I love journals. Any color, any size, delightful designs or no designs at all. I have a stack filled with the best of intentions but nary a word to be found among them. And yet I continue to collect these journals with the promise or new year’s resolution to put pen to paper and fill the pages with a myriad of thoughts and observations, and somehow hope to make sense of this thing in which I find myself, thru no choice of my own, called life.
There is one special journal that I bought in Florence in the summer 2001 that I actually used, albeit briefly, to document that vacation. It is a beautiful leather bound book that wrapped around and tied and on which I had my name embossed! I was so delighted with my purchase that I managed to write a few comments and tape in a few ticket stubs but the novelty quickly faded. So I gave up, simply embraced my addiction to journals, and watched the pile continue to grow.
Enter France 2004. When I washed up on these shores almost a year ago, I found myself for the first time ever craving to write, to notate every single detail around me as banal or novel as it may be. The cat in the window across the street, the way the fish fins continue inside the fish and become the spine, the way food tastes so much better with a sprinkle of sea salt, the pebbly sand on the Côte d’Azur, the vibrant fire-engine red petunias in the flower boxes in Quimper, the flame orange feathers on the chickens at the Nice Market, the names of French cars, the roof of the Gare St Lazare train station, the Christian Delacroix uniforms on the Air France flight attendants, the lace curtains in the windows in Brittany, the carving of the date and architect on Parisian buildings, the plethora of types of yogurt (none of which I can read) at the grocery store, and on and on and on…..
So I find myself back in Florence and my first stop is a beeline to that lovely little paper, book, journal store just off the Arno around the corner from the Grand Hotel where I purchased the above mentioned coveted journal 4 years ago. Ditta Alberto Cozzi. Founded in 1908, nearly 100 years ago, by the same family that runs it today.
There are many beautiful paper, book, journal stores in Florence, actually just about one every few blocks, but this one earned my undying loyalty when on the above mentioned first trip I stumbled upon this store just as I had to leave for the airport. As luck would have it, the store was closed but I could see someone inside. I knocked and a handsome gentleman unlocked and opened the door. I explained my dilemma in my worst “Frenglish” with an occasional Italian word thrown in for good measure, and he gracious let me in, embossed a journal for me, locked up the store and returned to his lunch. No attitude, no rolled eyes, no “stupid American” muttered under his breath. Just gracious and charming as can be. Say no more.
So back to Ditta Alberto Cozzi I went for another embossed journal in which to detail what I hope is another extraordinary year in France, but this time, for the first time, I knew these pristine pages would not be so for long!
Ditta Alberto Cozzi
Via Parione, 35r
+39 055 294 968