Every city has two faces.
The day, the beautiful face which it wears as soon as it wakes up, when it dresses as a classy lady to welcome as best as possible whoever shows up, giving them its best treasures.
Then there’s the mask of the night. A black and white mask, which alternates the youth’s fun to the darker, more hidden side.
I discovered Perugia’s black mask in the words of its inhabitants, in the terror in a woman’s eyes who was terrified of walking 180 feet by herself, in the anger of a boy who feels scared for his girl’s safety since she works late in a cafe.
Actions, emotions and words which explains themselves.
Perugia by night is beautiful. Even in winter, with its streets of wet stones and its empty squares which are admired in silence by those who take the time to do so.
It may not be the city of entertainment in the usual sense of the term: very few clubs, some bars, but in winter rarely visited. Perhaps that’s why his dark side has consumed the night.
Robberies, assaults, and, above all, the greatest scourge: the drugs. And it is this plague that has fed the other evils. Alleys and streets of the city are now only a meeting point for the trafficking or for whom, having bought, wants to use them.
Knowing all of this, it’s scary to walk alone.
The same fear that you could have read in the eyes and trembling voice of the lady who stopped us asking to come with us along the way. Not just because she was alone, no, but because a few days before she had been robbed in her tobacco shop, and now just the thought of traveling in the dark those 180 feet that separates the shop from home terrorizes her.
The same fear that was in the angry words of the guy who told us about how well trained he keeps his dogs to stand guard at the cafe where his girlfriend works, fearing that someone might hurt her. The same guy who asked us to speak about all of this , because Perugia could be much better than that.
It could go back to being what once it was. A place where you can open the store in the morning without the fear of being robbed. A place where you don’t have to wait hidden in a corner, at night, someone with a “good-guy” face to do a little street together. A place where you can go to the station late at night without fear of being attacked. A place where a young girl, at evening, can afford of being late at the bar without any fear of returning home.
Perugia by night it’s beautiful, it really is, if we rip off her black mask.