Le Soffitte (Attic Sales) at Bagni di Lucca

Last Sunday, the centre of Bagni di Lucca Villa was again filled with second-hand stalls selling a very wide assortment of goods ranging from clothes to radios to magazines and plenty more. It was part of the ‘soffitte’ which literally means ‘attics’. It was, in effect an attic sale, although some stall-holders were also selling some new objects as well.

The event was also a good occasion to keep some shops open. (There are hardly any shops open in Bagni di Lucca on Sundays except the two mini-supermarkets). I enjoy these sales very much and they have become increasingly popular.

I’m not sure if this armoured jeep, complete with turret machine-gun, was on sale:

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These ‘soffitte’, in my opinion serve seven main purposes.

  1. They are the best way to recycle things which otherwise might finish up in some tip.
  2. They can supply extra income to cash-strapped Italians today where people living below the poverty line are regrettably increasing.
  3. They can offer bargains to those persons who would like to buy such items as kitchenware, cutlery, glasses, plates and clothes.
  4. They bring in visitors from an increasingly wide part of the Lucchesia and thus serve to publicise our beautiful area.
  5. They are great social centres. The number of acquaintances and friends I met last Sunday was very encouraging.
  6. They allow more living space in one’s house by getting rid in a constructive (and often profitable way) of unnecessary clutter.
  7. They are very therapeutic for everyone, especially those suffering from disposofobia (obsessive hoarding syndrome)

In case you weren’t quite sure whether you were disposofobic or not check out the symptoms here:

  • An inability to throw away possessions including items too big or too small for one’s proper use.
  • A severe fretfulness when attempting to discard items including such things as used toilet rolls and goods wrappings especially polyurethane.
  • An enormous difficulty in organizing one’s possessions or even knowing where they are. Much of the time things seem to have disappeared in a domestic miniature black hole.
  • Hesitancy about what to keep or where to put things.
  • Distress, such as feeling stunned or embarrassed by one’s amount of possessions so that visitors to one’s house are discouraged.
  • Suspicion of other people touching or stealing one’s things.
  • Fear of running out of an item in the future and checking the rubbish bins for accidentally discarded objects. A typical example is over-buying supermarket food and then having to throw it away because it’s gone bad.

There are, of course, various degrees of disposofobia. I’m sure you’ve seen TV programmes where a team come in and help extreme sufferers in their possession-suffocated homes before they get crushed by the weight of books or wardrobes. For example, the great French composer Alkan was killed by an overloaded bookcase failing on him, (or was it by being trapped under one of his innumerable umbrella stands?)

Unfortunately, our society today is geared to make disposofobics of us all. The question we must all ask is the same when we do our packing for holidays. It’s not the question ‘what should we bring’ but ‘what can’t we do without?’

The success of rental storage space warehouse in cities where living space is becoming ever more diminutive is a symptom of this difficult-to-cure disease. Some celebrities realised they had too much and took appropriate action. Elton John, for example, gave away the majority of his record collection.

I try to counter any symptoms of disposofobia in me. I am attempting to refrain from buying yet more books since, I regret, I still suffer from bibliomania, which is a sub-species of the awful disease. I’m trying to get round it by getting books on an e-reader but it’s not quite the same thing as turning nicely scented pages in a good binding and perhaps a bibliomaniac I shall always remain.

I am very frightened of being an animal hoarder which is yet another subspecies of the obsessive-compulsive disease called disposofobia. I have stuck to three cats, two ducks and two goldfish for at least two years now so I trust I have that aspect under some sort of control.

One thing I do not suffer from is polygomania. One wife is enough for me and I shall always remain happy that way.

Anyway, unlike Thomas Hardy’s ‘The mayor of Casterbridge’, no-one was selling their wives at any stalls last Sunday, which at least prevented those suffering from that particular aspect of the dreaded disease which is termed polygomanic-disposofobia…


PS Future ‘soffitte sales’ at Bagni are on the following dates:

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4 thoughts on “Le Soffitte (Attic Sales) at Bagni di Lucca

  1. I absolutely adore the Italian second-hand markets. There are so many treasures to gaze upon, and restrain oneself from buying. If I lived there, my house would be furnished in an eclectic selection of pre-loved goods, for sure.

  2. Dear Francis,
    As a poor art student in the 1970’s, I furnished my first bedsit, and then my first flat with what was then called ‘second hand’ furniture. My small paradise was a mixture of old and new, cheap ‘Habitat’, wallpaper, and those extra large ‘Habitat’ paper lampshades beloved by every student.
    I still live with my ‘English oak’ bookcase, dresser, desk, two chairs, and all my beautiful collections, of books, ceramics, and vintage linens.
    Kind regards,Jane.

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