The wonderful photo above, by Alessia Pignetti, shows her grandmother using the iconic o'panar, a basket or bucket lift used to bring groceries up to apartments in and around the Naples area. Old apartments MINUS elevators PLUS a bucket PLUS some rope EQUALS Italian Ingenuity at its best. Italians have all sorts of roadblocks in their way as they live their Vita Bella, but still find ways to get around their problems. That's being a true, furbo Italian!
The o'panar (also called a Panaro - bread basket) is an especially great tool for elderly nonnas, living in an un-airconditioned top floor apartment, in the heat of the City of Naples or Sorrento or other towns in Campania. Their legs perhaps failing from a lifetime of walking the many hills in their environment, o'panar is used daily to lift up deliveries of milk, cheese and eggs, produce, a fast food delivery, or other supplies brought to them by their never-too-far-away offspring. You can imagine how dangerous it can be when Nonna loads a couple of sharp knives or scissors into the bucket to send down to l'arrontino--the knife-sharpener--on his weekly visits! Instead of traditional wicker baskets, many nowadays use plastic buckets, but in a bright blue color--perhaps for visibility so that unaware passersby on the street below can see it coming down (often just dropped) and avoid being smashed in their testa.
So, if you're even in Campania visiting Naples or Sorrento or Salerno... look up, or should I say, heads up!
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