Rapallo, Arco della Saline

What an extravagance! This narrow gate divides a minor street from what appears to be a square on the far side. This gate must have been constructed in a time of relative wealth, as it could never have been inexpensive to construct.

Notice that the gate is not aligned precisely with the street. It undoubtedly aligns instead with the square onto which it faces. The street behind is not precisely at right angles to the side of the square, which creates the misalignment. While in no way detrimental to our appreciation of the gate, the angulation is probably a hindrance for large vehicles, many of which will also be unable to pass beneath the relatively low arch in any case..

The neighborhood on the near side of the gate does not appear to be especially prosperous, which suggests that the gate was built at a time when this neighborhood fared better than it did when this photograph was taken. Assuming it survived both world wars, it is safe to bet that it has today become one of the most desirable neighborhoods in town, despite the likely presence of some cars and many motor scooters.

Notice the vagrant power lines visible in the top right corner, which detract from the purity of the scene. There is a slightly artless gutter and downspout on the opposite side, which is less objectionable.

One of the advantages of real shutters, as opposed to the North American bolt-on variety, is that the shutter sometimes casts fascinating shadows on the face of the otherwise rather plain building. Operable shutters are also actually useful (and much used in most of Europe).

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