Perhaps some may consider me to be a tad strange or even rather “sad” – but I am going to own up …..
I have developed a “peculiar fascination about doors”.
Just recently I have felt compelled to photograph almost every old door I see. In Italy I am so spoiled for choice. In almost every little town you visit you will find an old narrow street or alley lined with the most beautiful characteristic old doorways. Some belong to dwellings that are still inhabited and alive. Others belong to houses long abandoned and neglected.
Each and every door or doorway has a fascinating story to tell. Some have been in place for many centuries and seen great changes with the passage of time. They all seem to conceal a mystery about them, about exactly who lives / has lived there, who has crossed these well trodden stone thresholds.
I feel compelled to question ….
Were they hospitable doors that warmly welcomed guests or doors to lock, conceal or protect what was hidden within?
What do they tell you about their owners? Were they a statement of wealth, constructed and carved by skilled and artistic craftsmen? Many such houses bear a family crest or emblem etched into the keystone of a stone arch or have other elaborate architectural embellishments, door furniture such as hinges, knobs and knockers.
Or were they designed to be just a barrier or fortification, or merely humble and utilitarian?
Were they put together in a make do and mend fashion, with odds and ends of scrap materials available at the time? There seem to be so many styles and methods of construction and a wide variety of materials and components used.
Some of these doorways have stood witness to times of extreme hardship and poverty, war and destruction, which provoked many Italian families to flee their beloved homeland of Italy in search of a better life overseas. Some have left purely for the convenience of a modern house in a newer part of town. Italians are not generally interested in renovating old properties. So sadly many characteristic houses have been abandoned, with doors locked and barred, and left derelict for many a year.
What melancholic memories do these deserted dilapidated dwellings now evoke when emigrants return home on a visit to their old home town?
Sometimes I can’t resist giving an odd door handle a little rattle or attempting to peek through the lace of cobwebs on a broken dusty window.
I am fascinated by examples of rusty wrought iron work , the texture and grain of wood that has become warped, weathered, and bleached by the sun, and of peeling painted surfaces.
I just can’t resist !!!
Oh …… Here I go again – Click – Click – Click
All photos by me © Louise Shapcott