Reading the signs in Bogliasco, continued

It continues to rain and the sun remains an iffy prospect, but there have finally been signs of spring. On the passeggiata there are buds and leaves where before there were none.  It would be curmudgeonly not to feel hopeful that our last days here will be warm and sunny.


I’m still collecting love graffiti, and one of them, written on a bench along the passeggiata, finally exposes the mark of gender: “The first time I saw you, the first time I truly fell in love”…innamorata―the woman in love…and further to the right, after the declaration, “to follow”….Stay tuned.


On an excursion to another village along the coast, I spotted this classic at the bottom of a staircase: I Love You and the date. I couldn’t help wondering if the love made it to the second anniversary, which had just passed. That’s the thing about graffiti, you just can’t know whether the sentiment remains, whether to feel warm and fuzzy or sad.


And adjacent to this classic, a more playful one:


Love climbs every staircase—“sale” rhymes with “scale” in Italian….

Finally, in the town of Bogliasco, there’s a more lasting tribute to love and the winds of time inscribed on a kind of wall sculpture.


Here is emended version of the poem:

More than the Grecale

little lines
short scratches
time proceeds with you

More than the Grecale
that reinforces
and wears away cement and ornament

uncovering the stone
the white skeleton
of the wall

Grecale is the wind from the northeast. Here are the four winds in a mosaic compass by the sea..


Poetic as all that is, the question of dog poop is never far behind.

The colorful poster clearly explains what dog owners should do, but the evidence on the ground suggests that the locals do not read the writing on the wall.

Reading the signs in Bogliasco

Walking to and from the passeggiata, in and out of the tiny alleyways between the main road and the sea, I encountered these interesting examples of graffiti. The first one, dated and signed with a heart, says:


“Believe in my love. I love you truly, I swear.”

graffiti2The second one is brief and to the point in dark black letters says, depending on context:

“You please me,” literal translation. 
“I like you,” “I find you attractive,” not to mention, “you turn me on.”

There are no marks of gender in the pronouns, nothing to reveal the sex of the writer. I first assumed that the long message was written by a woman and the short one by a man. But then I thought that since Italian men pride themselves on being romantic, it was not impossible that the more flowery one had been written by a man, and the short expression of desire by a woman.

With those assumptions in mind, I asked the question at a group lunch with several Italian speakers. I was surprised to learn that “mi piaci tu” might have come from song lyrics or publicity for some product, and was used on Facebook to mean: “I like,” as in thumbs up. In other words, “mi piaci tu” seems to have less of an immediate sexual overtone than the French, “tu me plais.” Another of the Italians commented that nowadays the difference in behavior between boys and girls was not as rigid as it used to be―girls acted in ways considered taboo in the past. And therefore that either a girl or a boy might have written “mi piaci tu.” It wasn’t gender specific.

But most seemed to think that the flowery declaration of eternal love was written by a man for a woman and that it could have been used with the hope of seducing her. Ensued a long conversation about graffiti, especially love graffiti―in Italy, Spain, and the United States.


The third instance of graffiti is less lofty. It’s about dog poop, of which there is a goodly amount in town. Well, it’s not strictly speaking graffiti since it’s a message typed on a piece of paper, but still.

“Look carefully. This piece of shit is identical to the shit who brought his dog to poop here.”

A lot less romantic, but no less Italian.

I’m not sure when I can use any of this information, but at least I’m learning things.