This last week brought in the very dismal images from a flooded Venice for which most of my friends got back to me saying: But isn’t it always underwater during the rainy season? Obviously what they are referring to is the famous “aqua alta” phenomenon which due to the high water table and occasional rains makes the city have to bring out the wooden planks and tourists can move around relatively easily by way of these elevated platforms.
But this time it’s a whole different story! I had the chance to speak via video chat with our fellow travel bloggers friends Daryl and Mindi Hirsch of 2FoodTripers who were able to waddle out and make it to Verona yesterday and told me they had never experienced anything like this! And it was their first time in Venice! They were interviewed on the Newsweek Online edition regarding how dangerous it was. Check out the article at this link
A state of emergency has been declared and obviously all the politicians were on-site yesterday expressing solidarity and doing the typical photo ops of which Italians are a bit fed up about and we have seen in previous situations such as the famous Aquila Earthquake back in 2009. The sad part about this is that there is an ongoing project to save the city from the lagoon water invasion called Mose which nobody actually knows how it will work and has been under construction since I arrived here back in 1992! Here is some more info on this controversial project >> link
Venice is one of my favorite cities in Italy (to the point that I told Bett I would love to live there in the future!) so to see this devastation is truly heart-wrenching. Let’s hope that this is not another mute wake-up call that falls on deaf ears!
As most of you already know we tend to spend our weekend escapes up in our country house which is conveniently located close to the city of Milan by car (roughly an hour and fifty minutes from door to door).
Now that Fall is starting to bless us with its wonderful colors and fantastic temperatures we tend to go in the vast woods that are right behind our house for long treks and exploration. We also tend to feel a certain optimism towards trying to find that sacred delicacy that everyone here talks about: The Porcini Mushroom!
You cannot imagine how many time we have picked and found mushrooms that we believed were close to being edible only to later find out upon inspection from the local experts (folks in their late 80s) that I could serve these up for my wife over dinner and in the early morning call the insurance company to collect on her insurance once I provide the appropriate death certificate!
Along with this the constant invitations to us city folks that they will take us early in the morning and show us how to get Mushrooms the correct way. I have to say that after 12 years since we bought the house I am still waiting for that invitation to come forward! Not holding my breath to tell you the truth! These “fugaioli” experts love to keep their secret spots to themselves!
Yesterday morning we decided to head on over to our friend’s place for coffee passing through the woods and Betti said…why don’t we try to go to that place where we found the Ovuli mushrooms last year? I said sure let’s give it a try.
Let me remind you that Bett’s sense of direction is a bit off and I tend to be the guy with an enclosed compass in my brain for which I pretty much knew where to start the trek. To tell you the truth I was more centered on finding the Ovuli type mushrooms so I started exploring the vicinity of the place that we had found those last year. Nothing!
I have to say that hunting for Mushrooms is a bit like Fishing. Long periods of waiting and walking till you stumble upon something is that is decent.
We sort of started giving up when heading a bit to the left of where we were I noticed a brown specimen that to me seem quite interesting and similar to a Porcini mushroom. I picked it up and handed it over to Betti but since we had already been through this process before (with rejection and jokes regarding how city folks love poisonous mushrooms) we placed it in the sack and decided to hold our enthusiasm.
As is typical they say that when you find a Mushroom you typical can find others close by and Betti stumbled upon a smaller one close by so that one also went in the sack.
We came back home in the afternoon and started looking at photos of Mushrooms to try to identify the specimen in hand but our enthusiasm was starting to flounder. Than Betti says: “We need to bring these to the old folks even if they make fun of us” as opposed to throwing them out which was my suggestion.
Alas! This morning we went to visit “la signora Fernanda” who as soon as she sees them burst out in celebration and confirmed that they were Porcini Mushrooms! She even brought out her scale and confirmed that we had 2 etti worth of precious mushrooms. Obviously Betti was ecstatic and we fully trust “signora Fernanda since she once owned a famous trattoria in Voghera and she knows her Mushrooms!
So in conclusion! We finally found the Fockers!!! Betti is bringing them over for a dinner invite we have tonight for all to enjoy! Bellisimo!
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!
Every year we typically retreat to the nice quite of the Valtidone hills in which we get a chance to recharge our energies and plan the rest of the year both workwise and Casa ChiesiCasa Chiesi Web Site wise!
This year we took part of the Confluenze festival which is a yearly event organised by our dear friend Azzura Zanoli (along with a vast team of collaborators). The initial editions of this festival use to concentrate on the town of Nibbiano which is directly below us and roughly a 10 minute drive from our country place.
This year the festival ran between August 3rd and August 10th which was perfect for us since we had just started our Summer Holiday.
One of the highlights for Betti and myself was a night walk into the woods with an artist that organised an excersice that consisted of painting on white sheets of paper the reflection cast out by the folliage in the woods. So basically we met in the forrest with a team of roughly 30 people who broke down the task towards someone holding a flashlight or torch (in most cases the mobile phones provided the perfect light source) and the other person trying to recreate the folliage on paper that derived from the shadows.
I have to confess that after seeing Betti so full of entusiasm and egging me on to join her in the fun (mind you I cant remember the last time I took a paint brush in my hands) the experience was so liberating and fun! Quite an interesting experiment with beautiful results in the middle of the evening in the famous Bosco delle Streghe (which means Witch Forrest, a name Azzura came up with years ago).
The theme of this years festival was Walking (Camminare) so most of the events revolved around beautiful walks that helped us better understand and appreciate the beauty which is Valtidone. We are looking forward to next years edition of this ever expanding event.
Check out their website (english version coming soon) at this link
Next year if you are in this neck of the woods we invite you to join in on the festivities.
Here is the location of the town of Nibbiano.
As most of you probably know we are a couple that are living in the city of Milan which is a bit hectic by nature (but not as hectic as New York) so roughly 12 years a go we decided to make a small investment and buy an old abandoned trattoria in the small town of CaBazarri in the beautifu hills of Valtidone close to the town of Nibbiano.
This place is roughly and hour and fifty minutes away from our place in Milan and has been the main center of a lot of wonderful moments in our Italian lifestyle experience. In fact we usually are able to spend weekends and short holiday breaks away from the polluted air in Milan.
For us the most magical moment and one which we cherish the most is the Summer Vacation which here in Italy roughly last 3 weeks and is the perfect time to also turn off the preassure valve and relax. This year is even more special since the hot temperatures that people suffer in the city are far away due to the fact that we are at 700 meters above sea level with a drop of about 10 degrees which makes for sleeping under covers at night and no sweat fests like we had in Milan last month.
This is also a great time to go down and visit the Trebbia River which is roughy 30 minutes away and also explore and enjoy other sites and sounds of the valley. In fact we even had time to whip up another recipe which here in the country is a favourite from Betti’s secret arsenal. This time it’s Italian Lemon Mousse (check out the recipe here).
Anyway to give you an idea of this small secret retreat we enjoy on a regular basis here are some photos
Hope you all enjoy a great Summer break wherever you might find yourself and thanks for the support.
Next month I am heading out to the BorderlessLive event in London to promote our brand and expand our adventures from Italy.
Coming back from Traverse19, the traveller bloggers festival that took place last weekend, I want to honor the city of Trento, which hosted us in one of the historical places that well represent the affection of Trento to culture: it Social Theater.
It is a classic Italian theater, with a vaguely neoclassical architectural approach, with a deep stage, a good capacity, its “Palco Reale“, an imposing chandelier, golden decorations and beautiful frescos in the ceiling but It was long considered the most beautiful theater in Tyrol.
It is quite curious to know that in the subsoil important pieces of the building fabric of the Roman Tridentum were discovered with a paved stretch of road, a Domus with mosaics, a craft workshop, and traces of medieval renovations.
As you walk around you can perceive the presence of Roman ruins through the glass frames distribute here and there in the conference rooms.
The history of the social theater of Trento is a story with a happy ending that spans over the life of the city from the beginning of 1800 to today.
The theater was built by a private citizen, Felice Mazzurana, who was also its first owner and its activities started 1819 with the show
“La Cenerentola” by Gioachino Rossini.
Mazzurana believed that Trento was missing a “Real theater” and when the building was completed, he succeeded in selling, in one day, almost all the theater boxes to the rich city families.
In 1835 the theater changed its name to Teatro Sociale and the management passed from Mazzurana to the Società del Teatro.
In 1881 the theater underwent a first restructuring curated by Count Manci and in 1893 the second representation of Manon Lescaut took place there with the presence of the opera author, Giacomo Puccini. These were the golden years of the late nineteenth century, la Belle Epoque when Verdi works came to Trento under the directing of Arturo Toscanini.
Then with the First World War, arrived the closing of the theater and its transformation into a military warehouse.
In 1924 the venue underwent another restoration which signed the beginning of a new era, the cinema. For 60 years the Teatro Sociale hosted prose, opera, and cinema until 1984 when, the impresario Zuliani, unable to bear the costs of the restoration, decided to sell it to the Province Trento which later granted it to the Municipality of Trento.
This ownership change prevented the risk of the theater being turned into a department store
The last restoration, which ended in 2000, gave us back the structure that we see today and we have attended in these days both in his main hall dedicated to entertainment activities and in all the other rooms where the conferences were presented.
Thanks again to Traverse for letting us discover a small Italian jewel and for the city of Trento that hosted this event
Short video I did before the opening ceremony
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/
We arrived on Thursday to the wonderful of Trento for our first Blogger conference. Our dear friend Chef Dennis K. Littley suggested that we come and join him at this wonderful conference which this decided to center around the city of Trento. Two day conference with fellow and speaker covering all things related to the world of blogging.
A great opportunity for us to prepare some new articles about an area of Italy that we had not visited. So watch this space for new articles and some feedback from our experience at Traverse 19 in Trento.
It’s that time of the year again! Crazy deadlines and a wonderful sense that the city is full of life in April. Yes…it’s that time of the year when the famous Salone del Mobile in Milan takes place and the horde of design obsessed fanatics gather in the city to party, see the latest trends and network.
For those who have never visited during this period let me do a nice rundown of what occurs followed with some tips and also some highlight events that you should check out if you are in town.
Ever since I moved to Milan (wayback in 1992) this Event typically takes place during the first or second week in April staying far way from the Easter Holiday which is on the third week of April so as not to lose visitors.
We recommend the following as a base to start with
Locations not to be missed:
the Botanical Garden
the Brera Academy
Brera Design District
– via Palermo 1, Brera Design Apartment (3rd floor) this year will be set up by Cristina Celestino. Planetarium is his project inspired by space and the underwater world, which will reinterpret the carpet as a contemporary material in a setting with luminous sculptures.
– via Palermo 1, The Socialite Family, a “Parisian” apartment in Milan.
– via Palermo 1, the gallery-home that will host a new exhibition and Le Botteghe su Gologone, a collection that combines contemporary design with the traditions of the Sardinian Barbagia.
– via Palermo 5, Marimekko (P5Apartment).
– via Palermo 16, Maisons du Monde.
– via Solferino 11, Dimore Studio, Boffi and Paola C, the invitation is to get lost in temporary locations and showrooms.
– via Moscova 28, Moooi in the beautiful location of the Santa Teresa Media Library.
– via Lovani 6, Artek.
– via Goito 7, HEAD, Haute école d’art et de design de Genève.
– corso Garibaldi 116, DcomeDesign Reloaded (Humanistic Library of Santa Maria Incoronata).
– corso Garibaldi 117, Hem.
– via Ciovasso 17, MT Masking Tape.
– Largo Treves 5, Memphis.
The 2019 edition of the 5vie district is dedicated to the work of Ugo La Pietra.
– via Cesare Correnti 14, Territorial Design, Genius Loci. Discovering the traditional Italian know-how that meets design.
– via Meravigli 7, Masterly – The Dutch in Milan (Palazzo Turati).
– Corso Magenta 24, The Litta Variations.
– via Santa Marta 15, ceramic Paravicini.
– via Santa Marta 18, Human Code by Roberto Sironi, a reflection on human development and 300,000 years of evolution.
– via Bandello 14, Rossana Orlandi, a reflection on human development and 300,000 years of evolution.
Duomo / San Babila
– via Gesù 5, Palazzo delle Meraviglie, Bagatti Valsecchi Museum.
– via Manzoni 5, The Manzoni-Tom Dixon, Restaurant and showroom.
– via Morigi 9, Botanical Reflection, Palazzo Belgioioso.
– via Pietro Mascagni 8, Interstellar, Dimorestudio.
– corso Monforte 35, COS Palazzo Isimbardi, with a 3D printed installation by the French architect Arthur Mamou Mani.
– Palazzo Reale, The Art Side of Kartell, to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the company.
– via Festa del Perdono 7, Interni Human Spaces, State University of Milan. In particular we point out the tribute signed by Piuarch studio to the Forest of Violins, the centenary forest in Val di Fiemme swept away by bad weather last fall. Two large spruce logs will emerge suspended from the loggia of the University’s Courtyard.
– via Ferrante Aporti 27, 17 installations in maxi format. There will be a strong Japanese presence, Maarten Baas with a special project, Freitag, Rapt Studio with the interactive installation Tell me more …
– Royal Room of the Central Station, Pleasure & Treasure, Austrian design.
– via San Gregorio 29, Wallpaper * Handmade, Isko, Denim Sound Texture.
– via Bergognone 34, Ventura Future, Bagatti Valsecchi Museum.
– via Tortona 32, IKEA-Lexus, Torneria where the new speaker collection will be launched with a light and sound installation.
– Superstudio Più, Superdesign Show-Innovation & Tradition, Normann Copenhagen, Lexus, LG Electronics, Japan Loves Superstudio, Korea Craft & Design Foundation, Materials Village.
– Opificio 31, Paola Navone studio, Belgium is Design, Hyundai (in collaboration with the Monocle magazine), Peugeot Design Lab, Citroën …
– via Tortona 35, Outspoken Design Language.
– via Savona 56 / A, Sony Affinity in Autonomy.
– via Savona 35, Norwegian Presence.
– via Vigevano 18, Nendo.
Palazzo Bovara Palazzo Bocconi
– via Vivaio 7, Wonderglass, Nendo, Institute for the Blind.
Island Design District
– via Gaetano de Castillia 26, La Stecca 3.0, the first bar entirely printed in 3D and other events.
– via Genova Thaon by Revel 21, Japanese design and art installations (Fonderia Napoleonica Eugenia).
– via Pastrengo 14, Milan Design Market, Milan Icons with the miniatures of Milan’s most iconic buildings by the artist Ornella Corradini.
– Via Pastrengo 7, Different Bodies, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Schools of Architecture, Design and Conservation (KADK).
– via Confalonieri 11, The arctic and sustainable living, Academy of Art and Design of the University of Lapland.
– via Procaccini 4, Unduetrestella, Kids.
XXII Triennale dedicated to sustainability and the relationship between man and the environment.
Being a passionate fan of the old Fiat 500 car (it is my dream to buy one of these relatively soon!) while doing some research regarding the cost and repair tips for these antique classic cars I stumbled upon a young 23 year old self-taught femail mechanic called Giovanna who was recently featured on La Repubblica online edition of the famous Italian Newspaper.
Wow! What a treat to see such a young architect decide to learn on her own how to repair and restore these models from scratch!
Here (in Italian) are some of her videos explaining the genesis of her training
La Repubblica featured article video:
Nana’s Garage promo
Giovanna explains how to restore a Fiat 500 engine
To close out here is where you can find some more information regarding this talented young entrepreneur.
Instagram account: Nana’s Garage
Facebook account: Nana’s Garage