Sunday, March 27, 2011

Portico flâneur - the art of strolling

I do like Turin and its porticos. On the one day I had chosen to prowl around, it rained! However this was no problem. You can walk for many kilometres under these arches and look at the many different shops. Turin has managed to hang on to its old traditions. There are small cafes, many with the original period decor. There are hobby shops with all kinds of models and you can order made-to-measure confectionery. Turin continues to be a centre for chocolate making and it's generally small scale. The Slow Food movement began in this region and it does show. What better place to be a flâneur? In order to be a flâneur proper you must have an interest in the city and its ways. You have to be have an affection for the things the city can offer. It is the zenith of participant observation - where some detachment is necessary for full enjoyment and appreciation. Probably my fondness for Turin is showing. It is nice to just walk around with no particular aim and I feel that perhaps we are in danger of losing the art of strolling. In these times, we must always have a purpose - shopping mostly. It isn't necessary. So perhaps we should all try to be flâneurs. Just as an exercise, go out for a walk around the city and see if you can do this without intention.