Italian Balconies: A Different Perspective
Details of style are essential for a terrace or balcony, even more so for a garden. There are endless ideas that would give special flavor to the spaces between rooftops or balconies tucked in, in front of a window. Its a great place to unwind when the day is settling into night, and simply to watch the world from a larger scale, seeing people come and go through your window. Viewing the world from a balcony, you can see the grandiose scheme of things, and the relaxing nature of the Italians, along with their laid-back lifestyle.
In the beginning, the basic reason for Italian balconies was to have space where people could hang their clothes out to dry. Balconies weren't born for the simple fact of esthetic style, they were a real necessity. Where else would they have hung the clothes to dry? Some of the wealthiest families did have decorative balconies for lounging in, or to enhance a villa's exterior decor, but they always had additional service balconies where the servants used to hang the clothes.
In fact, from Roman times throughout the medieval, balconies were considered a necessity - right up to the point when elevators were invented. Women threw baskets attached to a cord over the balcony's railing in order to send down money and receive merchandise in exchange. Today, Italians still use this method; for instance, in Napoli and in other places in southern Italy, including Sicily. This is why balconies became a part of the Italian lifestyle, and balconies range from the basic to the extravagant with plenty of room for your preferences and choices to make the balcony a place of relaxation.
Balconies can have stunning views of the ocean, countryside, and as always a view of the setting and rising sun. What people fail to see is the beauty of the sun, mainly because they are indoors. If we took the time to just sit and watch from our balconies, you could see this sight that passes people by everyday. Speaking of the sun, don't forget that the balcony is also a place of refuge to sunbathe! It's a way of tanning while in private, without using a tanning booth. And you may have a friend across the street from balcony to balcony that you may not have had otherwise!
The most wonderful use for the balcony though is the idea of the romance that can take place. In times that seem lost now, there were people who would serenade women from the street, with the lover on the balcony in sight. How can we forget the classic words spoken from Romeo & Juliet, the scene where Romeo comes to see Juliet on her balcony, professing words of love to each other? We can only hope that somewhere the beauty and art of serenading has not been forgotten...
By Jackelin J.Jarvis