The inspiring 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale explores the most crucial question: “How will we live together?”
I feel we could all use some good news from the bel paese….
I have always been an ardent admirer of British actress Emma Thompson. In addition to her great performing skills, this witty and urbane woman has never been afraid to speak up and use her influence to support a good cause. And now I have new grounds for being fond of her: a few weeks ago, Emma and her husband, actor Greg Wise, have taken up residence in the Serenissima, a dream they had been entertaining for a long time.
On October 5 of the year 1554, more than 250 orphans were bluntly expelled from the Republic of Siena. The city had been under siege for 9 months and its government decreed that the best way forward to hold out against the enemy was to get rid of its bocche disutili, its “useless mouths”. And during the following months, another 4000 citizens, mostly children, unmarried women and elderly souls, were sent packing by the same token.
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.
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.
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 8½.
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.
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”.
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.