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Italian Rustic Decor – the collector

italian rustic decor

Italian Rustic

‘The measure of a life, after all, is not it’s duration, but it’s donation…’

Corrie Ten

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We almost didn’t enter, even though I’ve been wanting to visit this shop since we arrived in the valley back in April. The double doors open onto a small workroom and as we peered in a man appeared. Now we had to enter, hands were shaken, ciaos exchanged and Sam (love him) did the talking, I feel as if I’ve stepped inside Aladdin’s cave, La Bottega del Restauro.

On every surface, from floor to ceiling my eyes are dazed, a million memories in this tiny room, the history of the valley. Italian Rustic gone into overdrive. After a few minutes he beckons us to follow…..’what’s he saying’ I hiss, and then I am left speechless.

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The interior of Dario’s workroom is filled with tools, varnish, relics and ancient treasures….a giant key with an ornate headpiece is part of the fresco of old keys along the ceiling. I tell him one day he will find the door that fits that key (in my very broken Italian) and he laughs and nods. I feel as if I’ve met a kindred spirit, he just lights up when talking about his collection. Yes everything is for sale he assures us.

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We enter a classic stairwell leading up through three floors of room after room filled with more than my eye can take in. Small vignettes are carefully set up telling little stories, and the beauty is that these aren’t displayed in some fashionable high street store but in an old home in the mountains where they came from. A living museum and the passion of one man who has been collecting for over 25 years.

I see items here that I have seen still in use in daily life at the borgata, things we have found in our own home, things that have been given to us knowing how passionate I am to preserve the history I find around me. All I can think about is how much my Mum would love this, she and I would be in here for days, I find the most delicate carved two story stationary holder, so fragile and a little broken on one leg….I gently place it back, when we are more financial I’ll  be back with my twenty euro.

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Sam starts calling me…..come here quick….following his voice down another flight of old stairs into the cellars, it’s much darker than these images show, a little cold and when my eyes adjust I could be in Madame Tussaud’s. More rooms, ancient doors and ducking heads to stop from hitting the beams, it’s just overwhelm, on every possible space another story, another memory.

The story of the valley people, the women and men I’ve come to love, a lifestyle that is slowly fading into history. Yet here in this unassuming building it has come to life again.

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La Bottega del Restauro is online

You can also find La Bottega del Restauro on facebook

and the gang x

26 replies
  1. Trisha Thomas
    Trisha Thomas says:

    Lisa, what a truly amazing place and I love the face of Dario. He looks like such a warm, kind person who enjoys his life.

  2. cindy
    cindy says:

    Very neat place Lisa! My mom used to shop at antique stores and flea markets every weekend…. she bought a ton of stuff like this, called them her knick knacks, and filled her giant four bedroom house. I guess she was after any kind of heirloom, since she left her country without much. After she sold the house though…. well, she’s furnished about three different homes with her stuff including ours. She used to love buying tapestry fabric from Italy and re-upholster her findings with them. If I could, I would send you some pieces that would probably go perfectly in your home!!

    • Lisa Chiodo
      Lisa Chiodo says:

      My Mum and I do this whenever we get the chance, it’s in our blood lol x
      Even though my Mum has no more room left in her house she still comes home with her treasures and has them sorted to give to various people on her dining room table. I can’t ever imagine her not able to do this, she always finds something wonderful that everyone else passed by often including me. She also did an upholstery course funnily enough.
      xxx lisa
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Italian Rustic Decor – the collector My Profile

  3. Sarah Hudson
    Sarah Hudson says:

    More reason to come and visit you ( as if I needed another!). I love everything about about it and can just smell the mustiness and old wood. I have loved this kind of “shop” all my life – my Mum used to take me to the dump in England when I was young and we’d go trawling through other people’s rubbish and back then, find old tables, lamps, bookcases which horrified Dad but thrilled us! Any second hand shop we ever passed he’d have to stop the car and Mum and I would get lost in there until we’d hear Dad tooting the horn to get us out! I’ve become more minimalist as I’ve got older as I simplify my life but I still go looking every chance I get. Your Italian rustic man and I would get along just fine and I look forward to more photos and the interview. Thanks again Lisa xx

    • Lisa Chiodo
      Lisa Chiodo says:

      Sarah I knew we were kindred spirits. If you get here come visit us and we’ll hang out how wonderful that would be. My step dad used to take us kids to the tip on the weekend back in the days when you could and we’d always come home with something then Mum would ‘fix it up’…
      Mum and I are always in second hand shops and garage sales it’s our special passion and now Carina and I do it as well. Our friend in the shop had the most twinkling eyes which just lit up when he was talking…I didn’t understand all he was saying sadly but I think we understood each other.
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..A rustic Italian kitchen – work in progressMy Profile

  4. Evelyn
    Evelyn says:

    Dios Mio!! Lisa , this is wonderful!! Every turn there is another treasure! I just love going to places like that and wonder. We have a store similar in St Mary’s, about 3/4 of an hour from our house. There is an upstairs and the main floor. Some times you just cannot take everything in. I have seen kitchen items that my Grandmother used and of course you know what a sucker I am for dishes. When I go with Vlad he just looks at me and says “do you need that” oh but, I really like it. There is no use buying it cause I don’t have room for it.
    I know how excited you must feel !! You need to go back alone, and savor the space. lol.
    Evelyn recently posted..Italian Rustic Decor – the collectorMy Profile

    • Lisa Chiodo
      Lisa Chiodo says:

      Incredible isn’t it Evelyn, I didn’t have the details of the store before but have just now added his website and facebook page. I love living history, each item has a story to tell and I’m just fascinated. I get ‘do you really need that’ a bit as well and over the years have been content to just look especially knowing we were moving to Italy. Now I photograph as much as possible and friends have given us many beautiful items like this to put about the house when it’s finished.

      I would love just an entire day to take it all in and hear about the different items. I’m sure this shop will become a favorite place to take our friends when looking for something special.

      sending love to you both xxx
      hugs lisa
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Little Moments – creating moreMy Profile

  5. Caterina B
    Caterina B says:

    That is a fascinating place! My hubby would love it, too. It got me thinking about how, in the past, one had to make what one needed. This is all very obvious but it made me think, hmmmm, why don’t we just make what we need, too? I am thinking of kitchen furniture, worktops, cupboards, etc. I know my hubby would like to have the time to do just that but right now he is excavating the foundation (if you can call it a foundation, that is) of the very old “bunkhouse” which is just behind our log house. There is now no floor because the joists were sitting on the dirt and they have rotted, too. It’s a big job. The bottom logs are rotten and will have to be pulled/chipped out and then…..hmmmm….he has to decide how to proceed. We would like to have our oldest son live in it some day or rent it out to vacationers to get some help with the mortgage. I think all this is lots of fun but I am not doing the work, am I? I have the big ideas and hubby does the grunt work!

    • Lisa Chiodo
      Lisa Chiodo says:

      Hi Caterina, life here does get you thinking, I am in awe of the people in the valley and the life they lead. Within our borgata we see many of these life skills that I thought lost used everyday. You sound like me with big ideas and then getting hubby to fulfill them, sounds like he has a bit of work to do. My uncle often made furniture and it was so beautiful to sit down for a meal at the table he made, (which curved slightly inwards to catch any spills).

      I think we all can be resourceful when needed, right now we are without income so this is dear to my heart. If you get him making things send me some pics I’d love to see xxx
      ciao lisa xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Chasing a Dream – putting on my Big BootsMy Profile

  6. lynda sharples
    lynda sharples says:

    Oh my Goodness!!!! If I entered that shop I would have to have my swag with me so I could stay for days and days! what heaven!!!! I am putting a visit to that shop on my bucket list 🙂

    • Lisa Chiodo
      Lisa Chiodo says:

      We weren’t able to stay for long enough, I’d love to go through room by room and kept telling him this should be a museum. We plan to go back and interview him when he has the chance, his family aren’t interested in the collection and it’s his passion as you can see here. xx
      Lisa Chiodo recently posted..Chasing a Dream – putting on my Big BootsMy Profile

      • lynda sharples
        lynda sharples says:

        Tell him he can adopt me and I will treasure his collection forever …what stories he could tell ……. Every piece has a story and a journey …..I recently found and rescued a beautiful rusted salter scale ….it still works and I keep looking at it wondering what mumma cook has measured and baked around it ………I can almost hear the busy kitchen and smell the cakes…


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