Salso’s most opulent building is the Berzieri Thermal Spa, unfortunately not operational, nor in fact even open for me to see its reputed wonders. A temple to Art Nouveau, the images of its interiors look wonderful and I would really love to see them. Built from 1913-1923, it is meant to resemble an oriental palace or a grand casino. Maybe that’s why I find the outside over-the-top — I am not charmed.
I did sit at the café opposite to ponder on its famous facade and attempt my first ordering of a coffee on my own. I did this partly because my friend Paola had warned me that there are no public toilets in Italy but that every bar/café must have one. The ordering was not a success, as I ended up with two cups of coffee: one the cappuccino without froth and the other the double espresso I had meant to be included… must be the wrong accent, the emphasis… or just a most non-Italian coffee wish.
But there was a toilet…
Of more interest to me was the ornate Scotti Well Cage; the well was one of many that once drew the hot mineral laden waters to the surface. Only one spa now operates in Salso but it is intentionally therapeutic, not recreational; not the sort of spa we Australians are used to, either basically coming straight out of the ground as at Pilliga or harnessed for the local pool as at Blackall or Moree.
A building that did have charm for me was the much smaller Warowland. It had been built as an art gallery but became a home. Its functions now include that of the Tourist Information Centre. The graffito plaster walls are highly decorated inside and out with fine painted patterns and I wonder that artisans can still be found to maintain them.
I had been directed to it as ‘the yellow building’. I did know the word ‘giallo’ for yellow, but there are many shades of yellow.
My first wrong call turned out to be the local Council Chambers. I am wondering if the warm colours of the buildings are partly because in the snowy cold winters the town needs the visual warmth.
Next to it was a building of yet another shade of yellow. A scooter and a pushbike were parked nearby; I have noted that many of the bicycle riders are older women and they do not wear helmets. It is apparently a rarely enforced law.
A murkier shade of yellow adorns a private home in the town, but it is enlivened with the riot of potted flower colour and the gay green curtains.
I am agog at so much here that I am going to do more posts per week than usual to keep up with my fascination. Coming with me?