The Italian Capital Within Arm’s Reach

Good news: all roads lead to Rome and, in some cases, will take you back to your starting point before the end of the day!

I experienced this two or three times last summer. After an early morning swim in the Tyrrhenian Sea, I hopped on a train, spent the day in Rome – combining business with pleasure, – and returned to my Mediterranean seaside just in time for the sunset extravaganza.

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A Nice Little Mess in Montisi

A few weeks ago, under clear blue skies, I was on my way from Montalcino to Perugia when the fancy of a good Italian coffee insidiously took me. I decided to make a stop in Montisi, a lovely village which I hadn’t visited in ages.

I was strolling down Montisi’s main street, heading towards the bar I had made out from a distance, when I got sidetracked by a little shop on my right. Atop the entrance I could read the words Macelleria Casini – “macelleria” being the Italian word for “butcher’s shop”. Not a single chunk of fresh meat was displayed in the window, though; just a colourful kaleidoscope of printed textiles.

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Across the Big Blue Sea

By now, dear followers, you are as convinced as I am that Italy is a dreamland, aren’t you? And I think I told you once that the bel paese is the country which boasts the highest number of World Heritage sites on the planet. But did you know that Dante’s homeland has also overtaken Greece as the principal port of entry of migrants trying to reach Europe?

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Cosy, Multipurpose and Florentine to the Core

The gradual disappearance of bookshops, especially the small independent ones, is something that has truly saddened me over the past few years. Just in Paris, for instance, close to a hundred book stores have closed down since 2010.

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Sure-footed with Venetian Furlane

In order to properly oversee the restoration, decoration and final touches of our new exclusive project in Venice – the Ca’nova Palazzo with its three superb apartments, – I have had to spend quite a bit of time over there, as you can imagine, repeatedly shuttling back and forth between the City of Light and the Serenissima.

At the beginning, everytime I was about to run out to catch a flight from Paris, my daughter used to pull a face and gently lament: “You’re not going to Venice again, Mummy, are you?”

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Sartorial Elegance in Montalcino

“You have created most of these lovely dresses and jackets, Renata?
– Yes, Katharina, my sister and I have designed them. The bags and scarves too.
– Wow! Talent obviously runs in the family…
– I’m afraid so.

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Italian Porcelain Art at its Peak

My friends were stealing a glance at me with a quizzical eyebrow. I know what they were thinking deep down inside, especially their two teenage kids: “You’re really taking us to a porcelain museum, Katharina? Are you sure it’s worth the detour?… Are you in your right mind?…”

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Florence’s Artisan Quarter

Like the Seine in Paris, the Thames in London and the Styx in the Underworld, an old dignified river flows across the city of Florence, dividing it, inevitably, into two river banks. Its name: the Arno. Continue Reading →

Another Exceptional Tailor

“If you are out to describe the truth, leave elegance to the tailor.” You will never guess who said that… Albert Einstein.

Here is the story of another great Italian tailor whom I met just a few weeks ago. I was with a good friend of mine, walking down the main street of Castagneto Carducci, a hilltop town in the Tuscan Maremma. At one point, we spontaneously stopped in front of a tailor shop, unsure about what to do. Continue Reading →

Lucca – One of Italy’s Great Antique Markets

Last week, I was tidying up a cupboard in my Parisian flat – it needed it badly – when I stumbled upon a small ceramic vase I had bought at Lucca’s antique market a few years ago.

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