We left Sestriere and headed southeast towards Pinerolo, the lively little town where the Olympic curling competitions will be held.
As we descended down from the mountaintops, we passed through a few adorable old towns lined with yellow, cream and sandy-colored houses with Alpine-style wood balconies. Many of the houses sported those same beautiful interlocking gray slate rooftops we had seen on our way up to the mountains.
Pinerolo sprawls a bit but is redeemed by a charming "centro storico", or historic center, with narrow, curving streets, pastel-colored houses and Torino-style porticos.
But are the Pinerolesi excited about the upcoming curling competitions?
Not that you'd notice, no.
A couple people I talked to weren't exactly sure what curling was....or how to really pronounce it in Italian. (It's the same word in Italian). "It's that game with the round puck, right?" one young guy asked me. An older gentleman said he didn't care about curling, but suggested that maybe Italians who played bocce would care more, since bocce also involves a puck.
Nobody I talked to was planning on going to the Olympic event that was going to take place down the street from them. One young girl asked me if I was crazy when I asked if she was going. "I heard the tickets are going to cost about 80 Euros each," she exclaimed.
Several townspeople said they were happy about the improvements that had been made in the town in preparation for the Olympics. Over the past couple of years, the highway from Torino has been extended to Pinerolo; a new road has been built that skirts the town; a couple of the town's piazzas have been repaved with stones and some of the buildings in the center have gotten a fresh coat of pastel paint.
But even when they were being positive, that classic Italian cynicism towards authority quickly shone through.
We had to wait for the Olympics to come for them to finally get around to making it easier to drive around town, snorted one man.
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Posted by: giacomo bugliarelli | February 1, 2006 05:06 AM