Signor Casoni’s Workshop

We’d come to see the wood carver in Chiavari, one of those perfect smallscale coastal Ligurian dream towns scrunched up between the Mediterranean Sea and the Apennine mountains.

Arriving at his address on Via Bighetti, we found ourselves in front of a spare, if elegantly dilapidated, storefront. An old wooden rocking horse stood sentinel at the open door. Inside there were statues everywhere. Sculptures of minotaurs, headless torsos, and flying angels hung next to oil paintings of Garibaldi and Stalin. Countless chisels and wooden mallets and old iron tools were lined up on a workbench.

“Buon giorno?”

No answer came. On the verge of leaving, we heard a holler and shuffled back out into the sunlight. To our right, in the adjacent courtyard, shaded by a sensationally beautiful marble church, a focused-looking man was? I did that one.”

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