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Levice | Back to Nature

I recently found myself in one of the most breathtakingly beautiful places on earth. Scouting around with people who've now become friends (Elisa, Mauro and the other guys who were part of our troupe), my photographer John and I set out to discover the Alta Langa, sometimes translated as Upper Langa. In Piedmont dialect langa means tongue, and in this case ...

Milan | Boarding Pass Art

Valeria Francione, a girlfriend of mine who's a fashion and interior designer based in Milan, has come up with the ultimate travel souvenir. She takes some apparently trifling token of your trip - a luggage tag or boarding pass, a museum, concert or tram ticket, whatever brings back memories - and turns it into a mini work of art with ...

Matera | Elisa&Janna

Here's one of those magical partnerships, a case of - to paraphrase Aristotle -  the whole being undeniably greater than the sum of its nevertheless remarkable parts. When I first met Johanna Curti she was quite rightly floundering in Matera, desperately in need of an outlet for innate creative and business talents to follow a decade in London as a ...

Riva del Garda | OMG, That’s Us!

Yep, we’re on the shortlist for not one but two of the top prizes in this year’s prestigious Italian Web Awards!  My name’s among the final nominations for Best Web Professional of 2012, and Can’t Forget Italy, our Digital Diary of Italian regions, is a contender for the Special Tourism Prize. There’s no denying how proud I am to see our micro marketing …

Monte Porzio Catone | Only Logical

Alessandra Fiordaliso made her first serious design using recycled cardboard in 1997. It was a chair, a diminutive one for her own child. Fifteen years later, the artist-cum-designer-cum-artisan is as passionate as ever about sustainability and goes on creating things both decorative and useful from salvaged paper, card and plastic at her home just south-east of Rome. Cardboard, warm and versatile, is still …

Cesena | Staying on the Treadmill

In a country where everyone’s talking about wellness [wél-nés] and fitness [fi:tnés], few know that one of the top-ranking fitness-equipment manufacturers in the world is based in Emilia Romagna, in Cesena to be precise, about an hour down the road from Bologna. Technogym is the name on the familiar black-and-yellow logo, an emblematic 30-year success story in the business world and …

Salerno | Marsia

Having studied ceramics myself way back in another life in Cape Town, I’m partial to potters. Marsia is one of my latest finds. I stumbled on the studio quite by chance one steamy afternoon last summer, in the laid-back seaside city of Salerno, right opposite the duomo. Mariella Siano, ceramic designer, has a tiny shop filled with fragile bounty in rich …

L’Aquila | Re-Construction

Renzo Piano‘s latest auditorium is as much a symbol of cultural resurgence as a concrete – or wooden – reality. In the regional capital of Abruzzo, the temporary structure provides a space for concerts and much more while the many halls and theatres devastated by the April 2009 earthquake are rebuilt and restored. The idea was first launched by eminent conductor …

Trento | Monica Armani

I can’t thank Maurizio Rossini enough for taking me to dinner chez Monica Armani and her gifted architect-non-architect husband Luca Dallabetta in Trento last week. Their stunning minimalist pad overlooking the capital of the Trentino region is a dream. Crisp and contemporary with clean-cut lines, it’s all decked out in low-slung Arne Jacobsen, B&B and of course Monica Armani pieces. Add to that …

Asti | CRE[AT]IVE

Recently in Asti, checking out the truffle scene, I tagged along with architect friend Enrica Narbonne to the coolest of outdoor exhibitions put on by Roberta Bellesini. Roberta is one of the 6 women who set up CreativeAsti, a non-profit cultural group in the town. All esteemed professionals in their respective fields, they’re passionate about the arts and tireless in …

Matera | BFF

I’ve known Marisa Amoroso for twenty-odd years now. Ever since I arrived in Matera. I was 20 and she 31 at the time, and we’ve lived in symbiosis ever since. She’s a lot of things to me – my eleven-o’clock-cappuccino companion and confidante, as well as godmother to my daughter, Elena. And down here in the south these things are …

Genoa | Cashmere Technology

I met Andrea Moretti quite by chance in Genoa, the home town he loves and where he opened the store which showcases his ingenious cashmere product. Moa is the name of the shop, bang in the centre of town, and Moatech the patented textile Andrea dreamed up a few years ago to replace down in quilted clothing. Using the finest …