The word on the street

New York graphic designer and collector of local typography Molly Woodward has almost a whole page dedicated to the signage of Florence’s main railway station, Santa Maria Novella, alone.  I mean, how fantastic is that? I stumbled her amazingly beautiful Vernacular Typology project today over at swissmiss and absolutely get what’s been driving her to record what she calls a ‘vanishing art’ for 10 years already.

In Italy street signs are like an extension of the language.  At first it sounds strange, you’ve got lots of questions, you don’t quite take everything in all the time. Then one day it’s familiar and you miss the richness it brings when you’re not there.  Molly’s website and blog are like a walk down memory lane for whoever might be missing the streets of Florence and Rome at close range. You can literally smell the coffee.

Standing very much in Molly’s shadow, my own photos of street signs in Italy are ones I’ve taken over a few trips.  But I don’t think I quite understood what I was looking at, what the attraction is, until now.



Comments 12

  1. jann January 23, 2012

    Janine, these old storefronts and signs are sooooo lovely! Every time I see one of these beauties torn out and replaced with something modern in Sicily, my heart constricts. Taormina is a good example of where they’re disappearing…(:

    • janinevasta January 23, 2012

      O dear Jann…I remember Taormina…what a shame!!!! I would be feeling the same as you. Sometimes it takes the eye of an outsider to really see the value in these things – hopefully before it’s all too late. It’s the dilemma of the south really. Take care. Jx

    • janinevasta January 24, 2012

      Exactly! I expected you might spy these and recognise your beloved Lucca. Most of the shots are Lucca in fact – the first 8 – all shot on the one day. Such a beautiful place. I would love to get to know it better. Jx

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