Every garden needs a little statuary ...
... preferably a lithe Bacchus coquettishly dangling a bunch of grapes or a robust Hercules about ready to wield his faithful club.
Let me introduce you to our new acquisitions in the garden here at il Poggiolo a Codiponte: Dr. Bacchus and Mr. Hercules.
By the way, if you are new to Italian House Blog then, you might not know a couple of details about il Poggiolo and where it is located. Il Poggiolo is an 800 year old Tuscan farm-house my partner and I bought in 2009 and entirely rebuilt over an arch of four years. Bottom up. Top down. Big work. The three parts of the farm-house and its ample garden are attached to the historic borgo of Codiponte, Capo del Ponte or, at the head of the bridge. A clever way to warn folk that the toll to get across the Aullela River had to be paid at the head of the bridge. Stone houses, castle above, river flowing past, olive and chestnut groves surrounding. All this is in the little know... but this is changing... corner of Tuscany called the Lunigiana. Lovely spot on the Italian peninsulat of mountains, villages and the Mediterranean Sea.
Dr. Bacchus & Mr Hercules are made of cement. Weigh a ton. Material was quite the vogue in the late 19th Century. Fast architectural decor. Apparently, the two statues graced the sides of an impressive gate to a villa near the town of Padua. Dr. Bacchus & Mr Hercules desired a new home and Mr You-know-who being who he is said si, si, si, li volgio.
Mr You-know-who? Yes. My partner of twenty-two years of co-habitation, sharing real-estate and putting up with each other. His participation in the relationship dictates anonymity. So be it. Somehow, I managed to bag a prince. Several times over too. Hard to keep tract. His day-job is as an eye-surgeon. Different uniform. Different perks. Mr You-know-who's Hallmark of Being... well, besides all the princely stuff mixed in with laissez-faire Catholicism.... is... Lots and lots of stuff is not dearly enough stuff. It's disease. Spends every cent on junque of various calibres and histories. You do know that addiction is facility? Mr You... for short. No sense wearing out the fingers typing a name whose sole purpose is forestall disclosure... walks right out the door of the hospital where he saves people's eye-sight, crosses the street... and, like WOW!!!... he's in one of the largest and most productive per square meter flea-markets in all of Italy. Heaven on Earth. The ancillary resides at il Poggiolo and our loft in Genoa.
Unwittingly, I supplied the excuse to cruise catawiki's auction house website a couple of weeks ago. My 65th birthday is less than a month away. What joy. How convenient. Dr. Bacchus and Mr Hercules unwrapped at our home a month before the due date.
As I mentioned, they weigh tons. Delivery was problematic. The antiques dealer from whom Mr. You bought these two cement creatures does not deliver. Don't quite blame him. Mr You cajolled him... cash re-imbursement was discussed and right there it probably and instantly ate up the savings from the deal You had made on the prices through the auction site. A van and two real big fellows were hired. But to where? Our house or to someone adept at installation? Push comes to shove in a small village in Italy, the first resort is ALWAYS the local mechanic. Both You and I hit him up with telephone calls. First me to warn. You followed to ask the favor. No problem he said. The van with two real big fellows arrived on the appointed day. The van was touching asphalt. Inside the cement goods. Suddenly, we had a crowd. Italians are quite a people. Ready to lend a helping hand to someone in need. Christian charity. Nine guys and a girl to watch the delicate procedure of a back-hoe used as a crane to extract the heavy goods from the van and onto the flat-bed of a tractor. Took two hours. Then everyone adjourned to eat and get... out... of... the... sun. The next day at 3PM the local mechanic and helper with muscles arrived with the back-hoe to be used again as a crane, poor thing. Nearly too grande to pass into our garden. Then, half-hour later they came back with the statues on the tractor's flat-bed. I exited the scene. Can't be of much help with a bad hip and back. I watered, walked the Dogs, ran the dish-washer, weed-whacked the courtyard of its summer growth of weeds. at 6:30PM, I mozied on up to see what progress had been made and... lo' and behold... Dr. Bacchus and Mr Hercules were up on their respective bases. All that was left was for the two to look particularly bucolic and timeless. Well, as much as a cement statue can.