Friday, October 8, 2010

A Walk Down Via dei Coronari

When I commented on the sepia ink on this pen and ink sketch, the "artist"  at Piazza Navona told me I could get it, really cheap, at a store  at the end of the Via dei Coronari. I dutifully walked towards the direction he was pointing, hoping to buy a little bottle of sepia ink so that I could make my own sepia sketches on this trip...

As I made my way down the street, I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of antique and furniture shops.  (It was only later that evening  I was able to google Via dei Coronari and learn that it is the antique street of Rome!)

There were a number of shops selling antique prints

 a treasure trove of sterling silver with matching cute shopowner

and furniture stores that mixed antiques with modern pieces. 

A peek into a side street revealed a little hotel, the Relais Palazzo Taverna. It looked interestingly  modern inside but since I'm an antique type of girl, the interiors didn't make my heart skip a beat (as it usually does with these small inns).

There was a tie shop that had cute gloves.

Should I stop and have a pasta?
Hmm, maybe not now... the shops were just too interesting!

There was a nice Oriental furniture shop that had a nice mix of pieces.

And even more furniture stores, some cafes, and a chocolate shop...

I continued slowly walking down the road until I got to the very end.

Mr. Piazza-Navona-Artist actually directed me to a hardware store, and I showed the non-English speaking shopkeeper what Mr. Artist had scribbled on piece of paper. Hardware guy disappeared for awhile and when he came back, he was handing over a heavy plastic jar of powdered wood stain--
1 kilo for only 6 euro.

Horrors, wood stain?!? Signor Piazza-Navona-Artist is painting with wood stain? On closer inspection of the little sketches I bought, they now looked a bit too detailed to be original pen and inks.
The perspective drawing was just too perfect from all angles.

No wonder...when the artist in the next stall kept asking me to buy one of his acrylic paintings and  I declined he scolded me saying--"you don't like real art--you only like fotocopy!" pointing at the little sketches I had just bought. Photocopies?! Eegads! But I must say it's pretty ingenious to stain a photocopy to simulate sepia ink and make it look like a labored and detailed pen and ink sketch!
Good thing I bargained hard--
but it was still a few euro too many for a photocopy and cheap wood stain.

In fairness, altho he pretended to be the artist, Signor Artist was visibly embarrassed when 
I gushed and complimented him on how wonderful his sketches were, etc etc. 
When I finally asked him what ink he uses, he was flustered enough to say the equivalent of 
"'s just this powdered thing you can buy at the corner store!" He didn't speak much English, so he wrote "macchia di legno" on a piece of paper. And "macchia di legno" just translates to--guess what--"wood stain"!

He didn't seem like a seasoned Piazza Navona seller because he kept getting on his mobile, asking someone "what-do-I-do-next" questions (I remember a little of my college Italian). I found it odd that an artist would have to keep consulting someone else about his own artwork. I concluded that he was probably a new hire to work the tourists on the Piazza Navona.

I wasn't about to lug home a kilo of  wood stain, so I thanked the shopkeeper and left the store. Somewhere near the hardware shop was this antique tile shop which I wrote about here!

I spent the next hour or more chatting with Signor Carlo Maffettone, the shop owner, about his antique tiles while he showed me photos of his newly-renovated home overlooking Villa d'Este.
Tiles versus wood stain? No contest.

As I walked back up the street, I discovered even more shops and felt such a thrill--
I may have been fooled by some Piazza Navona "artist", but if weren't for him, I might have never walked down Via dei Coronari!

That little green sign on the left is Gelateria del Teatro--on a sidestreet off Via Coronari

I now look at my wood-stained photocopies of Rome with very fond memories of a serendipitous stroll down this most wonderful street in Rome.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the beautiful pics that you present to us,that is really awesome!

Which city is your next destination?


*Chic Provence* said...

What a delightful stroll, I would have loved to join you! Sounds like we would travel well together!

Thanks for putting Chic Provence on your blogroll and leading me to No Doors!

I shall return again and again for my armchair traveling fix!

a bientot!


Marivic said...

Hi Kit, I know that we would travel well together! Will be posting more travel stories soon. I just get sidetracked by interiors and food too.

To Anon, I have tons of trips that still need to emerge from my computer. All the photos are just here in my iPhoto. Upcoming is a whole bunch of Spain posts.

Thanks for stopping by!


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