The camera focuses on the hills of the Napa Valley. It is August, grapes hang on the vines, the sun kisses forearms resting on the rolled-down window of a SUV Chevrolet
The camera focuses on the hills of the Napa Valley. It is August, grapes hang on the vines, the sun kisses forearms resting on the rolled-down window of a SUV Chevrolet. Turning right off the main road, you climb up to Calistoga Ranch: a glass of white wine, mixed with the juice of a peach whose juice runs down your chin as you bite into it. The pool has salty water, there is a garden and an avenue lined with white crape myrtles. There is a chicken coop – the smell of dry hay, of animal feathers, of freshly laid eggs. At dawn, the air is cool, the outdoor fireplace on the wooden terrace – breakfast by the lakeside, a deer watches you suspiciously as you eat the abovementioned egg, benedict, with a blob of mustard on your tongue.
In Mendocino, the fire is still raging – the papers say it will take another three weeks to put it out. Entering San Francisco, the Golden Gate bridge is engulfed in smoke, and the smell of burning wood in your nostrils is like the ink on the pages of the local newspaper, the bay chronicle. You go up and then down amidst the foliage and trunks of Ficus Benjamin, the facades of Victorian houses that look like miniatures– and the smell of cane reminds you of chocolate. The light goes down from high up on Market Street, the diagonal that leads to the docks: the straight lines of the skyscrapers intersect better than those of New York – many are tapered, like the Transamerica pyramid. Behind Union Square, the Isaia boutique opened in the building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Every street corner has a Starbucks – their egg bites are even better than eggs benedict. Looking up, there is the glint of a sign, that of the Palace Hotel: the Palm Court is the hall where the four magnates used to talk business here, speculating on the construction of the railway. The Palace in San Francisco is a castle – between business and pleasure, perhaps the only one with an indoor pool, and spacious rooms like you would never expect in America. You can enter there also through Ghirardelli, amidst its counters of dark sour cherry chocolate, which you can still taste as you take the lift, and, slightly ahead, a letter box in gold plated brass. The august evenings are chilly – summer here in San Francisco comes in October – as you walk around Jackson Square as far as the William Stout bookshop. San Francisco is worth visiting just to spend an afternoon among the books in this place, the aesthetic of architecture that sums up a culture.
Text Ornella Fusco
580 Lommel Rd, Calistoga
California, Stati Uniti