One of the pleasures that we have here at Casa Chiesi is planning future articles and trips (specially once Covid19 starts giving up it’s grip on this wonderful country that is Italy).
That is why we are supper happy to have been indicated as one of the top 10 Italian Travel Blogs over at Feedspot which covers Bloggers worldwide in a vast amount of categories!
Some awesome news in these times when travel is slowing reopening worldwide. Viva Italia!!
Link to Feedspot is here
As we have reached the 51t day of our lockdown status here in Milan, Italy I have decided to give our friends and followers an idea of how things have evolved in these last 6 weeks at the Chiesi-Beltran household. As most of you know this Italian Lifestyle Blog is our platform on which we express our thoughts and love for this beautiful country that is Italy. You can read a bit more of the people involved since we started back in the Summer of 2014 here at this link
As most of the people we know around the world the arrival of this virus has affected everyone’s life in one way or another: from major health concerns plus the economical impact on our pocketbooks this one comes right up there with something that at least I have personally not come across in my 60 years on planet Earth.
From seeing the images of our empty cities on the news along with information on the web to hearing accounts from friends and family of which direction this might take us it becomes quite hard to dispense optimism and empathy but still….we maintain a positive outlook
and try our best to keep a level of calm which we clearly know is hard to do based on a month (plus or minus) of lockdown.
But now for the positive stuff that has come out of all of this. Human beings need to have a sense of communication that before all of this had somehow gone lost in the crazy and production-based society we live in. Betti and I find ourselves with extra time to explore all those things and ideas that before were not possible to envision or develop. We tend to leave the Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other distratcions as an evening only option and somehow now look at all of it with a different eye. In fact, Betti would rather prefer to watch documentaries on subject matter which is culturally enlighting instead of a bizarre shows such as the likes of Tiger Tail or similar.
From a work standpoint of view, we are fortunate in the sense that my work revolves around the digital transformation of companies and even if Betti is a make-up artist and for now fashion is on hold she is teaching remotely to the diverse schools that she is involved in and working on a new project that revolves around Make-up. I am blessed to be married to such a talented person!
Our daughter Zoe is also in the house and being a 25 year old woman we were concerned that she would go in a downward path being locked up for so long but to our surprise, she is upbeat and working on her career as a photographer and digital entrepreneur. We are quite impressed!
Another beautiful thing that has come out of all of this is that we have established a close relationship with our neighbors which has evolved towards the idea of having a weekly Saturday dinner party which we do on the landing of the fifth floor between both apartments placing a plant in between and keeping a safe distance but setting up candles and cooking phenomenal Italian Food. Tonight is Saturday so we are already preparing for what we end up dreaming about all week long: la cenetta con il vicini!
Another interesting thing that has occurred in this period is that we have decided with the advance of the days and then the weeks to tune out from the news which in the end only brings negative vibes to the whole equation. Better to concentrate on positive stuff and learn or polish new skills related to both our professions.
In regards to our Casa Chiesi project even if the whole travel scene here in Italy has come to a grinding stop we are still writing and posting material about our love per Italia! Once things slowly pick up we will be back on the beaten path traveling and showing great sites, food, art, history, and traditions.
To all our dear friends and followers big hugs and stay as healthy and safe as possible.
Baci e abracci a tutti
As we go into the third week of a new way of living due to this virus which has touched everyone’s life near and far one has to look at the positive things that we can at least derive from this new phase in what we call live on this planet.
Yes we can not deny that this is a game changer for people worldwide in more aspects that one can envision but at the same time we should
embrace the opportunity to mantain an approach that embraces calm and collectivness along with a new sense of empathy that had gone out the window in the current world we were living in.
When we started Casa Chiesi about 5 years ago we embarked on the adventure of showing our friends near and far the beauties that this country has to offer and these last 4 weeks have really shown us how strong this population is and how they are fighting with our their hearts and souls an invisible enemy. We are sure that this will all pass and we will come out of it with a stronger sense of unity and love.
As always we are here to keep promotion the wonders that Italy has to offer and waiting for the moment whe we can embrace each other in our love for all that Italy represents! Hang in there as this will pass….
Some magical and impressive moments from the last weeks in a locked down scenario follow…
Aperitivo with our neighbors from a safe distance!
Nazim on an empty train from Genoa to Milan two weeks ago
Arrival at Stazione Centrale and certificate check
Betti teaches Makeup to her class online
Virtual Dinner with our friends
Traverse Travel Bloggers Pub Crawl Quiz
Baci from Nazim and Betti!
Just started my day back in Milan fresh out of spending a wonderful three days in London (of which two involved attending BorderlessLive). What can I say? Still, have that buzz feeling that revolves around meeting wonderfull Travel bloggers and Content Creators that share the same enthusiasm that we have over here at Casa Chiesi. For those that might not know Borderless Lives is organized by the same folks that brought us Traverse19 in the beautiful city of Trento in Italy.
For this first edition of BorderlessLive the venue was located at an interesting former Tobacco Dock which now has been renovated and offers up a great location for Conferences of which the WTM London in collaboration with Traverse and Reed Enterprise is in charge of setting up. Since Betti could not make it I decided that we could not miss it and bought the VIP Creator Pass, made my airplane and AirBnB reservations a while back. I flew in to Luton on Thursday night and made it in time for the closing drinks of the launch party that occurred at the Fugitive Motel in Bethnal Green (which turned out to be quite close to my Airbnb setup)
The next day headed off towards Tobacco Dock which was roughly 40 minutes away and a nice walk with views of the London skyline on the way. Upon arrival, I was super impressed with the efficient signup process that also included a dedicated Borderless Live App in which you could use the Slido platform to ask questions and also contact all the companies present at the event.
After a quick coffee and salutation with faces and friends, I recognized from Trento the sessions started. To get an idea of the level of seminars and interest here is the program for the two days. As you can see quite a lot of stuff to cover and this time I did not have Betti along for the ride so I had to decide on some cases which talk overlapped with each other and also the ones that would be beneficial for where we are in our Italian Lifestyle blogger journey.
The great thing was also the free beer that was flowing courtesy of the folks representative of Budweiser Budvar who had tow kegs constantly flowing. The diet took a backburner these three days to say the least! So we wrapped up the first day with a second party over at Wombat’s City Hostel for more drinks and a Karaoke party which was great fun for all…I skipped this time in doing singing duties! I also had the pleasure of meeting Gregor Kleczkowski from Wombats Austria who gave us a great tour on the final evening where were we ended at for a final nightcap and closer. Great Hostel setups which now also over an Italian location in Venice!
Since I had a Networking appointment at 10 am on Saturday I decided to play it safe and end on back to Bethnal Green and not overdo it. The following day we had the opportunity of doing a Network session which was great for meeting some fellow travel bloggers which I will highlight at the end of this post. Prior to the Networking we all joined the Creator Breakfast and compared notes in regards to what we all do and the worlds we cover. Loved it!
After that, it was off to the second day of Sessions of which I had to cut a couple short because I had a Channel Check on our Social Media accounts. Pretty much got confirmed that we are on the track with how we have set up our platforms and posting in the last 5 months (which is when we decided to really kick it up a notch!)
The final evening and close off ceremony was at a cool venue called The Vintry located in Central London. Obviously with this kind of crowd the party moved on well into the night back at Wolmats for final drinks and singing!
Really a fabulous time and I would like to personally thank everyone involved! Here is a list of fellow Travel Bloggers/Content Creators that I had the chance to meet and that you need to follow:
Dutch Girl in London (@The_Zarina)
Phillip Ammon (@PhotoAmmon)
Karl Watson (@karlwatsondocs)
Kash Bhattacharya (@BudgetTraveller)
Palle Bo (@theradiovagabond)
Omo Osagiede and Eulanda Shead Osagiede (@dipyourtiesin)
Rhonna Elizabeth (@thonnaelizabeth)
Anisa Alhilali (@2TravelingTexans)
Antonio Maisto (@TotiMaisto)
BigWorld Small Pockets
Teresa Gomez (@broganboard)
Andrea Wade (@happydaystravellblog)
Larch Gauld (@thesilvernomad)
Rosie Fluskey (@flyingfuskey)
Shout out to the great team at Traverse who also did a fabulous job at Travese19 Here is a partial list
Han Talbot and the rest of the team at Traverse!
Apologies if I probably missed you but I did not get your contacts or was way too distracted! My fault!
The last four days have been an eyeopener for us over at Casachiesi! Thanks to our dear friends and fellow bloggers Chef Dennis K. Littley and his wife Lisa Ross along with Amy Askin who pointed out this fantastic blogger conference we were able to attend for the very first time in the city of Trento, Italy which we never had the chance to visit but was on our bucket list.
We took advantage and left early Thursday morning so as to be able to visit and prepare three articles regarding this area. The scent of fresh air and new attractions had us gleaming with anticipation as we knew that we only had two days before the beginning of the weekend sessions which revolved around improving our blogging assets (this site, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube)
If you are curious about what the seminars revolved around here are the schedules for each day
Useful Links related to Traverse Events and VisitTrentino:
Visit Trentino: https://www.visittrentino.info/en
Traverse Events : https://www.traverse-events.com/
This years edition of Traverse in Trento: https://www.traverse-events.com/traverse19/
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
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
One thing we love of our dear friends in Italy is that on the whim of a moment an invitation gets extended and we find ourselves catapulted in beautiful Umbria. Since we tend to spend Christmas in Camogli with the whole family we wanted to be able to take a break somewhere else for a change and Renato, Paola and their son Carlos (who is the photographer behind these blog post photos) came to the rescue.
Renato’s parents have a beautiful country house in Umbria (which is close to Todi, to be featured in a Casa Chiesi article soon) roughly 4 hours and 20 minutes away from Camogli, so yesterday we embarked on a nice drive between occasional fog and bright sunshine arriving at destination at 5 pm.
On our arrival, we found out that the country mice (or rats in this case) had eaten through the plastic tubing of the brand new heating system and the house was as cold as ice (love the Foreigner song reference). Our guest had arrived two hours before so we had the installers figuring out what was needed to fix the unit and get the house heated. They will be back today.
No big deal since we made a nice fire, bundled up, wine and cold cuts along with great conversation heated up our souls. That and a nice visit to the local trattoria for a wonderful evening with friends.