a house is not a home. i appreciate the fact that a meritable edifice is kept for posterity and that one can marvel at its architectural beauty or artistic arrangements, but essentially it remains an aesthete’s pastime; it lacks life.
being such a fan of anything historical, it took me a long time to realise that my puritanical preserve-all attitude was a bit short sighted, especially when it involved lesser known places of interest; villa kèrylos is a bit off the main drag, and regardless of its beautiful detailing few people actually take the effort to visit.
i’m no stranger to imagination, in fact i feel like i’ve been given more than my blessed share of it, yet it seems difficult to consider what life was led in this house. in avignon’s papal palace they have a virtual tablet that you scan in each room to provide a rendering of the spaces and activities, an aide to contextualise the reality of the time and place; i suppose with enough financial support they will sooner be able to provide one with modified lenses for this purpose.
there are of course other ways in which to inject a life into this static shell; re-appropriation. whether one likes it or not, many historical venues have been assured of survival through commercial endeavours; i’ve stayed in renovated convents, eaten in monuments and even went clubbing in churches. some structures are easier to convert than others, and if one considers the spectacular location of villa kèrylos, it could with very little imagination be turned into a fantastic destination.
perhaps it was the fact that it was already 11.30 and i haven’t had breakfast, but in my imagination i saw elegant dining rooms from which to take in the real ambience and charm of the building, i was already having lunch on the terrace enjoying the view, instead of quietly shuffling through a mausoleum which was initially intended for happier days.