by Giovanni Cagnassi
It has been the “outdoor” living room of Jesolo for decades. Via Bafile is embedded in the history of the seaside town, of the walks and photos of the beach. To this day they are testimony to a splendour that has never changed.
In 1982, the summer of the World Cup in Spain which was won by the Italian national team, the testing of the permanent pedestrian zone commenced. At the time it was called this way and the Ztl formula, a limited traffic zone, had not yet arrived. Thus, the longest pedestrian stretch in Europe was born, about 10 kilometres of almost uninterrupted walk, dotted with shops, restaurants and hotels between the centre, east and west of the town.
Yet the beating heart of this immense commercial artery is via Bafile, dedicated to the highly decorated naval lieutenant of the Royal Navy, hero of the Great War. A walk, the one that goes from Piazza Marconi to Piazza Mazzini, that has always been in the spotlight: a real stage for the Jesolo, Venetian and international jet set.
A walk under the stars that even foreign tourists have always loved for the variety of the shopping on offer and elegance that can be enjoyed. Back in the days, taking a walk in via Bafile was like walking on via Montenapoleone in Milan or via Veneto in Rome. A dress code was required for the occasion.
From neighbouring areas, the young middle-class arrived on Saturday evening, the workers who had finished the shift. Dressed up for the occasion and wrapped in elegant dresses they prepared for the weekly event of the summer. From San Donà they even came by bike, the lucky ones by motorbike or car sharing, to halve the expenses for gasoline.
In the 1960s, when Jesolo established itself on the national and international tourism scene, the photos of the “scattini” was a consolidated tradition. Many tourists still keep those photos at home, in black and white and then in colour, a little faded to remember summer love, a walk with their girlfriend who would later become a wife, the nights out with friends.
Today, times have changed, cameras and Polaroids are forgotten with their snapshots, there are young people armed with smartphones ready for photos and especially selfies traveling on the net and on social media.
Here we are, in via Bafile, we still have a walk in this summer full of unknowns, which however still fully preserves the desire for a beach holiday. On weekends, the pedestrian promenade returns as absolute protagonist with the bars for the spritz, pizzerias or dinners based on local fish produce.
Because if there is a real thing around here, it is that times and fashions change. But not via Bafile.