I have been told that Blato has a very special history with bench seats – the fižul. They were usually situated outside the front of the house, attached to the construction of the house and mostly made of stone. I have made quite a few walks through Blato and was not sure what to look for.
I have been for another walk taking the fizul with me as I “see” the town with different eyes. There are still traces of them and they are still being used today. What interests me is that there are all sorts of bench seats everywhere in Blato. This is apparent when compared with the other towns I’ve visited on Korcula – Korcula, Vela Luka and driven through other smaller towns.
The park in the centre of town has an abundance of park benches, so many in such a small area. The footpath aligning the park on 1 Ulica and alongside the soccer ground have many too.
When wondering down the main street, the entry to Blato coming from Korcula town direction, many of the houses have identical wooden and metal green bench seats.
I think of these bench seats as an invitation to sit, an invitation to be social, to be invited into one another’s lives, if you want or not. It’s the very public display of one’s presence on the street. This I think also encourages people to talk to one another, greet one another as someone walks past a seated person. A hello is a must I imagine, but perhaps a conversation is not always necessary. It becomes a more shared public space which is also a potential sharing of the private.
I think of them of as nodes in a network of communication – if one sits down and speaks to the already seated host there is an exchange of information and communication is free-flowing, going to and fro, passing on and taking on.
I hope to learn more about the history of benches/fizul, more soon…