You can say what you like about Italians but they have style. We spent a great week there last week and while we were there I couldn’t help but admire how well they do things.
Take the exteriors of their buildings for instance. Simple things are somehow taken to new levels of beauty by hundreds of years of attention to detail.
The combinations of colours, the way the light falls, the skill that goes into carvings, engravings and sculptures. Scene-setting.
Like this courtyard we passed in a Venice sidestreet. It stopped me in my tracks. Looking through the narrow gateway at the stone stairway and the light flooding it from above was like looking onto the stage of a Shakespearean production.
And these shutters, thrown open to a laneway off the Grand Canal, the sounds of the Rialto and the smells from the surrounding trattorias wafting up.
The elegance of doorways, not to mention the door bells and knockers. Like I said, attention to detail.
Exteriors that would look shabby and dilapidated anywhere else look like they have seen so much. Oozing history. The stories they could tell.
And then the flowers. Everywhere the flowers.
Like in this street in Chioggia. The plaster may be cracked and crumbling. There may be clothes hung out to dry and external wiring that would look unsightly anywhere else. But it is all made stunning by the vibrant colours and the tiered array of flowers.
You can say what you like about the Italians. But they know the secrets to styling homes.