September 21, 2010
Spotted in a Sicilian antique store: Baroque armoire of honeyed rosewood. Curlicues. Cornices. Roomy shelves. Way out of my range.
I keep going back. Just looking, I say, petting the piece. The price drops. But still…
“Bellissimo,” rasps the bleached antiquaria, pulling on a cigarette like it’s oxygen itself. “One of a kind. From the villa of a barone.”
I imagine it in its former life, surrounded by Chinese porcelain, bibelots on the mantle, gilt-framed mirrors, Persian carpets, embroideries heavy with tassels. I fork over a wad of euro-cash, and she stubs out her cigarette and says two delivery guys will be on the job posthaste. And won’t it be absolutely gorgeous in my salone.
I don’t have the heart to admit it’s going in my bagno, bathroom, just steps from a toilet.
My buzzer goes off and two rosewood-laden guys heave into the house. My joy sinks a notch when I see her, the antique dealer, imperiously bringing up the rear.
I point toward the bathroom. When she sees how I’m violating Sicilian protocol, she exhales a puff of black smoke, utters a curse, and waves her cigarette around.
Later, I wipe out the centuries of baronial grime, fill it with my plebian doodads, and sweep up her long trail of ash.
For all of you who love Stromboli, or the Aeolian Islands, or Sicily, or Italy–would you help save a gorgeous (earthquake-damaged) church on Stomboli by signing a petition? It’s the project of one of Baroque Sicily’s readers, Beatrice Ughi. Signatures can only be collected until the end September. The link is in Italian, but it’s simple: go to the 3 long, thin boxes at the bottom and put in your name, email address, and the verification code. Mille grazie!