Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Italy - History and Intrigue Behind Every Door

Ok, so I will forgive you all if you think me rather odd, but on my recent adventures around the beautiful Italy, I developed a bit of a fascination with... *ahem*... doors... yep, doors. I found myself intrigued by them. Each door was different, mostly very old, quirky and felt like they had a story to tell or secrets hidden behind them. Of course They probably all had incredibly mundane things behind them, but it didn't stop me imagining...

First up, some of the doors I found in Venice. Something that I loved about Venice is the wide variety of architectural influences, due to its rich, colourful and cosmopolitan history as a trading post to the east. Another thing that I noticed in Venice in particular is that you really couldn't judge a book by its cover: some of the most auspicious buildings had the simplest of doors, and some of the tiny seemingly run down and dilapidated buildings had the most ornate and decorated doors. the narrow streets of Venice are deceptive and filled with hidden treasures.

Some of the best doors that I came across, (please excuse my unashamed nerdiness here) were in the Doge's palace, not inside the palace itself but over the bridge of sighs in the prisons. All of the doors were original, and you could see the huge rusty bolts and hinges and feel like you were truly experiencing a little piece of history. So often you visit a historic place and you can walk around it and not really get a feel for what it would have really been like, say, 500 years ago because too much of it's original features have been lost over time, concealed or evolved. In Italy this just doesn't happen. In Rome looking at the city from the ramparts of the San Angelo Fort it was bizarre not to see one single modern building. In a capital city it felt strange, like I was stepping back in time.

I also love how so many doors in Venice just open up directly onto the canals, the waterway really is the best means of travelling around the city and most homes have a boat to get around in. It was fascinating watching all of the everyday things like, post being delivered, rubbish being collected and shops, bars and restaurants getting their goods via specialised boats on the huge network of canals.

Next up, doors from in and around the capital, Roma. In the three days we visited Rome I really did see the whole city. According to my trusty little pedometer (my Fitbug) we walked over 25km in the three days and averaged 25,000 steps a day. Needless to say my poor feet were tired after all that! But on the plus side, I got to see as much of Rome as possible.

The paint was peeling, the metal was tarnished, the wood was old and had seen better days but the doors are still there and are not replaced. The walls around the building can be falling apart but the door is fine, or the door is battered and old and the building is new, I just love it.

These last few photos were taken in and around the Falarone region where I visited friends. Some were taken in Torre Di Palme, Sirolo and San Marino, all equally beautiful places that I urge you all to visit if you get the chance. For me, these doors really sum up my experience of Italy: of a country that really values its history and is proud of it, run down in places but it adds to the charm, and a place that really makes you feel as though you have stumbled across something special behind every door and in every place you visit.


Anonymous said...

beautiful pictures! the doors are amazing! they're all different and beautiful, very very interesting! :)


the southern hostess said...

Beautiful! Such a great post.

Abbie said...

Thanks, I'm glad you both find it interesting too! xx

Unknown said...

I have an obsession with doors to - so you're not alone! I have to remember to take "normal" photo's when we go on holiday, otherwise no one other than be and OH would know where we had been !

Also have a bit of a "thing" for fences and windows as well.

Sarah :-)

Frenchee le Trip said...

Great eye! You've put my teeny Proven├žal door post to shame with the abundance of masterpieces here. I'll bet you're an awesome traveler - I can tell by your pix.