The skilful hands of artisans still plying their trade (I recently visited one in the Veneto region) despite cutthroat competition sell a limited number of highly prized, indestructible pieces, design-made strictly to order. There may be a wait, but it’s worth it: what could be better than falling asleep with the cat on your lap in a handwoven rocking chair?
A return to quality outdoor furniture is welcome because, in all honesty, Italy has also made some dubious and tasteless things, harbingers of inflatable, illuminated palms in courtyard entrances, cheap, poorly designed plastic chairs, and faux-straw armchairs that leave a mark on your butt in the time it takes to quaff an aperitif in a bar with an exotic name – too exotic for Cattolica or Villasimius.
I spent my childhood lounging around on a pair of folding chairs at my grandmother’s house, put out on the porch after being pulled out of the garage for the summer, cleaned up despite being well covered for their wintertime repose. Both seat and back were made from tubular, plastic string, a good replacement for straw, soft, elastic, and cane-shaped too. I have no idea why I write about those chairs in the past tense – they’re still very much in use!