In Italy, have you heard of a court house? Out friend Yle was telling me about a ‘court house’ in Lecce that would be perfect for my next stay, ……….
She explained a court house is the typical "case a corte" in Lecce with pietra leccese (lecce stone).
Case a corte, houses with courtyards are typical of the Mediterranean area . They can be found in small villages and towns. They often have a large front door leading onto the courtyard with several houses around the courtyard.
Sometimes, they have a back garden. The main element is the courtyard where in the old days families and neighbors used to meet and socialize, telling stories and passing their traditional culture to the younger generations.
What towns have you visited that have casa a corte? I have noticed in Naples where there are apartment buildings and little space for gardens, that families and entire neighborhoods use the street as their ‘living room’. Everyone socializes out in the street with chairs and tables set up in the narrow lanes. All the balconies are ‘perches’ for conversations across alleys.
In Sorrento every night the entire town did a passeggiata down the main street, stopping to chat with neighbors, friends and relatives. I watched this procession for 3 months and started to recognize my temporary neighbors. A busy street during the day, during this nightly promenade the street was closed off!
There are streets in Florence and Rome that are popular for a passeggiata but it is more difficult to tell tourist from local. I have been told that apartments in Italy are usually small by American standards so friends are met outside and often will go for an apperitivo or even a meal after meeting in the street.
But don’t look for this public event during lunch, the streets can be deserted…..