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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They Are Simply Everywhere!

Oh, look Mummy, there’s a mosquito sagra around here! Can we go? Pleeeaaase!

This was two years ago, in August. My family and I were leisurely driving through the Italian province of Ferrara, along secondary roads, on our way to our treasured Tuscany.

My daughter was already, at that time, a seasoned sagra spotter and unconditional sagra lover. We were driving down a hairpin bend when she suddenly caught sight, between two yawns, of a colourful poster announcing the Festa mondiale della zanzara, the International Mosquito Fair…

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The world’s densest vineyard

If you like good coffee, as I do, the brandname Illy must be familiar to you. Last August, during a concert given in Tuscany by Mark Springer, I was introduced to Francesco Illy, a member of the Italian family who founded the now internationally renowned Illycaffè company.

At one point in our friendly conversation, Francesco revealed to me that he owned and ran a winery near Montalcino, a town located 120 km south of Florence in the heart of one of Italy’s best winemaking regions.

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The Keys to Enjoying Siena

Last week, I had a glass of wine with friends who had spent their August holidays in Tuscany. Unsurprisingly, a great part of our conversation centered on their Italian respite:

“We had the most wonderful time, Katharina, really. The view we had from the villa, the blooming lavender, the garden, the wine, the food… We enjoyed everything and every single moment of it. Except…”

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Behind the Scenes of Siena’s Palio

 

– Mummy, I want to “vote” for the Leocorno, my daughter told me with big round eyes.
– The Unicorn? You want to support the Unicorn team?
– Yes! And George says he wants to support the Elephant!
– Well… I’m afraid there is no Elephant team in the race, darling.
– Ah… I’ll go tell him to support something else then.
– Good idea. Continue Reading →

Artichoke Hearts in the Heart of Tuscany

“A woman is like an artichoke: you must work hard to get to her heart.” You will never guess who said that… Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Yes, the French – and always gallant – police detective featured in the Pink Panther, the famous movie series on the art of sensible investigation. Remember? Continue Reading →

Little Easter in a Great Garden

The Kiss… The Tomb of the Poet… Nine Astrological Aspects… Cathedral no 6… The Grass Sofas… The Eternal Lunch… An Island in an Island… The Beauty and the Beast… Make Something as Big as the Eiffel Tower… No, I’m not rambling, I’m just trying to arouse your interest.

What are your plans for this coming Easter? I have a great scheme for you… Continue Reading →

Concert Night at the Castello di Potentino

 

“As I sit at the piano, says Mark Springer, the feeling takes hold of me and I start to play a melody which is very direct. It shifts interestingly between major and minor, and becomes a theme that keeps growing in mood and atmosphere.” Continue Reading →



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