Sunday, August 05, 2012

Tuscany:- All things doors

I have recently come back from a fantastic holiday, with close family, to Tuscany. We stayed in a beautiful villa in the Tuscan hills and from there were able to explore Florence (Firenze), Luca, Pistoia, Montecatino Alto and other beautiful towns.

During these visits I started to notice the doors and the door carvings. This post is to share the wonderful and mundane of Tuscan Doors and Door Furniture.

I'm going to do a carving and sculpture post next.

I started the post with a picture from our villa, just because it was so stunning and because it sets the scene. Tuscany is a beautiful place and full of wonders.

These last two photos give an example of the streets where some of the following pictures were taken. Some of the most beautiful doors were on the plainest streets (in comparison to the splendour of the streets in Firenze)

Basic and rustic this door piqued my interest. Plain and rustic is as beautiful to me as ornate and intricate.

It's literally planks of wood assembled with no stiles or rails. Mor fitting for a shed.

Some of the doors were simple but set off with lovely stone work around them. Look beyond the accumulated dirt and this "porta" is quite stunning.

It reminded me of doors to prisons or official buildings here in the uk. Nothing 'different ' from what we might see here in London.

There were many doors that looked rustic, had this cross panelled look with no frame and very basic construction. This is a door design I've not seen and I would suggest its an old traditional & inexpensive way of making a door; especially when you consider the craftsman is trying to fit a door into a portal that's in some cases dating back to the 14th century.

I also assumed that in the heat (we reached the heights of 38 degrees with only 40% humidity) that the wood is prone to drying out completely and after a while without constant attention would crumble away.

The region we were in was heavily forested but with young forests of pine otherwise it was olive groves. Olive wood is extensively available but doesn't come in long wide lengths. This door pattern could be as a result of the wood that was available locally.

With all that said I loved the look and unlike many the owner is coating and protecting the wood.

Another example of the cross planked door.this one painted. But just look at the frame!

The building dates to 1630. I wondered about the IHS as it appeared over so many of the doors across the region. (if you know leave a comment please)

A lot of doors had ornate imagery above them. Italy is a Catholic country and there religion is visible also in panels like this above doors.

This is a door we would recognise and could be a photo from anywhere. It's from an old barracks set on the walls of Luca and as you can see its lighter and set out like most modern wooden doors. As a joiner I made so many doors like this.

Another plain standard door. Well made but stained dark to represent hardwood. This is a pine door. As it the one above it.

This was a door to an apartment block. More ornate paneling than I had seen up to that point. The ornate part of the panels were shaped and applied after and not carved from a single piece.

Now these were on the DUMO in Firenza. They are just two of the many colossal doors on the DUMO. They are bronze and not wood but are so ornate and intricate that I couldn't leave them out.

Another pair of huge doors, wooden this time. These are merely side doors into the DUMO however you can just see the top of the door in doors that allow entrance without this gigantic portals needing to be opened.

Beautiful solid wood carved doors leading into a bank in Pistoia.

When taking the photos I failed to remember that Blogger likes square photos and as such I'm not able to get the full shot in to the post for some of the pictures I've taken.

Where the furniture was unique I will add a detail shot.

What I found strange with these was the Egyptian theme.

Simple but effective side door, again in pine. You can see the heat and sun bleaching of the wood.

These shots are more window shutters for shops. Again beautiful but simple and so much more attractive than metal shutters.

This door is one of the largest single panel doors I saw. The problem with such big panels is the tendency for the wood to split. Tuscany gets very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, though relative humidity can't fluctuate that much.

I failed to get a picture of the door furniture.

I saw this panel on a door that was singularly uninspiring except for this bit.

This door the panel detail has been applied as an addition onto the panel itself. In the lower picture you can see though that the door stile on the left door is in two sections, that doesn't make for a strong door; my guess is it's been repaired (restored) at some point.

Unusual and not well looked after. For a country that produces so much olive oil some liberal application once a month to this door would do it wonders.

The design here is clever. The top panels sit proud of the door and stand out from the small square bottom panels. My view is that they are able to swing out like shutters on the door and my guess is to reveal glass panels to allow light in after the sun has gone down low.

I'm not convinced that they are the original door shutters and have Been either added later or the originals rotted and have been replaced they are not as ornate as the lower panels.

Heavy, very solid panelled door on a small church in a little Tuscan hill village.

The most lovely and picturesque portal. I'll let the image speak for itself.

(not strictly a door but I'm sure you won't mind)

I want this as my front door. It's just perfect

An interesting 5 panel door. I love the fox door knockers. Normally when making doors the lower panels are larger graduating to a small panel at the top; this is all to do with perspective and doors looking top heavy, if the panels are the same size, due to the lower panel looking smaller than the top which is at eye level.This door flys in the face if that.

It is however quite simple but beautiful, not sure why the relief carving in the stone is offset though.

This door just captivated me. The lintle carving suggests the building has been there since 1583. The state of the door suggests its been there that long too.

There is something quite magical about old doors, who's been through them? What have they witnessed? But also the beauty of old sun bleached wood, the splits and the grain detail.

Another simple but lovely front door. Newer than the last but with its own charm. Again it's not a traditional construction with the main middle panels being made like a picture frame and the panels inserted. Then to add height a strip of wood has been applied to the top and bottom. Though I have to say, done with skill and style.

Similar to the 5 panel door this 4 panel is in the same vein. This overall look in this setting is quite stunning the door and the surrounding working together.

The colour and confirm of this wood is quite stunning. This didn't feel like an old door but a new (ish) one allowed to become sun and heat damaged. The building this door led to was abandoned. It's a more traditional style.

The next few pictures are of door furniture taken all over the place.

These first two door knockers are similar enough to be mistaken as the same piece. This was a very popular design and there were numerous types of the same style

The final door is one of the best. The door to our villa. A place that gave us so much pleasure while we were there.

The final picture being the villa itself.

I hope you liked my journey into the doors of Tuscany? If you get the chance go find them for yourself I can almost guarantee you won't be disapointed.

Your comments are as always welcome and appreciated

~ Dave ~

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