Thursday, June 4, 2009

Big Knockers

Yard space is something a 13th century town has little of. The medieval stone homes built inside the Old Town wall are directly on the cobblestone streets, and the only space left between each complex is an alleyway that leads to the few gates of the city. So Italians in the small town of Cagli have developed a different way to show off their creativity and pride in their home.

Lace curtains, clean windows, expertly planted and beautifully arranged window boxes, and elaborate doorways are all ways that modern Italians take pride in their ancient homes. Especially the doorways.

Most of the old homes have stone archways supporting a heavy wooden door. The Romans were nothing if not expert arch builders. No doubt the stones are likely the original pieces placed by workers long ago. The wood doors, however, may be more modern.

Most outer doors that you see on the street are merely entryways into a courtyard, if the home is built around a courtyard, or they provide entry into a hallway that leads to several family apartments. Most places have electric buzzers for visitors to announce their presence to each apartment, but before electricity, people had to rely on knockers making enough noise for people in the apartments to hear.

Some of these knockers can still be seen, and the design and ornateness is just another way for Italians to show off their creativity and design. Below is an example from Rome.

2 comments:

Maggie said...

Is it wrong that I will forever think of the two dudes in Labyrinth whenever I see door knockers?

You have no power over me...

Ms. Quarter said...

Every time we pass a door with knockers (which is a million times a day), we exclaim, "It's a lie!"