We were lucky enough to spend last week in Italy, starting in Venice and then travelling into the mountains for a wedding at Chiesa del Carmine in Umbria.
It wasn’t our first visit by a long shot – we’ve had weddings there for the last three years – and each time it is just gorgeous. Despite often showing its age and needing a damn good lick of paint, it has a charm that makes me want to go back and see more. Now.
As Paul snapped away taking photos of amazing churches and cathedrals, I (as usual) took weird close-ups of slightly grotty windows, shadows and graffiti that somehow becomes more charming than it should be because you imagine some difficult-but-really-just-misunderstood Italian teenager has penned it in a moment of clarity. As beautiful and statuesque a huge old building can be, a photo doesn’t capture a place for me. I prefer to zoom in on the details – the smells, the colours, THE SNACKS. Here’s how I saw each destination – they’re all surprisingly different. Which is your favourite?
And our final night, in Bologna
In honour of this lovely place, here are a few tips to inject traditional Italian style into your home:
- Stick with white or cream base shades, then bring in the colour with everything else. If you’re working with the fiery red, orange and yellow palette of Bologna (above) you might not want bright orange walls but you can definitely go big on punchy accessories.
- Imagine you’re at your long lost (and imaginary) gran’s house in Italy. If you want to go rustic, choose organic flowing patterns that feel a bit chintzy over anything blocky or geometric. Also consider using texture, rather than colour, to add the detail. For example, go for plain cream bedding that has an intricate raised pattern or lace edges.
- Choose dark wood furniture, and buy it from antique or second hand shops. If it has little carved details or paintwork, even better. Avoid modern pieces that scream ‘I’m vintage’ but were actually made six weeks ago in Taiwan. Be authentic.
- Build your rooms for socialising. Think late night pasta with friends and lots of drinks around a large table. That’s lots of glasses and a table that will only get better with wear and tear.
- Think about exposing raw materials, like wooden ceiling beams or a great stone wall.
- Choose beds, curtain rails, hooks and the likes that are made using black wrought iron.
- Go mad with window boxes and pots, filling them with pretty red or pink flowers. Train plants to grow around windows and doors, to create the feel of an arched window or door.
- Buy a Fiat 500 and bash it up a bit. Park it badly outside the house.
I’m matching this little product selection with my favourite house from the trip – painted a sweet pink shade that you didn’t see often, with sage green shutters:
Lovely items from:
Floral glass, white lamp, cushion, tea pot and chair, Maisons du Monde; Soap dish, Zara Home; Artificial plant, Debenhams; Bedspread and lace edged table setting, Zara Home.