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Why I write about Italy

by Lisa Chiodo

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Sitting in the sun at my favorite cafe flicking through a magazine I had to laugh at myself.

A fashion shoot of a beautiful pale girl in an abandoned building and I was thinking that it wouldn’t take much to get that wallpaper off, and how beautiful the floorboards would be stripped back and re polished. I could vividly describe to you the pattern of the wallpaper, high ceilings and elegant stairway yet couldn’t tell you a single thing the girl was wearing.

I come from a family of women who carry tape measures in their handbags. Notebooks filled with little sketches of furniture and measurements. Who navigate by what the house looks like on the relevant corner…the one with the picture windows, the one with the gorgeous picket fence. The women in my family know exactly the house I am talking about, and usually tell me to take the next left and have a look at the house with the sunflowers peeking over the fence.

I have a passion that must be genetic, I can’t walk down the street without mentally revamping each house I pass. Heaven help you if you get my Mum along, she is often tempted to put a little note in the letter box saying how well a change of color would set off the garden. That’s her painting at our first home, see it runs in the family.

It is the women in my family who are the renovators, the ones with vision and an eye for detail. The ones who feel the life of a house, draw it forth once more.

I knew as soon as my hand lingered over worn rock, felt the heart captured in timeless ancient buildings that I belonged to Italy.

Ever since I was a child swinging in the park with my best friend Carolyn I have wanted to venture forth. I was the first of our family to travel abroad and suddenly the whole world opened up. I traveled though Europe, England, America and parts of Asia, yet it was always Italy that filled my heart.

The art, the history, the people and of course the architecture picked me up, whirled me around and gave me passionate kisses on each cheek.

It felt as if I had come home, as if I had never left.

My heart now belongs not only to Italy but to an Italian man, he is my soul. Our children speak with their hands, and live straight from the heart. Even I am often surprised by their beauty, the very Italianess of them. Italy gave me a gift, one I treasure and one I share with you.

Yes I write about Italy. She is my passion, and I long to be in her company once more.

Other Voices from the Italy Blogging Roundtable

Celebrating the first anniversary of the Italy Roundtable. Alexandra, Gloria, Melanie, Rebecca and Jessica have extend an invitation. This month, not only is the Italy Roundtable topic INVITATIONS, they’re inviting anyone who wants to participate to blog about one of the past year’s Roundtable topics. The invitation details can be found here.

 

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jan May 5, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I love that your Mum would leave notes in letterboxes. I love that you have inherited her flair, that you have Italy in your husband and children. When you have such an interest you are never bored.
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2 Lisa Chiodo May 3, 2012 at 1:37 pm

She does rather blend in doesn’t she Trisha, I think the title was something about a whiter shade of pale. I am going to just have the camera going non stop once we get back. And the great thing now is that both our children love using the camera and have a gift of unique vision. My Mum bought us all up as my Dad died very suddenly when I was 4, she always redecorated every house we lived in and I track my childhood often by the wallpaper in my room. She is an incredibly strong woman! ciao love lisa x
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3 Trisha Thomas May 2, 2012 at 7:08 am

Another lovely post Lisa. Thank Goodness you were noticing the wallpaper and the floorboards instead of that ghostly looking, anorexic model! What a wonderful passion for renovating you have in your genes. I am so curious to see the eventual photos I hope you will post on the results of your renovation in Italy (no hurry, of course). I love the photo of your Mom painting and your kids are gorgeous. Ciao, Trisha
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4 Lisa Wood April 27, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I love how you find your destination by your houses! I do the same thing…find places/destinations of where I need to be by looking at the local land marks – be it shops or funny letter boxes, or garden beds :)
I love that you write about Italy and that I am able to share a bit of your passion by coming here to read your posts!

Cheers
Lisa xx
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5 Lisa Chiodo April 28, 2012 at 12:37 pm

Funny aren’t we Lisa, hubby navigates by the map or memory, he doesn’t need to turn it upside down to figure out which way to go either!! I think women are just more visual and notice the little things. Speaking of passion your post on the lady who went to Africa was full to the brim with it! How courageous you all are constantly moving into new surroundings and just finding your own special place in the world. I love following along on the virtual bus!!
xxx

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6 Katja April 26, 2012 at 3:40 am

Our children speak with their hands, and live straight from the heart.

Oh, how I loved this line! It describes so well the Italian way of being.

I think it’s probably a failing of the fashion stylist, rather than anything else, that you didn’t notice the clothes. I’m neither a fashionista nor a renovation fiend, but I do love photography, so what I noticed about the pictures was how washed out they are. ;) Give me a good bold streak of colour any day …
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7 Lisa Chiodo May 3, 2012 at 1:32 pm

It seems that everyone was unimpressed with the styling of the model Katja, but I do flick through fashion magazines and look for the “home” or “travel” sections. I also just love photography and that was how I met my husband, we were both studying it. Our children are just my joy and I love seeing them develop each day! ciao lisa x
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8 Caterina B April 25, 2012 at 11:59 am

I love that you were focused on wallpaper even when you were a child. Who knows what will strike a child’s fancy?
My “thing” that I always do is to analyze a house and critique where the sun will fall on it. I have an acquaintance who proudly showed me her new home under construction and I had to bite my tongue not to tell her that she would have NO sun in the kitchen or living room (they were both on the North and blocked by a large garage from morning sun) and that her master bedroom would be hot and sunny until late on summer evenings. I still have not dared to ask her about that now that the house is finished ( but…a house is NEVER finished, is it?) I just thought of something…because you are South of the Equator, in Australia the sunny side of a house IS the North, right? Wow! That seems strange. Is that so? I am such a nut about sunshine and orientation to the sun.

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9 Lisa Chiodo April 25, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Isn’t that so true Caterina, there was a house in Italy on the opposite side of the valley to us which I just loved but it never got any sunlight. It is hard to bite your tongue and I often do it with paint colors, another one that depends so much on the light. Yes in Australia it is usual to have the most used rooms on the North facing side of the house. The house we are in at the moment also has internal louvered windows on the main bedroom wall which open to let the breeze flow straight through the house. Houses in Queensland often have wide verandahs as well as being raised from the ground for airflow. See I notice these things as well LOL! ciao lisa

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10 Janine April 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Where to begin Lisa…. I think you know how kindred we are. I even gave my little girl a keyring tape measure for Christmas! And when you say you are in awe of your childrens’ beauty it is their italianess you see. Inside and out. I just know that so well. Share share share your passion! It does me such good for one! Italy is the natural home of the creative soul and the free spirit! You (and me I hope) are meant to be there. You will. Soon. And it will be beautiful!

Bacioni.
Janine xx
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11 Lisa Chiodo May 3, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Oh yes Janine we are so meant to be there! How funny that you gave your little girl a tape measure, aren’t they just a joy!! Carina is so like my husband all drama and passion and Luca is more like me calm and tranquil! We all seem to balance each other out perfectly! Keep sharing that passion of yours as well bella! x
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12 Cathy April 25, 2012 at 2:47 am

Lisa, this post is so beautiful. I think we are slightly different because I probably would have honed into what the girl was wearing rather than her surroundings. You would get along so well with my mother-in-law. She is just like you. I think it is so lovely how you share your passion for Italy in your blog.
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13 Lisa Chiodo April 25, 2012 at 8:49 am

I know I am in the minority when it comes to all things fashion. The one thing I noticed about the clothes was the price tag, I’d happily spend the money on photography books. I remember going to the movies as a child with my Mum and she would talk about the wallpaper especially as she worked in a store that sold them for many years. Once I started working for the same firm we would both be spotting the Clunnies Ross or the Liberty prints, the Laura Ashley and William Morris….who knew what the movie was about. I think it’s just something that runs in the family, all my Aunts are the same. I would be just lost without my blog and the wonderful friends I’ve made through writing!!! xxx love lisa

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14 Lisa Chiodo April 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Tanya what a pair we are, as a student I spent hundreds on photography books yet $20 for a t-shirt makes me squirm as well. We can live on so little yet still be happy. Mind you I did spend a bit on clothes in my 20′s when I lived in London so all is not totally lost. I do love looking at images of fashion especially the detail. I can’t wait for the moment we board that plane and head off, our children are older now and will soak every experience up.

I always say the biggest gift you can give someone is travel. I know “She is your passion” also and I am sure that we will meet one day in Italia to continue our stories!
ciao lisa x

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