Who is the Birdman of Berardenga?
Ok I will be truthful I am not actually sure this person is a man. I am just making an assumption.
I have come to use this name in honor of the well-known classic movie, the Birdman of Alcatraz.
My first encounter was very close to home. Home right now is the little town called Castelnuovo Berardenga in the Chianti Region of Tuscany Italy. I have adopted this quaint village during my stay in Italy this summer.
You may be thinking that the name Castelnuovo Berardenga is a mouthful, and I couldn’t agree more. So from this point on it will be written as CNB. You know how we Americans love acronyms and I am no exception. In fact I have started an informal campaign to see if the locals will accept my suggested acronym, but that is fodder for a whole new blog, TBC (to be continued)
Back to the birdman. Some of you may recall an earlier blog post of mine in which I wrote about unusual Italian road signs such as the one below.
So imagine my surprise when I spotted this particular road sign at the entrance to my little apartment. I admit at first I thought it was a genuine sign. One I could not for the life of me figure out. What could a pigeon on top of a commercial truck possibly mean?
Upon closer inspection and confirmation with my Italian friend Massi, I realize I have been duped! This is someone’s artistic expression. Yep sticker art. Sticker art AKA sticker bombing or sticker tagging is defined as a form of street art, in which an image or message is publicly displayed. The birdman had indeed tagged a road sign with a black of a pigeon sticker on top of the truck. Clever enough. It made me smile. In Italian they would say ‘divertente’ meaning something quite funny or amusing.
A couple of days later and less then two blocks away I spot a new bird sicker strategically placed on another road sign. This time an owl. I have always loved small owls for some reason, and this one I thought was striking with the addition of the white eyes and red beak.
Ummm I say to myself, in Italiano, ‘interssante’. Two bird stickers within two blocks of one another. What does it mean? Who is the tagger?
While walking to the local farmers market in CNB, I spot another modified road sign. This one with a delicate flock of birds.
If you had asked me if I am intrigued at this point? The answer is a plain old YES, or as I can hear from recent memory how my friends from Minnesota often exclaim ‘you betcha!’
At this point I have photographed all three signs with the intent to create a future blog post. Like many other great ideas and stories, this one it too filed away in some compartment in my brain for later use.
One late night as my friend Massi and I were returning from diner in a neighboring village, I spot a Flamingo on a road sign. Now yes I must admit I had consumed a couple of glasses of tasty Chianti wine that evening, (that is why I was not driving) and when I saw the sticker, I announced out loud to Massi, FLAMINGO! I am certain he thought the wine was having a strong effect on me. The sign was on the passenger side of the road, and he did not see it as we drove by. We pull over, turn around to verify that indeed I did see a flamingo and to take a photo.
The following week I had a busy schedule and I make another note to myself to write this blog.
Having plenty of projects here while on vacation, both by myself and with other friends in Italy, keeps me fairly busy. The blog remained unposted……..
But something is clearly on my mind. I now notice that as I am either driving or a passenger, I find myself checking almost every road sign. It is like I half expect to see a bird where there was not one before.
There is no shortage of road signs in the Chianti region, most the standard easy to understand, some not so much. But I take note that my brain has now been switched on to “search mode” whether intended or not. I can’t seem to switch it off. Thanks birdman.
AUGUST 15, 2014
Yesterday was the defining moment in which the budding blog post was to move from my head public posting on-line.
As I drove home from Siena into my village of CNB, I spied the following Toucan where there was none the day before.
So here we are, blog post written, photos posted and here is where I am seeking help.
Welcomed either fact or fiction. Is there by chance anyone in the local area who may have a clue as to the identity of the “birdman” is.
I am willing to listen to all insider tips, whether rumors or not.
Any additional photos of bird stickers spyed either here in Italy or abroad also welcomed. Please share your comments, and photos, would love to see them.