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.
As you can all imagine we are full of sadness as we watch the images that are coming out of Central Italy which was hit with a devastating Earthquake last Sunday in the early morning that totally wiped out the small town of Amatrice along with heavy damage in additional cities close by.
We would like to thank all our friends of Casa Chiesi for the message of support and love from all over. We were on the Ligurian coast in the city of Camogli which is further north (about 4 hours away) from the area affected.
Betti and Nazim
Last week a friend of ours from the Blab community invited us to join on a worldwide Periscope experience called Scope Day for Holidays(#SDxHolidays) which occurred in a 48 hour period between December 12th and December the 13th.
Betti was pretty caught uo for work over the week so I decided to take the bike and my live streaming setup and show the folks the pre-Christmas atmosphere that occurs in the center of Milan and to be more precise along the Duomo area. I took a stroll down the side of the church, then went on to cover the Rinascente store (Italy’s equivalent of Bloomingdales in New York) went into the Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele to visit the original Prada store were the whole empire started to then finish up at La Scala Opera house!