Our Own Via dell’Amore
Many of my favorite stories begin with the phrase: “While I was studying abroad”. Perhaps this makes me a cliche young person. But if you had spent months eating handmade spaghetti with a wild boar sauce in Rome or walking to school in the shadow of the Akropolis in Athens, you may want to share a tale or two. So it should come as no surprise to anyone who has fallen victim to one of my study abroad reminiscing sessions, that I let the Via dell’Amore in the Cinque Terre inspire our Valentine’s Day window display.
Cut into the hills of the Italian Rivera, perched above the sea, sit the five picturesque villages of the Cinque Terre. Gasp-worthy sights are every where you turn. Easter-egg colored homes cluster together, stacked almost like children’s blocks. The ocean glitters below the paths that run between the five villages. Lush green foliage saturates the landscape. In each village, sweet shops with friendly owners beckon you in. It all is enchanting.
The breath-taking scenery is a draw for visitors of all kinds. But lovers know the Via dell’Amore or “Pathway of Love” best. This path runs between the two villages Riomaggiore and Manarola. After World War II, the path became a meeting spot for couples from the two, otherwise isolated, towns. Now, lovers from near and far travel to etch their names on the walls of the tunnel. Or, as is the tradition in a few cities in Europe, couples will inscribe their names on a padlock and lock it to the railing. With each addition, the Via dell’Amore swells and grows as a symbol of love. Though, I did not experience this wall of love with a sweetheart, it was powerful all the same. I was surrounded my some of my favorite friends, we were full of focaccia and tinted from sunshine. It was beautiful.
In the spirit of all that is and can be Via dell’Amore, we made our own window of love. We asked customers to write a short love note to attach to the display. Though it’s nearly as permanent as a carving on a wall, it was romantic and sweet all the same. As the Beatles say: “All you need is love”, so even if we can’t all traipse to Europe, we can carve out little spaces of love and beauty right here in Boulder. A special thanks to The Sugar & Cloth blog for practical instruction to make our idea a reality! Thank you to all who participated and to our sweet interns Katie and Jane for cutting and rolling so much paper!