Mikaela Bandini's insider Italy http://urbanitaly.com the travel guide to contemporary Italy Thu, 30 Jul 2015 11:12:31 +0000 en-EN hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Caltagirone | Sicilian Ceramicshttp://urbanitaly.com/art-design/caltagirone-sicilian-ceramics.html http://urbanitaly.com/art-design/caltagirone-sicilian-ceramics.html#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:55:16 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4339 Caltagirone dueddi headTry as you might, it’s hard to identify a truly distinctive pottery among so many in Caltagirone. There are small workshops-cum-stores in which a single craftsperson plies his or her trade, and larger-scale producers with ample showrooms and an international mailing list. There are those offering ceramics of simple charm and those whose art is …]]> Caltagirone dueddi head

Try as you might, it’s hard to identify a truly distinctive pottery among so many in Caltagirone. There are small workshops-cum-stores in which a single craftsperson plies his or her trade, and larger-scale producers with ample showrooms and an international mailing list. There are those offering ceramics of simple charm and those whose art is fine; those who play safe with age-old tradition and those who hazard a contemporary touch. All together, though, they uphold a proud, entirely artisanal practice dating back more than three millennia and their city’s claim to be the capital of Sicilian ceramic art.

An abundance of good clay and wood to supply the furnaces accounts for the culture and economy of terra-cotta even before the dawn of history in this hilly area in south-western Sicily, and the influence of assorted conquerors or colonists (Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Saracens, the Spanish, maybe more…) explains a lot about today’s techniques, forms and decoration. 

If you’re manic about ceramics and have shopping in mind, you just have to scout around. There are tiles and plates and bowls galore, vases and cachepots, table lamps and wall lamps, human and animal figures, everything you might need (and a great deal you won’t) in the kitchen and giant umbrella stands. Etc. Oh, and heads, typically Saracens’ heads but lots with paler faces too. They’re invariably ornate in form or decoration, and often in both, with repetitions of swirly patterns drawn from nature. Green, yellow and blue are the conventional, but not only, colours. 

Ceramics feature outside the stores and showrooms too, in local architecture, decorating public buildings and parks, streets and squares, churches and private houses. The monumental example is the flight of 140-odd steps, the Scalinata di Santa Maria del Monte, the rises of which were faced, in 1954, with majolica tiles, a different pattern for each step, hand-made and hand-painted according to time-honoured customs. 

And of course there’s a regional museum of pottery, and even a museum of contemporary ceramics.

Caltagirone is among those Late Baroque Towns of the Val di Noto nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so it isn’t just about pottery. And, to be fair, there are other towns in Sicily claiming the title for ceramics production, notably Sciacca (west of Agrigento on the south coast), nearby but inland Burgio, and Santo Stefano di Camastra (on the north coast, east of Cefalù).

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Turin |Mollino & Nervi in Turinhttp://urbanitaly.com/art-design/mollino-and-nervi-in-turin.html http://urbanitaly.com/art-design/mollino-and-nervi-in-turin.html#comments Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:14:56 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4246 Nervi fiHere it is then, the Turin architecture tour dedicated to just two iconic figures of the 20th century: Carlo Mollino and Pier Luigi Nervi. Our professional architect-guide will lead you on an exclusive itinerary, tailor-made to suit your schedule and interests, taking in their finest surviving works in the city and giving you the lowdown. …]]> Nervi fi

Here it is then, the Turin architecture tour dedicated to just two iconic figures of the 20th century: Carlo Mollino and Pier Luigi Nervi. Our professional architect-guide will lead you on an exclusive itinerary, tailor-made to suit your schedule and interests, taking in their finest surviving works in the city and giving you the lowdown.

Architect, designer, photographer and accomplished sportsman, Carlo Mollino (1905 – 1973) rarely strayed from his native Turin. He was eccentric and passionate, chose only commissions which granted free rein to his highly personal style, was dismissed by most of his creative contemporaries and revered by subsequent generations.

Two public buildings in the city centre now typify his genius as an architect: the visionary Chamber of Commerce (Palazzo degli Affari della Camera di Commercio) in Via San Francesco da Paola, and the supremely elegant reconstruction of the Teatro Regio in Piazza Castello, both designed in 1964 but completed only in the early 1970s. Other remarkable works in Turin have been demolished (the former HQ of the Turin Equestrian Association is one, built in 1937 but with not a trace of the prevailing rationalism) or profoundly altered (such as the RAI Auditorium, 1951).

Mollino designed the interiors of several private residences in the city, often conceiving furniture ad hoc, particularly seating, and getting it produced by master artisans Apelli & Varesio. Happily, he did the same for a dance hall in 1959 (then the Dancing Lutrario now Le Roi) which has survived pretty much intact and still stunning. The same can be said – and it would still be understatement – of Casa Mollino, the extraordinary apartment close to the river decorated and furnished by Mollino for his own use as of 1961. He never lived there, but designed most of the rooms as elaborate settings in which to photograph women – sensual female portraiture was one of his obsessions and he left a vast collection of erotic polaroids – and one as the scene for his own death (it didn’t work out: he died suddenly while working in his study). Fulvio and Napoleone Ferrari have restored the whole apartment and opened it as a private museum. Unmissable.

Everything is permissible as long as it is fantastic

             Carlo Mollino

Last on the Mollino trail, a comprehensive archive of his work is kept in the library of the School of Architecture at the Politecnico di Torino where he taught architectural composition.

Pier Luigi Nervi‘s was a talent of a different, more pragmatic ilk. Born in Rome in 1891, he trained as a civil engineer rather than in architecture and set up his own construction company. It’s said he had the all the expertise of an engineer, the imagination of an architect and the acumen of an entrepreneur. He was commissioned to work on all five continents, mainly for his singularly plastic use of reinforced concrete, and collaborated with architects as brilliant as Le Corbusier and Louis Kahn.

Turin boasts some of his finest works and we want to show them to you. First, chronologically speaking, are parts of Torino Esposizioni, the exhibition complex on the riverside just south of the city centre originally planned in 1936 by Ettore Sottsass senior. In a post-war revision of the complex (1947-1954), adapting it to host the grand Turin Motor Show, Nervi planned and built an impressive, self-supporting, arched extension of  the central pavilion, and a vast new pavilion with a ribbed vault resting on four arches: both were extraordinary and innovative structures in which Nervi made full use of the advantages of prefabricated structural components.

 … the most brilliant artist in reinforced concrete of our time

           Nikolaus Pevsner

To the west, again near the banks of the Po, is an industrial building designed by Nervi, the old tram maintenance depot on Corso Tortona, known as the Capannone Nervi (1954). It’s considered one of his minor works, along with extensions to the FIAT Mirafiori factory in the southern suburbs or the one in Rivalta, about 15 km outside the city, but constitutes a fine example of his manically precise, polytechnic contribution to Turin’s industrial architecture in the 1950s.

Lastly, much farther south along the river is the marvellous Palazzo del Lavoro (1959-1961), completed for the centenary of unified Italy, and the epitome of the later style for which he was internationally acclaimed. Giò Ponti and Gino Covre collaborated in designing the building using cutting-edge techniques. A single square structure of 156-metre sides, its roof is supported by steel beams fanning out from the top of 16 huge, tapering, concrete columns, the whole wrapped in a glass curtain wall reinforced by vertical mullions. It is now unoccupied, in a sad state of disrepair and facing an uncertain future. 

Contact mikaela(at)urbanitaly.com for more information and a customised Mollino and/or Nervi Turin tour. 

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Volterra | Podere Scopicciolohttp://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/volterra-podere-scopicciolo.html http://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/volterra-podere-scopicciolo.html#comments Mon, 13 Jul 2015 14:28:32 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4314 Podscop fiAnd now for something quintessentially Tuscan. A beautiful stone farmhouse set at the end of a cypress-lined drive in the rolling hills between Pisa and Siena, impeccably appointed down to the tiniest detail in that elegant, classic-arcadian style and equipped with all the requisites of easy living. The only problem may be finding a vacancy. Podere Scopicciolo is …]]> Podscop fi

And now for something quintessentially Tuscan. A beautiful stone farmhouse set at the end of a cypress-lined drive in the rolling hills between Pisa and Siena, impeccably appointed down to the tiniest detail in that elegant, classic-arcadian style and equipped with all the requisites of easy living. The only problem may be finding a vacancy.

Podere Scopicciolo is a villa, an apartment in an annexe, patios, gardens and a pool, all with views to die for, all for weekly let. 

With four double rooms – each with its en-suite luxury bathroom – and one single, the villa itself sleeps 11 very comfortably. A state-of-the-art kitchen and a smart lounge area with an antique stone fireplace make up the rest of it. Indoors, that is. The annexe, La Limonaia, is meant for two, with the bedroom on a mezzanine floor and the kitchen and lounge at ground level, though the sofa-bed could sleep two more and there’s a second bathroom down there. 

The garden is lovely; the pool is surrounded by seating and sunbeds; and there’s all you need for alfresco dining including a barbecue area and a wood-fired oven.

All the requisites of easy living indeed and also some for an easy conscience, should you need them, for Podere Scopicciolo was conceived as an eco-friendly model. Green building techniques, solar panels and cells, geothermal technology and constructed wetlands account for space heating and cooling, water heating, waste water recycling and all electrical energy needed to run this idyllic property.

The proud owners are Cecilia and Marco. They’re always on hand, discreetly, to dispense a warm welcome and extra services (including catering on request) as well as lots of friendly advice.

Far from the madding crowd it may be, and silence and serenity distinguishing features, but Podere Scopicciolo is only a few minutes by car from Volterra, San Gimignano and Monteriggioni and within easy reach of Siena and the Chianti area, Pisa, Florence and even some of Tuscany’s finest beaches.

Villa Podere Scopicciolo
Strada Provinciale 27 di Casole d’Elsa
56048 Volterra (PI)
+39 0588 086173 / +39 338 6632958
info@poderescopicciolo.com

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Milan | Like Gelateriahttp://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/milan-like-gelateria.html http://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/milan-like-gelateria.html#comments Mon, 06 Jul 2015 16:08:03 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=3638 gelatoThe heat is on in Milan. It couldn’t be any other way at this time of Expo year. By way of antidote, what better than some of the best ice cream northern Italy can offer, at Like, smack bang in the city centre. Now if Like is well served by its proximity to a branch of Grom …]]> gelato

The heat is on in Milan. It couldn’t be any other way at this time of Expo year. By way of antidote, what better than some of the best ice cream northern Italy can offer, at Like, smack bang in the city centre.

Now if Like is well served by its proximity to a branch of Grom (with all due respect) in Via Santa Margherita, a few steps west of La Scala, it hardly needs the comparison to stand head and shoulders above average. From a superlative, classic granita al limone, through all the time-honoured fruity and nutty flavours that taste exquisitely of fruits and nuts (the pistachio is to die for), to a few more exotic formulas (though nothing ridiculously wacky), it’s hard not to exclaim they’re the best you’ve ever tried. Needless to say they’re all handcrafted, on the premises, from choicest ingredients.

Add the lack of the long queues dogging Like‘s lionised neighbour, and the obliging manner of Marina and her staff, and it’s really a no-brainer in this part of town.

If you’re passing earlier in the day, bear in mind that Like is not only gelateria but a fully-fledged bar and artisanal patisserie too. The coffee’s good and the croissants superb. Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, they’re preparing savoury snacks for tasty light lunches, and a bounteous assortment of cakes, pastries and desserts with those same standards of excellence.

Like Gelateria & Pasticceria
Via Santa Margherita 26
20121 Milano
+39 02 89010273

 
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Bologna | L’Inde Le Palaishttp://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/bologna-linde-le-palais.html http://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/bologna-linde-le-palais.html#comments Mon, 29 Jun 2015 15:30:49 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4197 L'inde le palais fiL’Inde Le Palais comes straight out of left field, tucked away as it is in the labyrinthine streets of old Bologna, overshadowed by the enormity of Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica di San Petronio. Ambling by or headed elsewhere, it’s easy to miss the shop front in historic Via dè Musei, and that would be a …]]> L'inde le palais fi

L’Inde Le Palais comes straight out of left field, tucked away as it is in the labyrinthine streets of old Bologna, overshadowed by the enormity of Piazza Maggiore and the Basilica di San Petronio. Ambling by or headed elsewhere, it’s easy to miss the shop front in historic Via dè Musei, and that would be a shame because it’s a great deal more than it seems.

Very much a concept store, L’Inde Le Palais fans out over two floors and 700 square metres, dedicated – in its own words – to beauty, luxury and sophistication.

For the most part that means haute fashion, women’s and men’s: clothing and all the accessories from a vast range of lofty and/or gritty collections stretching from classics Givenchy, Chanel, Emilio Pucci, Valentino etc. through visionary and niche designers like Gareth Pugh, Haider Ackermann or Peter Pilotto to offbeat lines and exclusive creations like those of Kd2024 or Our Exquisite Corpse. And these are but drops in an ocean of labels.

Another of those drops is in-house brand Amen, lately forging ahead in the international luxury market and boasting a new flagship store and showroom in Milan. For L’Inde Le Palais belongs to Jato, acronym for designer Jacopo Tonelli who launched Amen from his textiles and embroidery business just outside Bologna around 10 years ago.

But back to the store, where all this rare bounty is exquisitely displayed against a contemporary backdrop of bare, industrial-shabby walls and flooring enriched by ornate vintage frames, chandeliers and other occasional props: a seductive, 360° mise-en-scène you immediately want to photograph from every angle.

L’Inde Le Palais is also exclusive perfumes, selected books and interior design pieces, and has its own spa and beauty salon on the second floor. 

Another branch of the same creative project is Cafè Le Palais, under the ancient arcade right opposite, a refined boho-baroque hangout for followers of fashion. 

In line with the concept, both store and Cafè host some of the city’s more exclusive events. Valentino and John Galliano, to name just a couple, have been protagonists on the fashion scene, while the most recent was an exhibition of photographs by Alessandro Gui. The Cafè is a favourite venue for society receptions as well as concerts and vernissages.

All terribly swish and milanese in a Bologna better known, or perhaps stereotyped, as a hotbed of political and cultural radicals. But then Bologna is full of surprises. 

L’Inde Le Palais 
Via dè Musei 6 
40124 Bologna 
+39 051 6203015
customercare@lindelepalais.com

Cafe’ Le Palais 
Via dè Musei 4  
40124 Bologna 
+30 051 6486963 

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Bari | La Ciclaterahttp://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/bari-la-ciclatera.html http://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/bari-la-ciclatera.html#comments Mon, 22 Jun 2015 13:14:31 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4259 la ciclatera mokaNot so long ago it was a no-go area, even before dark. Nowadays a stroll through the labyrinthine alleys and under the many arches of medieval Bari or Bari Vecchia - restored, refined and respectable – is an engaging experience, worth making time for before catching a ferry or heading for Apulia’s more obvious attractions. It’s …]]> la ciclatera moka

Not so long ago it was a no-go area, even before dark. Nowadays a stroll through the labyrinthine alleys and under the many arches of medieval Bari or Bari Vecchia - restored, refined and respectable – is an engaging experience, worth making time for before catching a ferry or heading for Apulia’s more obvious attractions.

It’s said the old town, built on a spur of land projecting into the Adriatic Sea, was designed to confound invaders, and you’ll believe that as you lose any sense of direction among the weaving passages. But when you’re tired of wandering, key Corte Colagualano into your navigator app and head for La Ciclatera.

You’ll find a tiny café and bar in the shadow of the cathedral, where a low, vaulted ceiling and walls in exposed stone are offset by cosy upholsteries and damask panels, in a décor which borrows genially from art nouveau, boho and vintage all at once. Soft lighting and candles as well as a crack choice of background music enhance the aura. 

The host of this charming establishment and leader of a team of professionals is Massimo Vox. He opens almost every evening of the year at 7 pm to serve cocktails and beers with (or without) appetizers, toasted sandwiches, platters of cheeses and cured meats, as well as specialty coffees, teas, chocolate drinks and mouth-watering, home-made desserts. One of the trademarks is variously-flavoured coffee brewed and served in the iconic, household Moka coffee maker - la ciclatera in the local dialect. 

Indoors is intimate and atmospheric, a table outdoors in summer is a cool Bari vecchia experience. And you won’t be disappointed by the fare or dismayed by the bill.

La Ciclatera 
Corte Colagualano 36
70122 Bari
+39 333 3735155

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Florence | Soprarno Suiteshttp://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/florence-soprarno-suites.html http://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/florence-soprarno-suites.html#comments Mon, 15 Jun 2015 15:49:01 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4036 Soprano suites fresco fiForget about A Room with a View. Try waking instead to the sight of a gloriously frescoed ceiling in one of the gorgeously appointed chambers of a 16th-century Florentine palazzo. One of the Soprarno Suites, in other words.  Soprarno Suites is a new guesthouse with 10 rooms and a great deal of attitude, occupying the first and …]]> Soprano suites fresco fi

Forget about A Room with a View. Try waking instead to the sight of a gloriously frescoed ceiling in one of the gorgeously appointed chambers of a 16th-century Florentine palazzo. One of the Soprarno Suites, in other words. 

Soprarno Suites is a new guesthouse with 10 rooms and a great deal of attitude, occupying the first and second floors of one of many lovely old buildings in Via Maggio. The setting is historic, the hospitality utterly contemporary. Interiors are fashioned lavishly using antique and vintage pieces – as they were or reworked ad hoc - and original artworks, in ample spaces with warm wood or terracotta flooring. All mod cons are present and correct. 

It boasts a library, and breakfast is served in a kitchen available for guests’ own use too.

So impressive are the Soprarno Suites that I wasn’t surprised to find out who’s behind the project: a charming and talented graphic designer by the name of Betty Soldi, who I met while filming in Florence last year (she has a shop in the same street). Or, at least, Betty is one of the team that saw the premises beautifully renovated and conceived the design B&B. The others are a lawyer with a passion for art (Betty’s partner Matteo Perduca), an architect and a carpenter, and together they refer to themselves as …

…travellers who settled to accomodate other travellers, as a labour of love.

       Soprarno Suites

In Via Maggio, we’re in Florence‘s rive gauche again, the artisan neighbourhood south of the river. Palazzo Pitti is just around one corner, the Basilica di Santo Spirito around another. Five minutes’ stroll takes you to the Ponte Vecchio.

Who needs a view of the Arno anyway?

Soprarno Suites
Via Maggio 35
50125 Firenze
+39 055 0468718
info@soprarnosuites.com

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Rome | Mostly Rationalist Rome Tourhttp://urbanitaly.com/architecture/modernist/rome-mostly-rationalist-rome-tour.html http://urbanitaly.com/architecture/modernist/rome-mostly-rationalist-rome-tour.html#comments Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:56:32 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4162 MRRT Palazzo Poste detail for fiSome of the highlights of architectural achievement in Rome during the 1900s (as promised), and the basis for another of our exclusive, tailor-made urban excursions guided by professionals with insider know-how. No better place to start than the Europa district, still better known by the acronym EUR for Esposizione Universale di Roma. That’s what Mussolini had …]]> MRRT Palazzo Poste detail for fi

Some of the highlights of architectural achievement in Rome during the 1900s (as promised), and the basis for another of our exclusive, tailor-made urban excursions guided by professionals with insider know-how.

No better place to start than the Europa district, still better known by the acronym EUR for Esposizione Universale di Roma. That’s what Mussolini had in mind when he commissioned plans for a whole new quarter of monumental buildings representative of the Fascist ideology (and with those trademark grandiose names) in an area south of the city centre, by which to impress the world. Expo 1942 never took place, of course, in Rome or anywhere else, but Italian rationalist architects had already had a field day before work ground to a halt during WWII.

If Marcello Piacentini was director of the whole project, the most impressive constructions were designed by others. The Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana is the emblematic centerpiece of the EUR, an icon of Fascist architecture also known as the ‘square colosseum’ (and recently rented out to fashion group Fendi). Entirely clad, like most of the others, in travertine marble and sporting a deal of symbolic statuary, it was designed by Giovanni GuerriniErnesto Bruno La Padula and Mario Romano and inaugurated in late 1940. The Palazzo dei Ricevimenti e dei Congressi by Adalberto Libera, started in 1938 but only completed 16 years later, is another fine example of its genre, as indeed is the building officially called Palazzo Mostra dell’Autarchia e del Corporativismo (which probably takes the cake for pompous naming) designed by Mario De Renzi, Luigi Figini and Gino Pollini and housing the state archives. And if this is your cup of tea, then at least another 3 or 4 squarely solid and imposing constructions (the Palazzo degli Uffici and the Basilica, for example, as well as the lake and the obelisk) are worth a look while we’re in the area.

A little closer to the centre is another pile by Libera and De Renzi, the Palazzo delle Poste (1935) in via Marmorata, shaped like a squared C. And more of a similar geometric ilk by Marcello Piacentini, with the new (1935) campus of La Sapienza university, the città universitaria  covering almost 440,000 square metres near Roma Termini railway station, and, along with Attilio Spaccarelli, Via della Conciliazione (1936), the grand thoroughfare connecting Piazza San Pietro to the west bank of the Tiber.

For a little respite from weighty rationalist edifices while we’re in this part of town, we could check out Basil Spence’s rather wonderful British Embassy building (1968-71) in Via XX Settembre. And then stop by the Quartiere Coppedè on our way north, going back in time to what rationalism was actually reacting against. It’s a compound of apartment buildings rather than a neighbourhood, fundamentally art nouveau but capriciously borrowing from a host of other styles, named after the architect, sculptor and decorator who planned it in 1915.

On we march northward to the Flaminio neighbourhood and Pier Luigi Nervi’s Palazzetto dello Sport. A 3,500-seat indoor arena designed for the 1960 Olympic games, its architect was actually Annibale Vitellozzi, but the signature reinforced, thin-shell concrete dome, diameter 61 metres and braced by flying buttresses, was engineered by Nervi. 

Still on the sporting theme but back where we started style-wise, across the Flaminio bridge is the area known as the Foro Italico, the vast sports complex imagined by Mussolini and planned by Enrico del Debbio by 1933 though not completed until 1968. While we’re there, the Palazzo della Farnesina (Enrico Del DebbioArnaldo Foschini and Vittorio Ballio Morpurgo, started 1937 finished 1959) is worth a look.

And to close the tour in a mood of glorious meditation, how about the awesome Mosque and Islamic Cultural Centre in the Parioli neighbourhood, designed by Paolo Portoghesi and  inaugurated in 1994, the biggest in Europe?

Contact mikaela(at)urbanitaly.com for more information and a customized tour, which could take in must-sees from the 21st century too.

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Tradate | Museo Fisognihttp://urbanitaly.com/art-design/tradate-museo-fisogni.html http://urbanitaly.com/art-design/tradate-museo-fisogni.html#comments Mon, 01 Jun 2015 15:52:28 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4234 img-museo-fisogni-455x252A new museum, a singular theme, a private collection: meet the Museo Fisogni, where petrol pumps are finally admitted to the noble order of industrial design. An 18th-century country house in Tradate, between Varese and Milan, is now home to a museum of petroliana. Now that’s a new one on me, but it appears collecting old fuel dispensers, enamel …]]> img-museo-fisogni-455x252

A new museum, a singular theme, a private collection: meet the Museo Fisogni, where petrol pumps are finally admitted to the noble order of industrial design.

An 18th-century country house in Tradate, between Varese and Milan, is now home to a museum of petroliana. Now that’s a new one on me, but it appears collecting old fuel dispensers, enamel signs, globes, oil cans, pourers and funnels and all the other paraphernalia of filling stations is a perfectly respectable hobby with dedicated clubs and websites. And Giudo Fisogni is a master collector, such that the array he’d assembled was already a Guinness World Record holder 15 years ago.

There’s a story behind this, of course. Guido Fisogni’s business is construction and his speciality is building service stations. Sometime back in the early 1970s he saw an old petrol pump abandoned in a sand quarry. It was love at first sight; he had to take it home and look after it. Friends helped in sourcing more of the same, a craftsman was employed to restore the collectables, and soon there was a worthy display at the company HQ.

Now the whole collection, after 15 years in packing cases, is back in the limelight, scientifically ordered and exhibited with a wealth of historical information in a wing of the family home, renovated ad hoc. There are over 5000 pieces from all over the globe dating from 1892 to 1990, some of them unique.

The museum belongs to Milan’s Triennale Design Museum network. Its exhibits are examined by students of design and history of technology, and lent out to cinema, television and advertising productions as props. A glossy coffee-table book of professional photos stands in lieu of the exhibition catalogue and is orderable online

Museo Fisogni is open on Sunday and Monday mornings (9 to 12) and in the afternoon on Mondays too (2 to 6pm). Groups can book to be admitted at other times. It’s free unless you want to make a donation.

If petroliana doesn’t already do it for you, try it this way.

Museo Fisogni
Via Bianchi 23/25
21049 Tradate (VA)
+39 335 6777118
fisogni@museo-fisogni.org

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Milan | Milan Vintage Tourhttp://urbanitaly.com/art-design/milan-milan-vintage-tour.html http://urbanitaly.com/art-design/milan-milan-vintage-tour.html#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 17:03:20 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4224 Cavalli e nastriA contemporary urban expedition in a retro state of mind, that’s our Milan Vintage Tour. A  professional guide and design expert will lead you on the insiders’ route through some of the Lombard capital’s coolest neighbourhoods, stopping where nostalgia rules ok and venerable styles have the edge on this year’s models in concept, décor, clothing …]]> Cavalli e nastri

A contemporary urban expedition in a retro state of mind, that’s our Milan Vintage Tour. A  professional guide and design expert will lead you on the insiders’ route through some of the Lombard capital’s coolest neighbourhoods, stopping where nostalgia rules ok and venerable styles have the edge on this year’s models in concept, décor, clothing and accessories.

Now vintage is really at home in those areas that still have an authentic feel. So let’s start on the banks of the Navigli, the old canals south-west of centre, which really start to buzz as the sun sets. There’s a boutique hotel there, in a typical balustrade home with a gorgeous inner courtyard, which sets a benchmark for low-pressure vintage styling. It’s called Maison Borrella and will likely charm you to bits. In the same neighbourhood is a small showroom with a big name: Mauro Bolognesi is well-known to lovers of modern collectables in this neck of the woods, with an inspiring selection of designer furniture much of which hails from northern Europe.

A walk through Vicolo dei Lavandai, where women once did the laundry under a tiled canopy, is a must before leaving the area: it’s now an atmospheric setting for small restaurants and ateliers.

Zona Tortona next, or thereabouts: not far to walk and home to more vintage landmarks. The amazing Nonostante Marras concept store is one of them, a multifunctional space where retro fashions and the new Antonio Marras collections mingle with books, art and food in an eclectic vintage and/or upcycled setting. Then there’s Cavalli e Nastri, vintage clothing heaven and pretty much a classic by now, with three stores in central Milan – one dedicated to menswear – packed with haute couture from the 1900s.

On we go up into the heart of the city, and a couple of retro-interest stops in a labyrinthine old district that’s lately taken out a new lease of life, the Cinque Vie. The first is Wait and See, tucked away in a former convent in Via Santa Marta: a cosy concept store with a retro aesthetic and vintage pieces in a unique collection of womenswear and accessories sourced the world over by fashion and interiors designer Uberta Zambelletti. The other is Susanna Ausoni’s My Room. Stylist to the Milanese upper crust, she’s the pro to go to when you need the perfect outfit, selected from her own mix of new and vintage.

Pure, certified and exclusive vintage fashion, on the other hand, is what you get at the Vintage Delirium showroom, in a charming courtyard not far from La Scala. Franco Jacassi hails from the art world, and collecting is a habit. He has a stunning range of haute couture, fabrics and haberdashery dating from the 19th century to the 1980s, and his own collection of accessories exquisitely made up from vintage fabrics and trimmings.

Another exclusive courtyard space – and a must on almost any Milan tour – is Spazio Rossana Orlandi. Rossana is practically a cult figure in Milanese art and design circles. Her gallery-cum-store in a former factory in the Magenta neighbourhood showcases contemporary art and design by emerging creatives from all over the globe as well as fine vintage furnishings.

We should be heading south again for a well-earned aperitif now – but if anyone’s in need of attention in the hairdressing line, we’ll call at Gum, Milan’s coolest salon and barbershop with its perfect US vintage fittings and old-school formula of personal attention.

And the drinks? The Milan Vintage Tour will take you to Fonderie Milanesi, to sip on a classic cocktail in the 250-year-old former metal workshop. Or maybe to The Doping Club back in the Porta Ticinese area, getting trendier by the day: this is the refined, vintage-sports-theme cocktail bar at The Yard hotel. Or even back to the Navigli, where the night could be long at the exclusive 1930 club, hidden at the back of a seemingly ordinary bar, clearly inspired by the speakeasies of the era of prohibition.

Tempted? Contact mikaela(at)urbanitaly.com for more information and your bespoke Milan Vintage Tour.

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