By BOB FLISS, Charlotte Sun-Herald Newspaper. Reprinted with permission.
Let’s play … name that real estate project!
Everybody needs a little racket on the side, so I am hereby announcing my availability as a “nomenclature consultant” to the real estate industry.
While it’s easy to take potshots at “Florida Mediterranean,” it’s sure an improvement over the concrete boxes that dominated the Miami of my childhood. We’re talking the architectural equivalent of Cream of Wheat.
By comparison, even your most basic “two columns and an arch” Florida Med house is a tasty piece of Italian rum cake — with the customary barrel tile roof as frosting.
Picking the right name for a real estate product is just another part of a total design package. My contention is that authentic Italian names for every street and home model will enhance the marketability of any Florida Med project.
By way of illustration, let me pick on an expensive gated community in Fort Myers. Grandezza is a project of Stock Development, the Naples firm that recently got the contract to build Murdock Village.
Pulling a brochure from my “stack of Stock,” I come up with a subdivision called Saraceno. Kind of a depressing start, considering that Saracen pirates conducted slave-and-plunder raids on Italy for centuries before Pope Urban II called the Crusades in 1095
Inside this brochure, we have several home models — including the Bella, the Capri, and the Napoli. Definitely Italian, but mass-market Italian, sort of like a Fiat assembly line.
Moving on, I see some more interesting choices, including the Lugano and the Bari.
Lugano is actually in the Italianspeaking Swiss canton of Ticino. Bari is the capital of Apulia — the heel of the Italian boot — a big metro area of more than 700,000 people, although not particularly well-known to American tourists.
Finally, my eyes settle on a model called the Vivaldi. I assume the namesake for this design is Antonio Vivaldi, the Venetian composer of “The Four Seasons” — the definitive work in the Sunday brunch classical repertoire. I don’t think they named it after Guido and Ugolino Vivaldi, intrepid Genoese predecessors of Columbus, who sailed off the edge of the Earth, circa 1291.
Now here’s a concept. Name a development after Italian musicians. Start with Vivaldi, of whom it’s said he either composed 600 concertos or composed the same concerto 600 times. Then move on to Domenico Scarlatti, who composed the same harpsichord sonata 500 times. Or Tomaso Albinoni, also a hit on the Sunday brunch circuit for his “Adagio,” which he never actually composed.
Adding a touch of the risque, let’s add Alessandro Stradella, who’s less famous for his compostions than for his numerous extramusical affairs, one of which resulted in him getting whacked in Genoa in 1682.
Italian baroque composers — you read it here, now run with it.