La Spezia removes public benches, old folks bring out chairs

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(ANSA) – GENOA, MAR 19 – The Ligurian seaside town of La
Spezia has removed its public benches to stop gatherings in the
time of COVID so old folks there have started taking out their
chairs from home to enjoy some time in the open air.
    The benches in the historic centre of the town near Genoa were
dismantled and removed, one by one, earlier this week.
    The move came on the recommendation of the police chief to
prevent gatherings at the weekend.
    It sparked mutterings from the elderly men who like to chat and
while away their time in the Sant’Agostino and Bastione piazzas.
    So the codgers took chairs from their homes and local bars to
sit around and converse just like before.
    “Levate le panchine? Portemo e careghe” (You take the benches?
We’ll bring our chairs) read a sign in local dialect stuck on
the back of a chair.
    “I appreciate the La Spezia irony but the removal was the
consequence of disconcerting an irresponsible behaviour last
weekend, and was requested by the local law and order
committee,” responded Mayor Pierluigi Peracchini.
    He said the old folks’ gatherings would be “rigorously” policed.


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