Friday, November 28, 2008

Seattle Art Museum: The Italian Room

The Italian Room - SAM
We went to the Seattle Art Museum to see the Hopper exhibit and afterwards wandered (by chance) to the Italian Room. We had been there in 2007 just after the museum opened in its new space but had not thought about it since. Suddenly, as we read the information sheet explaining the room, we went “a-ha”.

During our sabbatical we spent the last 10 days in northeast Italy in the Alta Badia region. While there we were struck by both the exterior and interior architecture. One feature in particular that is interesting in the living rooms are the stoves that kept the house warm. These stoves, called stua in the local dialect, are large and you can sit and even sleep around (or on top) of them. We wrote a post describing them.

The “a-ha” moment happened when we read the description of the Italian Room as “The rich warm glow of the wood-paneled room through the doorway beckons you into the northern Lombard town of Chiavenna, where this room was installed in the sixteenth century. Called a stüa in the local dialect, these wood-paneled rooms contained stone or tile-covered stoves around which the family would gather on cold nights.”

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