Are you missing some of the most intriguing details of Florence?
If you’re rushing from the Uffizi to the Duomo or from your hotel to the Accademia or from Ponte Vecchio to Pitti Palace…or if you have your nose buried in a travel guide or map, you just might be overlooking some of the most inviting examples of craftsmanship and handiwork in Florence.
Proudly ornamenting many of the portals of historic private residences, professional and government offices, and other buildings are examples of artistic works. What could be just another everyday, ordinary piece of hardware, in this case a doorknob or knocker, is transformed into something extraordinary, i.e., art meets function. Ranging from elaborate to elegantly simple, their designs can be angelic, leonine or just plain fiendish! Whatever the case, surely their remarkable workmanship and detail deserve more than a casual glance?
Beautifully crafted, many have that lovely well-worn patina giving them a character that only comes with many decades, indeed, many centuries, of loyal service. Some are welcoming, some intimidating or pretentious, but all are fascinating.
Passages, drama, secrets, stories, lives… all hidden behind and within…Oh, if they could talk, the tales they could tell! Curiosity kindles our imagination. What would they say? “Welcome”, “Go away”, “Enter”, “Come in”, “Come back later”, ”Enter at your own risk”, “Privacy please”… But they remain silent, proud and stoic…revealing nothing.
Lacking the courage to knock or tap, secretly we hope someone will open the door so that we can take a peek inside. So, slow your pace, look around, let your imagination run wild…make up some stories…isn’t it fun?
This article was originally published in Italian Notebook on February 11, 2013.