Sharp Monica

An honest voice in Italian paradise.

Firenze: My kingdom for a nail.

Life in the Palazzo Wilson-Gattai is many things: sociable, historic, central, beautiful, spacious, furnished, community-minded, adjacent to a very busy busstop, across the street from one of the city’s most popular parks and carousels, quick access to the Viale… the list goes on.
Two of the things it is not: well-insulated, as covered in a recent post.
Secondly, easy to hammer a nail into.
I am sure that this second drawback is by design. The palazzo (1860) has walls that were built to last, with a practical English thickness. The interior walls are steps beyond plaster and lath. More like concrete and lime and concrete and lime.
There is no way any nail is going into those walls. Ever. Or bolt. Or anything you might hang a picture on.
Fortunately, the apartment came well hung with many, many pieces of art, notably, a number of oils on canvas and wood. One Luisa Gattai, most certainly a family member, did many of them. I love that this part of the family history is preserved in our living space. Plus, they’re beautiful and evocative, if a bit undaring, and typically Tuscan in their subject matter.
A great many family pictures arrived in our international shipment, but it’s hard to hang them. Plus I like 90% of the art in the apartment. Like less: a disintegration lacy handkerchief tacked and mounted, and a huge art exhibition poster from 1993.
I’ve had to resort to very creative solutions to keep the indigenous pieces that I like in prominent positions, while getting some of our family stuff up so it feels more like our home. Ribbons. Musical frames. A hawklike inspection of all the white walls for an errant nail nubbin from which I might hang something. These found nails/bolts tend to be over doorways, as where, for example, one might place a small crucifix in an Italian home, or a religious devotional item. Jason has been surprised to spot them high overheard – “how did that get up here?” he exclaimed when he saw small canvases he recognized from Oklahoma perched over an Italian lintel.
Over our dining table. By Gattai.

Verdi keeps watch over the the salotto – and our TiVu.
Va pensiero…

Tiny Gattai.
Amusing juvenile art, reminds of Lemony Snicket, or Dahl illustrations.

My creative ribbon solution when trying to create further wall space.
Madonna and child share nail nubbin with original oil on wood.
Note utilitarian placement of our small canvas art in locations
where most likely a crucifix was, at one point,
or perhaps some other small devotional,

I would undoubtedly like this disintegrating handkerchief more
if I knew some of the family history behind it.
Maybe it belonged to a Gattai sister.

Middling art. But not without its charm. The rooster is cute.
The flowers on warped cork, otoh….

Fiesole today felt like
Luisa Gattai might have been
just around the corner
with her paints and palette

Coming soon:
Tomorrow’s prefettura appointment to regularize our Italian immigration status, and today’s jaunt to Fiesole to the studio of Paolo Conti.

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