Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The painted Ladies of Cogoleto

While walking the many streets of Liguria, we find ourselves looking up in amazement at the extremely realistic imagery panted on the many houses that we pass.   Was it lack of money, lack of architectural space or just pure joyful creativity?

There are many theories to why the elegantly dressed houses of Liguria started. It is said that in Liguria at one time existed a tax for every window that faced the road. From this it seems the custom to paint false windows was born. You can now find windows, balconies, cats with sly glances, geraniums, well the list goes on... 
{They are inevitable facsimiles, exercises in illusionism in ochre, grey, old-fashioned pink, green and yellow, “that balance the otherwise dissymmetrical aspect of the houses, whose lack of harmony is the result of alterations and superpositioned elevations which the seamen carried out with excessive parsimony”, says Fortunato Lavarello of Camogli, one of the eight master decorators still working in the Liguria. “When the seamen returned home from long voyages,” Fortunato continued, “they added one floor after another to the existing houses, ruining the symmetry of the facades, and camouflaging the improvised and tight-fisted structural alterations with illusionistic paintings of shutters, balconies, portals and other trompe-l’oeil. Besides, the Ligurians are more mountain folk than seamen and, in the absence of inaccessible rock-faces, they have always taken delight even in climbing their houses in order to paint them.” } -Taken from Andrea Battaglini

Stop by Andrea Battaglini site, a travel writer and photographer.
Finestre di Liguria has more pictures of these painted ladies...

2 comments:

Tom said...

You have done it again! You've captured another delicious slice of Italy!

Bob and Rosemary said...

Ciao Jill!
I enjoyed my little visit to Sicilian Simplicity this morning, as always. You make me miss Sicily so much! Buona Pasqua!