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07.16.2018

From the 5th century AD, when the order of Saint Benedict was founded, to today, monasteries have preserved a unique feature that goes beyond every religious tradition: they are still a place where to take refuge, whether to get away from raids and poverty, as it happened in the Middle Ages, or to put a little distance between ourselves and our daily routine, as it often happens today.  Monasteries are almost inevitably secluded and out of time, and their days are punctuated by simple chores and tolling bells. Home to pilgrims, travelers and faithful for centuries, they retain a special energy magnified by the beauty of their ancient architecture and manuscripts. Europe is literally scattered with such places, and some of them can be extraordinary day-trip or holiday destinations. Here are five monasteries that you most likely do not know yet. Reichenau Island Monastery (Germany)Reichenau is an island on Lake Constance, at the foot of the Alps. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island houses a Benedictine monastery dating back to the 8thcentury with three churches mixing Carolingian, Ottoman and German architecture from the Salian dynasty, which reigned over the Holy Roman Empire between 1024 and 1125. Its peculiarity lies in the huge mural paintings, particularly those inside St. George’s church, which are very well-preserved.  Monastery of the Holy Cross, Fonte Avellana (Italy)In the 21stcanto of Dante’s Paradise from the Divine Comedy, Pier Damiani speaks of a hermitage at the foot of Monte Catria. This place was already a point of reference in the 14thcentury: the first monks had settled here, in this valley on the border between Marche and Umbria, in the 10thcentury, giving birth to what would become one of the most important Camaldolese monastic complexes in Italy. Hospitality and dialogue are the values ​​that have always been carried forward ever since then, with a calendar of events that covers the whole year and the opportunity of retiring for a few days to enjoy the silnce, nature, the woods and the sky. Ostrog Monastery (Montenegro)Set against the rocky mountains of Montenegro, in the Bjelopavlići valley and not far from Podgorica, the Ostrog Monastery is home to wild birds and strong winds. Founded in 1671, it is composed of two structures on an upper and lower level, connected by a long and winding staircase. The monks still celebrate Orthodox rites and sacraments and are happy to share the long history of this place and of the miracles that supposedly happened on its grounds with the visitors. Saint Gall Abbey (Switzerland)The first stones of this great Benedictine monastic complex date back to the 8th century, as well as some of the oldest manuscripts kept here. The library is its main asset, both for the Baroque structure and for the huge quantity of manuscripts dating back to the last twelve centuries, including the first architectural project on parchment. Architecture is the second focusbecause it features all the architectural styles from Charlemagne onwards, making this place one of the most vibrant cultural centers in Europe.Hermitage of Santa Caterina dal Sasso (Italy)Coming from the lake, the first thing you’ll see is the big bell tower, and then the beautiful arcade that runs along the lake. In Leggiuno, on Lake Maggiore, this hermitage has two convent structures, the oldest one dating back to the 13th century, and a church with an original structure, the result of the fusion of three different chapels over time. The frescoes, focusing on everyday life scenes and stories full of mysticism, have preserved their bright colors. When the winter fog rises from the lake, this place is an otherworldly vision. 

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07.13.2018

She is one of the world’s most famous and appreciated mezzo sopranos, a Baroque music enthusiast, a generous artist and a proud mother. Swedish singer Ann Hallenberg has been successfully singing opera for 25 years in the world’s most prestigious theatres. In the meantime, she has constantly enriched her repertoire with the rediscovery of amazing arias from unknown Baroque composers, supported in this passionate and incessant research by her husband, the German musicologist Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg. We discussed her career, her life and her passions over a Spritz in Venice. How did you, Ann, become Ann Hallenberg the famous mezzo soprano?AH:I am actually the proof that the media do have the power to shape a child. I grew up in a house with music. My father was a church singer, so I had music around me but it was mostly church hymns, never opera. And then when I was six I was left alone in front of the TV one day, and there was a televised production of the Bettlerstudent, an operetta by Millöcker. It just got me. I remember crying because it seemed like there would be a tragic finale, and jumping on the sofa when I found out there would actually be a happy ending. The day after, I asked my dad to buy me the record, and my mum to make me a dress just like the prima donna. There and then, I decided: this is what I want to do. I want to become an opera singer! So, basically you are living you childhood dream?AH:Yes, my whole life I have been doing what I wanted to do. I am extremely lucky, and I am aware of this luxury. Although as I was studying music, I said to myself “This is ridiculous, you can’t be an opera singer just like that”. Since I had a huge interest in history and I also wanted to be an archaeologist, I gave myself five years after attending the opera school to see if this dream would work. “If it does not”, I thought, “then I will have all my papers ready to become an archeologist”. It was my plan B. Which was the first moment in which you realized you could make it?AH:I think it was when I auditioned with very short notice in Oslo for L’Italiana in Algeri. Basically, from day 1 to day 2 they threw me in: I auditioned, said thank you, and I was on my way out of the stage door to catch my plane back to Stockholm when the opera management came running after me and told me I'd got the job! During that opera production I began to realize that it would work. I was four years out of opera school. From then on, my mantra has been “slow growth, quality music”Which specific moments in your career did you cherish the most?AH:There have been many fulfilling professional moments, of course, but personally the most remarkable one was coming home after an audition with Luca Targetti from La Scala one night and telling my parents “I am going to sing at La Scala!”. The joy of my father in his pajamas in the middle of the night is something I will always cherish. What triggered your passion for Baroque and 17thand 18thcentury composers?AH:First of all, I discovered Baroque through Swedish mezzo soprano Anne Sophie von Otter and truly liked it. Secondly, I realized that to sing Verdi, Puccini and Mozart I would have to stand one step behind the sopranoand reach for handkerchiefs, and chairs, and be supportive as they sing their arias. By singing Baroque, on the contrary, I would get to sing several arias. And then of course I also realized that it was perfect for my voiceIn your Carnevale 1729album you sang a collection of 14 unknown Baroque hits from the 1729 Venetian Carnival. How did you come up with the idea and why this specific selection? AH:The inspiration came from those cheap CDs you can buy at any gas-station: “Greatest Hits 1985”, “Summer Hits 2010” etc. I began to imagine what an album from the 18th century would have been like, what the “hits” of an exciting season in 18thcentury Venice could have been. We ended up picking the year 1729 because the Venice Carnival of that year had so many incredible arias written for the occasion that had miraculously survived. 1729 was a special year also becauseall the big stars of Italian opera had come back home after disagreements with their impresario, Händel,in England. This connection with such a well-known composer was also crucial to help us sell the record. On that note, how do you cope with the fact that these composers, such as Orlandini or Giacomelli, while being amazing are very little known? Wouldn’t it just have been easier and more profitable to record something by Händel?AH:I am absolutely aware of this. And I obviously love Händel. In the case of Carnevale 1729, I thought that “using” his name to make people discover the other composerswould be a good idea. The same thing happens when you set up the program for a recital: sometimes it can be annoying, but you always feel that you should add a Händel aria so that people are happy. But recently things are changing, and both record companies and fans are starting to appreciate unknown composersIs there a composer in particular work that you think would deserve more attention from musicians and the public? AH:Well, there are several. I would say Pietro Torri, Giovanni Porta, and of course Geminiano Giacomelli. Yet it is not easy to popularize work. They are basically unknown, and there is not a single famous piece from them that the public can connect with to get an idea of who they are. Also, you need to do a lot of research because scores and editions are scarce. Finally, there is a negative bias towards unknown composers, the idea that if they had been so good they would not have been forgotten. If it is not about quality, why is that are some composers more known than others? Why Händel and Vivaldi and not Torri and Giacomelli?AH:It is about quality, but only to a certain extent. There is no denying that Händel, for instance, was unique. He truly had a God-given gift. But there are other aspects we should take into account: some composers were only present in their time, they wrote music for a living, maybe they didn’t travel much. In other words, they did not think of music “for eternity”(this is something that only became relevant later, with the “genius” culture). They had one commission after another, and they were extremely good at their own craft. So, yes: Händel was a genius, and maybe Torri was a genius too, only he did not manage to have his work performed in theatres for as long as Händel’s Messiah, and thus to become equally popular. Sometimes it’s just that people love to listen to what they already know: and in that sense, everything that is familiar has a great advantage over the unknownWhat’s your favorite genre when it comes to performing?AH:Opera was my first loveand I have been doing it for 25 years. It is magic indeed, both onstage and behind the scenes. I love the behind-the-scene dance, with people perfectly coordinating to make everything perfect! But it also very hard work, and a lot of time away from home. Besides, singing operas can sometimes be frustrating these days, because the power of the directors has become so overwhelming that it occasionally takes over the idea of the music. So, at this point in my career it has to be something really special. Nobody can believe a singer who sings everything. In this industry you must be capable of saying no. It is brave and refreshing at the same time. How do you feel about curtain calls? What goes through an artist’s mind in that moment?AH:After so many years I am still terrified. I think the fear of not receiving an applause is every artist’s worst nightmare. It luckily never happened to me. When the applause comes, it is like the ultimate proof that you did your job well, and that the public is in a way giving back what you have tried to give them. It’s a sort of chemistry. How do you cope with being an artist as well as a wife and a mother?AH:I am travelling about 200 days every year, so the real hero is my husband. It definitely is a teamwork, because if he didn’t take care of everything at home and with our daughter I would not be able to travel. I’m the one onstage, the one who gets the applause, but behind the scenes there is someone taking care of all the rest. As for meI remain a normal persondespite my staging career. I still love going out without makeup to buy milk in my hometown. Your husband, Holger Schmitt-Hallenberg, is in the music field too. Does that help?AH:Holger is a musicologist, andmy living encyclopedia! This means that we can collaborate and that is just perfect. He has been working in theatres and he knows how my profession works. I never have to explain. But in general, I think that for instance two singers would have a hard time coping with a career and a family, because one of the two would have to step back.   What do you like to do to relax once the hard work is over?AH:Knitting! I need to work with my hands. My work is gone the moment I do it. I sing, and it’s air. I need to do something more physical. 

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Take a few canvas scraps, enough to create a layer a few centimeters thick. Compress them well and secure them to each other with the most resistant string you have. Shape it following the outline of a foot and sew it to a piece of embroidered canvas or velvet, chosen among the best ones you have at home: this is what the women of Friuli, in north-eastern Italy, have been doing for centuries to create an ancient type of footwear called scarpet, a tradition jealously preserved and handed downfor generations. Although the first written records of this tradition date back to the nineteenth century, it certainly has its roots in the previous centuries, when it started in the Friuli region only to reach the Belluno Dolomites and the Treviso pre-Alps. Venetian gondoliers, who needed practical and flexible footwear to protect them from the summer heat and the winter cold, were also great fans of the scarpets. Each family had its own scarpet tradition with special symbols for the embroidery on the toe. In a time when reuse was a daily necessity and waste an inconceivable luxuryfor most people, scarpets were the shoes worn by the whole family on special occasion, made in different variations of fabric for the upper part, from canvas to velvet, to suit the season, padded and embellished with jute from grain sacks – somebody even went as far as adding a rubber sole made from recycled bicycle tires. Among the market stalls of Udine and in the mountain artisan workshops, scarpets are still sold both as pieces of local craftsmanship and daily commodities. Whether they maintain their vocation as poor footwear or are embellished with embroideries and sophisticated fabrics, scarpets tell the authentic story of the people who invented them. 

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07.10.2018

Edamame is the Japanese name for soybeans harvested when they are still young and soft, from May to late October, now a popular snack all around the world. Gunma prefecture accounts for approximately 28% of the domestic production, followed by Akita (24%) and Yamagata (12%). Some varieties of soybeans need to mature before they can be harvested, whereas others are suitable to be picked before maturation. New types were created in order to increase the size, quantity and quality of the beans. Edamame were presumably eaten already during the Nara period (710-794)or the Heian period (794-1185). There also exist written references of their being presented as gifts during the Kamakura period(1185-1333). Duringthe Edo period (1603-1868),in the summertime,street vendors would peddle soybeans still attached to the twig, then boiled and soldto people who would snack on them while walking. Originally, they were called edazuki mame, literally “beans on a twig”, which was later shortened into the present day form edamame. The colour of the pod is important, and bright-green is most desirableshade. Ripeness induces a reduction in the content ofsugar (responsible for the distinctive flavour and sweetness of edamame), amino acids and ascorbic acid. The most popular way of preparing edamame is to boil and salt them. They are a popular snack in bars, especially paired with beer and drinks. The high protein content of soybeans will reduce the toxic effects of alcohol. In Miyagi and Yamagata prefectures, edamame are boiled and reduced to a jam, which is used to make the famous zunda-mochi, edamame-flavoured rice cakes. What is unexpectedly unknown is the great nutritional value of boiled edamame. Boiling is the tastiest fashion of preparing edamame and it is incredibly easy, too.  All you have to do is rinse the edamame cut both ends of the pods and rub them in salt. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add the edamame and boil for about three minutes. When they are cooked,you shouldstrain and sprinkle them with salt to coat. Do not try to cool them by spraying them with cold water. That would only make them soggy. Grab a nice, cold beer and you are settled. Enjoy! 

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07.09.2018

From the 5th to the 11th of August, the Farmer’s Market Weekcelebrates American farmer’s markets to promote the advantages of this centuries-old tradition that has come back into vogue with a new focus on sustainability and well-being. All over the world, the markets selling fresh, local products from small,  often family-owned businesses are a great way to familiarize with regional food and traditions and to meet the locals, enjoying an immersive and authentic experience. Here is a tentative list of 10 farmer's markets around the world, each one a faithful mirror of the culture that feeds it and of the city that hosts it.  Union Square Green Market (New York, USA)It was the year 1976 when a bunch of farmers and breeders from New York began to bring their own products to Union Square, one of the largest open and public spaces in the city. Since then, the growth has been continuous: today, fishermen, farmers and bakerstake up around 130 stalls visited by thousands of New Yorkers stationed or in transit, looking for unique and fresh produce. Roppongi Ark Hills (Tokyo, Japan)Part farmer's market, part outdoor meeting and entertainment space with a special focus on families who may take advantage of a large playground for children, Roppongi Art Hills offers fresh fish and specialties from around Tokyoalong with small handicrafts. Besides shopping, we recommend eating at one of the many small restaurants that surround the market.  Borough Market (London, UK)This market originated in 1014, when crossing the Thames and reaching the southern shore was a no easy task and occasionally illegal. The market enjoyed a renaissance starting from the 1990s, when the first specialty food stalls landed in its empty warehouses and their instant success showed the world that there was a new desire to experience tastes and traditions in London. Open 6 days a week, this market is now  a must-see for anyone visiting the city and willing to explore the contemporary British food scene.  Cangas De Onis (Spagna)Cangas de Onis is a small town in the mountains and, quite unexpectedly, the former capital of the Asturian Kingdom, in northern Spain. A classic border city, every Sunday it comes alive with an ancient market dating back to as far as the Middle Ages, housed in the large square between Palaciu Pintu and the church of Santa Maria. The result is a feast of food and colors revolving around Asturian and Spanish culture, with a focus on local cheeses, a true specialty of which each producer will be happy to explain visitors the production process and complex taste. Desserts, jams and typical local hazelnuts complete the landscape. Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market (San Francisco, USA)This 25-year-old market is an expression of the pioneering Californian spirit in terms of sustainability and zero-mile food. Managed by CUESA (a non-profit association), it is a point of reference for those who love the sustainable culture of food, as well as for renowned chefs and for thousands of visitors who flock to the market, especially on Saturdays. Standing along the Bay Area commuter route, it offers fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and baked goodsRoma Farmer’s Market (Roma, Italy)The Garbatella district is a historic, working-class district of Rome. Among its old buildings, often covered in murals, sits the old local market, which was recently renovated to include the city’s most historic market formerly located in the Testaccio neighborhood. The stalls sell pizza, pasta, cheeses, meats, fruit, vegetables and local delicaciesfrom the local countryside. Open on Saturdays and Sundays.Piazza delle Erbe Market (Padua, Italy)In every venetian city there is a ‘Piazza delle Erbe’ where, often since the Middle Ages, farmers used to come to sell their products. In Padua, this long-standing tradition continues: in the heart of the city, among palaces that echo the splendor of the Venetian Republic, every day (except Sundays) fruits, vegetables and fresh produce from the surrounding countryside are sold in more than 70 stands extending into the adjacent Piazza della Frutta, for the benefit of locals, tourists and thousands of students. Marché Bastille (Paris, France)As it often happens in France, at Marché Bastille the beauty of the food delights the eye even before its taste delights the palate: endless varieties of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, fish, spices, and olives. There is also an African component represented by the presence of batik fabrics, decorations and jewels. Finally, the abundance of gourmet stalls has turned this market into a major foodie destination, yet this gastronomic ‘gentrification’ suggests paying attention to the prices. Kaupattori Market (Helsinki, Finland)This market is one of the many good reasons to visit Helsinki. The square that houses it offers an unmissable view of the Gulf of Finland and it is connected to Esplanade Park, one of the city's green arteries. Fresh fish, to be taken away or eaten on the spot, is king, along with seasonal local vegetables and fruits. Kowloon City Wet Market (Hong Kong, China)With over 500 stalls housed inside a huge structure that looks like a ship, this market is mainly focused on fresh fish, available in endless variations. For a full immersion in the colors and the fragrances of southern China, take a look at the stalls selling local fruits like longan, rambutan and durian. 

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On the Atlas Mountains, in Morocco, carpets have been at the core of family life for thousands of years. Handed down from mother to daughter, the art of weaving and processing raw wool is preserved with extreme care. The typical decorations of the Berber tradition are expressed in the form of irregular geometric shapes and lines that symbolize protection, respect, fertility and good omen for the life of the family. The result is an object dense with meaning and tradition, absolutely natural and extraordinarily appealing to our contemporary tastebecause of its timeless aesthetics.  Beni Rugs is an online platform selling woolen rugs of the Berber tradition created by Robert Wright and Tiberio Lobo-Navia, who fell in love with these artifacts back in 2012 during a Moroccan holiday and later decided to build a bridge between those who love and appreciate them and Berber artisans, allowing customers to choose their favorite size and pattern (or even to suggest their own pattern). The manufacturing process has been the same for thousands of years, and it stays unchanged even in the digital era. In summer, the sheep are shorn to obtain the wool that is essential for producing the carpets. The woolen bundles are carried to river Oum Er-Rbia where they get beaten, washed, and dried in the sun. The village women then proceed to spinning the wool, which is subsequently dyed with natural substances to create the necessary color contrasts to weave the designs. Finally, the knotting begins: every woman works on a carpet from the beginning to the very end, in a slow and careful process that may take up to a month's work. The finished carpet is then drenched with water, washed and dried in the Atlas summer sun and air. Through to Beni Rugs, the modern digital world helps passing on and spreading the charm of this ancient tradition. 

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07.04.2018

Founded by Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond in La Neuveville, Switzerland, in the year 1991, atelier oïalways stood out from the crowd because of the unique creative journey that gives birth to its objects and spaces. At the heart of it is a penchant for mixing different architectural genres and design disciplines, ranging from architecture to set design, interior design, and product design. 2018 is a very special year for the studio, because two different exhibitions are celebrating its work and telling its story. Oïphorieis the exhibition underway (until September 30) at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich, a historic landmark for Swiss design since 1878. Oïphorie is a selection of projects accounting for 27 years of activity involving the most diverse clients, from major international design and luxury brands to prestigious cultural institutions. The aim is to show the phases of design and carrying out of each project, from the manipulation of the materials - the silver thread of the whole process - to the prototype, and on to the final result. On the other side of the world, the Museu da Casa Brasileira in São Paulo, a major destination for design and architecture in the Brazilian city, will be hosting an exhibition called Handmade Industry(August 2018) focusing on the atelier’s approach to materials and exhibiting projects and samples to show how mastering materials and treatments is crucial when embarking on independent design and cultural project. From the merging of materials and ideas comes the impalpable emotional space that surrounds the creations and installations by atelier oï, which always leaves room for reflection and interpretation. The intuition that gives life to the project is a spark that reflects on the experience of anyone interacting with it, getting in touch with its shape and surface, or using it with their eyes and their hands. 

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07.02.2018

In 2013, UNESCO added traditional Japanese cuisine, or washoku, into its Intangible Cultural Heritage list, as a social custom handed down from generation to generation that expresses Japanese people’s respect for nature. The main characteristics of Japanese traditional cuisine are: diversity and freshness of ingredients and respect for their inherent flavours;an extraordinarily well-balanced and healthy diet; an expression of natural beauty and the changing seasonsand a close links with annual events. Ichijūissaiis a word that expresses the ideal nutritional balance of Japan’s dietary habits, revolving around a set meal consisting in a bowl of soup, rice and one further dish. The combination of these three main ingredients is rich in umami and low on animal fat and it makes a wonderful tool for longevity and obesity prevention. Last but not least, set meals are an inexpensive yet tasty choice, especially in Tokyo. If you like washoku, here are a few recommendations. To-iro (Nakameguro)At To-iro, you can take one of the eight seats at the counter and enjoy rice and miso soup prepared with different ingredients every day. Nutritious and delicious. Chisō Kōjiya (Shirokane-dai)Home-made miso and salted rice malt are the base of Chisō Kōjiya’s dishes, with the freshest vegetables and fish from Tsukiji Market. We particularly recommend the free-range chicken from O’oyama, Tottori prefecture, seasoned with salted rice malt. Washoku Ando (Akasaka)In the modernly furbished shop, you can taste seasonal ingredients changing every month. Washoku Ando uses Koshihikari rice from Niigata prefecture. Nidaime Aoi (Shibuya)Chef Yūichirō Satoyoshi will find the dish that best matches your personal taste. A personal recommendation would be dashimaki tamago, traditional Japanese rolled omelette made with egg and dashi. Sake Square (Kinshichō)The speciality is fresh fish, paired with sake selected by a lady sommelier. 

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06.29.2018

It was the year 1999 when Massimiliano di Battista, an art enthusiast and public relations businessman, co-founded the innovative photographic agency Management + Artists + Organization in New York with his partner Marco Fincato. Specializing in fashion and born to drive and support artists in creative terms as well, today the agency is an international reality with offices in London, Paris and Milan, but Massimiliano has remained faithful to "his" adoptive New York City, where he has now been living for almost twenty years not as an "expat", but as a true New Yorker. What’s it like to live in New York for an Italian-born individual?MDB:Personally, I tried to adapt to the city ever since the very beginning, and this led to creating my own family and friend circle to make the experience fulfilling.New York is a very fascinating citybecause it can surprise you every day, it is always on the move and is the only place in the world where so many different ethnic groups coexist peacefully.But it is also a complex and hard city, where the quality of life – by which I mean the quality of human relationships - is rather poor, even when you have reached your goals professionally and financially. It is extremely difficult to have and develop human relationshipsthat are profound, honest and authentic. Have you ever wondered why?MDB:Sure. And the explanation I gave myself is this: real New Yorkers, born and raised in the city, are a minority. Most people come here with a definite project: to achieve a dream, success, financial independence, power, to gain recognition. New York is a city based much more on work and success than it is on human relationships. So, if you manage to develop authentic relationships, it is very important to invest in these people. To what extent does New York embody the whole nation, and what distinguishes it profoundly from the rest of the country?MDB:This a very complicated question, but to sum it all up I would say that New York is at the same time the mirror and the antithesis of the rest of America. The mirror, because of its huge contradictions, which are similar to those of the entire country. The antithesis, for its sense of belonging, for the lack of racial tensions, for a dynamism and a desire to create and to succeed that are absent in many other parts of the United States. What is it that you love most about New York?MDB:My ideal places in New York are those that somehow make me feel "at home" and give me some kind of emotion. Take the subway, for instance: I love traveling on the trains to observe the people, imagine their lives, their desires, their dreams. The subway is possibly the most "democratic" place in the city, the one where there is the greatest integration between different social classes. Or Broadway, and of course the off-Broadway scene: while it may in a sense be considered too touristy and corny, it also offers the unique opportunity to admire some of the greatest Hollywood stars live. Another New York classic of which I am particularly fond, is the so-called “restaurant date”: in a city where friends are hardly ever invited at home, where there are very few bars and the whole aperitivoconcept is missing, restaurants are where most people meet and socialize. My favorite restaurants are EN Brasserie and O-ya (for Japanese cuisine), The Pool Room and The Polo Bar (for an elegant and somewhat formal situation), and the "farm to table" restaurants in Brooklyn or Queens, where you can taste dishes based on local products. Finally, shopping in New Yorkis definitely an exciting experience. I like to discover small shops even in the lesser-known neighborhoods or unexpected places, where new businesses are born on a daily basis. I recommend the Lower East Side, Madison Square Park, Chinatown and Chelsea West. Do you believe that being based in NYC is still a unique opportunity for a photographer or a creative professional in the year 2018?MDB:Living in New York is not crucial for a fashion creative professional, at least not any more. Actually, it may even be a bad idea. Most of the customers are super commercial brands, and very few newspapers offer creative opportunities to photographers.The situation is more suited to the new creative digital generation– multidisciplinary and digital artist, and professionals with skills mixing technology and creativity. These days, in the US it’s all about mobile content. Printed media have become merely accessory. For a fashion photographer or a stylist, it makes probably more sense to live in London or Hong Kong. 

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06.27.2018

We definitely have a problem with plastic. Over the last 50 years, the production and the consumption of the most common manmade material have been rising constantly.  In this context, the recent discovery of a plastic-eating warm by Italian researcher Federica Bertocchiniappears absolutely relevant and it might even provide us with a new weapon in the war against a problem that was caused by our own ineptitude and shortsightedness. Previously a Research Career Development Fellow at the Institute of Biomedicine and Biotechnology of Cantabria (IBBTEC) in Santander, Spain, Federicagraduated in Biological Science at the University of Pisa and later earned a PhD from the DIBIT research at Milan’s Istituto San Raffaele. Working in London and New York City, she focused her studies on the development of the vertebrate embryo, but it was actually a chance discovery that led her to start a project on plastic bio-degradation. As it happens, Federica is also an amateur beekeeper, and while removing a wax warm infestation in one of her hives one day she put them in a plastic bag, only to later discover that they had eaten their wayout leaving holes all over the bag!  The research that followed, and which was also supported by scientists at Cambridge University, revealed that the wax worm, the larva of a Lepidoptera living in the honeycomb of beehives, does actually eat plastic: according to lab tests, 100 worms can eat 92 milligrams of polyethylene in 12 hours, apparently by using the same enzymes they use for eating beeswax.  Yet, in order to ascertain that polyethylene bio-degradation by wax warm is a viable option that might contribute to solving the plastic problem, more research needs to be done, and Federica is certainly up to it.  

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06.25.2018

The Japanese capital is a hectic, hard-working, crowded city, and while these are just the things that make it so vibrant and exciting, sometimes life in the city can stressful, especially when you’re tired and in need of a well-deserved break. So, where do Tokyoites go to spend a relaxing weekend whenever they unplug from work? As it turns out, there are so many incredible and diverse places only a short train ride away that they are definitely spoiled for choice. Following are a few ideas recommended by locals. Just take your pick!  Mount FujiThe world’s most iconic mountain, Mont Fuji, is actually an active stratovolcano sitting 60 miles south-west of Tokyo. On clear days, it can be seen from several viewpoints in the city, including the tallest skyscrapers and the surrounding mountains. Oshino, a small village in the Fuji Five Lake region, Yamanashi Prefecture (114 kilometers from Tokyo), offers an absolutely mesmerizing view of Mount Fuji, especially when its snow-crowned summit appears in the midst of the cherry trees or the autumnal foliage. We recommend taking the opportunity to visit nearby Oshino Hakkai, a set of eight ponds fed by snow melted from the slopes of Mount Fuji that filters down the mountain through porous layers of lava for over 20 years, resulting in very clear spring water.  Tōshōgu Shrine in NikkoLocated about 2 hours north of Tokyo, Nikko’s Tōshōgu can be reached from Akasaka Station by the “Kengo” limited express train in two hours only. It is a truly mystical place, a World Heritage Site lying on the holy grounds of the Nikkō mountain range, where the shimmering waters of the Daiya River, flowing from Lake Chūzenji, and the Inari River, flowing from Mount Nyohō, converge. The whole area is covered in a forest of cedar trees aged between 400 and 800, and dotted with shrines. The Tokugawa Ieyasu Tōshōgu is a magnificent place with a strong impact. Animals are carved in the wooden parts of the building: these include the “Three Wise Monkeys”,respectively covering their eyes, ears and mouth to avoidlearning from evil or dwelling on evil thoughts. KanazawaA two and a half train ride from Tokyo by Hokuriku Shinkansen, Kanazawa, overlooking the Sea of Japan, is known as a trove of seafood, such as snow crabs and amberjacks. Besides trying the amazing local cuisine in the restaurants, we recommend that you take a tour of the extraordinary Omicho Market, where about 180 shops are lined on both sided of a huge shopping arcade selling the specialities of Kanazawa: fresh raw and cooked seafood, seasonal vegetables from the area and sushi lunchboxes.  The Hakone Open Air MuseumThe Hakone Open-Air Museum, 90 kilometers south of Tokyo, is a unique outdoor exhibition of sculptures by Japanese and international artistssurrounded by nature, and on the background of some truly beautiful views of the surrounding valley and mountains. Featured artists include Juan Mirò, Auguste Rodin, Henry Spencer Moore, Emile-Antoine Bourdelle and Medardo Rosso. The museum also has various indoor sections. The Picasso Exhibition Hallis an impressive two-story exhibition space entirely devoted to the Spanish artists, with paintings, sculptures, ceramic works and even photographs documenting Picasso’s life. The indoor exhibition rooms display masterpieces byBrancusi, Renoir, Giacometti and other major artistsIto, Izu Penninsula100 kilometers southwest of Tokyo and easily reachable by train, the Izu Peninsula is the perfect weekend getaway from the capital. The eastern coast is home to some of Izu’s most renowned hot spring resorts, including Ito, a real favorite among Tokyoites who like to come here and indulge in well-being and relaxation. Surrounded by cliffs and hills, Ito boasts a long tradition in hospitality: one of its oldest buildings is Tokaikan, a former ryokan, A.K.A. a traditional Japanese wellness inn, now open to the public. Besides admiring the former guest rooms with their classic tatami flooring, futon beds and intricate wood carvings, visitors can access to the ryokan’s tea room and baths, both still in operation.   

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06.25.2018

Yamagata Prefecture is renowned for the high quality of the rice. Here, surrounded by the paddy fields, stands the first hotel designed by famed architect Shigeru Ban, which will open this summer. Shōnai Hotel Suiden Terrasseis a wooden two-storey lodging complex, inspired by the beautiful landscape of Shonai’s rice paddies, one of Yamagata’s symbols. The complex consists of three buildings, named Gassan, Haguroand Yudono(the Three Mountains of Dewa), with 143 rooms, which include suites, double and twin rooms, as well as bedrooms for larger groups. Each room offers the relaxing view of the floating Yamagata country scenery. The designer of the hotel,Shigeru Ban, is an architect who has worked all over the world and has won numerous awards, including the Japan Architecture Grand Prize and the Asahi Award. In 2014 he was appointed Officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the Mother Teresa Memorial Award for Social Justice.  Furthermore, after the 1995 Great Kobe earthquake, he founded the Voluntary Architects’ Network (VAN) and undertook the construction of the emergency housing and temporary chuch assembly halls. Ban is also active providing support to areas affected with natural disaster in Japan and abroad. In addition to the lodging facilities, Shōnai Hotel Suiden Terrasseis an ideal pied-à-terre for those travelling both for business or for leisure, with a restaurant and bar, a meeting room, a shop, a library, natural hot springs and a fitness area. The real jewel in the crown is the hot spring facility, covered in a beautiful wooden roof, which pumps the water from a depth of 1,200 m.At the restaurant you can enjoy seasonal ingredients farmed locally without using any pesticides, while admiring the enchanting view of Mount Gassan. The pre-opening is scheduled for 1stAugust, whereas the grand opening will be held mid-September. 

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06.22.2018

21 years of history, over 1,200 breweries and almost 7,500 different beers: the Italian craft beer market has evolved a lot since the birth of the first brewpubs - namely pubs producing their own beer – in the mid-Nineties.These brewpubs grew into microbreweries, and with entrepreneurial spirit, started to sell throughout Italy and abroad, and joined the global craft beer bandwagon. Telling apart beers made by truly independent craft brewers from those made by large companiescan sometimes be tricky. Yet when it comes to 32 via dei Birrai, all doubts seem to dissolve: this microbrewery from Treviso puts such meticulous attention to ingredients and productionthat it is the first Italian beer to earn the Slow Brewing Quality Seal. Slow Brewingis an international organization that works with the Technical University of Munich and the Italian Brewing Research Centre at the University of Perugia (CERB) to ensure the quality of raw materials through all production stages and set rigorous standards for hygiene requirements, environmentally friendly distribution methods while respecting the traditional manufacturing methods.  The story of 32began in 2006, when sales expert Loreno Michielin, engineer and homebrewing enthusiast Alessandro Zilli, and master brewer Fabiano Toffoli combined their passion and skill to create a craft beer with a unique character that would stand outin the already saturated Italian craft beer market. Why the name 32 Via dei Birrai? "32 is the number corresponding to the beer production class according to the Nice international classification of goods and services", Loreno Michielin explains. "And via dei Birraiis a reference to a street in Brussels, rue Des Brasseurs, or brewers’ street”. The three founders focused mainly on the relationship between taste and design: a set of unique flavors reinforced by unmistakable packaging and bottle design, topped off with their signature round 32sticker.  The other focus is sustainability, not only regarding energy usage throughout the production process but also after: the packaging is designed to be recycled or reclaimed into decorative objects, for example corks that become keychains.  "Of course, to have a craft beer emerge, you need to work on making a great impression on the final consumer, and on achieving a kind of quality that is tangible, proven," Michielin explains. 32 Via dei Birraiachieves quality via a long production process characterized by limited quantities, craft techniques such as re-fermentation, and respecting the raw materials. Six weeks are required for 32’s beers to metamorphose from simple ingredients in a factory to a final product being sold on a shelf. This is because each beer is highly fermented and non-pasteurized.  The result is a non-standardized beer- to the point that an expert consumer might notice the difference between different batches of the same type of beer. "Unique, steady and consistent" are the keywords which, according to Loreno, give us the best definition.  One of their side projects is donating money to Fondazione Lucia Guderzo’s school for vision impaired children from the sales of bottles with braille printed on the label. 32 via dei Birraiis a very non-standard beer company, indeed.  

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06.20.2018

160 fashion photographs taken by over 80 photographers and representative of a whole century of evolution of costume and society: these are the numbers of Icons of Style: A Century of Fashion Photography 1911-2011, the exhibition that will take place at J.Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles from June 26thto October 21st, 2018. Fashion photography is the mirror of the company to which it is addressed precisely because it is, first of all, commercial photography and therefore necessarily effective in attracting the attention, and aligned with the curiosities of the moment. Whether it is in the form of a cover, an illustration, a video, an advertisement or a report, when fashion photography becomes one with creativity (and desire), the result is the faithful portrait of the aspirations of an era. Aspirations, not reality, but no less significant for reconstructing a period of history and deserving a retrospective of an author in a prestigious space. During the depression of the 1920s the emphasis that magazine put on glamor responded to a real need for escape, whereas in the years of the Second World War, especially in the United States, a pragmatic, confident and enthusiastic vision of life replaced the previous one. Fashion photography is always a symptom of the spirit of time: the rebirth of the 1950s is all in the lenses of Irving Penn and Richard Avedon, who celebrated the magnificence that came from Paris with the creations of Cristòbal Balenciaga and Christian Dior , among others. The costume revolution in the 1960s can be found the 35mm film photos by William Klein, who got closer to the new street culture, or in the psychedelic and surreal aesthetics of Neil Barr. The 1970s introduced diversity, involving people with different backgrounds, ages and attitudes, in line with the spirit of the time, between experimentations and avant-garde. The 1980s were the years of the Italian limelight: from Versace to Giorgio Armani, Milan became the core of fashion, supermodels were born and fashion photography became an object of daily consumption, a popular heritage and a reservoir of dreams that will nurture a whole decade. The thrill ended on the threshold of the 1990s when, from a slowdown in the economy, the melancholy of grunge and minimalism arose.  By telling this whole story, the exhibition manages to bring images born for commercial purposes but filtered by the genius and talent of some of the greatest masters of photography into a major museum. The final part is devoted to the definitive shift of fashion photography from the catwalks to the street, via fashion blogs (starting from The Sartorialistby Scott Schuman) and Instagram. Is this where the great photographers we will remember in a century from now train and grow? Only time will tell. 

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06.18.2018

Gianni Canova is the Dean of the Faculty of Communication, Public Relations and Advertising at Milan’s IULM University besides being a journalist, novelist, and essayist. Additionally, he is the founder of Duel, the first Italian film magazine to broaden its focus beyond film alone, and delve into the rest of the contemporary media landscape. But above all, Canova is one of the most eminent Italian film critics – although he doesn’t like to be called that as he thinks of himself rather as someone who tries to “infect” his readers and students with the passion for cinema. We chatted with him about essential movies, Italian films, and Netflix.  Contemporary Italian cinema doesn’t seem to be nearly as highly regarded as it used to be in its golden era. Why is that? GC:We have plenty of talented professionals and skilled technicians. We have some extraordinary directors. And yet something is wrong with the industry. The festivals are too conservative and they tend to snobbishly promote films for die-hard cinephiles. The production system has been spoiled by years of excessive public funding. Personally, I wish for a braver entrepreneurial spirit and more innovative promotion and communication strategies. What we need is a cultural revolution that will bring back to our national film industry the dignity it used to have back in the 1960s and that got lost somewhere along the way. For instance,why do the French believe that it’s “cool” to go to the movies, whereas we don’t? I believe that this gives a good idea of where the problem lies. Which contemporary Italian directors would you recommend to a young, foreign film student?GC:Paolo Sorrentino is one of the greatest creators of images in the global film industry. There is not a single frame in his films that is obvious, predictable, or trite.All of his works seem to be designed to teach our eyes how to see beauty. When watching The Great Beautyor Youth, the feeling you get is like the one you might experience in front of someone you are attracted to: you do perceive their imperfections, and yet they drive you crazy. Honestly, all his movies deserve to be seen. The same goes for Matteo Garrone, a visionary talent whose imagination goes beyond reality to create worlds and unearth demons and ghosts.  Now, imagine an alien (or an inexperienced spectator) came up to you and asked what cinema is. Which three fundamental movies in the history of cinema would you show him/her and why? GC:Rear Window by Alfred Hitchcock because it unveilsonce and for all the voyeurthat hides inside every spectator. 8 e 1/2by Federico Fellini because it is a dancing phantasmagoria on the foolishness of making movies. And 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick because it reminds usthat cinema is the most extraordinary mental exercise that this era has put at our disposal. What do you think of the growing popularity of film streaming services? GC:To me, they are the triumph of films and the death of cinema. People have never been watching so many films, they watch them on their tablets, smartphones, computers and TV screens. Films have become something other than cinema. As Marshall McLuhan wisely and famously stated,“the medium is the message”. TV series are just an outstanding invention designed to transfer investments, capitals and consumption from the cinematic medium to other media. That’s all they really are: a simple positioning strategy in the entertainment market, with all that this entails. Netflix is not a film producer. It is a company that produces films to nurture and self-sustain itself. It’s not like there’s anything bad about it, but how can this recreate the feeling of being by enthralled by something larger than yourselfthat you had in front of the big screen? How can a movie become a myth to us when all we are watching is digital images the size of stamps that we dominate with ease, and that will never, ever be able to give us the overwhelming emotions that real cinema aroused?  Have you ever felt the urge to direct a movie? GC:I am too passionate of a spectator to undertake the pains of directing a film. Being on a movie set is one of the most repetitive and boring experiences ever, whereas watching a movie is always exciting. In spite of all the films I have seen, every time the lights go out in the movie theater I feel the same emotion I experienced the first time I ever watched a movie. 

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06.15.2018

Exit-Gastronomia Urbana was born with the ambitious goal of bringing the excellence of a haute cuisine restaurant inside a historic food kiosk in the old city. Behind it is Matias Perdomo, the starred chef who owns a very famous restaurant in Milan, and who decided to bring the excellence of his own experimental into a very humble location, with a menu that honors the ancient local food kiosk tradition with premium raw materials and innovative techniques. Partnering with chef Simon Press and maître-sommelier Thomas Piras, Perdomo conceived Exit-Gastronomia Urbana as a place that challenges the rules by turning a place that is an integral part of the urban landscape of the city into something purely innovative. The kiosk thus becomes a bridge between tradition and avant-garde, between the history of Milan and the city’s new cosmopolitan spirit. The opportunity to eat at any time of the day is a further innovation here in Milan: à la carte dishes can be enjoyed from morning to night, without constraints. From Monday to Friday from 8.00 to midnight and on Saturdays from 10.30 to 4 p.m., you are free to choose one of the 30 available seats available and enjoy great food and the pleasant atmosphere of the vibrant piazza where the kiosk, thanks to an efficient system of movable windows. The interiors are in perfect harmony with the hybridization of places and eras that Exit's cuisine and wine list express. The local Ceppo di Gré stone, widely used for Milanese period buildings, has been carefully crafted to create small objects such as cutlery holders, and Venetian Briccole, the same wood from which the long poles that emerge from Venice’s lagoon are made, has been used for the counter, the tables other wooden elements. Suspended between rediscovery and avant-garde, Exit is bound to become a point of reference for gourmands in Milan. 

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Tracing the origins of a cosmetic product and learning about how it is made is no easy task, but Oway – short for Organic Way - has made traceability and transparency its two distinctive features, the ones that define its own identity. Everything can be traced back to Bologna, or rather to the Bolognese hills: here, Oway - a brand of the local cosmetics group Rolland, a historic manufacturer of natural essences – has established its Ortofficina, a 50,000 square meter field where it grows the officinal plants from which its zero-mile oils and plant extracts are made and turned into beauty products. The plants are grown according to the biodynamic method, a type of cultivation which considers the soil as a living organism and aims at finding the perfect harmony between nature, soil and manto obtain healthy, vital and strong fruits and plants without relying on chemicals.We spoke to Luca Laganà, Managing Director at Rolland and a member of the family which founded the company some 60 years ago. SJ: Can you tell us about the Oway's origins?LL: Rolland's evolution towards the Organic Way began around the nineties, with the transition to organic and later biodynamic agriculture. For over 25 years we have been working on formulas rich in organic ingredients, and experiencing the Organic Way values ​​in our everyday life, "cultivating" the idea of ​​an ethical and sustainable beauty able to promote positive values ​​both for the people and the environment. Today, we create our cosmetics and design our products with a sustainable approach towards every stage of their life cycle, up to the final reuse of containers. We have been the first company in the beauty industry to completely eliminate plastic from all containers and choose 100% recyclable glass and aluminum.  SJ: Today, real innovation lies in a return to nature and purity. Is this also true for the cosmetic industry?LL: Considering that external beauty is also influenced by how we feel, by our physical and psychological health and by what we receive from the environment, we must always strive for balance. Even in cosmetics: we need to go back to pure nature, essential oils, hydrolytes, vegetable extracts rich in nutritional properties, and combine them with the active principles that science provides us with, the safest and most effective ones. When we conceive a product and its packaging, we have to find a way to minimize its impact on the environment, all along its life cycle. In a sense, I agree that this is a return to a healthier past - but with a look to the future, and with the help of the tools that science and research are offering us. SJ: It appears that the Oway concept goes far beyond the product: it is a vision, a lifestyle. LL: We call it Organic Way of Life: we like the idea of ​​promoting a healthy and positive lifestyle. Starting from our work environment, because a pleasant working environment is a necessary condition for what we do. In addition to this, we have opted for renewable energy, electric company cars and eco-sustainable furnishings. We recycle, offer yoga lessons in the office, and collaborate with local farms to bring organic, fresh and seasonal fruits and vegetables directly to our headquarters. By cooperating with international fair trade organizations, we support the economic and social development of local communities in strivng countries helping them access the market by using precious plants from Africa, South America, Indonesia, Indochina and Aboriginal Australia to obtain botanical extracts and oils. Finally, we support the Ocean Cleanup project, Boyan Slat's incredible sea cleaning enterprise. How does the Organic Way of Life translate into your personal lifestyle?LL: I commit to dedicating some time to all the things that take me back to a "slow" dimension: I perform breathing exercises every morning, and in my spare time I practice Chinese calligraphy and engage in farming activities at Ortofficina. A real blessing both for the mind and the body.  

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06.08.2018

Gaetano Pesce has made things clear ever since the beginning of his career: while still studying architecture at the University of Venice, he wrote a manifesto called "in defense of the right to incoherence", because creatives had to be allowed and required to wander and experiment.It was the end of the 1950s and also the time of the Paduan Enne Group, a collective of students fascinated by machines and the application of technology to art, and attracted to kinetic art that was already a thing Milan. Because of the special relationship he had with the city, Padua is celebrating Gaetano Pesce with a retrospective entirely dedicated to the designer, visionary, artist and architect born in La Spezia in 1939. Il tempo multidisciplinare(“multidisciplinary time”, open until September 23) is housed inside the historic Palazzo della Ragione, which just turned 800 years old. It presents 200 works that explore all the forms of expression experienced by Pesce throughout his life, from design to urban projects, avoiding all defined routes so that visitors can be carried away by the perennial brainstorming which is at the base of Pesce’s art. Incoherence finds coherence in its own guiding thread: the curiosity that drives the artist’s search for the essence of contemporaneity. Exhibited at the MoMA in New York, at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, at the Vitra Museum in Berlin and at the Pompidou Center in Paris, here in Padua Gaetano Pesce's ideas are epitomized by Un Gigante di Vestiti (“a giant made of dresses”), a four meter-high chair covered in women’s clothes from different eras and styles. In this exemplary work, the scenic power joins a civil message, as it is often the case with his works: around the chair, six columns hold six wild beast heads representing masculine aggressiveness unleashed by the fear of women. Maestà Tradita(“betrayed majesty”), a sculpture dedicated to the female martyrs, and Italia in Croce(“crucified Italy”, 1978) are both exhibited outside the Palazzo, offering free hints for reflection to the whole city. Among Pesce’s previously unseen works is finally Padova Onora Galileo(“Padua honors Galileo”, an urban project dedicated to the city of Padua and to one of its most distinguished guests, and a tribute to borderless thinkers who explore everything that inspires them, from art to physics, astronomy, and literature. 

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06.06.2018

Hirohiko Araki’s masterpiece JoJo’s Bizarre Adventurewas originally serialised in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1987 to 2004. The series, which has garnered worldwide acclaim ever since, consists of 8 unique parts, depicting the blood ties and supernatural foes of the Joestar family. Numerous fashion designers have been influenced by Araki and for the brand’s 2013 window displays, Gucci teamed with renowned Japanese Manga artist Hirohiko Araki. The exhibition will be held at the exhibition hall on the second floor of the National Art Center, in collaboration with Shueisha Publishing. It will be the final project to celebrate the 30th anniversary of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, with a great number of items on display, including original drawings and texts from the original release. In the Jojo Chroniclecorner, you can take a walk through the 30-year-old history of the series, looking back at all the characters and settings that have appeared over the years. The section Star of Destiny, Blood of Fatedisplays a collection of scenes that best convey the theme of fate weighing on the shoulders of the protagonists and their rivals. The exhibition also features works by artists active in the forefront of sculpture, fashion, and video-making, including sculptor Motohiko Odani, Anrealage fashion designer Kunihiko Morinaga and the visual design studio WOW. 

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06.01.2018

Arles must have a special energy. It was in this small town in the south of France that Vincent Van Gogh moved in February 1888, giving way to the most intense and fertile period of his career: over 300 works in just over 14 months, inspired by the light of Provence. Since the 1970s, Arles has been home to Rencontres d’Arles, a major international photography festival aiming to observe through the lens of the great photography masters the disruption and the speed of social and political changes. From July 2 to September 23, the whole city will once again turn into a huge exhibition space with over 30 venues and guests and visitors from all over the world. The 2018 edition, director Sam Stourdzé explains, is a journey through time on the tracks of a selection of images that entrust the eye of the photographer with the task of bringing us back to precise moments of our era. Everyone can somehow relate to these images through their own experience and, by putting together sensations and memories, perhaps even sense some fragment of the future. Among the over 60 scheduled exhibitions, three are dedicated to investigating the timeline. Run Comrade, the old world is behind youpresents, among others, 1968! What a story, a tribute to the year that truly shaped our view of the world at the end of last century. A time of tragedies and dreams, with a thin red line pushing us towards a better future. The future of 1968 is our today, depicted by 40-year-old Norwegian photographer Jonas Bendiksen in theAugmented Humanityseries, which documents the life of 7 modern-day gurus suspended between avant-garde and archaic beliefs, between confidence in technology and a return to ancient practices, in a constantly precarious balance. America Great Againcelebrates the 50thanniversary of Les Americainsby Robert Frank, the famous on the road reportage documenting 1950s USA. 60 years later, five photographers of different ages and backgrounds depict today’s America in their own way. Workshops and performances will complete the program, which is starting with the July 2-8 inaugural week and the "Arles nights": every night, a special guest will tell a story through music, prose and storytelling in the ancient city theater. 

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05.30.2018

Not at a man's pace, but certainly on a human scale: seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world from a bicycle changes your perspective and perception of the distances. Whichever route you choose - long or short, easy or challenging - cycling tourism is a great way to experience big cities or to explore wild new territories. Here are ten cycling paths to inspire your desire to discover the world on two wheels. Dali and LIjang (China)The province of Yunnan, in south-eastern China, is a mix of natural beauties and small villages with ancient traditions that definitely deserves a visit, especially at bicycle pace. The villages of Baisha, Xizhou and Shuhe will allow you to experience a very different Chinafrom that of the huge cities, as will the pretty towns of Dali and Lijang. Visiting the stone forest or cycling along the Erhai lake is a truly unforgettable experience. Paris (France)All the world capitals provide bicycle tours to discover their landmarks and points of interest. Paris offers plenty of itineraries for groups or individualswith a private guide, as well as the opportunity to rent bicycles discover the City of Lights from an alternative point of view. Trossachs and Highland Pertshire (Scotland)The Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, just north of Glasgow, comprises lakes, mountains and castles, epitomizing the ancient and indomitable landscapes that make Scotland unique in the world. Most tours by the local agencies include fun stops at the whiskey distilleries along the way. From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam)It takes about 15 days to go from the extreme south to the extreme north of Vietnam, slowly exploring the course of the Mekong River and the coast overlooking the South China Sea with the famous Ha Long Bay. By bicycle and onboard the traditional local fishing boats, you will be able to savor the beauty of this land, from the extraordinary variety of nature, landscapes and cuisine to their proverbial hospitality. Aeolian Islands (Italy)This Italian archipelago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is perfect for a cycling holiday between April and June, when temperatures are mild and the sea already offers its best colors. The most suitable routes are located in Lipari, Salina and Vulcano, less harsh than the other islands of the archipelago, with perfect roads for a relaxed cyclingtour and harder routes for those who prefer a little challenge. From The Baltic to the Adriatic Sea (Poland/Slovenia - EuroVelo9)There are 15 Eurovelo routes outlined within the European territory to date and, although they are not yet fully completed (because long stretches are not equipped), they are an interesting opportunity for those who choose to travel Europe by bicycle. We picked the one from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic Sea, running for 1,870 kilometers from Poland to Sloveniaalong the ancient Amber Road. From Toulouse to Marseilles (France)The Canal du Midi is the eighteenth-century waterway that connects Toulouse to the Mediterranean Sea running through the ancient Languedoc region. Over 240 kilometers long, it was born to connect the local waterways to the Garonne and tto the Atlantic, creating one large water course. If you love slow holidays, the Canal du Midi – a Unesco heritage site - is a silent and patient travel companion that will keep you company as you ride among some the most beautiful landscapes of southern FranceMoroccoThe western outpost of North Africa lends itself more and more to be a destination for bicycle tourism, seasonal temperatures permitting. In two weeks you can touch imperial cities like Fes and Marrakech and maybe head towards Zagora and Merzouga. Those who love free camping will have no problem finding suitable spaces, maybe counting on the ancient local tradition of hospitality. Cape of Good Hope (South Africa)A bicycle tour might allow you to include all the best reasons to visit South Africa in one single itinerary: enjoying some whale-watching, tasting the excellent local wines, crossing national parks and travelling to the southernmost coast of the continent, just to name a few. Our suggestion is to find a guide and inquire about the levels of difficulty of each route in advance. Carretera Austral (Chile)The road that leads from Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins through Patagonia and almost to the end of the worldis a veritable cycle tourism classic. Todo cambia: the paths, from asphalt to dirt roads, the altitude, and the climate. What does not change yet is the beauty of the landscapes along this 1,240 km journeyto be done in at least one month, camping along the way and learning to find your bearings in the almost total absence of road signs. From Teruel to Valencia (Spain)Spain is crossed by the so-called "green roads", cycling routes that follow the tracks of the old disused railways. The longest one is called Ojos Negros, and it runs for 160 kilometers from Teruel to Valencia, including two sections with the Sierra Menera montains as an intermediate stage. 

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05.29.2018

Tofu is believed to have been invented in Chinain the 2ndcentury BC. It was first introduced to Japan during the Nara period (710-794) by the Japanese envoy to the Tang Dynasty, but there is no clear evidence. It was in the Edo period (1603-1868) that the Japanese brand of tofu was created and the consumption of tofu became widespread. 1782 was the year of publication ofTōfu hyakuchin, a book with over 100 recipes for preparing tofu. Due to its immense popularity, the cook book spawned two sequels: Tōfu hyakuchin zokuhen and Tōfu hyakuchin yōroku. In East Asia, tofu has always been an important source of protein. In Japan it also supplemented the consumption of meat, especially in a time when it was not customary to raise livestock and the only meat available was the one of hunted deer and wild boars. With the introduction of Buddhism, eating meat became a taboo. It was only after the Second World War that the consumption of meat exceeded the consumption of fish. Despite the change of eating habits, tofu is still standing strong as a highly nutritious staple foodLinoleic acidshelp reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Lecithin and beta-conglycinin have a tremendous effect on lipid metabolism and fatty liver, whereas lecithin and choline help prevent the aging of the brain and improve one’s memory. Saponinsare effective in preventing adult diseases. Isoflavones can help decrease the number of women diagnosed with osteoporosis, cancer and arteriosclerosis. Oligosaccharidespromote the growth of Bifidobacteria, which are beneficial to intestine health. And last but not least, calcium, in addition to strengthening bones and teeth, is a powerful anti-stress. It is an undisputed fact that tofu has a low calorie count, which makes it a popular food in reduced-calorie diets. However, tofu may also be connected to longevity: the higher the tofu intake, the higher life expectancy. As a staple food, Japanese tofu comes in different types and is the basic ingredients of countless recipes. 

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05.28.2018

Imagine opening a perfect sushi box, grabbing your chopsticks, tasting the food and finding out that there is no rice or fish but just excellent uramaki-shaped Italian artisan gelato with funky flavors such as lemon, basil, ginger, and black sesame. Welcome to the world of Ilaria Forlania thirty-year-old pastry chef who experiments with artisan gelato and food design crossing the boundaries of traditional ice cream taste and pairings. The inspiration was born out of her love for the aesthetics of oriental food, that she discovered when traveling between Australia and Southeast Asia. The result is Glacé, Ilaria’s own ice cream parlor in Palazzolo, a town halfway between Brescia and Milan, from which she has developed a gelato concept that mixes design and natural ingredients, art and the art of food – just as oriental cultures do. At Glacé there are no boundaries between sweet and savory, nor between hot and cold. On the contrary, opposites coexist and complement each other to offer a distinctive taste experience. We spoke to Ilaria to learn more about her journey through taste and where it is going.  SJ: Why did you choose gelato as the raw material to experiment in food design?IF:Gelato has always fascinated me and it reminds me of some of the happiest moments of my childhood. Over time, I got to know the complexity behind it and the endless possibilities that it offers to those who – just like me – strongly rely on creativity and inspiration. SJ: Where did the idea of ​​combining Italian gelato with oriental aesthetics come from?IF:It all started during a long stay in Sydney, Australia. My friends were all Asian and this allowed me to get in touch with cultures that are very different from mine. As a result, even food appeared to me under a new light, and this constant contamination has definitely influenced my professional training and the choice of my next travel destinations. South-East Asia did the rest: countries like Thailand won my heart and still inspire me today. SJ: What are the most versatile gelato flavors and why? Did you come up with special tastes to enhance your creations?IF:I love all the classics, although I personally like to create new (and even daring) combinations and shapes to offer a different experience to those who try my products. Places, moments, trends, people and moods: everything influences the creation of my desserts and gelato. Even exchanging ideas and experiences with other chefs or restaurateurs allows me to grow and improve myself day after day. SJ: Glacé is come sort of a culinary tromp-l'oeil: the look says ‘sushi’, yet thepalate says ‘gelato’. What role does aesthetics play in your creations?IF:A crucial role. The quality of the product and the choice of the ingredients are essential, but the emotion that design can convey is my main focus. First the sight, then the palate. It is my mission. My passion. SJ: What are your plans for the near future?IF:First of all, to consolidate the amazing partnerships I established with tourism, food, catering and fashion companies, of which I am very proud. The future will start as soon as this September, when my Glacé - Sweet Concept Store will open in Milan. I also dream of opening my own Academy – in the meantime, I am taking part in various training projects from well-known industry players and collaborating as a columnist with the trade magazine GELATO Artigianale.   

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05.25.2018

Observing an enormous mass of water falling from a mountain or opening a crack in the ground generates a hypnotic vertigo. The grandeur of nature is revealed in many ways, but water has the irresistible charm of eternal movementand watching a water wall a hundred meters tall is always a breathtaking experience. Yet some waterfalls are more impressive than others. Here is a tentative list of some of the most fascinating waterfalls in the world. Howick Falls (South Africa)In the South African Midlands, east of Cape Town, river Umgeni makes a jump of over 100 metersbefore running towards the ocean. The beautiful light and the surrounding greenery add some additional charm to the scenery – not to mention the cultural vibrance of the area which is dotted with artisan workshops leading the way of new South African creativity. Iguazu (Brazil-Argentina)Here is one of the Seven Wonders of the world, so incredibly unique that Eleonor Roosevelt  once supposedly exclaimed “poor Niagara!” at the sight of it. This huge waterfront marking the border between Argentina and Brazil is an uninterrupted sequence of 275 waterfallsalong the course of the Iguazu river, among which is the impressive "Devil's Throat", 150 meters deep and 700 meters long. The Brazilian part is the one with the best view, and it also offers the opportunity to explore the entire Iguazu National Park all around the falls. Victoria Falls (Zambia-Zimbabwe)Well before explorer David Livingstone bumped into them and named them after Queen Victoria in 1855, in the local language the waterfall of the Zambezi River was called Mosi-o-Tunya, "smoking thunder", because of the roar and the huge cloud of water that rise from it, both audible and visible from 40 kilometers away. This is probably the largest waterfall in the world, and without any doubt an incredible natural wonder, magnified by a beautiful scenery of islands, rocks and natural pool. Salto Angel (Venezuela)There are no roads or shortcuts to reach the waterfalls of Mount Auyantepui, in the remote state of Bolivar, southern Venezuela, surrounded by the Amazon rainforest. It takes at least two days of trekking through the National Park of Canaima to be able to see this UNESCO World Heritage Site, falling for almost one kilometerin the rainy season and turning into a cloud of steam when the earth is dry. Mc Way Falls (USA)Big Sur a beautiful coastal strip between San Francisco and Los Angeles protected by rocky stretches that open into small coves only reachable by the local fauna. Inside the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, a 24-meter waterfall drops down on a small, pristine beach, only visible from above. Until the mid-1980s, the Mc Way Falls used to drop directly into the ocean, but this unique corner of California still amazes for its power and beauty. Dettifoss (Iceland)In the endless landscapes of north-eastern Iceland, a gap opens up in the land where the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river drops, about 30 kilometers from its outfall. Through its course, the river creates three waterfalls, yet Dettifoss is the most impressive one, with a power of over 200 tons of water per second. Trekking paths run along the river and the canyon walls. Niagara Falls (Canada-USA)In spite of their popularity, the Niagara Falls never fail to amaze, mostly because of the fact that they seem to unexpectedly appear out of nowhere in the heart of densely urbanized area. The effect is undoubtedly surprising. Niagara is the name of the river that connects the vast lakes of Ontario and Erie, as well as of the Canadian town that grew up around the waterfalls only to turn into a sort of local Las Vegas crowded with hotels and casinos. Vinnufossen (Norway)At 860 meters, this is the highest waterfall in Europe, surrounded by an area of ​​rivers and mountains also known as Water Valley, less than 300 kilometers away from the city of Trondheim. Active all year round, the waterfall is fed by Vinnubreen glacier on Mount Vinnufjellet, with a peak in the summer months when its power and reach grow thanks to the higher temperatures. 

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05.23.2018

Venice is a state of mind, some say. Everyone has their own: the postcard-perfect Venice, the picturesque Venice of narrow streets and washing lines, that of the fishermen or vaporettosteamboats sailing at dawn. Yet there is a place in Piazza San Marco that is undeniably and quintessentially Venetian: Gran Caffè Quadri, a 19thcentury icon of local aristocracy. Since 2011, Massimiliano and Raffaele Alajmo, respectively the youngest chef in the world to have received three Michelin stars and the CEO and maître des lieux, have taken over the café and coordinated projects, menus and activities from their headquarters, the restaurant and creative workshop Le Calandrein the province of Padua. The new life of Gran Caffè Quadri, which now includes three different spaces -  Quadrino, the Gran Caffè and the restaurant – began with complex restoration works led by starchitecht Philippe Starck, supported by selected local artisans. Recovering the original stuccoes required very special attentions: the beautiful decorations, dating back to the time of sumptuous receptions in the city’s aristocratic mansions, had to return to their former glory in order to showcase once again the world of Italian beauty and cuisine. As Starck said, "the Gran Caffè was extraordinary, but dormant. Out of respect, love and intelligence, we did not want to change such concentration of mystery, beauty, strangeness and poetry. We simply searched for its wonders and found a wonderland". Every corner of this amazing place is a piece of a story told through enriched stuccos, chandeliers, decorated fabrics, objects and ancient collections exuding a vaguely surrealistic atmospheres, highlighted by the interior décor choices of Philippe Starck and architect Marino Folin, both interested in recovering every trace of the ancient craft work that gave life to the Caffè. And because of its location on the Piazza San Marco, high water is a regular here at the Caffè - hence the unpainted brass table legs: may the water be their guest, take a seat, and leave its marks. The ground floor houses the Quadrino and the Gran Caffé Quadri, both restored by Anna de Spirit and Adriana Spagnol, while the first floor is home the restaurant, bearing the signature style of Mr. Starck with its subtle humor: take a close look at the wall upholstery and you might spot the Alajmo brothers among the ancient faces depicted on the fabric, along with a mix of gondolas, carriages, spaceships, and satellites. As for the cuisine, it blends Italian and Venetian tradition, relying on a daily supply of seasonal ingredients from the local markets. Venice is thus reflected in the food as much as in the interiors, so chances are that dining at the Grand Caffè will add yet another nuance to your own idea of the floating city. 

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05.21.2018

A few kilometers away from Rome there is a place that combines the eternal charm of history, the beauty of Renaissance architecture and the contemporary taste for hybridization between art and design. Aristocratic families, collectors and art lovers have been living in these rooms, and over time they have given shape to their unique charm. The name is La Posta Vecchia and it is located in Palo Laziale, near Ladispoli, on the beautiful stretch of Tyrrhenian coast between Rome and the Argentario. Overlooking the sea, this majestic Renaissance villa was built in 1640 by the Orsini Princes as a place for hosting friends and it has preserved the atmosphere of an exclusive yet welcoming place. From 1693 on, the villa belonged to the Odescalchi family, who abandoned it after the fire that hit it in 1918. In 1960, Jean Paul Getty, founder of Getty Oil Company, a tycoon and an art enthusiast, purchased it and, with the help of critic and art historian Federico Zeri, filled the rooms with ancient tapestries, sculptures, and works of art dating back from the Renaissance to the contemporary era. In the early 1980s, the villa was bought by Roberto Sciò, who revamped its original vocation for hospitality turning into a boutique hotel with 19 rooms and suites filled with objects and works of Italian and European ancient and contemporary art. The Getty Master Suite houses a 17th-century inlaid box depicting the story of King Solomon, as well as a collection of Meissen porcelains hanging on the walls. In the Medici Master Suite, guests can enjoy a seventeenth-century map and a marble table from the same period, while two majestic marble stairs lead to the bathroom. Besides opulence and elegance, La Posta is gifted with natural beauty, offered by the energetic beauty of the sea washing this beautiful stretch of coast that has long been chosen as a place of rest and pleasure. On that note, the renovation commissioned by Jean Paul Getty has brought to light the remains of a Roman villa from the second century BC, preserved inside a small archaeological museum in the basement.To complete the experience, chef Antonio Magliulo awaits guests at the Cesar restaurant on the terrace overlooking the sea, ready to offer a sophisticated menu prepared with vegetables from the hotel's organic vegetable garden. Further amenities include tennis courts, a park, an indoor pool, and a spa.  

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05.18.2018

A trip to London is always a good idea: you will never find the same city you remember from your last visit. This summer promises a huge amount of new sights and hangouts for art, food, fashion, and music enthusiasts. Here are a few addresses you should definitely add to your bucket list. All Points EastSummer gigs definitely abound in London, especially in the most legendary venues such as Wembley or Hide Park. Yet this summer will mark the of definitive consecration of Victoria Park as a major concert venue thanks to the All Points East Festival (May and June), featuring huge names from at least two different generations of rock, pop, and electro artists: LCD Soundsystem, Björk, Lorde, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Beck, Catfish and Bottlemen, The National, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.Design MuseumInaugurated in November 2016, the new London Design Museum in High Street Kensington is housed inside the iconic Commonwealth Institute building, a symbol of 1960s British modernism renovated by architect John Pawson. Under the unmistakable parabolic curve of its roof is the largest museum worldwide entirely devoted to design with a collection of 1,000 + pieces from the 20th and 21st centuries.(ph: Ardfern, CC BY-SA 4.0) Fashioned from NatureUntil January 29, 2019, the Victoria & Albert Museum will be hosting an exhibition devoted to sustainable fashion presenting fashionable dress alongside natural history specimens, innovative new fabrics and dyeing processes, inviting visitors to think about the materials of fashion and the sources of their clothes. CornerstoneCornerstone in Hackney Wick is the home of British celebrity TV chef Tom Brown, whose innovative Cornish cuisine focuses mainly on seafood. The kitchen at the center of the restaurant is surrounded by a counter with 11 seats for a very special dinner with a view on the chef’s tricks and secrets, whereas the wooden table made from the reclaimed wood of a 500-year old oak is one of the signature style features of all of Brown’s restaurants.JMW Turner’s homeAfter accurate renovation works,  Joseph Mallord William Turner’s home is finally open for visits. Since it was the British landscape artist himself (1775-1851) who imagined and designed the house where he would spend his last years in Twickenham, a visit to this place is a veritable journey back in time and into the mind of a painter whose work epitomizes the all-British passion for the sky’s ever-changing moods.  

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05.17.2018

Operated by Kyoto-based lingerie-maker Wacoal, Kyō no Ondokoro is a lodging facility obtained from the renovation of a machi-ya, a traditional wooden townhouse, not very far from Nijō Castle and Nishijin, Kyoto’s famed weaving district. There could hardly be a better place to stay to truly experience the culture of the town. Akira Minagawa, the founder and designer of the brand Minä Perhonen, took over the renovation process, from naming to concept, all through logo design, and turned the 90-year-old machi-yainto something more than just an accommodation. Kyō no Ondokoro offers an experience at the heart of the Kyoto community. Located near Heian Shrine, Kyō no Ondokoro is the first in a row of five townhouses that will open during 2018, at a short distance from museums and other places of interest. Besides the lovely kitchen, with beautifully-designed tableware and the charming floral furniture, the townhouse will not provide you the perks of a luxury hotel or ryokan. However, you will be offered the opportunity to spend your holiday your own way, at your own pace. You can make a reservation online and then check in at the front desk of Kyō no Ondokoro, on the ground floor of Wacoal Shin-Kyoto Building, just opposite Kyoto Station’s Hachijō. Whether it is your first time in Kyoto or your nth, a stay in a machi-yawill provide you with an unforgettable experience.  

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05.16.2018

A historic newsstand in Ortona, Italy, a dream shared by a father and a son, and a sudden infatuation for Chile. These are the main elements of a unique story, that of a small independent publishing house named Edicola Ediciones (edicola is Italian for newsstand) established in 2013 between Italy and Chile, building a virtual bridge made of books between two not-so-distant worlds, albeit divided by two different languages, an Ocean and a continent. A story that sounds like a novel itself, and whose main characters are Paolo Primavera and Alice Rifelli, a couple of young and brave publishers, partners in work and in life. Paolo and Alice currently live and work between Ortona, the publishing house’s Italian headquarters, Ferrara, Alice’s hometown, and Santiago de Chile.We spoke to them to learn more about this extraordinary enterprise. Why Chile?Paolo: Back when I was working as a photographer, I traveled all across Chile. That experience soon became a book and filled me with the desire to return - which I did by starting a couple of collaborations with local newspapers and teaching at a university for four years. Meanwhile, I also enrolled in a Master’s degree in Publishing. Then one day I got a call: my father was dying. I left everything and went back home.My father had been running a newsstand that has belonged to my family for over a century. One day, when we were sitting in the kiosk, we had spoken of how there was a lot of unnecessary publications among all that we sold, and that we should have opened our own publishing house specializing in our respective passions - photography and handmade wooden furniture.The idea had been stuck in my head ever since. So when my dad died, I returned to Chile to finish the Master and founded Edicola, our publishing house, building a bridge between Chilean and Italian culture through translation and proposing Spanish titles in Italy and vice versa. How is the Chilean independent publishing scene?Alice: The country is currently experiencing a cultural fervor similar to that blossoming during the Allende government. Although the Chilean democracy is still very fragile, thirty years after the end of the dictatorship people have gone back to experimenting, questioning and gathering. The Government massively invests in culture and the results are under our eyes.Paolo: In Chile there is much more collaboration among publishers than in Italy. Four years ago, we founded a publishers’ cooperative, La Furia. We started out in seven, and today we are more than forty. In the meantime, collaborating with other organizations, we have developed and launched a Chilean book internationalization program, and participated in the drafting of the new book's law. How do you choose your authors?Alice: There are several ways to choose a book. The most obvious one is to fall in love with it as a reader. But we also feel a strong urge to follow the voice of our authors through different books and to make their new projects come true. And sometimes it’s all about building a puzzle where every book is a piece that you hope will fit in the right place at the right time. While "still believing in paper", Edicola also publishes e-books. Paolo and Alice: Ever since the beginning, we opted for publishing both the paper and the digital format. We believe in both. We are not interested in the useless diatribe over which of the two supports is never better. Books are products too, and if going out at night and writing them on the walls is what it takes to sell them (and let people read them), we are ready to do it. E-books are simply another style of publishing, with its obvious advantages both the reader and the publisher.As for our paper books, we have tried to make them as "portable" as possible: most of the have approximately the same size as an e-reader. How do Chileans see the Italian culture and authors?Paolo: They are very interested in our art, culture, and literature. Our history has earned us a lot of respect, even if the usual clichés are still a thing. In the field of literature, all the great authors like Calvino, Pavese, Pasolini and Natalia Ginzburg are quite well-known. At Edicola, we have done and will continue to do our part by translating contemporary Italian authors. We recently published our first classic: The Night by poet Dino Campana, translated by Antonio Nazzaro. What made you fall in love with Chile?Alice: In the beginning I had a bit some trouble with avocados and earthquakes. Over the last three years, I got used to both. I learned how to eat avocados like a local: perfectly ripe, with only a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt on toast, or in a salad. Earthquakes are obviously no joke, but Chilean buildings are safe and designed to withstand a continually shaking ground. And it is precisely this overpowering and yet generous nature that made me fall in love with Chile
 
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