MY QUINTESSENTIAL 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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KENYA’S SOUL IN THE HEART OF TUSCANY

Even though my work is firmly rooted in the bel paese, it never ceases to offer me opportunities to meet new people from every corner of the world and learn about their customs and life experiences. Continue Reading →

BIKING ALONG THE TYRRHENIAN SEA

Some day – hopefully in a not too distant future – we’ll be able to cycle along the Mediterranean coast on a dedicated bike path that will stretch from the Eternal City all the way to the French-Italian border in Ventimiglia. According to an official project ratified in 2016 by the regions of Liguria, Lazio and Tuscany, the local cycling trails which already exist will be complemented with many new sections so as to form the uninterrupted 1200 km long Ciclovia Tirrenica!

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SHOPPING IN STYLE

In my unremitting quest, along the roads of Italy, for new properties to add to our Trust & Travel catalogue, I often give in to one of my guilty pleasures: retail therapy. But retail therapy, mind you, centered on genuine time-honoured artisan creations!

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GOOD OLD NEW SARTEANO

When I drop by a village bar in Italy, I often see, hanging on the wall, a black and white photo showing the town’s central piazza filled with lively locals – a scene which unfailingly makes me daydream about the good old days. Then I look through the window, from my table, and get a glimpse of the same town square as the one in the picture, only to realise that things have changed quite a bit: the present-day piazza is either desolate or overcrowded with tourists…

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THE PALAZZO BUTERA OF PALERMO

A few months ago, I could have given you a thousand good reasons to visit Sicily – if you needed any. But this number, in my book, has recently gone up to one thousand and one, like in the celebrated Middle Eastern saga.

The latest addition is the Palazzo Butera, an immense and freshly restored Baroque palace located in the heart of Palermo, and which will be home to the exquisite art collection of Francesca and Massimo Valsecchi.

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PAOLO AT THE PALAZZO

You never know what life has in store for you… Years ago, when I lived in Florence, I met and became friends with Paolo Fiumi, a then budding architect. At that time, though, I never imagined that some day I would work with Paolo for the refurbishing of a palatial apartment right by the Grand Canal in Venice.

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A CHILL IN THE AIR

April 1st,1939. The spectre of an all-out war in Europe is looming. The Anglo-American writer and philanthropist Iris Origo – then owner of the La Foce estate in the Val d’Orcia – has just written the following words in her diary:

‘Chamberlain’s pronouncement about Poland has been received with unexpected moderation in the press and with some enthusiasm privately – as being likely to put a brake on Hitler.
A country neighbour (small farmer – a shrewd, sensible, elderly man) has just been to lunch, Continue Reading →



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