Finestre di Italia

Windows on Italian homes are functionally much more important than those in the U.S. You are always able to open an Italian window since most homes do not have air conditioning. A sunny day allows villagers to hang out their laundry to dry (fig. 1) and you might often spot rather ingenious pulley and wire systems between facing homes (fig. 2) for communal use. Colorful floral arrangements, basil and other herbal plants commonly decorate most windows (fig. 3). Unusual arrangements can also be found (fig. 4) as this collection of U.S. presidents clearly demonstrates! Windows are very important, socially, as they allow people to see and be seen (figs. 5,6) from a comfortable vantage point, as street life in Italy remains very lively and interesting (fig. 7). I have seen rather clever decorations (fig. 8) like the hardware store window in Leonessa or the ones vividly dressed up in Calcata (fig. 9) where a small colony of international young artists settled years ago and began celebrating Halloween once their children grew up! On an evening walk around Spoleto, the view and the aroma emanating from the open window of a local salumeria (fig. 10) was really inviting and it led to a very tasty dinner with salame, prosciutto and some great cheese. We never met Guglielmo, however his choice of window decor (fig. 11) was certainly worth a look with my camera, as were the windows of a small elementary school building (fig. 12) in Tuscany. Centuries of social evolution have not altered the unmistakable Italian tradition of a good chiaccherata, that informal, impromptu neighborly conversation, so perfectly happening between nearby homes (fig. 13) and so much more meaningful than all the emails or texts. Buon divertimento!

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