I was reading a local newspaper (online) called Il Reporter, that you should check out to practice your Italian and get some scoops about Tuscany, and I found a very interesting topic that everyone should be aware of in this time of need: The Ceste Sospese. (Lit. hanging baskets)
Before you go any further if you want to read up on the Coronavirus situation in Italy, I’ve been writing on it since the first lockdown took place in the linked article
Based off of an older Italian tradition called Caffè Sospeso, a tradition where you go to a bar and pay an extra coffee for someone in need that comes in after you (I’ll go more in-depth another time on it), this new wave of Italian solidarity is showing itself during this time of need.
I’ve only seen Ceste Sospese in Florence, as I’m here at the moment, and can’t travel around Italy, but they are showing up outside of restaurants, bars, stores, gas stations, and in some cases on window sills.
But what are the Ceste Sospese for?
The idea is when you buy food for yourself you get a little extra and leave it there for someone that is really in need. We can’t deny that with the economic downfall that is happening many Italian families are suffering quite a bit. So, these baskets can help out a little with softening the cost of survival, you know cause without food that’s a little hard to do. All of the process happens without a sense of shame, as no one is at the baskets checking out what happens. I can leave a couple packs of pasta and someone can pass by and pick them up. Or maybe they can leave some stuff and if I find myself in a bad sitch I could do the same. This is something that shows how Italian solidarity in times of needs really comes out, something that makes me proud to be in this country, something that usually gets overshadowed in times like these.
In the meantime, if you’re in Florence and want to help out, or are in need, here is a Google Maps link that has most of the Ceste Sospese in the city atm.