Vintage Navigli Snaps

I love collecting found snaps, making up a tale to go along with them.  So I'll kick off the first blog entry of my re-vamped website with something I've been saving--a vintage store find in the Navigli district of Milan last September.  The navigli were the city's medieval canals, and though much of the system disappeared beginning in the 1930s through 60s, two remain - Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese. No longer with provenance nor destination, they are now the center and namesake of a pretty cool neighborhood. 

The day we visited, a strange scene was unfolding in the canal, attracting a small Saturday morning audience. Workmen waded into the stagnant water netting up all the small remaining fish.  To rescue them from the receding water level? In anticipation of some city rehabilitation project? We weren't sure. In some spots the water was so low, what we imagined were pleasure barges with bars were stuck, suspended in some Friday night past. 

I wandered into a small antique shop across Ripa di Porta Ticinese. Inside, a drawn sign indicated no pictures allowed.  As I turned to leave, I was drawn to the illustration on the cover of a small negative holder. Inside were dozens of medium format negatives --mostly family vacation portraits by the sea. 

Ten Euro and several months later, I look at them and imagine a big Italian family living in an apartment with a view of the naviglio.  And one July or August they escape the city heat for the sea.  Momentarily trading their inner city canal for a wider, saltier stretch of water. It's making me long for summer on a frigid New York night.