Doors and Windows | Italy and Spain
The interiors of a home are largely populated by found objects, but the facade most often represents not only the inhabitants, but also the broader architectural landscape of a region. In Western Europe for instance, certain visual cues connect countries that have distinct national identities.
Italy and Spain share much in common— linguistic origins, religious practices, cultural heritage and of course, a vibrant architectural tradition. Amidst looming ancient structures, the doors and windows lining sunlit streets offer a teasing glimpse into the treasures that lay within.
The single most identifiable reference to balconies is found in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a play set in Italy. I am tempted to believe that the romance of balconies is no coincidence. In Italy and Spain, there run balconies both narrow and deep, shaded by arched window frames set in plaster or cement.
Some of the more extravagant dated structures feature balconies and arches entirely fashioned from carved stone and marble. The more recent buildings use ornamental wrought iron railings along the windows. The pervasive use of wooden rafters is most typical of the Mediterranean, also common in Greece (in stark blue renditions). In Spain specifically, the culture of having the shutters down on their French casement windows is a definite indication of how fiercely they value the sanctity of their domestic lives.
While the windows are distinguished by decorative hardware, the wide wooden doors are more subtle, sometimes curved, but in synergy with the integrity of the exterior. These too are set within columns and plaster or stone moulds projecting from the walls. Some doors go rogue, embracing opulence with intricate embellishments in contrasting colours. With so much to absorb, a walk through these streets can prove thoroughly meditative.
Of course, more nuanced observations of the surroundings contribute to an immersive travel experience, but they also motivate spontaneous detours into unknown territories. Who knows what one might run into next? This is, after all, the challenge (and the thrill) of travel.
Words: Akshay Sharma Photos: Sayali Goyal