giovedì 12 aprile 2012

Another Artisan in Paradise

This is a blog entry which lay in the drafts section for nearly a year. Although it is late, and much time has gone by since Maurizio's passing, I wanted to publish this all the same. Cortona is undergoing changes, but we musn't lose sight of the people past and present who have made the city what it is today.
When we tell the story of Casa Chilenne to our guests we can't help but emphasize the important role our local artisans had in creating the cozy atmosphere here. Luciano and Jeanette knew they wanted to create a place for guests in Cortona which would feel like a home away from home, that would have the modern comforts which make a holiday less stressful and at the same time enhance and recover the charm of their historical house. This vision was made possible by the men and women artisans who took on the job with enthusiasm as they proudly took part in making Casa Chilenne a place which they felt would showcase their historic craftmenship. From plumber and electrician, painters and carpenters, all seemed to really care that their work shined through as Cortonese workmanship.
These artisans or "artigiani" are the treasures of Cortona. Once numerous they have dwindled away and alas, we had to bid farewell yesterday to Maurizio Baracchi the carpenter in charge of making all our doors and windows, personally creating and fitting the arched window cases and door in our breakfast room, all the fittings of the doors and windows through the house. Maurizio was a no nonsense kind of man, an avid bird and boar hunter who worked diligently just down an alley from us in a workshop by the wall of San Sebastiano. He was always available to come to the rescue to remediate injuries to his work, usually caused by guests unfamiliar with they way windows and doors work in Italy. He could be found in his workshop filled with sawdust and wood shavings as he worked on his machinery there in the company of his hunting dog.
One of the greatest honors we have had is to work with individuals like Maurizio who have a pride in their work which goes deeper than personal skill and monetary gain. It is as if they are a link in the chain which traces back to their predecessors who originally created our centuries old buildings with heavy oak or walnut doors and bronze fittings; those with the knowlege to maintain the creations of their ancestors. Ciao Maurizio-we already miss you, but we know there's a special place for carpenters in Heaven.

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