
Milagro Cohousing

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