Paolo’s story: a rural village carpentry shop 

Imagine a village perched on a hill in the Abruzzo Apennines.

On the top a Renaissance palace, behind which a door – Porta Castello – reminds that also in this country, as in all the others in the area, there was originally a castle. Once past the door, the network of streets opens up which constitutes the medieval village that has expanded over time to reach the plain.

The town is Navelli and has been famous for saffron for hundreds of years.

Then there are the other crops: chickpeas and olive trees, in particular.

It is a country with a fundamentally agricultural tradition, penalized during the last century by emigration to other countries, Canada and Australia above all.

For us at No Serial Number Magazine it has become the country of choice: having left the city and identified a garden – better, as the villagers say, a vegetable garden – with a house to be restored, the garden has become our ‘messy garden’. We let it grow freely wild herbs (known locally as ‘the vagabonds’), the fruit trees, the roses. The house has become our home, which over time has expanded with two annexes that today make up the independent, perfectly restored holiday home in the old town of Navelli.

In the lower part of the town there are services (the Post Office, the Pharmacy, the Medical Service, the Carabinieri, the School, etc.) and the commercial activities. The village is small but nothing is missing!

There is also a historic carpentry, with a beautiful family tradition behind it.

Luciano, now a grandfather, started, as was the custom in those days in the workshop – a precious custom that unfortunately has been lost but that would deserve to be rediscovered! That is, when primary school ended, he went to learn the trade from the carpenter who was then practising in the village. When he reached adulthood, he followed the call of Australia, where he remained for nineteen years (from 1962 to 1981), still practicing the profession he had learned, and where the children were born.

In the case of Luciano, contrary to what happens to the people who emigrate, in Australia he felt not so comfortable. So in 1981, back in town, he inaugurated his carpentry, where he continued to work until his retirement, in 2001.

At that point, Paolo, his son, with a similar but also different path behind him (his training did not take place only in the shop but also attending the Art Institute) took over from his father and it is Paolo who now manages the carpentry (even if Luciano does not lose sight of him and spares no advice).

Thus, in the two structures of the ancient village – Navelli, whenever intervention is needed (a piece of furniture, a restoration, a cure for the ancient beams), Paolo intervenes promptly.

Then one day we visit the workshop to agree on an intervention and, raising our eyes on a shelf in the small office, we see a series of objects in plain sight: puppets, small and large vases, mortars, candle holders, bowls, etc., of various sizes and various essences, artistically combined.

Paolo never throws away even a seemingly unusable piece of wood, organizes everything impeccably and knows all the wood essences he happens to use in his work. So in moments of respite from work he creates with leftovers which he works according to his imagination, the size of the surplus he has available and the colour combinations he prefers.

The artistic vein thus merges with the usual activity of craftsman into delicious creations that we have decided together to offer in combination with No Serial Number Magazine  as a special Christmas package.

TESTO: Rosa Rossi – Alessandra Palange (trad. inglese)

FOTO: Rosa Rossi – Elia Palange

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