The town of Senesceto is characterized by the remarkable longevity of its citizens, consequently most of the Senescetean are elderly, and the high average age of the residents means that the activities and infrastructures of the town are mainly dedicated to aged or very old people.
The main monument of Senesceto is the parish church of Saint Methuselah, dating back to the 11th century, known in the town as "the New Church". The 30-meter bell tower is served by the longest stairlift in the world. In the interior of the church works by Palma vecchio, by Vecchietta and by Pieter Bruegel the Elder can be seen. The most popular theme represented is that of Susanna and the Elders. In the center of the nave a treadmill allows the faithful with walking difficulties to reach the altar for communion. The celebrants make use of a powerful amplification system, in order to reach even the faithful with hearing loss. Also the confessionals are amplified and equipped with headphones and microphones, to guarantee the secret of the sacrament.
On the Sandro Pertini
square the Town Hall building
rises, also named "Palazzo Vecchio" ("The Old Palace"),
in front of which the equestrian monument
dedicated to Dr. Gibaud stands. On the same Pertini square one
of the many pharmacies in the town lies, a destination for many
residents, who come there with chairs to stand the long
lines before being served.
The square is manned in the daytime by the elderly citizens, engaged in discussions on sports, politics, customs, news, and any other topic which can be the subject of possible conversation or dispute.
In Rita Levi Montalcini Avenue, which originates from the square, the birthplace of Agenore Pitozzi, local glory, can be seen, even if however nobody reminds his exact merits, according to some he was a poet, according to others a hero of national independence, for others he was a famous doctor. As soon as someone will remember who Agenore Pitozzi was, the municipality will place a plaque on the house in order to commemorate him.
The traditional festival of Senesceto is that of Saint Methuselah, which is the occasion for celebrating the traditional Soup Small Pasta Festival, which starts at five in the morning and ends no later than eight in the evening. Stalls of slippers, night-gowns, walking sticks and glasses for long-sighted people brighten the streets of the town during the festival.
Another traditional festival is that of January 6th, during which,instead of the ritual of burning of the puppet of an old woman, a puppet representing a young woman is burned.
Knitwear and crochet engage the elderly inhabitants of Senesceto (therefore almost all) and the most common objects are the catheter cases, the heating pad for feet and for hands, the eyeglass holders, the blood pressure meter cases.
The typical dish of the town is, as seen before, soup small pasta, but with a wide variety of different formats, like stelline,tempestine and quadrucci. The arguments among the supporters of the various formats often reach very heated tones, while the trend, recently imported, to add rocket, has fortunately been set apart from the Senesceto tables. Other specialities are mashed potatoes, creamy leek soup, rice in broth (overcooked) and platter of soft cheeses. The favorite dessert are baked apples, with the extravagant variant baked pears. Hard to chew sweets, such as nut brittle or nougat, are strictly banned, while various creamy desserts are served. The most appreciated wines are very long-aged wines and the more hardy tablemates end the meal with a glass of Stravecchio long-aged brandy. Several restaurants can be found, but it should take into account that for dinner they close no later than 8:30 PM. Among the most popular places we recommend the "Gallina vecchia" ("Old Hen"), specialised on broths, the "Vecchio Scarpone" ("Old Boot") specialised on fondue or polenta-based (cornmeal mush) dishes, il "Refettorio", managed by former employees of the canteen of a hospice in the area, specialised on minestrone (vegetable soup) and overcooked pasta and the "Dentiera allegra" ("Merry Dentures"), which serves only easy-to-chew dishes.
On the territory of the town no hotels or boarding houses can be found, but there are sixty-four rest homes, eighteen orthopedic rehabilitation centers and seven hospitals, all equipped with an efficient geriatric unit. A widespread ambulance service links the various facilities, lacking a regular public bus service.
habits and customs
In the event of a toast, you should avoid wishing a resident a hundred years of life, because it could be taken as a bad omen, and for the same reason the consumption of beer in the village is almost nil, after the diffusion of the advertising slogan "if you drink beer you'll live a hundred years". It's reported that a citizen of Senesceto, after reading the slogan, commented: "But what is it? Poison?".
In Senesceto the most popular sport is boules, together with briscola card game. Building site watching is also widespread among the male population, consisting of watching the building sites in progress and criticizing their progress. Some of the world's leading specialists in this practice originate from Senesceto, which has been designated as the site of the next building site watching Olympics. Many construction sites in Senesceto are open only to allow senior citizens to watch them, being no real need to carry out work.
The town football team is Senesceto Grey Panthers, whose sponsor is a denture adhesive. The team takes part in the Master-Social Welfare League and its median age is 65 years. During the games lavatory-breaks are called every ten minutes, to the advantage of the players, but also of the referees and audience. The ball boys are chosen among the fifty-year-old junior athletes of the club's football school. The Grey Panthers are holders of the "Arthrosis Cup", an international competition for veteran teams.
The night movida of the town is enlivened by unbridled events of ballroom dancing that sometimes lengthen themselves even beyond 9:00 pm, amid streams of herbal teas flowing.
The traditional Wheelchair Palio culminates in a race of elderly people in wheelchairs, each of whom represents a city quarter, wearing its colours, and who compete for the victory. A race in the category " rollators" has recently been added. It should be noted that when the weather changes, the races don't take place.
In the town arterial hypertension contests, are very popular, often organized in actual tournaments, even if in recent years the credibility of the competition has been cracked by scandals, when some athletes in a contest were catched while stealthily ingested salami and ham, prohibited by the anti-doping rules of this discipline.
Another very popular entertainment is following the funerals, which cross the town several times a day. A special newsletter inform the attendance on the day's funeral hours and provide brief biographical notes on the deceased, to allow participants to discuss in depth their merits and faults.
In Senesceto no schools can be found, due to the lack of children, but there is a headquarter of Third Age University, in addition to one of the Master's degree of Fourth Age and Postgraduate School for fifth age, restricted to over 100 years old students.
The streets of the town are covered with examples of street art, consisting of obituary posters with the announcement of the funeral of the villagers who have passed away, which are the subject of passionate reading by the survivors. Other works, which may seem like body art, are actually elderly villagers sitting on benches, and their immobility is not due to the fact of constituting an artistic performance, but only to the arthrosis that advises the elderly to limit movements.
In the village, thanks to the caregivers who make up more than half of the population, many languages are spoken: Russian, Ukrainian, Romanian, Moldovan, Portuguese, Spanish and others.
The mayor of Senesceto is currently Calogero Lo Vecchio, elected with the gerontocratic system, consisting in appointing the oldest of the candidates, which however creates the inconvenience of having to repeat the election frequently, due to the death of the first citizen.
The main problem of the town is security, since many elderly have disappeared, it seems due to targeted attacks organized by social security and life insurance companies, for which the elderly of Senesceto represent an unbearable cost.
to get there
Senesceto is reached by many bus trips, with the sale of sets of pots and mattresses, and with frequent stops in the motorway restaurants for a visit to the lavatories. In case you reach the town by car it is advisable to pay attention to the many NSU Prinz (strictly bottle green) and Simca 1000 driven by over-eighty drivers (usually wearing a hat) which can show extravagant driving behaviors, such as reaching the speed of seventy kph being still in first gear.
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