Greetings from Mondovì: A Hole in the Heart



There’s a hole in the heart of Piazza. Our farmacia storica has closed its door under the portici, the metal gates pulled tight. The hand-painted sign remains above, as if some other pharmacy might come along to replace it, fill the dark and vacant space left behind. In fact it’s most likely the place will remain shuttered and void, sad and ominous of decline as empty storefronts always are. However.

But. In fact, we haven’t lost our local pharmacy; it’s not closed forever but relocated to the foot of via Vico, near the large parcheggio at Piazza d’Armi. So where is the loss, the tragedy?

The loss is one of ambience–the difference between entering a soaring, vaulted-ceilinged temple to the science of Pharmacopeia and a soulless, clinical dispensary. It’s the difference between antique blue glass jars grouped above alcoved shelving and vacuous pop music on a radio; between waiting outdoors under the portico–cool in summer, dry in wet weather–and standing at a street corner with traffic passing and little room to get out of the way. The tragedy is in the loss of connection to community history, to place, to Piazza. What once was a unique pharmacy in a historic setting is now just one of many pharmacies in Mondovì.

This pharmacy is a family business; no doubt it was a family decision to update operations and relocate to more automobile accessible quarters. But in doing so, the pharmacy has lost its place at the center of Piazza, a place of prominence and distinction. And Piazza has a hole in its heart.