Lucca Street People

There are street sellers here, but since the “season” is over there are far fewer of them. Thank goodness. And there are beggars. Always. They stand outside various shops and greet you like a long-lost friend. “Buona sera!” they chirp as you enter the shop. Then on your way back out, they take on a battered look, hold out their hand and start muttering, “1 euro please. mangiare. 1 euro please. mille grazie senorina. please. mangiare. please…”

Well, sometimes I give and sometimes I don’t. Just depends on my mood and how much change is in my pocket. And overall I don’t like it. So more often than not I shake my head, make no eye contact and keep moving. But that being said, I do fork over a euro or two more often than I mean to…

Then there are the regulars. Now that I’ve been here a while, I see them all the time. They beg like it’s a regular job. And they spend more time on the street than most people do at the office. I see them from my window in the morning. I see them when I’m out walking. And I see them still at it late at night. You have to wonder what they actually take in!

First is what I call the Headband Lady. The first time I saw her, I wasn’t sure if she was a beggar. But now I know she is. She makes her regular stops and is all over town. Sometimes she has small pots of flowers – I wonder where she gets them! Other times she has packets of tissues and other times she has nothing. But she always has her hair pushed back with a sparkly silver headband. I couldn’t get a photo of her from the front and I didn’t want to offend her. And my goodness but she has painful looking feet. All I can think is that they have to hurt worse than mine but she keeps going. I give her a euro every once in a while. And I’d really like to get her a new headband so she can switch off, but I’m not sure she would understand…

And then there’s the Singing Guy. I think I saw him on one of the first days I was here. He is very skinny and always holds his arms at his side like a chicken, but he has a deep baritone voice that really carries. I think he knows everyone in town. They seem to tolerate him well.

From early morning to late night you will see him going from shop to shop and greeting the staff by name. He belts out a line or two of an aria and moves on. Unless he has an audience! Then he will circle about and sing and sing at the top of his lungs. And of course he holds out his hand for donations.

ImageFinally, is Livio, the trumpet player. He, too, spends long hours on the streets. I have seen him at 8:30am and again long after dark. He plays very well and it makes you wonder where he learned. And why is he playing on the street for coins? But he is and I always contribute. And one day, when I had gone for a slice of da Felice pizza, I brought one back for him and put it in his bag. He smiled, as always, and gave me a greeting.

There are lots more street people and performers, of course. These are just the ones I have become most familiar with. They feel like a part of the neighborhood and that, of course, makes a bleeding heart like me part with a euro from time to time…

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. another bleeding heart
    Nov 24, 2012 @ 08:48:14

    I too, am a bleeding heart at times. But I picture them having a drink with my $ or going home to a VERY nice villa! You worked harder for your euro than they do. At least the musician does SOMETHING for his! I would prob give him one once in a great while as well. Just a part of the experience, huh! What a colorful life you got goin on Mrs. P!!!


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