Under the Tuscan Sun

When actor Colin Firth, an Academy Award winner, and Eco Age founder Livia Firth decide to actively foster a little-known refugee project in Southern Tuscany, you can reasonably surmise that they are on to something. Last December, the famous couple visited Crune Lab – a hub which operates as a meeting place, support network and sewing workshop for migrants and refugees – and returned home with bagfuls of handmade textile creations!

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Italian Leather Craftsmanship

My love for the bel paese has always been closely related to my passion for fine leather bags. And when I say “fine leather bags”, I don’t necessarily mean Gucci or Prada – even though I would not turn the precious item down if you offered me one. Since I first set foot in Italy, I have always revelled in discovering and supporting lesser-known artisan leather brands.

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High water in Venice

I had been to Venice a hundred times before, at least, and never, ever had I witnessed the phenomenon which I had been reading and hearing about for more than twenty years. And then it happened, at long last, on the 5th of November 2017. I was there and I saw it: Venice’s spectacular acqua alta. Its high water.

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A Fine Venetian Linen Designer

I think I have already told you this once, perhaps even twice: I have been in love with linen and fabrics for a very long time, especially Italian ones.

Lying just a leisurely ten minutes’ walk from our Palazzo Ca’nova, one of my favourite shops in Venice happens to be successfully run by a highly talented fabric designer: Chiarastella Cattana.

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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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