Friday, July 29, 2011

The Louvre Rejects The Uffizi

   Despite many many requests from the people at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Louvre has turned down any offer to let the Mona Lisa travel to Italy saying that the most famous Renaissance painting in the world, is to fragile to ever leave the Louvre Museum again.

 The last time the painting was in Italy was in 1911, exactly 100 years ago, when the painting was stolen by an Italian who pretended to work at the Louvre in order to get access. It was such a scandal that 9 days later when the museum was re-opened, it was flooded with people who went just to see the blank wall where the piece once was. The man who stole it, Vincenzo Peruggia, has a fascinating story. That is why I can't wait to see this new documentary all about the drama and the scandal of the 1911 heist and what happened afterwards. Check out the trailer to see what I mean.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wine Tasting with me

Name: al Tralcio Antico Chianti
Year: 2009
Description: Chianti is my favorite Italian wine of all time...well, until I come across another that goes down just as sweet. It's a Tuscan wine that is usually aged for 2 to 3 years. It has a deep dark red velvet color. "Tralcio Antico" means old branch in Italian and that is a fitting name because this wine has a smell of vintage wood to it, which I gather is the oak barrel effect. The taste is smooth and not light but also not heavy. A medium wine.
Price: 3 euros

Recommendation: I recommend drinking this wine after a busy day where you waited waaaay too long in an Italian post office line only to find out when you got to the front, you've been standing in the wrong line all along and you need to be in that line over there which is twice as long as the first one and by the way they close in a few minutes and the next 3 days are saint so and so's holiday and so the post office will be closed. Ya, this wine goes great with that day. Enjoy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Nooks and Crannies: Living Room

  Continuing in the effort to discover my design style, which I'm calling Cafe Culture Contempary, defined in my last home post, here is a post showing the nooks and crannies my Torinoi living room.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Door Series #46

Saturday, July 23, 2011

For Me?! You Shouldn't Have.

  As if just for me, the city planted a new garden directly in front of my bedroom window. Hay, I'm not complaining.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't Forget to Look Up

  When I remind myself to look up, I'm always pleasantly surprised. I'm glad the city can have a sense of humor.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What Ever Happened to the Last King of Italy?

  Umberto II of savoy was the last king to rule Italy. He live from 1904 to 1983 but gave up his thrown in 1946 and fled Italy during the throws of WWII.

Umberto's career life was mostly a military one. Umberto lost the love of the people when his father Victor Emanuele III appointed Mussolini to run the country with a tight fist. His bad politics made for an assassination attempt in 1929, with the shooter shouting, "Down with Mussolini!". The bullet just missed the Umberto. In 1946 Victor and his queen left the country in the middle of the night to Egypt. Umberto tried to take over for his father but after one month he abandoned his people and country as well fleeing to first Switzerland and then permanently to Portugal. A referendum was made. The royal house of Savoy, a dynasty since 1061 and the ruling kings of Italy since 1861, were banished from ever setting foot in Italy again. That included any future airs. 

The last king of Italy died in 1983 exiled in Portugal.

Today the Savoy family is still going strong with Umberto's son and grandson living comfortable in France. The media often keeps us updated with their vacations, marriages, and other activities. But I can't help but think about where the royal family would be today if they had not fled.

(in italian but interesting and full of good footage)

Vittorio Emanuelle, son of Umberto II

Vittorio Emanuelle's son, Emanuele Filiberto di Savoia

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

La Dolce Vita Series: Flea Market Shopping

  Vintage flea market shopping is my passion. Luckily in Italy I am spoiled with an abundance of weekend outdoor markets where I can find everything from piles of used clothes to stunning estate antiques. I love it so much that I've made it my business opening an all Italian online vintage shop called Italian Postcards. Here is a little video I made of a Sunday at the Balon market in Torino.

Remember to check out Ciao Christy for all of the fun!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Palazzo Valentino: You Can Look but Only at a Safe Distance

  Palazzo Valentino is a Savoy palace that is surrounded by a huge park. I love driving past it because it's gorgeous and French and is designed like 2 arms welcoming you into the heart of the castle. I would love to see inside it but alas, there are no tours. You see this palace is now a university for architects and tourists are not allowed. Something I was reminded of several times by some overly excited teachers as I got up close one day to take some photographs. I guess I look students???

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Restaurant Review: Creuza de Ma

  It's often the small hole in the wall's that surprise you. An unassuming place, small but super packed because everyone else seems to be in on the secret that the good food is here. Creuza de Ma is right on the water in a tiny cove in Genova full of 20-somethings smoking in wine bars. It has a short but creative menu of not-so-traditional Genovese fish specialties. We had...

Appetizer: Warm radicchio, pear, and shrimp salad

1st Plate: Black risotto and frutti di mare with a balsamic reduction
Dessert: Dark chocolate envelope with fragoline and brandy sauce
Ristorante Creuza de Mä
Piazza Nettuno, 2
Boccadasse, 16146 
Reservations: #010-3770091

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Discover Something New About Your City: Part 6

Friedrich Nietzche went crazy in Torino.

  The famous German poet and philosopher not only lived next door to my building, which is now a pizzeria, but he also lost his marbles here. From 1879 to 1890 Fred spent time living between Torino, Genoa, Rapallo, and Nice.

According to Wikipedia, on January 3, 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Torino. What actually happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect the horse, and then collapsed to the ground.

There is a large plaque commemorating the home, now pizzeria, where Fred lived and produced a lot of writing.

Does anyone else think they should re-enact this scene every year to remember him by? I'm not sure I can ever look at Piazza Carlo Alberto the same...
wiki page:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Birds of Piazza Castello

  Every evening these birds, Swallows I think, take over the piazza. It's quite a site to behold so I thought I would try to capture it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

La Dolce Vita Series: The View From Home

  Today begins a new series started by Christy of the Ciao Christy blog called La Dolce Vita. The objective is to write about my version of the sweet life in Italy and then share it with other bloggers and readers alike. You know I can't resist because I just love a good blog party!

My Dolce Vita: We technically live in 2 places. Pier's work has us in both in Torino and Rapallo depending on the week and what work needs to be done. We have an apartment in both locations and I am spoiled for stunning views in both places. I am endlessly hanging out of my window and snapping pics for the blog....and also so I can remember an event or a sunset. It's really lovely.

Torino: has the castle view
Rapallo: has the sea view
Click on Christy's blog link for all the fun.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Door Series #45

A bit of weathered color on today's door, one of my favorite colors.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Nooks and Crannies: Kitchen

  I love the nooks and crannies of my home in Torino. Many of the things in our house were hand me downs from Pier's parents and grandparents. Many items, like the bidet, came with the house wither we liked it or not. But the nooks are where I feel the personality of the house comes through and that's all me. This house is a mix of Italian-French-American-country-meets-city-style. I'm calling it Cafe Culture Contemporary To see what I mean, here are some nooks and crannies of my kitchen.
Definition of Cafe Culture Contemporary (my decorating style whose word I just made up today): Vintage European decor mixed with all modern functioning living spaces.

Modern kitchen appliances, espresso machine, showers, plumbing, closet planning, and lighting mixed with vintage and antique art, decor items, and furniture. Imagine a space with layers of history from all different decades mixed with new modern touches and comforts. Example: A 19th century wood-burning fireplace and a flat screen TV in the same room.

Inspired by the cafes of chic European cities like Paris, Berlin, and Milan.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Following a Pilgrims Footsteps

  On Sunday I joined a delightful group of hikers and followed the steps of the pilgrims up to the top of the mountain to visit the Nostra Signora della Montallegro church, the story of which was mentioned in previous fireworks post.The hike was straight uphill, the trail was hundreds maybe thousands of steps like this.
The first rest point gave us this stunning panoramic view of Rapallo.

Along the way.....
Finally, at the top of the mountain...
 Then as a reward, we took the Funivia, or tram, down to the bottom. It took about 4 hours to hike to the top and 7 minutes to take the tram back down. Here is the view from the tram in it's entirety.

The end of the day was celebrated with a giant display of fireworks ending the entire weekend of celebrations.