The Patina and Colors of Tuscan Architecture

On my recent trip to Italy I was completely inspired by the weathered villas and homes I visited on my journey. I snapped so many photographs, trying to capture the vibrant colors and texture of peeling paint, concrete urns and balusters, roof tiles, windows and doors. Italians are not afraid to use vibrant and unusual color combinations on their exteriors. Hues like rusty orange, saffron yellow and brick-red are common for the plaster walls and turquoise, hunter green and cobalt blue are used on shutters and doors. Peeling paint that exposes layers below did not seem to be frowned upon, the way it would here in Calgary. Those exposed layers and sun bleached stucco facades were beautiful just they way they were and I admired how the textures and colors blended and contrasted with each other. I loved how the architecture in Tuscany celebrated not only form, but color and texture as well. Here are a few of the photographs that I snapped to try to capture the spirit of the patina which inspired me so much.

Roof Tiles in Siena

Facade of Villa San Michele in Fiesole

Gardens of Villa San Michele

Building in Cinque Terre

Building in Siena

Vernazza in Cinque Terre

Montrosso in Cinque Terre

Pretty balconies and green facade in Cinque Terre

Laundry hanging from an apartment in Monteriggioni

Vernazza in Cinque Terre

Turquoise door in Florence

Fattoria Maionchi in the hills above Lucca

Garden at Fattoria Maionchi

Traditional Tuscan garden at Fattoria Maionchi

*All Photographs by Jacqueline Corea

Unfortunately, I don’t think that these color combinations and the patina of cracking stucco would work very well on buildings here in Calgary. It’s my opinion that architecture should be somewhat of a reflection of the environment. Since Calgary is such a young city, these ancient finishes would probably be out-of-place, or perhaps even make a building look abandoned and decrepit! However, it is completely charming in Tuscany and helps to tell the story of a building’s history. Viewing these patinas and colors reminded me about the importance of texture, contrast and hue in our interiors. Who knows, maybe in another few hundred years our Calgary renovations will patina as gracefully as these homes have!




10 comments to The Patina and Colors of Tuscan Architecture

  • Stunning images! Patina is one of my favorite things…so is marble :)…perfect for us messy folks…..less maintence req’d :)!

  • Darrell Morrison

    Love the colours, I use lots of this style of work in most of my projects. Some homes In hi-end areas are having this tuscan style put on exteriors mostly in the Vancouver area. Venetian plaster is what it’s called in North America but it’s really lime plaster. Great post thanks for sharing

    • Thanks for your comments! I’m glad to hear that some areas of Vancouver are embracing the Tuscan vibe! I loved how the multiple layers revealed the colors below. It made the buildings seem like they had a story to tell. Glad to hear that you enjoyed the post!

  • Fabulous colors! What a great idea for a color story. I love the turquoise door. Could that work in Calgary?!

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed the post. You are right, a turquoise door would be superb on a dark stucco house here in Calgary. Why not?!? It would be so unexpected and fun. I might have to try it!

  • Those are beautiful images from what looks like an amazing experience.

    There is something so amazing about things man made that has withstood time and weather. We all love shiny new but I completely believe objects like doors and roof shingles have a memory.

    How many rain drops and storms have those roof tiles weathered. How many human hands have opened those beautiful doors?

    • Thanks so much for your really interesting and thoughtful comment. You’re right, those doors, windows and roof tiles have been through so much history. You put it so beautifully! Glad you enjoyed the post, and nice meeting you.

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