Shades of perfection
ITALIAN INTERIORS:We may not have relentless sunshine, but there are some decorating tips we can copy from traditional Italian country houses, writes ALANNA GALLAGHER
ITALIAN HOME’, by photographer Massimo Listri, captures all that is good about Italian country living. Favouring old and low-key country houses, Listri identifies a quintessential Italian style that, he says, is fast disappearing.
Finding such homes is increasingly arduous, he says. “It is very difficult today finding real Italian homes when everyone has the same cosmopolitan tastes. New houses in cities such as Milan and Rome look the same as properties in New York or Shanghai,” he says, lamenting this loss of individuality. “Interior decorating tastes have been globalised so you have the same Le Corbusier daybed in all of these cities.”
He has no truck with modernity. His subjects are several hundred years old and possess a patina that only time will bequeath.The homes all appear simply decorated but the cultivation over centuries of those spaces plays a huge role in the mood of the rooms.
The stone floors of Casa Alemagna, a trulli house, have been worn down by generations of the one family to create an unhoned finish that feels tactile underfoot. The stone walls wear numerous coats of white paint to help brighten the introspective space.
The walls and edges of the sitting room in Casa Frazin have been blurred by whitewash. This provides a counterbalance to the dark wood furniture. There is a lack of clutter. In the room is a pair of chairs, a chaise longue and a side table so the space feels Spartan rather than heavy. The only soft touches are a rug underfoot and a super decorative fireplace that becomes the focus of the room thanks to the lack of decorating distractions. A blue reflective of the Sicilian summer is the colour of the dining table base in Il Castelluccio, a property on the triangular-shaped island at the toe of Italy. The same blue covers the skirting boards and radiators. The walls, table top and chairs are painted in a cool grey that makes the blue really pop. Heavy tables are covered in tablecloths to lighten the mood.
Listri pays homage to his country’s past but the book is more than a series of historical tableaux. It is his sense of simplicity that brings a fresh perspective to Listri’s interiors photography. He lets the rooms sing, giving space to the tiny chorus details in corners as well as the focus of the shot.
Italian Home, by Massimo Listri, is published by Thames Hudson on September 3rd, £27.50