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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The New Casamonti Museum in Florence

When the Eiffel tower was erected at the end of the 19th century, a big outcry was raised in Paris about the bold new monument. One could hear or read words such as “useless and hideous”, a “chimney stack”, a “truly tragic street lamp”, a “giant unsightly skeleton”…

In the early 16th century, many Florentines reacted pretty much in the same way when the Palazzo Bartolini Salimbeni was being built. Continue Reading →

A Little Palace of Art in Venice

The luxury of loving Italy… These are the very last words of Italian Hours, a collection of essays which the great Henry James wrote about the bel paese more than a century ago, and which I have recently read with great interest.

 

 

 

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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 Dog’s Dolce Vita

My mother had a little smile: “Katharina, I would love to spend another holiday in Italy. But I worry about Daisy…”

Daisy… the cutest wire-haired dachshund on Earth!

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The Art and Heart of Assisi

Last month, I got into my car early in the morning, on a Tuesday, and drove down to the lovely medieval town of Assisi, situated in the very heart of Umbria.

I had a lunch appointment with my good friend Rebecca Winke, the writer who joined us for our recent Instagram event in Venice. She has a beautiful place of abode in Assisi’s historic town center.

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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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Pistoia – a Tuscan Town that is Worth the Detour

Every time I travel between Florence and Lucca – I must have done it a hundred times, – I drive through the charming medieval town of Pistoia, famous throughout Europe for its impressive and well-organized plant nurseries. And every time, without fail, I make the same resolution: “Ok, next time, I will stop and visit one or two of these nurseries.”

A resolution which, as you may have guessed, I haven’t yet fulfilled. Well, not entirely fulfilled, I should say. For I finally did stop in Pistoia a few weeks ago, urged to do so by my friend Molly, who invited me to join her in the heart of the Tuscan city.

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My favourite restaurant in Venice

During the time when I was working on the renovation of our Palazzo Ca’nova, I took countless walks in the area around it, just to explore, stretch my legs, get some fresh air…

On one occasion, I ended up on the Campo dell’Angelo Raffaele, a lovely piazza in the Dorsoduro neighbourhood. I have no idea how I landed up there, but this is the rule in Venice: getting lost in its labyrinth always leads you to the best surprises.

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