Bringing “place” home in a suitcase
I just spent six blissful, unplugged days in Italy. Too short, but deeply precious to me and my family. We were near Sansepolcro–a fairly untouristed section of eastern Tuscany. Nice. We didn’t shop, or buy anything much, beyond masses of food and wine for immediate consumption. But I assembled a few random things to bring home. When I looked at them all together, they pleased me for collectively capturing different aspects of the beautiful place I was in.
Bringing home fond reminders of a trip is nothing new. Travel souvenirs are an ancient tradition. Hannibal probably decorated his elephants and Carthaginian battle tents with trappings of his travels. These are mine:
Style: the design of this belt--juxtaposing colorful grommets on an unexpected fabric pattern--delighted me. It's a little more subtle in real life than in this photo. I appreciate experiences and products that have a couple layers of discovery, as do some Italian leather goods. This belt has that. I thought it was tooled brown leather when I first saw it. The colors on the fabric were pretty quiet on the shop shelves.
Taste. Of course we had to bring back some Italian wine. It's so fun to buy the world-famous Brunello at the local Italian grocery store. There were shelves full of it, at prices which allowed some serious experimentation. I was worried about the distinctive bottle shape being a magnet for bag security scanner thieves. Phew. The wine stashed in our various suitcases all made it safely stateside.
Utility. I always bring home ordinary (but foreign feeling) things that will give me daily pleasure. Vietnamese toothpase. Miniature wooden clothespins from Barcelona. Czech paper clips. I loved this Italian twine for its thick, uneven girth, and its slightly waxy/polished quality.
A helpful gadget. This Swedish map measurer lets you add and display distances to the scale of your choosing. Great for hikes and winding scenic drives, no? It has nothing to do with Italy, other than I will always remember the town and cool gear shop where I found it.
Craft. A wonderful ancient textile manufacturer, Busatti, is in the town where we stayed. I surely bought the most touristy item from their line. But I loved the hand-embroidery and I know that I will use this towel until it wears out. Linens are one of my favorite travel purchases--because I really use them. And they pack so well.
Silly. No big story here. I was just running short of socks. But I like the idea of these "Italia"ones making me smile every time I put them on for a run.
Craft. Utility. Style. Taste. And occasionally just a laugh.
Finally, I shot three of these photos while in Tuscany, and three in the US. Can you tell which is which?