Saturday, June 6, 2009
Living with the Past: Cobblestone
The narrow cobblestone streets were designed for horses, not Fiats. The lovely intersecting arches of stones, endlessly repeating, are the work of hands, strong backs, bent knees.
The price of such beauty is compromise. They are noisy to drive on and laborious to repair. They are not amenable to underground utilities. They are bumpy for bicycles.
Do Italian children play hopscotch? How do they draw the lines?
Even the name is a compromise, at least in the English language. A "cobble" is a round stone created by water or ice. Most streets are now paved with flat quarried stones called "setts."