As some of you might know we are approaching the date for Italy to hold its general Elections. It be more precise it is exactly on March 4th which is roughly less than two weeks away and already we are getting bombarded with the final sprint by all the main parties which are involved in this current version of an attempt at bringing some sense to who will govern this country.
At this current moment from what I can gather the choices are divided between these three guys present in the image below (yes! Thats Berlusconi back in action just like in the old days…mamma mia!)
Let’s start from left to right:
On the left we have Luigi Di Maio of the Five Star Movement party which is represents a populist surge derived from a coalition between a famous Italian comedian Beppe Grillo (who is quite funny in my personal opinion and his close friend who recently passed away Gianroberto Casaleggio, a web strategist. They seem to be favourite in recent polls and recently in the news due to some internal party money issues that are still being investigated.
Than in the middle with have the recently departed Prime Minister Matteo Renzi of the Partito Democratico party, close friend of Barak Obama, who resigned last year after a referendum and gave way to the current techical team governing the country. Who is not doing great in the polls due to internal diatribes inside his own party and I have serious doubts he will be able to have good numbers since folks seem to be a bit fed up with him.
Than last but not least we have Silvio Berlusconi who even if elected he has a ban from the EU to be able to govern so he as linked up with the North League resentative Matteo Salvini along with ex-Alleanza Nazional candidate Giorgia Meloni. These folks are representing a so called Central Right movement but the candidates that Berlusconi has lined up with in my book come across as racist and self-interested of their goals.They are looking very good in the polls and this to me reflects a bit of has been a common trend in Italy of conservatism.
So we shall see in the next couple of weeks what will occur. Betti still is undecided who to cast here vote for and in my case I do not vote in Italy since I am a US Citizen and so not eligible to cast a say in this very confusing and sad campaign.
Blog Post Update!
The Central Right coalition had the most percentage of votes along with the populist Five Star Movement while the Democratic Party took a licking! All in all, what does this mean for Italy? Only time will tell. Right now everyone is playing poker till the Italian President Sergio Mattarella calls all involved on daily basis to try to get them to talk to each other and try to come out with a semblance of a coherent government. If this is no possible than we will probably end up with the current governmental members headed by Gentiloni and another go at making an Electoral Law that does not permit these sort of results.
To add to the whole picture the visit of Steve Bannon in Italy (NY Times article here) last week indicating that it is time for the populist movements to raise their head against the EU and pull out! A total mess!
As some of you might know after moving to Italy back in 1992 and having left the sunny shores of South Beach, my first set of interviews looking for a job as in Architect in Italy (with vast Cad Management experience) was sort of touch and go.
All the studios I initially contacted on my arrival in Milan loved my portfolio but back then they were just starting to embrace CAD and offered measly salary offers as opposed to what I was earning back in the US.
After a foray of interviews, I went into a slump and was a bit depressed to the point that my wife considered moving back to Miami (my old position was always open since my boss at the time had mentioned that if I encountered any problems in my new country that I was welcome back).
But out of the blue, my wife’s sister calls me up and says that a friend of hers architectural studio in Genoa (about 2 hours away from Milan) was precisely looking for a person with my qualifications.
So I rush down to Genoa and have the interview with my future boss that went much better than expected (considering that it is an architectural studio that designs Cruise Ships – something totally different than the type of projects I worked on in Miami back in the day).
I have to say that after 24 years working at this studio the level of projects and the working environment are superb! And along the road after embarking on projects for companies such as Princess Cruises, Cunard, and Silversea we arrive at the first of a series of vessels for the new company founded by Sir Richard Branson. Last week we had the pleasure of being his guest at the Steel Kneel ceremony (Steel kneel relates to placing the first steel component of the ship and officially starts the construction process) at the Sestri Levante Shipyard.
The party was amazing as you can see if the short video clips below. Boy George was the DJ (Culture Club was one of the first groups on the Virgin Records roster). I also had the pleasure of having a short chat with Richard at the after party in which we spoke about the vessel.
So in a nutshell….I tend to imagine what would have happened if I had not encountered my current boss and moved back to Miami back in 1992?
Life and its mysterious routes…. Viva Italia!
Here is an additional link regarding the new ship currently under construction.
Virgin Voyages sites
Having moved to Italy back in 1992 I did not grasp or understand the mentality and philosophy that Italians have regarding the sacred concept of “ferie” or vacation.Living in Miami before coming here and working in one of the cities biggest architectural firm where vacation time was handed out with an eye drop approach.
At that time back in Miami I could only take a maximum of 7 days off in one year and even have worked with the firm for 12 years the maximum that I could accumulate was 10 days off but it was a major hassle to be able to use the allotted time when you wanted.
Here in Italy, it is a totally different story. In Milan, everybody works hard but when that heat wave starts arriving in mid-July, the nerves start rising parallel to the heat, and folks start talking about vacation locations and the fact that finally, August is here!
The month of August is the clue month in which most companies take off and shut their doors for approximately 3 weeks. In the last 5 years some companies rotate the time frames and do combination vacation shifts but it will be close to impossible to contact anyone for work related stuff in the two middle weeks of that month.
As I write this, I have just started mine and as I wait for Betti to arrive from the country and we start packing our bags to head off to Lisbon this Tuesday, the quiet sounds of an empty Milan are a gift to my ears. Even if the temperature is in the low 90s I still love this time of the year when we can recharge and get ready for the second half of the year.
Enjoy the Summer and baci from Casa Chiesi!
Above photo: @toscaradigonda
For the last couple of week, I have been playing with the new version of Anchor FM (2.0 to be precise) which is an App for both IOS and Android that lets you become an audio broadcaster in a very simple and fun way. I had been debating for the last couple of months the need or willingness to set up some sort of Podcast related to our love for Italy.
I am really loving the simplicity and fun factor in using this new tool but the jury is still out on if we should do a Podcast and more precisely: what subject matter?
This is going back and forth between myself and Betti for the last couple of weeks and since we are now heading to our MUCH needed Holiday break (It’s our 25th Wedding Anniversary this August 15th) the jury is still out.
In the meantime, we invite you to subscribe to our Anchor station and check out myself talking about a diverse subject matter related to what else? Italy of course!
Listen to our latest episode of Casa Chiesi on Anchor by clicking on: Casa Chiesi on Anchor
One of the fun things which I have indulged in with the passing of time and along with the fact that I have lived in Italy for the last 26 years is a passion for Italian Food. Ever since I was a young kid growing up in Venezuela, I had a constant fascination for those loud and full of live restaurants that my Dad use to take to me. The mysteries of spaghetti cooked in a thousand variations or that first rabbit “alla cacciatore” still are stuck in my subconscious.
Once my parents got divorced and my mother dragged me to that wonderful capital of the world called New York, weekly visits to Mulberry Street and Little Italy along with a yearly San Gennaro fest love relationship solidified my passion.
So then comes along a move down to Miami and that no-man lands of Italian Cuisine (I still remember with anger my first visit to an Olive Garden in Orlando which I consider a true nightmare that haunts me till this day). I always had a visceral attraction towards Europe in general and considering that my Dad was from Barcelona I was not a bit surprised that my first visit to Rome when I was fresh out of University was the stuff of dreams. A simple hotel (which no longer exists by the way) close to the Spanish Steps culminated in venturing out and eating, by myself since my German girlfriend at the time had still not flown in to meet up with me, the most magnificent “spaghetti alla carbonara” that my eyes had ever encountered. The restaurant, recommended by the bell hop of the hotel, had a simple open garden in the back and was off the typical tourist trap list which back in 1982 was still quite small in nature.
The beauty of the day, the food, and wine, the friendly service sold me on the greatness of the country that I had envisioned in my childhood dreams. That week I was quite serious about planning yearly trips to explore the rest that Italy had to offer and tempt me with.
Obviously once I got on the plane that took me back to the sunny shores of Miami, that plan hit with the reality of finding work (which I did shortly after) and bogging down into the 9 to 5 grid (in those days it was more 9 to 10) in one of Miami’s most successful architectural firms at the time.
But as we all know life has its mysterious way of not forgetting about the small pleasures that we indulge into from time to time. And right after the relationship with the German girl dried up, a common friend (Italian of course) decided to do a match making a proposal to me over a dinner party that I had the coincidence of going to. Bear in mind I hate match making or any sort of effort on the behalf of people to try to solve the complexity that we call life (and in that case human relationships).
But as I walked into that party and was drawn towards a sophisticated girl from Milan sitting on a sofa and acting nonchalant about the fact that she was eating overcooked Gnocchi far away from home. I was immediately entranced and decided to invite her out. And so began our story, one that evolved towards a wonderful wedding on South Beach and my subsequent move to that country which was always teasing me and tempting me in the back of my mind as a child.
Bear in mind that I am a terrible cook in comparison to Betti, but with that passion, I decided to embark on creating and moderating an Italian Food Community on Google+ which has grown exponentially. If you love Italian Food as much as I do I would love to have you check it out. Grazie,
You can find the Google+ Italian Food Community link here: Google+ Italian Food Community
We are super happy to have added our Casa Chiesi Italian Lifestyle to the Bloglovin platform. Bloglovin is a great platform that offers insights into numerous worldwide Blogs that can be of interest. A great tool to also find other similar blogs that cover Italy which is our main focus over here at Casa Chiesi.
We have noticed a great group of bloggers with similar interest to our love for Italy. A key source for engaging with fellow bloggers is key towards the mission statement that Betti and myself have always stressed: Our love for Italy!
The month of July is already here and what better time than to launch a new project?
We have decided to set up a brand new and shiny Eshop in which we will be offering a series of Ebooks which are directly derived from Elisabetta’s book Eating Heart which can also be purchased at the store.
Every two months we will be offering a new publication which will revolve around the themes that are close to our heart. Food, Italian Living, and travel tips. For now, you can purchase Eating Heart either on Amazon in a printed version or as a PDF which you can enjoy on your desktop or mobile devices (Ipad, Android Tables, and Mobile phones)
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#ebook #italianfood #recipes
One of the great things about Social Media is the possibility of meeting wonderful people from all around the world.
As most of you know we are on the main channels so that we can reach out to our audience and show them the beauty that is Italy.
A while back my friend Vicki Fitch contacted us and invited us to be part of her show “A Fresh Perspective” a show that in our time frame starts at 4am in the morning. In fact, I get to catch the end of her show usually when I am on the train to go to work in Genoa. This time I put two alarms on so that I would not miss the allocate for the interview. It was a pity that Betti was out of town due to work commitments (maybe next time).
I have to say that the hour flew by since Vicki is tops as both host and interviewer. We covered how I ended up in Italy along with the stuff that we do over here at Casa Chiesi regarding our love for Italy.
Would love to invite you to check it out over at this link on her Facebook Page: click Fresh Perspective with Vicki Fitch
Thanks, Vicki and all those that joined!
This Friday we are flying down to Sicily and more precisely the city of Palermo for a 4-day visit and to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary which is really in August but we start celebrating now!
In February we did the first Casa Chiesi City Belly, a live stream which revolves from the center piazza (square) of our favorite Italian cities. Our first one was revolving around the city of Bologna and you can view it here.
Now it is the turn of the city of Palermo!
In this 30 minute format we will give you a 360° (hint…) view and analysis of the Italian city we are visiting from the center of each one (from here comes the reference to the Belly!) We would love for you to join us this Sunday at 11 am EST where we will be highlighting the wonderful city of Palermo.
These Livestreams are visible on our Facebook Page at this link
and we will also be featured on this website and YouTube channel
Kinda like bring the town center to your Living Room!
Betti and Nazim
Every year during the month of April, the city of Milan lights up for the famous Salone del Mobile (an event which is one of the highlights regarding Furniture Design for operators, clients, and diehard Design fans) that typically runs for 6 days.
This year the event was moved up to the first week of April in such a way as to let the poor souls decanter and head on out toward the Easter break which is an important Holiday break here in Italy. For me, this period typical revolves around a mad rush of getting digital projects out in time such as to highlight and shine the companies I have as clients so the stress level is quite crazy.
Once the projects are delivered I do get a chance to go out and visit installations that I did find of interest and which I would like to highlight below:
1. Invisible Outlines by Nendo
I was lucky enough to be able to see this fantastic exhibition by the designer Nendo even if the lines were running around 45 minutes to get in. In conjunction with the Jill Sanders showroom in Milan, space was transformed into a white oasis with an emphasis on the sharing a new way of envisioning objects. My favorite piece in the space was the Jellyfish Vases which consisted of transparent silicon vases inside a tank that oscillated and reacted to wave movements from inside a pump. Super proud to have my friend Tim Power involved in this exhibit.
Dezeen website account of the project
Short video from the installation
2. The Skin of the Architecture by PiuArch
In October of last year, I moved my studio towards the Brera area of town and I now have the pleasure of being next door neighbors with this creative studio that decided to cover the facade of the full-length wall with hanging flowers. This along with an exhibition of their works inside the studio created a flow of traffic in our courtyard which was a marvel to witness. Bravi!
3. Foundation from Forma Fantasma
A wonderful play of reflections from very elegant lamp structures was another of my favorites at the Fuori Salone in Milan. This talented team from Amsterdam took over the Krizia Fashion showroom (which usually was reserved for Ingo Maurer and Ron Arad in past editions) and presented an elegant and surreal play with reflections.
In a nutshell my favorites!