Outside the window is the sweetest old dog in Italy, I swear. I have seen him for several trips now always at the same place in front of the paper store. He is getting on in years, with that white snout and is very slow to get up, staggers a few feet and then collapsing into a fury heap, to watch the parade of pilgrims heading down the hill to the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi. He watches the Filipino
|My watercolor of the dog in Assissi.
He watches the irreverent tourists, in tank tops, and way too short shorts, slurping gelatos around the central fountain, shy boys eyeing the beautiful young Italian women. I want to shout them a warning, “Before you become too infatuated take a look at their mothers – dumpy, overweight, dour women, many in mourning black".
I head inside the paper shop and am engulfed in the smell of paper and leather. The handmade journals of beautiful paper, exquisite binding and gold letters on covers are so soft to the touch. I admire the Murano glass pen handles, silver plated inkwells, embossed stationary, deckle edged sketchbooks and lovely little thank you cards with “Grazie” written in a beautiful script. I long to fill my bag with such treasures but most of them come with a dear price, so all I can do is admire the manufacturing craftsmanship that only the Italians can do. Such elegance, such superb taste is all things made of paper. I salivate over the lovely little books with accordion pages printed with tiny images of Italian scenes. If I had one I would make friends wear white gloves to look at them. I suspect they are a limited edition by a local artist, painstakingly printing, and each one by hand. I want to sweep up an armful to take back to friends.