A RENAISSANCE VIRTUOSA

Last month, my daughter returned from school one day with an elated heart: “Mummy, I have to write a theme about some artists! Female artists!”

I responded with a big smile and asked my daughter whether she had anybody in mind already. She said she absolutely wanted to talk about Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe, whose works were, to some extent, familiar to her. Then she pressed me for suggestions.

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INVITATION TO A VENETIAN OPENING

How did you celebrate, dear readers, your leap into the New Year?… I sincerely hope you had a smooth and joyful transition, and that 2020 is holding lovely surprises in store for you.

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YUMMY HUMMUS IN THE MAREMMA

What do Syria and Tuscany have in common? Well, probably several things, but for sure a passion for great food! A few weeks ago, I partook in a Tuscan-Syrian lunch at the Chimera d’Albegna, a small winery founded by a Florentine family and located a few cables’ length away from the Marsiliana estate, one of our long-established holiday rentals in the Maremma.

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WHEN IN ITALY, LEAVE NO SITE UNTURNED

This happens to all of us: time and time again you pass by a place without ever paying much attention to it, and then one day, God knows why, you finally decide to stop and have a close look at what you’ve been disregarding for so many years.

One morning, last July, my instinct made me deflect from my usual route and call in at the Tuscan town of Chianciano Terme – which you may have heard of if you’ve ever stayed at our nearby Trust & Travel La Foce estate. Chianciano Terme had its heydays in the 50s and 60s, and the spa vacations he spent there inspired Federico Fellini with several scenes of his 1963 feature film .

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A MUSEUM ON HIGH HEELS

If the shoe fits, wear it… Well, I will gladly sport any Italian quality shoe that fits me! – did I ever tell you that I’m a bit of a footwear appassionata too?

Italy’s first shoemaking factory opened its doors at the end of the 19th century in Stra, a small town located on the east bank of the Brenta River about halfway between Venice and Padua. And during the following decades, the “Made in Italy along the Brenta” stamp became synonymous with high quality shoes.

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THE CREAM OF ITALIAN FOOD BLOGGING

Take my word for it: most Italian food lovers own dozens of cookbooks, restaurant guides, treatises on the history of Italian cuisine, and what have you. And I’m no exception to the rule.

The problem with books, though – well, at least in my case – is that when I have the leisure and peace of mind to try out a new recipe, nine times out of ten I’m away from home and from my treasured “library”.

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THE BIG AOSTA SURPRISE

 

On our way back to Paris from Italy, in August, we decided to pull off the highway in Aosta, the capital city of the bel paese’s smallest and least populated region. The plan was to stretch our legs and have a quick snack before tackling the 11 km long Mont Blanc tunnel. But contrary to all expectations, we stumbled upon striking Roman ruins – city walls, bridges, aqueducts, old crypts, even the relics of a theatre! We were so impressed that instead of leaving Aosta, we got tickets and went on a tour of the main archaeological sites.

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Madonna della Salute Feast in Venice

People have often asked me: “What is the best time of year to visit Venice, Katharina?” And invariably my answer has been: “Off season, especially in wintertime. And if you want to see the Serenissima in its most vibrant and transcendent mode, you should set your heart on November 21st.”

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TO BE SAVOURED WITHOUT MODERATION

If I say point-blank “Italian street food”, you’ll probably reply “pizza”, won’t you? Or, if you’re very Italian street smart, you might retaliate with “focaccia”, “piadina”, “tramezzino”… Good.

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LA BIENNALE DI VENEZIA

Originally established in 1895, the world-famous Venice Biennale is holding this year, until the 24th of November, its 58th edition – and I will not miss it, needless to say, for all the tea in China!

The sheer magnitude of the event, however, can be quite overwhelming. Over the years, I have learned that a little preparation can help optimize my visitor experience.

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