A Bucket of Flowers … Un Secchio di Fiori

Of course there are antiques everywhere in Italy, and I’m crazy about the shabby ones. I always like to imagine the story behind the object. What was it used for – and when? Who was its owner?

The other day my husband and I were browsing around one of our favorite antique/furniture restoration places (just imagine loads and loads of old things, spilling out from several precariously leaning buildings) and we spotted a wonderful wooden bucket. Ages old – and probably used for holding vinegar – the bucket is double, as if one wooden bucket is sitting inside another. The double thickness, our friend Mauro explained (he owns this antiquariato), was a common leak-proof bucket design – many, many years ago.

“È perfetto per fiori,”  Mauro said, winking at me. Perfect for flowers? He had my attention. “The bucket needs to stay moist,” he explained, “or the wood will dry and crack.”

Well, we can’t have that, I thought. So the wonderful wooden bucket came home with me, and was promptly filled with miniature pansies. Plus, it now sits on a stone ledge facing the Umbrian hills off to the east. Shabby chic with a view!


Pamela Haack is the founder of Off the Beaten Strada where she creates and organizes personalized experiences and specialty retreats in Tuscany and Umbria, Italy, for travelers who wish to be immersed in the history, culture and traditions of the regions.

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