There is something very intimate in the spring aura of the Tuscan houses as they burgeon at the heart of the hill-perched villages. They seem to be constantly smiling, stretching out an invisible hand in a broad, welcoming gesture that invites the passerby to a secret passage, a private theatrical performance, or the scene of a tale. Their magic might be merited to the long vertical windows which, with their open shutters, allure sunshine and life alike. Or, to the merry flower creations that sprout out of fatigued boots, worn pasta drainers, ceramic jugs built into the walls, and olive oil pots. Despite their sturdy medieval looks and arches, these adobes look fragile and graceful – an assemblage of ornaments along the curvy patterns of the old, cobbled alleys.
But it was the letterboxes next to each front door – individual little beings with a personality of their own – that ultimately stole my heart. I felt there was a very personal and humane echo in their charming variations: a sense of respect towards the anticipation for every awaited letter; a reminiscence of paper’s earthy aroma mixed with the faint trace of hands; a contemplation on a communication mode that still reverberates a warmer sentiment, more private and enduring. Goethe said: “Letters are among the most significant memorial a person can leave behind.” I realized I do not have any real letters myself. I only have exchanges of emails and short messages over messengers: love-lives and friendships bestowed somewhere on a virtual cloud. Despite the convenience, it does not feel the same. Or, perhaps I am just an old-fashioned romantic without any handwritten letters in my legacy chest. [Read more…]