CHIAVARI, Italy – I suppose by next year I’ll have gotten into the rhythm of life in Chiavari, but as it is now, I never know what I’m going to find when I walk out the door.
|Antique Fair in Chiavari|
Foto furniture Today was no different. I started out for the hardware store this morning to buy a piece that broke off from the bar that holds the shutters open, and it took me almost an hour to get to there. Not because it’s far, but because there is an antique fair in town this weekend, and there was no way I was going to be able to walk past those tables and not stop and look.
The first thing that caught my eye were the fishing lures. I liked the lady bug one. It brought back nice memories of when I was five years old and used to go fishing for sunfish down at the river with my father. Next to the guy selling the lures was a large display of old tools, all rusted and fierce looking and next to them was the contents of an entire furniture store.
There were all kinds of things to see besides furniture and old tools. There were dishes and dolls and old jewelry and I even saw a table selling French jewelry. I wanted to ask what the difference was between French jewelry and regular jewelry but the woman was busy and there were too many other things to see – plus I still had to get to the hardware store before it closed for lunch.
Another thing that caught my eye was a yellow Liz Clairborn dress selling for €5, about $6.50. It was hanging next to a stiff green Emanuel Ungaro. The clothes were not in very good shape, but the vintage handbags and the collection of eyeglass frames were both pretty amazing in scope and quality.
The ceramics were pretty amazing as well. The most spectacular piece was a tall, highly decorated vase which was being offered next to a straw case that may have been a picnic basket – not the type of picnic basket that holds food, but the type that holds dishes and silverware and other la dee da things you don’t normally associate with picnics. Not any more anyway.
My Aunt Florence is a master doll maker and so when I saw the blonde doll in the pale lavender silk dress, I knew I had to know more about her. Her hair and make-up were perfect, her dress was beautifully made right down to the delicate lavender rose at her neckline, her long underskirt and her to-the-knees pantaloons finished with a lacy ruffle. Even her tiny little shoes were perfect. No detail had been overlooked.
At first I thought her face, which had a matte finish and was fairly realistic, was made of bisque. But it turned out to be fabric. In fact the whole doll, except for her arms and legs (below the knees) was made of fabric. The stall person didn’t know what the arms and legs were made of, but whatever it was it was very realistic both to see and touch.
She said the doll was over 100 years old and had been made by hand in Italy’s northern region of Piedmont. That part of northern Italy was once an important doll producing area, and today one of the most important doll museums in Europe is located in the castle of Rocca Boromero di Angera on Lago Maggiore.
Then I moved on when some antique linens caught my eye, and some colorful ceramic dishes. Then I fell in love with the pale pink selzer bottles, fickle sole that I am. I think if I ever settle down for any length of time, I would probably become a hoarder. It’s only my lack of space that keeps my impulses in check.
I finally did make it to the hardware store, and just in the nick of time. They were getting ready to close and I had to wiggle and worm my way around the ladders and garden hoses and other things they had already brought in from their out in front of the store display area.
While they truly have everything under the sun in that dark and narrow store, they didn’t have the piece I needed. They said I’d have to go up to Carasco, which is a small village in the hills behind Chiavari where you can still find stuff like this. No problem for me, my landlord lives in Carasco, so I’ll just put it in his hands and be happy that there is one less thing I will have to worry about this week. And that’s good because who knows what I’ll find to distract me the next time I walk out the door.