Being an advocate of Slow Food (of which pizza can be a part even if it takes seconds to actually bake), I am now taken with the concept of a Slow Cities. In Portovenere, I read about how the town was adopting the strictures of Citta Slow (officially Citta Lente, but in everyday parlance the term has been Anglicized). It struck me as a great way to salvage what is integral to the meaning of Italy -- balance, preservation, artisanal values, the rhythms of a life lived fully on a daily basis. It is a way of saying "Basta!" to speed for the sake of speed, an American affliction that I too often share.
Any chance of making Portland a Citta Slow?
Well, first we have to have something to slow down for...besides good restaurants and cafes. European mayors have lately been very creative in finding ways to bring people into the piazzas and have them linger. For example, the city of Cremona sponsors crafts markets, concerts, and other diversions every Thursday of the summer. In Verona, the churches and villas are sites for free jazz, classical and rock concerts. In Mantova and other cities, summer solstice celebrations involve dinners on historic bridges and fireworks. These activities create new attachments between citizens and their cities and deepen the sense that they live someplace special.
Imagine a coffee hour or microbrewery tables on the Steel Bridge, while fireworks are set off from a boat on the Willamette. We can do it too.