(Above: A beach club in Finale Ligure. I’m drinking a rare Italian iced coffee. The waiter asked if I wanted it shakerizzato. That means what it sounds like, shaken with ice, but I was amused that the concept was so foreign they had to appropriate an American word to describe it.)
Since I mentioned going to the sea with my friend Stella in my last post, I thought I would do a short post on the town we visited, Finale Ligure, as well.
Finale Ligure is near Savona, which is to say it’s roughly halfway between Genova and Nice. It’s one of the shore cities closest to Torino. This area of the coast is called the Italian Riviera, and it’s easy to see why: The water is blue, the towns are elegant, the the beach is lined with palms and beautiful rock outcroppings edged by narrow sand beaches.
The beaches are almost entirely taken up by permanent beach chairs with umbrellas, which you rent by the month. There are clubs all along the shore that rent them out. And the clubs have restaurants and bars open to the beach where people spend the afternoon in various states of dress ranging from elegant shifts with jewelry to not much at all. Life is more casual than in the interior cities, but it’s still a far cry from the Jimmy Buffet culture of northern Florida.
Stella and I went down just for the day, but many people rent a place for a week, own a place, or even go to Sardegna for a month.
One day at the shore by no means makes me an expert on Italian beach culture, but I know the sea is a big deal here. Italy is a peninsula, after all, and has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
But I still prefer the mountains. And Italy has a lot of those too.
(Below: the façade of one church and the ceiling of another, plus the main shoreline piazza in Finale Ligure)
This post actually requires very little explanation if you’ve ever studied for exams.
And I think most people have, right?
These lovely bits of ivory fabric are so much prettier than road signs.
But they won’t get me a driver’s license.
Back to studying!
I honestly have no idea what it is with me and these shop windows,
and I sure don’t want to wear these shoes,
but don’t you think they’re pretty
in a Hundred Dresses sort of way?
These are all photos that I’ve taken on my way to and from church. (Never mind the possible spiritual implications of walking up Via Roma on a Sunday morning.) I don’t take fashion seriously, but I do find these windows to be an interesting pastime. Over the months I’ve come up with some basic categories: “I’d wear that,” “I’d wear that if I were younger/taller,””Great design but I couldn’t wear that,””That is so Italian,” “Only in Italy,” and “What were they thinking?!” See if you can guess the categories of the photos below, or rate them according to your own tastes and preferences.
To get you started, the photo above rates, “That is so Italian!” I”ve actually seen people on the street dressed like this. A lot. Besides, it’s from the store Luisa Spagnoli, and as my friend Francesca says, that’s the quintessential Italian store.
Am I seeing things?
There are a lot of clever and brightly-colored products displayed in Italian shop windows. These are only a few.
Admittedly I haven’t seen anyone wearing high heels encased in clear rain boots,
but I have seen kids riding on the animal suitcases.
And then there’s the guy who constructs the city’s landmarks in Lego for a local toy store.
Happy New Year!
Dopo un viaggio di tre settimane negli Stati Uniti, sono contenta di essere di nuovo a Torino.
I just thought I’d add a few more of the shop window photos that I took in December.
Sometimes I really don’t know what the people were thinking when they put together these windows. But even the strangest ones have a certain style.
In the last photo, I like how there’s a tiny me next to the mannequin. It reflects, literally and figuratively, how I usually feel in the context of fashion.
It isn’t that I want to buy the items in these windows,
or that I want to be a fashionista,
or even that I’ve been thinking about shop windows a lot lately.
It’s just that these windows just say something about Italian style.
They’re inviting, sparkly, imaginative, and yet tasteful, and I appreciate the care that the shop owners put into them.
1. Via Po 2. Several photos from Via Roma 3. Piazza San Carlo
On Sunday, Sarie went with the young adults from our church to tour the lights Torino puts up all over the city center during the winter. Every year, whoever puts them up picks different streets for each set of decorations. They’re not all Christmas decorations, but some of them are. They really do add a lot of beauty to the city during the dark days of December.
The story street, Via Maria Vittoria, is one of our favorites. It starts out, “The city was full of noise. It was ever more difficult to speak and to listen. And then there were the silent woods, but in the silence of the woods, there was lost…” and at this point, I lose the story in the depth of the perspective!
The leap frog street, we think, is Accademia delle Scienze. There are many other lighted streets as well.
There was also a tram festival going on all day Sunday, with historic trams in service.
This nativity scene is in Piazza Carlo Felice, at the end of Via Roma and across from the main train station, Porta Nuova (it’s visible in the third photo from the top, but in person you can even see it from Piazza San Carlo). These figures remind me of old Maurice Sendak drawings, but the artist’s name is Emanuele Luzzati.
May your Advent nights be full of light!
All photo credits Sarie.
Unwrapping my market eggs was interesting today. First, there was the Austro-Hungarian Empire:
Then there were blonde actresses in clingy dresses. (Italian men seem to like these.)
And finally, there were the inevitable winter vacation ads, and the eggs. Never a dull moment! I made scones.