Italian Inspiration

As you might know by now, traveling always sparks my creativity. I find some places, however, more inspiring than others. Last summer we went on a family vacation to Italy, and I am still finding myself excited by some of the things I’ve seen.

We’ve been to Tuscany many years ago, when the kids were little, but this time we went further south. We started in Rome and made our way to the heel of the boot, stopping in villages, towns and cities. The general look and atmosphere were quite different from one place to the other, but there was much beauty in each and every local. As in Greece, I loved the layers of history, the architecture and art from various periods and cultures, and, of course, the food.

Door Lovers’ Heaven

If you’ve read any of my previous travel posts you’d know that I have a weakness for old doors (and windows!), and that I’ve found some beautiful ones in many of the places I visited. Well, in Italy almost EVERY door was gorgeous! I started taking pictures on my vary first stroll in Rome, and kept going as we drove along. I had to stop myself sometimes, because, really, how many door pictures can one woman have?

There were round doors and square doors, small doors and gigantic doors. They were made at different times, some ancient and some recent, and they were painted in an array of colors. Some were modest, others extravagant. All were beautiful. 

There was much beauty even in dilapidated doors, the ones from which the paint has long peeled, where the wood rotted and the hinges rusted. Those, especially, must have had interesting stories to tell. In Napoli, we encountered lots of graffiti-defaced doors, many of them still hinting at their previous glory, as the entryways to old palaces and rich people’s homes. There was beauty even to those.

Door Knockers

With gorgeous doors came interesting door knockers, another passion of mine. Some of the door knockers in Italy were relatively simple geometric shapes, but others bore faces of humans or animals. There were many door knockers the likes of which I saw in other countries, but some were unique and new to me.


I studies art history in high school and college, and was quite familiar with Italian art, which basically defined Western art for many centuries. I was excited to meet some familiar pieces in the different museums, and a little overwhelmed, too. Figurines and sculptures are impressive in book pictures, but seeing the real thing is a completely different experience! 

I especially loved the Etruscan figurines in the Etruscan Museum.

Visiting Herculaneum and Pompeii felt like stepping back in time. Herculaneum, especially, was so well preserved, that I almost expected toga-clad people to step out of doorways.  The red and gold frescos looked fresh and vivid despite the thousands of years that have passed since they were created.

In all places we visited, I enjoyed noticing the wide array of depictions of the human face. There were faces created from ancient to modern times, and in various mediums.

Here are some fun human sculptures I noticed, from different periods including contemporary pieces:

Street Art

I enjoy finding interesting street art (graffiti) when I travel, such as in Brick Lane in London or in the Florentine neighborhood in Tel Aviv. Italy didn’t have much, except for in Napoli. When we arrived in Napoli after stopping in many quaint villages, I didn’t quite know what to make of it. It felt like an entirely different country, almost a post-apocalyptical scene. After walking around for a while, however, I found beauty in its vibe, and even in all of its heavily-defaced facades…


Artisan crafts are always interesting. I love how all people are creative in so many different ways!

In a little paper-craft store in Napoli we spotted this paper-made yarn ball. I took a picture of it (with permission) for all of you fiber lovers out there 🙂

2 thoughts on “Italian Inspiration”

  1. Italy was one of my favorite places for old doors and architecture. There is so much more history there than what we have in the US, especially in Florida where so much of the construction is relatively new. The beauty and character of Europe can’t be matched.

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