Doors

Stepping through them we begin our journeys.

Some call us to places beyond the known or draw us within to memories of the past, just as with this gate in the Cinque Terre.

Others call us home and wrap us in warm shades of rose, as is so often in the case in Italy. Terrace vines draping over the top licking our brow as we enter. We are home.

Italian doors do not have windows and the shutters are often closed to keep out the hot summer sun or retain the heat in the damp winters. It often seems as if no one is home. So we climb the stone steps, ring the bell and wait. Avanti!

Roman doors open us unto history, like this one in the forum. Its heavy bronze glimmering with the patina of age stands as a stark contrast to the roughened dull hue of the ancient stones beyond its supporting columns.

A baby is welcomed in Ferarra. The thick chestnut door, protecting the privacy of the newest arrival, is adorned simply. While historically Italians may have tended toward the ornate, today it is simplicity that marks the elegant Italian culture.

Taking in these doors in Portofino Frank Sinatra’s voice echoes in my head. The house could quiet or bustling, but almost always, the shutters will be drawn. For me, it is an irony that Italians keep their homes so closed while their hearts are so open.

A bicycle is left beside what was once a leather shop and is now a real estate office in Ferarra’s medieval market. The bike’s owner, cell phone to ear, bends to pick up an article she has dropped. Bikes and cell phones – in Italy few leave home without them.

Glided doors to the baptistery in Firenze tell the biblical story of salvation, symbolically reminding the newest Christian of the perils of life here and the purported blessings in life in the here after. Today it is guarded by a gate of spires of leaping flames, lest we wish to caress its magnificence.

Weather and time have marked this door in Reggio Emilia. As with many doors, in towns throughout Italy, the luster of its heavy wood has long vanished. Yet, it stands durable to time framed by a wall that also knows its age.

Doors. Stepping through them we end our journeys.

All photography copyright: Jean Grow

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Filed under codes, culture, insight, tradition

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