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04.15.2019

Onigiris, which have been a staple of outdoor meals since time immemorial, may represent Japan’s very firstfast food,with excellent preservabilityand portability. Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese: you name a cuisine, Tokyo has it. However, most restaurants become horribly crowded at lunchtime. In those moments, it is much easier to buy a rice ball and savour it in the quiet contemplation of nature. Onigiri shops have been flourishing recently, with particular emphasis on the rice and the ingredients. Some of the shops have an ample eat-in space, where you can enjoy a rice ball and a bowl of miso soup.Here is a shortlist. Yoyogi: Ohitsuzen TanboThe shop aims to always serve the best quality in season, hence the origin of the rice used for Tanbo’s onigiris varies according to the period of the year, from Uonuma to Niigata. But Tanbo’s most remarkable feature is the use of home-polished rice. The shop serves numerous dishes, but it is perhaps renowned for its freshly-pressed onigiri, coming in ten flavours, such as bonito and salmon  and nozawana, a Japanese vegetable, commonly served pickled. Tanpo is also present in Omotesandō. Tsukiji Outer Market: Onigiri MarutoyoIt is an undisputed fact that the Tsukiji Outer Market is a fortunate location for a shop whose strong point is fresh seafood, especially salmon roe and conger eel, which are sourced directly from the famous adjacent fish market. Onigiris are nice and bulky - at Marutoyo they certainly do not skimp on the filling. And foodies know that. Himonya: Iizuka SeimaitenLocated in a quiet residential area, Iizuka Seimaten utilises itsown special blend of rice and two types of pesticide-free riceKoshihikari from Niigata Prefecture. It is an extremely popular shop, opening at 7 in the morning and selling 400 pieces a day, with classic fillings like Japanese salted plum and salmon, as well as more daring ingredients such as Vienna sausage and tuna miso. Marunouchi: Honnori-ya Tokyo Main StoreIt is an extremely popular onigiri shop using home-polished Aizu Koshihikari rice from Fukushima, which is known for retaining its softness and sweetness even when it gets cold.In addition to the onigiris, which are stuffed with the season’s best ingredients, another jewel in the crown is Honnori-ya’s signature miso soup, made with red and white miso. Akasaka: Omusubi GonbeiIt is an onigiri chain with shops at Tokyo’s major stations, known for its plump, hand-salted rice balls, which are 1.5 times bigger than the average rice ball. You can enjoy them in the restaurant, with a bowl of miso soup on the side. Select seasonal ingredients include Hachinohe maeoki mackerel, mackerel miso, wild vegetables and ginkgo nuts. 

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04.05.2019

The Setouchi Triennale is a contemporary art festival held every three years in the charming setting of the Seto Inland Sea. The theme is the Restoration of the Sea, since the festival aims to revitalise the Seto Inland Sea area, which has recently suffered from depopulation. This year will mark the fourth edition of the festival. The Seto Inland Sea is Japan’s largest inland sea, 450 km long from east to west. The width from south to north varies from 15 to 55 km. It is the centre of the Setouchi region, which comprises the coastal areas of Honshū, Shikoku and Kyūshū, three of the four main islands of Japan. Due to the partial enclosure by islands, archipelagos and peninsulas, the sea water is calm, like that of a lake. The numerous islands dotting the Seto Inland Sea are rich in astonishingly beautiful nature, white sand beaches and terraced fields.In 1934, the area centred on Bisan Seto, which spans Kagawa Prefecture, Okayama Prefecture and Hiroshima Prefecture, was appointed the Setouchi National Park, one  of the oldest to be designated as such. Historically, the Seto Inland Sea served as a main transport line between its coastal areas, namely for the kitamaebune("northern-bound ships") a shipping route in Japan from the Edo period to the Meiji era, going from Osaka to Hokuriku and Hokkaidō. In the 1960s, the large-scale industrial development and the pollution arising from it deeply affected the beauty of the islands. Therefore, the Seto Inland Sea is a trove of history and culture, including negative heritage. The purpose of the Setouchi International Art Festival is to transform the region into a sea of hope for all the areas around the globe. The venues are abandoned steel mills and houses on several islands, including Shōdoshima, the largest in the Seto Inland Sea, Naoshima, known for its many contemporary art museums, the nearby Teshima and the small Ogijima and Megijima. There are seven concepts in Setouchi Triennale 2019: “art and architecture”, “folklore”, “livelihood”, "exchange”, “wisdom of the world”, “future” and “creating bonds”. The 2019 festival is held over three sessions: Spring Encounters, from 26th April to 26th May;Summer Gatherings, from 19th July to 25th August;Fall Expansions, from 28th September to 4th November. There is a 3 Season Passport for those who want to enjoy all three sessions of the 2019 Triennale, whereas those who plan to visit only one session can buy a Single Season Passport. Since there are no litter bins on the islands, please dispose of your rubbish responsibly elsewhere. Litter bins can be found at Takamatsu Port.  

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03.29.2019

Japanese swords, also known as katana, maintain their beauty intact throughout the centuries, untouched by rust. The tradition of sword-making has been passed down from generation to generation and represents the very core of the Japanese art of smithing. The Seikadō Bunko Art Museum is now set to hold an exhibition displaying a magnificent collection of katanas which was started by the founder of the museum, Yanosuke Iwasaki, after a decree abolishing the wearing of swords in publicwas passed in 1876, and it was later expanded by his son Koyata. Some of the swords were collected in the former Bizen Provinceunder the influence of sword connoisseur Nagayoshi Imamura. Since about 40% of the 120 swords at the museum are Bizen swords, the Seikadō Bunko Art Museumis known as the treasure house of Bizen swords. The April 2019 exhibition will showcase the splendid crafts of Bizen Province, the southeastern portion of present-day Okayama prefecture, a region blessed with all the vital materials required by the finest sword-smiths of Japan. Because of the large number of swords manufactured in Bizen, the province became known as “sword kingdom”.The famous Bizen blade is a koshi-zori, in which the curve is closer to the tangthan the tipand the temper line (hamon) has a unique, undulating pattern called chōji-midare(“clove-shaped”). The exhibition will also feature about 30 pieces, of which4 Important Cultural Properties and 11 Important Art Objects, and will allow visitors to discover the most significant stages in the history of Japanese sword-smithing, from the Kobizen styleof the Heian Period (794-1185), to the Kamakura (1185–1333) and the Muromachi (1336-1573) periods. The exhibition will be on from 13th April to 2nd June at the Seikadō Bunko Art Museum.  

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03.19.2019

Aigamo is the name of a farming methodwhich utilises ducks, belonging to the Japanese Aigamo crossbreed, to keep the paddy fields clear of unwanted plants and parasites, without any herbicides or pesticides. Ducks were first introduced to Japan as poultry from Mainland China in the Heian period (794-1185). Toyotomi Hideyoshi is claimed to have been the person who encouraged the use of ducks as natural repellents for insects and birds in the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1568-1598). The technique became obsolete in the subsequent Edo period (1600-1867). The practice was re-established in the town of Fukuno, Toyama prefecture, in 1985, as an attempt to preserve the ecosystem of the rice paddies by means of natural farming. It did not take long before the Aigamo integrated rice-duck pesticide-free farming methodmade the headlines and began to be implemented nationwide. Ducklings are used first and foremost for weeding. Depending on the conditions of the paddy field, a 1,000m² area requires about 15 ducks. Furthermore, the omnivorous ducks feed on insects, worms and other sorts of vermin, keeping the paddy field clear of parasites. Another point that should not be overlookedis that ducks are instrumental in enriching the water with oxygen by constantly stirring up the soil in the ricepaddy while swimming. The duckshelp the rice seedlings grow by eating both insects and weeds that get in the way. The movement also keeps the water at an optimal temperature for rice growth. Additionally, the duck droppings provide the rice crops with nearly all the essential nutrients. The ducklingsare releasedintothe paddy field about one or two weeks after the seedlings have been planted. Ashelteris necessary forthe ducksto take refuge from rain. To warn offweasels, dogsand other predators, the fieldneeds toprotected by a fence around and atop. The quality and level of the water are monitored daily in order for the ducks to have sufficient swimming space and crushed rice is supplied for seventy days, until the rice ears come out. In spite of the numerous challenges,such as protecting the paddy fields and their dwellers from kites, crows and raccoon dogs, while making sure that the ducks do not escape, theAigamo methodis an effective, environment-friendly approach to weed and pest control in rice farming. 

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03.07.2019

Goldfish cultivation originated in Southern China about two thousand years ago, when a red-coloured type of carp was singled out among other species and began to be raised as ornamental fish in garden ponds. It is generally believed that goldfish made their first appearance in Japan in 1502, during the Muromachi era. In those days, they were found exclusively in the homes of the nobility and well-to-do families who kept them as rare pets. However, in the Meiji pediod (1868-1912) they became popular amongst the commoners as well. In Yamatokōriyama stands the largest castletown of Yamato, starting with the fortress of Tsutsui Junkei, which was completed in 1580 and subsequently became the residence of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the MizunoMatsudaira, Honda and Yanagisawa families. Although the castle keep was destroyed, visitors can still admire turrets, walls and the moat, located at the centre of one of the historic sites of Nara prefecture. The cultivation of goldfish (kingyo) in Yamatokōriyamais believed to have begun in 1724, when Lord Yanagisawa Yoshisato entered the Yamatokōriyama domain from the province of Kai (present-timeYamanashi prefecture).Goldfish cultivation became a side job for clansmenin the late Edo period (aka Bakumatsu,1853-1867), and gradually developed into a thriving business for samurai and farmers who had lost their jobs after the Meiji Restoration(1866-1869). This is thought to have been made possible by the generous contribution of Yanagisawa Yasunobu, the last lord of Yamatokōriyama domain.In the wake of the great economic development and advancement of aquaculture technologies, in 1907, not only did Yamatokōriyama’s goldfish begin to be exported to other prefectures, but also overseas, namely to Southeast Asia and Europe and the United States. Since 1995, the National Goldfish Scooping Championship has been held in Yamatokōriyama, in August every year, along with the “Kingyo Meister” course on goldfish keeping and the Goldfish Bowl Design Contest. And you can find the kingyo motif everywhere in Yamatokōriyama city, from street lights and manholes to carpark buffer stops.  

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02.25.2019

Hotaru-ika, or firefly squid, is caught with anoff-shore fixed net before dawn. At that hour, thefirefly squid emits a blue luminescence which turns the Sea of Japan into a spectacular light show in the blink of an eye. While spending the majority of their lives in deeper waters, the firefly squid  females females rise to the surfaceand gather near the coast from March to May, to laytheir eggs. Toyama Bay and the city of Namerikawaare especially famous for hotaru-ika fishing. Although the developments and improvements in freezing techniques have made firefly squid available throughout the year, fresh hotaru-ika sashimi can only be savoured in spring. Fishermen use a special net for firefly squid, called fukubeami, which differ from the ones used for other species. The nets, generally made of straw, are cast out in the bay to capture the squid as they make their way towards the shore to spawn.When the squid come in contact with the nets, the stimulation causes them to emit light, creating a mysterious glow that spreads over the surface of the sea. Here are a few restaurants in Tokyo where you can have fresh firefly squid. Nihonbashi ToyamakanThis shop, which was created as an information centre for the city and prefecture of Toyama, receives a number of fresh local products from Toyama every day.https://toyamakan.jp Gotanda: Omatsuri HonpoAlso known for its selection of Japanese sake, this shop focusses on fresh fish, which changes seasonally. In the hotaru-ikaseason, you can enjoy firefly squid sashimi and shabu-shabuhotpot. Yanaka: Gyokai ZanmaiAkiraThe restaurant stands right next to the fishmonger’s. It is no wonder that here you can find only the best the season has to offer. It is also a pleasure to spend some alone time in the comforting ambience of traditional downtown Tokyo.A springtime special is hotaru-ikagrilled in hot pebbles. SangenjayaSuzushiroLocated at a 7-minute walk from Sangenjaya Station, it is a shop with only eight counter seats, specialised in soups and sake. Try the boiled firefly squid mixed with white rice and hamaguriclams aplenty. Shinsen: Sanchoku-ya TakaIt is an extremely popular restaurant, known for its perfect reservation system and for the freshness of its ingredients, fished every morning. Here, the meals are omakase, that is every course is chosen by the chef, who also pairs it with the most suited type of sake. Seasonal recommendations include of course hotaru-ika, served either raw in a sashimi fashion or steamed.  

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02.15.2019

Shirakawa-gō is a name for the Shōnai basin in the former Hida province, which corresponds to present-day Gifu prefecture. The village of Ogimachi in Shirakawa-gō is known of about a hundred traditional gasshō-zukuri houses. Due to its unique landscape, Shirakawa-gō was selected as one of the Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings1976 and was also inscribedinthe UNESCO World Heritage List, along with Gokayamain Toyama Prefecture, in 1995. Gasshō-zukuri is a unique architectural style in Japan characterised by a steeply slanting thatched roofmade of rice straw, devised to shed snow easily. The name gasshō stems from the steep angle of the roof, which resembles a pair of hands joined in prayer. In order to minimise wind damage and, at the same time, maximise sun exposure, gasshō-zukuri houses face north or south. Silk production used to be an important activity in Shirakawa in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the early Meiji period (mid 19th century). For this reason, the space of the attic was generally divided into 2-4 layersand put to effective use in the rearing of silkworm. The expected durability of the roof is 50 to 80 years, and the structure requires regular maintenance. Because of their construction style, fire is a serious risk to the numerous gasshō-zukuri houses., and all activities involving fire, such as fireworks, are strictly regulated. The large-scale fire drills are performed early in November every year are something worth seeingOn selected Sundays between the months of January and February, the gasshō-zukuri houses are illuminated. The next and last event of the season will be on 17th February. Since the small size of a village does not allow large gatherings, it is paramount that you make a reservation in advance. In addition to the illuminations,you can enjoy a nice stroll through one of the most iconic places of Japan. The best attractions in Shirakawa-gō Wada HouseIt is the house of the Wada family, who served as officials at the guardhouse  for generations and traded in explosives and raw silk.It is the largest gasshō-zukuri house in Shirakawa-gō and it has been designated an important cultural assets of Japan. Myozen-ji Temple HallIt is an ancient temple of the Shingon sect. The main hall, the priest’s quarters and the bell tower are allcovered with a thatched roof. It is one of the rare examples of a gasshō-zukuri temples. The priest’s quarters were built in 1817. The space of the roof is divided into five layers. In the hall on the second floor ancient agricultural and silk farming tools are displayed. Shiroyama Observatory DecksThere are two observatory decks overlooking the marvellous gasshō-zukuri area of Ogimachi. Both stand next to the historic site of Shirakawa-gō and offer a complete view of the traditional premises. Recommendations for gourmetsSpecialities include salt-grilled freshwater fish, goheimochi (a ricecakecoated with a walnut sauce and grilled), as well the famous wagyū meats of Hida, which include the Matsusaka and Yonezawa beefs, served in the traditional hoba miso fashion, that is on a magnolia leafwith miso. Last but not least, a jar of pickled aka-kabura dish or a pack of Doburoku yōkan sweet bean jelly make a wonderful souvenir. Stay and accommodationIf you are in Shirakawa-gō, of course you can sleep in one of the gasshō-zukuri houses. Gasshōno Yado MagoemonBuilt approximately 280 years ago, it is an inn and one of the few properties in Shiragawa-gō with an irori, a traditional sunken hearth. Gasshō-zukurino Yado IssaLocated at the centre of the village, it is a large thatched house, renowned for its cuisine. Gasshō-zukuri Minshuku ShimizuThis inn is located at theless touristic east end of Shirakawa-gō, with a great atmosphere to bask in.  

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02.11.2019

If you were to ask Koreans to name a famous Italian personality, most likely they would not mention a soccer player, a politician, or even the Pope. Chances are, in fact, the answer would be Alberto Mondi, a thirty-four year old guy from Mirano, in the province of Venice. The reason is soon explained: Alberto has become a celebrity thanks to a South Korean television program, Non Summit, featuring 10 foreigners discussing various current issues in a parody of a UN summit, an incredible success that brought him a sudden as much as unexpected fame. A graduate in Chinese, a former researcher at the Korea Institute of Public Finance, and a financial journalist, Alberto was recently knighted by the Italian Ambassador in Korea for his contribution in strengthening cultural relations between Italy and Korea and promoting an extremely positive image of Italy. He speaks perfect Korean, has a Korean wife and a three-year-old son, Leonardo, and definitely epitomizes a type of Italian man that shuns all stereotypes. And maybe that is precisely why he is so loved. We asked him to tell us about his unique story and to give us his point of view on Seoul, his adoptive city, as seen through the eyes of an Italian. Picturing someone from the Venetian countryside that arrives in Seoul is a bit like imagining an astronaut landing on another planet. What were your feelings the first time you set foot in the city?AM: I reached Sokcho, in the southern part of the country, on a ship from Vladivostock, Russia, after taking a train from Venice, crossing Eastern Europe and traveling on the Trans-Siberian Railway. So yes, it definitely was a somewhat different and exciting experience. Of course, there are so many little things that you have to get used to, from taking off your shoes before entering any private space to sitting, eating and sleeping on the ground. Social relationships are also hard to get a grip on: in Korea culture is based on invisible hierarchies which are reflected on the language, so according to how the language is used and to its level of formality, relationships are established. You really need to take the utmost care of this and show respect and reverence when needed.  As a long-time expat have you managed to find any common points between the Italian and the Korean culture?AM: After 11 years in Korea, I managed to find many things in common. The fact that Korea, like Italy, is a peninsula is not just a superficial resemblance. In a sense, we are the Koreans of Europe andKoreans are the Italians of the Far East. Starting from their warm and almost fiery nature. Koreans love spending time together and conviviality. They have a very rich food culture, with plenty of local varieties. Another thing we share is the central role of the family, including overprotective mothers and children who are hesitant to leave their parental home until their adult age.  How do Koreans see Italians and how are you managing to change that image?AM: Everywhere in the world people tend to think of foreigners in terms of stereotypes, and South Korea is no exception. The see us as stylish, artistic, elegant, and creative people. As for me, I think they probably love me because I am spontaneous: I am not a television professional, and I have never tried to make an impression.  How was living in Seoul as a foreigner before becoming a TV personality?AM: As a European, living in Korea is pretty easy, and people are generally very kind.Seoul is an increasingly international citywhere English is now widely spoken, especially by young people. Working, though, is a completely different matter, first of all because earning a work visa requires proving that you are literally irreplaceable in a certain role, and secondly because you need to know the language and embrace a challenging work culture that includes long hoursand total devotion to the company. How did you end up becoming a Korean TV star?AM: It all happened by chance. Working for a multinational beer company, I had launched a famous beer brand in Korea and, in doing so, I had met many restaurant owners. One day, a former client of mine called me and told me he wanted me to meet someone: when I got to his office, I was instantly introduced to the casting manager of the first show I did. It was meant to be just one episode, I said yes just for fun, but the show became one of the biggest hits of South Korean TV. I've been lucky. Do you ever miss Italy?AM: I certainly do! I miss my family, my friends, the beauty and the wonderful food of our country. Where in Seoul do you live?AM: I live in the south-eastern part of the city, basically under the Lotte World Tower. I chose this neighborhood because there are the Olympic Park, a beautiful artificial lake and, only five minutes away, the beautiful park on the Han River. It is a super modern and convenient area with plenty of green spaces. If we were to visit Seoul for the first time, would you have any recommendations for exploring the authentic face of the city?AM: I would definitely recommend the Noryangjin Fish Market, which is truly unique and really, really huge. You can buy fresh fish on the ground floor and have it cooked upstairs. Another place I love is Yeonnam, an emerging neighborhood in the north-western part of the city: here, on the old abandoned railway that used to connect Seoul to Pyongyang, in North Korea, there are now a nice park and many restaurants and clubs. The feel is vibrant, young, and definitely non-touristy.The Seoul Forest, in the district of Seongsu, is a large park where you’ll find plenty of flowers species. And then of course there is the breathtaking Gwanghwamun squaresurrounded by Imperial palaces which, despite touristy, is an absolute must-see. 

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Milan has gradually turned into the capital of Italian fashion (and into one of the “Big Four” capitals of international fashion) starting from the postwar period, when it literally tore the title away from the other cities where national fashion was rooted - Rome, Florence and Turin - reaching its peak in the Nineties with the legendary fashion shows by Armani, Ferré and Versace. But the relationship between Milan and fashion is not just about marketing, communication and big investments. There is a deeper, historical connection: to reach the true origin of this vocation - which is currently dominated by luxury multinationals international "fashion weeks" replicated in New York, London and Paris - one needs to explore the local tradition of craftsmanship that has always been part of the identity of Milan and of which fashion in its noblest form is a direct descendant. For many centuries, goldsmiths, luthiers, leather workers and paper makers have worked in the small artisan workshops of the city generating a heritage of beauty and know-how that is absolutely worth discovering, and that still continues to be enriched through the work of rare, visionary and brave craftsmen. A "grand tour" of the artisan workshopsSuspended between fashion, design and art, the objects created in the historic artisan workshops can tell us a lot about the origins of Made in Italy. However, it is not always easy to have access to these often hidden and somewhat off-the beaten-path places, let alone be able to speak with the artisans and learn the secrets of the trade, or what happens behind the scenes of what the world envies us so much. Yet someone decided to put together an emblematic selection of these excellences in a special tour entirely dedicated to the artisan Milan. The name, Grand Tour, is inspired by the golden age of the great travels through continental Europe that young British aristocrats typically embarked on a few centuries ago to discover, among other things, Italian art and architecture. This short journey through the Milanese artisan workshops, streets and museums includes plenty of remarkable stop-overs: from the collections of metallic and leather objects of the Bagatti Valsecchi Museum to the studio of a contemporary Milanese metal sculptor and a historic leather workshop where beautiful hand-sewn shoes are made; from the precious manuscripts kept in the city libraries and archives to a famous book binding workshop where ancient techniques are still used. From the Sala degli Oriat the Poldi Pezzoli museum, which preserves over 200 goldsmith’s ware, to a prestigious jewelry workshop where you can watch expert master craftsmen at work; from the Museum of Musical Instruments (inside the Castello Sforzesco) to the workshop of a master violin maker. Behind the idea is Elesta, an agency created by a group of women specializing in arts, culture and business management who have come together to promote the most extraordinary and unknown aspects of Italian culture. "If we think of how Italy is perceived in the world", explains Elisabetta Gavazzi Carissimo, founder and artistic director, "the mind immediately goes to fashion, design and food. But the origin of all these things is very old: generations of artisans, centuries of experience and the succession of different styles have crafted an incredible stratification of wisdom". This is why Elesta decided to open the doors of these secret places, of these hidden treasures to which we should all have access for learning more about a crucial part of Italian and Milanese culture. "We believe in the power of beauty, culture and art", concludes Elena Sisti, co-founder and CEO, "and we aim to offer a truly unforgettable experience". 

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02.04.2019

The public learned to know him three years ago when he composed the soundtrack of the light shows at the Tree of Life, the beating heart of Milan’s Expo 2015. Yet as it often happens, that popularity peak is just one of the many manifestations of Roberto Cacciapaglia’s talents. Born in Milan in 1953, the world-famous composer and pianist has always expressed courage and innovation though his works, combining his training in classical music with the exploration of electronic sounds. From a very young age, he collaborated with the Rai Phonology Laboratory, an institution in the field of musical innovation, and with sophisticated pop music songwriters such as Franco Battiato. Poised between tradition and innovation, he is appreciated both by critics and musicologists, classical music and pop music fans. We met him in his recording studio, a quiet oasis housed inside an elegant building in the heart of Milan. Your approach to music has always been really experimental, in the scientific sense of the word.RC: Indeed. ‘Sonanze’, my first work which I composed when I was eighteen, was an experiment integrating the dissonance of avant-garde music (think Stockhausen and John Cage), and the consonance of pop music. My debut LP was recorded in Pisa in collaboration with the National Research Council, working on the first IBM audio terminals. Italy was once an excellence in this field. When did your musical growth begin?RC: I started playing the piano at the age of four, prompted by my mother. I remember I had quite a hard time: the piano was right in front of the window, from which I could see my friends playing soccer in the courtyard, and I had no doubts about what I would rather do! In middle school I rediscovered my love for music by playing in bands with friends. I enrolled in music school and tried the synth, which had just debuted on the music scene. Throughout my career, I have tried to balance my classical training with my love for rock and roll: they were apparently incompatible, but I have always been very open to all influencesWhat do you like to listen to these days?RC: Basically everything: Händel, Puccini, Brazilian music, Neapolitan songs, Cesaria Evora… recently I even attended Eminem's concert. As a composer, I like to keep updated on everything that happens. When it comes to work, however, I need silence, because it provides me with the interior space and the isolation that I need to leave unnecessary thoughts and influences aside. Inspiration and sounds always come from within. According to a popular theory, since the notes are only twelve and the possible combinations are not endless, it will soon become impossible to create music that is truly new. Do you agree?RC:In fact, it’s quite the opposite: with no disrespect to Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, I believe we still have to start creating new music! I think this is a truly extraordinary moment. We are entering an era where the sound, and not the melody, is going to rule. Since ancient times, mankind has attached a very special power to sounds: in the Bible sounds demolish the walls of Jericho; in Greek mythology they allow Orpheus to calm down Hades; in the Eastern world they enchant snakes. In terms of technologies, possibilities and awareness, we are only just beginning to discover its true potential. If we didn’t have anything more to say with music, we wouldn’t have anything more to say at all. Yet now is the time to say something important. You are known for composing your works in the most unexpected situations and places...RC:Inspiration can come from anything: a sound, a ray of light, a scent. I call it "the fourth time" (which is also the title of one of my works), that universal instant that blends together the past, the present and the future. I experienced it at the foot of the volcano in Stromboli, where I composed a piece, and even on a train: as a child, I looked at the rails and they looked like a pentagram to me, whereas the houses and the trees that dotted the landscape were like notes ready to be played. Sometimes the melodies that are born in these moments are so vivid that I remember them by heart, without having to write them down immediately. Our soul resonates in a different way according to where we areSo what’s next for your career?RC:At the moment, my main interest is developing the potential of acoustic and electronic sounds. I am working with a software which amplifies frequencies that are normally not audible to the human ear.I am also very excited about my new album Diapason, in collaboration with the Royal Philarmonic Orchestra. 

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01.31.2019

Milan has a shy kind of beauty, hiding behind brass intercoms and solid wooden doors. It is a discreet charm, reserved just like its inhabitants who rarely reveal themselves at first glance. The most authentic face of the city is made of glimpses and details, of arches and tiled floors, of marble benches and shady courtyards you get to peek by chance while walking, of quiet cloisters hiding behind the walls of ancient monasteries. Along the streets of the famous Quadrilatero della Moda, once an area of secluded convents, or in the ​​Porta Venezia and Corso Magenta districts, there is a veritable city in the city: frescoed vaults that tell the story of nineteenth-century families, sumptuous palaces whose walls speak of aristocrats ready to squander their patrimonies, and centenarian wisterias guarding the prayers of fifteenth-century monks. The courtyard of Palazzo ArchintoPalazzo Archinto was built around 1833 by the Count of the same name: an ambitious project for which the nobleman was in debt, so much so that by his death in 1864 it became the property of the Italian State and later housed a boarding school for girls.With a rectangular plant, the palace winds around three courtyards: the square-shaped courtyard of honour (with a statue of Napoleon at the center) on which the four main buildings overlook, and two rectangular service courtyards. Everything is surrounded by an English garden with a lawn, a stream and a pond, now dried up. The courtyard of Palazzo MoriggiaHidden from the eyes of curious passers-by, the courtyards of via Borgonuovo are mostly owned by private individuals and often inaccessible. Fortunately, one of them belongs to Palazzo Moriggia, now home to the Museo del Risorgimento, designed in 1775 by Giuseppe Piermarini and very close to the Brera complex. A classic taste for rationality and harmony is the architect’s unmistakable signature, especially in the great Court of Honour, which houses a Monument to the Five Days of Milan. The courtyard of Palazzo Bagatti ValsecchiFor these two amazing courtyards we must thank brothers Giuseppe and Fausto Bagatti Valsecchi, who renovated their family home – now the Bagatti Valsecchi museum - in Renaissance style back in the late nineteenth century.The first one, accessible from via Gesù 5, has a black and white mosaic floor and a relaxed, old time atmosphere to be savored sitting at one of the tables of Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone. In via Santo Spirito 10, behind a large gate, hides the second courtyard, more intimate and evocative. The walls are frescoed with old views of Milan and there is a very well preserved early bicycle, yet another passion of the brothers, who also founded the Veloce Club Milano, ancestor of the Touring Club. The Cloisters of Sant'EustorgioPart of the first Milanese Dominican convent, these ancient cloisters are truly beautiful and quiet. The first one, attached to the left side of the basilica, was built at the beginning of the 13th century, whereas the second one was probably built by Filippo Maria Visconti’s will in 1413.Destroyed and rebuilt several times, and even used as barracks, today these two oases of silence house a major museum. The first one has a portico with columns dating back to the seventeenth century, whereas the second boasts elegant granite columns. The Cloisters of San BarnabaThe vaults of these fifteenth century cloisters are now a sought-after event location. The complex is nothing short of spectacular: the construction of S. Maria della Pace began in 1466 on land donated by the Sforza family to a Portuguese nobleman who had abandoned his lavish life to become a Franciscan. Today, the four cloisters bear evocative names (Statues, Pisces, Memory, Wisteria) and they often welcome the local nightlife.  

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Anyone who owns an original piece by Romeo Gigli holds it dear and probably still wears it, because although it was designed some twenty or perhaps thirty years ago, it is still perfectly modern and plausible. And it is precisely this pure design, this timeless quality that makes Gigli quite unique in the history of Italian fashion, although everything that is produced under his label, which passed into other hands due to various corporate adversities, has nothing to do with him anymore since 2004.  A fact that is utterly unconceivable, and yet has not discouraged this cultured gentleman raised in the womb of an aristocratic family from Romagna in 1960s Italysurrounded by ancient books, music and tailor-made clothes, who became a fashion designer almost by accident turning a wealth of knowledge, travels and experiences into designs, visions and meaningful creations. Gigli entered the fashion hall of fame with his legendary 1988 fashion show in Paris, welcome by an endless standing ovation, and went on to play a leading role in one of the golden eras of Italian and international fashion with a free spirit and an innate candourthat allowed him to shrug off commercial restraints and swim against the current not to provoke, but simply to affirm his creative vision. Today, Romeo Gigli continues to work, teach and collaborate with artists and musicians, as he has always done. Among his latest collaborations are the Eggseveningwear collection, created this year with Giordano Ollari, owner and buyer of multibrand 'O, and the costumes for the production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni with sets designed by Barnaba Fornasetti (2017).Here's what he recently told us about his life, his work, and the fashion industry. Raised in a family of antique booksellers, you studied architecture and only later took an interest in fashion. How has this complex and diverse education influenced your work?RG: Until the age of 19, in addition to classical studies, I was educated to become an antiquarian bookseller. My father had an ancient book library that I consulted very often, having the opportunity to discover some truly extraordinary images from the 16th, 17thand 19thcentury. I then enrolled in architecture school but did not graduate due to death of my parents, which was a great shock. So I decided to start traveling and I did it for ten years, all around the world: Asia, South America, the Far East. Being a collector, I bought tons of handicrafts, costumes, materials, carpets and sculptures. I sent whole containers home, and this melting pot of things contributed to shaping my imaginationFashion is a combination of shapes and decorations. How did you manage to balance these two elements in your work and is there one that is more important to you than the other? RG: Shapes are crucial. When I started designing my first collections, my main goal was finding shapes that were timeless. After so many years - my first collection dates back to 1983 - people sometimes still stops me along the street to tell me that they have kept my clothes because they are still perfect and contemporary. You have experienced the golden era of Milanese fashion as one of its greatest protagonists. What should we treasure and what should we forget of that time?RG: It was the greatest of times. I entered the fashion world for fun, just because it fascinated me. There were good times and bad times. I fondly remember Gianni Versace, who loved my work and always came to my fashion shows. I never managed to establish the same relationship with the other designers of the Milanese scene, it was not customary to invite colleagues to one’s fashion shows, there was a sort of internal war that I honestly didn’t like. In Paris, however, in 1988 I invited Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and Jean Paul Gaultierto my show and they all came. I think maybe in those years we could have done better, we lost quite a few opportunities because of some attitudes that are typically - and dramatically - linked to our national culture. On the other hand, however, another aspect of Italian culture is among the things we should preserve from that season: the great ability of our partners, the manufacturers who produce everything that makes Italian fashion unique, from the craftsmanship to the extraordinary and incomparable quality of the materials and the patterns. What do you think of the contemporary fashion scene and how do you picture the future of Italian fashion?RG: Well, there are a few things I like, but I am under the impression that everyone’s chasing the same thing, as if there were some kind of ‘diktat’. I’m afraid that young and emerging designers are badly hampered by these processes, and by a market that is completely in the hands of the big fashion corporations.In all creative industries, it is crucial to have the freedom to tell one's own story, otherwise generating beauty becomes impossible. It does not suffice to pursue trends or mix elements as a form of provocation; a sensible and unique project is what it takesHow can we preserve the complexity of design, manual skills and the sartorial work in the digital age?RG: Manual skills and design will always be at the base of creativity, in fashion as well as in design and architecture. No one can replace us humans in this, not even a computer. Imagination, freehand drawing, gestures and pencil strokes remain the starting point of any project. The process that leads to the creation of a garment always goes through physical elements such as mannequins and mirrors, because the shape needs to be pictured in a dimensional sense. And finally the illustrators turn that idea into a hand-drawn sketch. Only then can the process be digitalized. 

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01.24.2019

Milan is not afraid to experiment, even when it comes to food. And while the city has certainly embraced each and every passing food trend, from ethnic hybridization to the brunch and gourmet fast food obsessions, it never really lost sight of its original vocation for great, timeless cuisine.  As a result, the Milanese restaurant scene never ceased being reliable and surprising at the same time, thanks to the coexistence of tradition, gourmet and innovation. The city’s fascination for the local food tradition looks back on the good old trattoriaconcept, slightly lightened up and revived with an additional touch of sophistication and research.  On the gourmet front, innovation and haute cuisine often blend to offer experiences where uniqueness, excellent ingredients and perfect techniques definitely earn the spotlight.  The Local Tradition RatanàVia Gaetano de Castillia 28 If you are willing to try the greatest Milanese classic, the risotto giallo con ossobuco (saffron risotto with marrowbone), look no further than Ratanà. Housed inside a beautiful Art Deco building in the Isola-Porta Nuova district, it is home to Cesare Battisti’s sublimely revisited traditional Milanese cuisine based on accurately selected local ingredients.   Osteria BrunelloCorso Garibaldi 117Welcome to the home of the authentic and awarded co(s)toletta alla Milanese (veal Milanese).Weighing approximately 230 grams (bone included) it is breaded in dried and grated sliced bread, fried in clarified butter and served with roast potatoes and eggplant caponata. A timeless delicacy excellently crafted by chef Federico ComiAntica Trattoria della PesaViale Pasubio 10This is actually one of the oldest restaurants in Milan, housed inside the former weighbridge building where the goods coming from outside of town used to be weighed for the payment of custom duties back in the 19thcentury. The owners, the Sassi familycarefully preserved the authenticity of the place even in terms of décor. Among the house specials we recommend trying the rognone trifolato con risotto al salto (saute veal kidneys and rice). Authentic Innovation 28 postiVia Corsico 1A cosy little place with barely 28 seats tucked away in a surprisingly quiet street in the Navigli district. But the real surprise is Marco Ambrosino, a chef by calling (he graduated from business school) with a remarkable resume (he worked at Noma in Copenhagen) and amazing skills. Marco challenges the bravest palates with visionary ideas and unusual taste pairings, as in the pollen gelato with fish roe, onion, and fermented fruits.   LumeVia Watt 37Talented Michelin-starred chef Luigi Taglienti considers Italy the most innovative place on the international restaurant scene. His tasting menu, Taglienti racconta Taglientitells the story and the evolution of a great chef and his love for Italy and Liguria, the region where he was born and raised. Classics from the national tradition blend with Taglienti’s signature recipes such as “Squid’s black and white”, “Water, oil, lemon, and liquorice” and “Mushroom cappuccino with pale liver pudding”. Uncompromising Gourmet BertonVia Mike Bongiorno 13In the heart of the hypermodern Varesine Porta Nuova district, this restaurant is the perfect reflection of starred chefAndrea Berton, a pupil of Marchesi: elegant, moderate and spectacular, but with no excesses. His cuisine is entertaining and very close to perfect: the Tutto Brodo (“all stock”) menu plays with the fluid component of the recipes to offer a futuristic gourmet experience.  ContrasteVia Meda 2At the home of culinary genius Matias Perdomo, the starred Uruguayan chef who previoulsy ruled the scene at Pont de Ferr in the Navigli district), the menu is (literally) a mirror reflecting your own image – a clever and provocative way to state that the client is at the center of the scene and gets to decide what to eat in that very moment. The tasting menu included nine courses that change with the seasons, little pulp masterpieces that will leave you totally impressed.  

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01.23.2019

Katsushika Hokusai has become the quintessence of Japanese art in the world. To honor his work, a large-scale exhibition titled Hokusai Updated currently on view at the Mori Arts Center Gallery in Tokyo (until March 24th) introduces and chronicles the life of Hokusai by showcasing his best-known works, as well as never-before-seen pieces which have been rediscovered recently. Born into a poor peasant family in Sumida ward, Tokyo, in 1760, Hokusai took an interest in painting from an early age, and in 1778 he became a disciple of ukiyo-e master Shunshō Katsukawa. He studied the works of the Kanō school, one of the most famous schools of Japanese painting, as well as Chinese and Western art. Under the pseudonym “Shunrō”, he produced a host of works, including ukiyo-e landscapes and illustrated storybooks. Upon leaving the Katsukawa school, he went by several soubriquets, including “Hokusai Sori”, “Sori”, “Hokusai”, “Kakō” and “Tokimasa”. In 1805, he started calling himself “Katsushika Hokusai”, but reportedly changed his name thirty times thereafter. He continued to paint until his death at the age of 90, leaving behind an estimate of 30,000 paintings. His major achievement was perhaps the foundation of the Katsushika school, whose style went on to influence European art of the XIX century, namely the Impressionists and Vincent van Gogh, while nurturing a growing interest in Japonism. In 1999, he was the only Japanese person listed in Life Magazine’s “The 100 Most Important Events and People of the Past 1,000 Years.” The Hokusai Updatedexhibition spans the six stages of Hokusai’s life: a total of approximately 480 valuable works will be on display, assembled from Japan and overseas, some which exhibited for the first time in Japan, unfolding new aspects of Hokusai’s remarkable life. 

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01.21.2019

Understanding sake requires a full immersion into one of the great little mysteries of Japanese culture. The mystery lies in the alchemy that allows the creation of koji rice, a variety obtained by inoculating a natural mold into the rice. From kojirice, sake is then obtained by fermentation. Its organoleptic properties vary considerably depending on the production area and the specific quality of the basic raw materials. The temperature at which sake should be served depends precisely on these elements, so that each quality of sake has its own serving temperature, which is why in the restaurants and on special occasions there is always an expert whose sole task is to determine and obtain the right temperature that will enhance the specific features of each sake. Because of its delicately sweet and savory flavor profile,sake perfectly matches with food without adding acidity to its taste: mild sake is a great complement to delicate dishes, whereas for structured foods the recommendation is to go for a sake with more thickness and body. Like many other aspects of the Japanese food culture, sake is a veritable ritual to be experienced in everyday life as well as on special celebrations. Izakayais the name of the classic sake bar that the Japanese traditionally head to after work to enjoy sake accompanied by snacks and small bites, but lately even restaurants have taken to reviving and deepening the ancient art of sake. Here’s where to enjoy the sake ritual in Tokyo in different styles.  Nihonshu Stand Moto (Shinjuku)5-17-11 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-kuClose to Shinjuku Golden Gai and Hanazono temple, plenty of sake qualities to try sitting at the huge U-shaped counter side by side with the many sumo wrestlers that love to come here. Shu-Shu (Kanda)Yano Building 1F, 5-5 Kanda Konyacho Chiyoda TokyoAmong electric equipment and anime stores, an unusual Spanish-style sake bar where a sake sommelier will help you choose the quality that suits you best.  Sake Hall Hibiya Bar (Ginza)Miyuki Bldg B1F, 5-6-12 Ginza, Chuo-ku Unique cocktails based on traditional sakes from all over the country to be enjoyed with a superb selection of small bites.  Sakeba (Shibuya)3 Chome-15-2 Shibuya, Shibuya-kuSake and sake cocktails along with delicacies from Kuramoto, Kyushu island, where the local water apparently adds a special taste to everything.  Bar Gats (Shinjuku)17-2 Maruyamacho, Shibuya-ku  Founded by the vocalist of a much-loved jazz, this is the right place for enjoying sake and otsumami(snacks) pairings in a laid-back atmosphere. Kozue (Shinjuku)3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-KuHere’s an amazing venue on the 40thfloor of the Park Hyatt building in Shinjuku where you can taste sakes from all over Japan paired with dedicated menus and a stunning view. 

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01.17.2019

What’s diversity? Any manifestation of the self that moves away from what we could define as ‘perceived normality’. In the digital era, even someone who never leaves home can get in touch with the most different lifestyles and choose the right one for themselves. Yet the chance to get to know all the alternatives hardly coincides with the freedom to truly experience them. So how can we persuade the world to accept differences? By showing it how they could improve our lives and benefit individuals, companies and markets, adding new opportunities to solve a problem or suggesting a new perspective to tell a fact or an idea. It is therefore no coincidence that the UN has long started to promote initiatives in this direction. UNESCO issued the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity documentin 2001, and designated May 21st the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development in 2002 to raise awareness on these issues.Companies are catching up by hiring "diversity managers", whereas universities and foundations offer masters and research workshops focused on diversity. In short, diversity as a resource has become a thing and it is (also) turning into business. Diversity In The MediaObserving how, where, and when we talk about diversity can reveal a lot about how its perception is evolving.Diversity is an Italian association founded in 2013 with the aim of promoting ​​diversity as a value and a resource, which launched among other things the Diversity Media Watch Observatory to follow the evolution of public discourse on these issues. "Italian society is much more sensitive to the issue of inclusion than it might seem”, explains Francesca Vecchioni, founder of Diversity. "In everyday life we ​​are constantly in contact with people who belong to one of the areas of diversity; actually we are all diverse in one respect or another, maybe without even realizing it. Discrimination occurs not only on sexual orientation, but also on gender, age, socio-economic status or disability, ethnicity or religion". The 2018 Diversity Media Report carried out a research on Italian TV news and entertainment shows in collaboration with various Italian universities (diversitylab.it), and the result was somewhat surprising: although politics hardly ever deals with diversity, TV shows depict a varied and diversified society which is very close to reality.That diversity touches the sensitivity of increasingly large sections of the population is also demonstrated by the results of companies that include it in their communication. "Today", continues Francesca Vecchioni, "companies that do not understand the value of inclusion and diversity are destined to fall behind. The data emerging from the Diversity Brand Index (Diversitybrandsummit.it) research are clear: inclusion policies have generated almost 17% more revenues than average for the companies that are perceived as more inclusive. Our aim is to combine the ethical and economic values of diversity". Diversity, it appears, is a resource and a tool for anticipating and shaping the future of brands, companies and organizations. Integrating differences is a great way to address all the audiences they represent, understanding theirs needs and sensitivity. And the side effect, which certainly does not hurt, is a growth of our economic and social well-being. 

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01.14.2019

The glorious Pinacoteca di Brera has long been one of Italy’s most underrated gems. But not anymore. With an art patrimony only second to Florence’s Uffizi, including beautiful works from Bellini, Mantegna, Raphael, Tintoretto and Caravaggio, Milan’s historic institution has finally freed itself from its former somewhat dusty, outdated public image to become a world-class museum.  Behind this epic feat is a British (and Canadian) gentleman who loves to collect rare books and wears beautifully crafted waistcoats. Mr. James Bradburne, a museologist and a cultural manager as well as the former director of Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, was appointed in 2015 by the then culture minister Dario Franceschini as director of the Pinacoteca di Brera and the Biblioteca Braidense. Painting the walls in deep hues, installing new lights, asking curators and authors to write new bilingual labels, commissioning new uniforms by Trussardi and inviting taxi drivers, hotels concierges and tourist guides to visit the museum for free have all been part of a strategy to give back the Pinacoteca to the local community, turning it into a “the coolest place” in town, and to offer foreign visitors an excellent service. We spoke to Mr. Bradburne to learn more about his vision for the Pinacoteca and for the whole city as new and eminent foreign resident. Brera, the Pinacoteca and the Accademia have played a very important role in the history of Italian and International art, and yet they have long remained somewhat below the radar.  Why is that?JB: Brera as a whole - the gallery, the art school, the library, the garden, the observatory and the Istituto Lombardo - have been at the physical, intellectual and cultural heart of Milan for centuries, first as the headquarters of the Jesuits, then as Napoleon’s ‘Royal Palace for the Science and the Arts’. Unfortunately, in the mid-1970s, with the creation of the Ministry of Culture, which centralised the management of Brera in Rome, and the death of the Brera’s visionary director Franco Russoli in 1977, Brera’s autonomy - its ability to connect to the city - was profoundly undermined. It took the reforms of 2014 to give back to Brera the autonomy it once enjoyed, and the current transformation is one of the most obvious results.You embarked on a mission to turn the Pinacoteca into a more accessible, enjoyable, and modern museum, to bring it into the very heart of the city. What’s the outcome so far?JB: We can definitely see an increase in young people, families and children to the museum, and a big increase of visits by the Milanese themselves. For the first time in decades Brera is regularly covered in the international press.It is common knowledge (or maybe just a cliché) that we Italians underestimate our cultural heritage. Would you agree?JB: I think that Italians do tend to take culture for granted - if a Rome aqueduct was standing in Cincinnati I am sure it would attract far more attention. On the other hand I don’t think that means that Italians undervalue culture, on the contrary, Italians are very proud of their heritage and very aware of how much a part of their identity it plays.As a comparatively new resident, what do you think of Milan?JB: I arrived in Milan post-Expo, so I just assumed the city was always dynamic. Every day I discover something new in Milan, another element of the city’s diversity that makes it an exceptional place to live and workWhat’s the city’s main flaw?JB: A lack of instruments to help institutions to create synergies. Can you mention some of your favourite things and/or places in town and describe your typical day in Milan?JB: As you can imagine, my days are mostly spent working in or very close to Brera. They begin with a coffee at the Beverin caffè, and often include a visit to Demetra, the rare book shop and lunch at the Tokyo Grill, just across the street. A rare day may include a walk across the park to the Triennale, or through the Orto Botanico to via Montenapoleone. Give us 3 three reasons why people should absolutely add Milan to their bucket list.JB: One, it is not yet submerged under a tsunami of mass tourism. Two, the mix of art, music, design and fashion is extraordinary. Three, it is international, dynamic and contemporary.Which artists and art periods do you prefer as an art enthusiast and connoisseur and what’s your relationship with art outside of your work?JB:I have very eclectic tastes, and I curated exhibitions on 16th century Mannerist art and American Trompe l’Oeil painting. Outside work I tend to collect rare booksrather than art.Can you recommend three small/minor museums in the world that we should absolutely visit?JB: The Museum of Jurassic Technology in Los Angeles, the Museon Arlaten in Arles, France, and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, UK. 

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01.12.2019

Choosing a yoga resort for a regenerating break means finding quiet, nature, healthy food and exercise - but also embracing specific ethical and existential principles. Because yoga is a veritable lifestyle, including daily practice but also sharing a philosophy. Here are five unique places where to regenerate and discover that another world of well-being is possible. Silver Island Yoga Retreat (Grecia)There is only room for ten guests on this private island in the gulf of Volos, owned for over half a century by the Christie family and later turned into an enchanted and environmentally sustainable resort. The yoga classes take place in the patio overlooking the sea, the restaurant offers zero-mile organic food and the beautiful Greek sea fills the eyes of the guests. The Retreat (Costa Rica)The Retreat was created to "reset the guests’ internal balance" so that they will turn well-being and a healthy and harmonious lifestyle into a daily habit even at home. Among the cozy casitas are some truly nice spaces where to practice different types of yoga with international masters and enjoy massages and spa treatments. Diana Stobo, lifecoach and founder of The Retreat, is a former chef and this makes the resort's cuisine particularly creative and interesting. Borgo Pignano (Italia)Between Volterra and San Gimignano, in the heart of Tuscany, an entire medieval village has been turned into a beautiful resort which was designated "the best hotel for eco-sustainability in Europe and the Mediterranean"by Condé Nast Johansens international in 2019. During the day you can practice yoga among the olive groves and take private or group yoga, relaxation and meditation classes. Vana (India)Vana is the Sanskrit word for "forest". The name was chosen by the founder, Veer Singh, to celebrate the symbiosis between this place of spirituality and hospitality on the slopes of the Himalayas and the lush forest that surrounds it. Yoga, Ayurveda and healthy eating are at the center of the regeneration experience, enriched by art, music and the beauty of the place. Eco Yoga (Scozia, UK)In the Scottish Highlands, on the shores of Lake Awe, the wood and stone lodges of Eco Yoga welcome those who want to immerse themselves in nature and silence and experiment advanced dynamic yoga with group and individual classes. The resort is energetically sustainable and revolves around water as a natural element: the still water of the lake, the rushing water of the waterfalls the warm water in the indoor and outdoor wooden pools.  

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01.10.2019

In this severely cold season, oden helps warm the body from the inside out and offers a comforting cuddle for the stomach, fatigued by the customary New Year’s heavy meals and drinking parties. There is many a restaurant where one can have a bowl of the typical stewon one’s own, without feeling too awkward.  Oden originates from dengaku, bean curd baked and coated with miso, an ancient recipe of skewered ingredients grilled (yaki-dengaku) or boiled (nikomi-dengaku). Around the 17th century, odencame to designate the boiled type, whereas grilled skewers went on being referred to as dengaku. A street food speciality from Kantō (Tokyo area), it later spread to Kansai (Osaka area). Kansai’s oden differs greatly from Kantō’s oden in terms of ingredients and flavour. For example, the Kansai version is recognisable by its thin broth, whereas in the Kantō version the broth is thicker and darker. Kansai people call the Kantō version of oden Kantō-dakior Kantō-niOden is a highly digestible food, whose base is a soup made with bonito flakes (katsuobushi) and kelp. Stewing in it is a wide array of ingredients, including but not limited to satsuma-age(fried fishcakes), hanpen(surimi triangles), chikuwa(ring-shaped fishcakes), konjac, daikon radish, ganmokudoki(fried tofu mixed with chopped vegetables), hard-boiled eggs and kara-age(deep-fried chicken). As for Tokyo, you will be spoilt for choice. From long-established shops to more stylish options, here are a few recommendations. Azabujūban: FukushimayaThis historic shopsells kamaboko(a type of cured surimi) on the ground floor, whereas the first floor it has an eat-in space offering oden in either a shōyu (soy sauce)-based broth or a miso-based broth, the latter being prepared with Hatcho red miso from Aichi prefecture.  Yotsuya: Oden-yaRecognisableby a sign reading Atsu Atsu Oden (“piping hot oden”),  this exquisitely retro-style place has traditional food carts that can be reserved by groups to benefit from the 4,000 yen all-you-can-eat-and-drink formula. A highlight is dashi-wari, Japanese sake mixed with oden broth. Are you brave enough? Shinbashi: OtakōWhen the working day is done in Shibbashi, you can stop at Otakō foroden and a glass of sake, in an unpretentious settingwhich is ideal for some alone time. Also on the menu are sashimi, grilled meat and fish, deep-fried chicken and other delicacies. Ebisu: Nihonshu HanatareRenowned for its seafood umi oden, this cosy shop has a counter which accommodates up to 10 people. The seafood is sourced daily from Sashima Harbour and Yokohama’s Fish Market. Depending on the season, oden is to be enjoyed with a glass of warm or cold sake, chosen from a selection of twentyDaikan-yama: Ore no OdenSituated in a plush residential areathis place it has a completely different flair compared to any other oden shop, resembling a stylish bar or lounge. Here you can tasteKansai-styled oden until well into the night, paired with one of the 100 types of ume-shu(plum wine) on the list.  

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01.09.2019

A theropod dinosaur, the carnivorous ancestor of ostriches and penguins, left its mark on the still fragile dolomite rocks abouttwo hundred million years ago, while the Cellina stream was probably just beginning to dig canyons and crags into the layers of calcareous rock.  The Friulian Dolomites, a.k.a. the mountains rising between the Piave and Tagliamento rivers, are famous for the amazing colors of the rock they are made of and for their wild and fascinating character, epitomized by the Campanile di Val Montanaia, a steep rocky peak that can only be reached on foot. Ideal for those who love the mountains in their purest spirit, the Friulian Dolomites Natural Parkbetween the provinces of Pordenone and Udine, includes Valcellina, the upper Tagliamento valley and the Tramontina valley. The towns have exotic ancient names such as Andreis, Forni, Cimolais, Claut or, just outside the park and entering the Carnic Alps region, Sauris, Sappada, Tarvisio, Piancavallo.  The local hospitality has a long and rooted tradition, and the area also offers plenty of opportunities in terms of winter sports, from cross-country and downhill skiing to skating, snowshoeing and dog sledding along impressively beautiful routes. Every valley has its own peculiarities: there is room for relaxation as well as for breathtaking skiing challenges, and the wild woods allow for the occasional encounter with Alpine ibexes, experts looking for new descent trajectories and new challenges.  South of the Park, the Cellina Ravine Natural Reserve is a millenary ecosystem that developed around the deep cuts carved into the ground by the stream of the same name. The emerald pools that occasionally appear along the stream of the Meduna river, close to Tramonti di Sopra, are yet another small corner of natural paradise created by the water carving the white rocks – a great opportunity for a refreshing plunge in the summer.  Finally, the food reflects the history of the area, which has long been a crossroads of different peoples and tastes and an open gateway to central Europe.  Among the local delicacies is Sauris ham, named after its hometown, smoked in the fumes from local beech wood. Pitinais the essential Friulian sausage made from minced wild game meat seasoned with salt, pepper and fennel, to be enjoyed with Sauris’s own craft beer, Zahre. Where to stayOverlooking the ski slopes of Sauris, Chalet Rikhelan is a charming 10-room hotel housed inside a historic mansion, which is only accessible from the ski slopes or via a special snowmobile service all through the winter. A fine example of the renowned local hospitality, this cosy place has the perfect mix of traditions, beauty and premium amenities such as a nice fireplace, Finnish saunas and a stunning solarium where guests can enjoy the winter sun. 

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12.18.2018

The museum of the future found a home in Mestre, the other face of Venice. The name is M9 and it has great ambitions, even if it is brand new. First of all, M9 aims to take visitors on a journey through the 20th century, leveraging digital technologies to allow visitors to experience historical moments, forgotten landscapes, objects that have triggered revolutions and yet we have never seen or used. Secondly, it aspires to trigger the evolution of Mestre, a city which has grown over the decades as Venice’s industrial and productive branch and urgently needs to gain its own cultural identity. Last but not least, M9 is on its way to set a new standard by mixing sustainability and architecture, functionality and experimentation thanks to the solutions implemented by Berlin-based studio Sauerbach Hutton, which earned M9 the Leed Gold certification of the Green Building Council, the largest international sustainable construction organization. M9 is the heart of a new city ‘square’. Its three floors, hiding behind a multicolored façade,  are the hallmark of an urban space that includes seven structures with different ages, styles and uses: a former 16th-century convent, office buildings from the 1970s and three new structures. The common thread lies in a ‘smart’ concept: from the Museum to the Auditorium (over 280 square meters housing music and films), from the square benches to the shops, everything is connected, interactive, multimedia.  Fondazione Venezia, which conceived, financed and promoted the creation of M9, defines it as an ‘urban regeneration format’, a space-modulation concept that stimulates the exchange and sharing of ideas. At M9, the present is rooted in the past and becomes the main point of reference for building the future. The first two floors house the permanent exhibition on the 20th century, with thousands of objects, faces, events and images collected from 150 archives, selected and curated by a team of 47 experts, and rendered in a multimedia and interactive exhibition. Over 60 installations allow you to move within 3D reconstructions of environments or historical events, participating in an event or working in a factory from the beginning of last century. Digital displays and touch screens guide the exploration following each visitor’s specific interests, and at the same time interactive activities such as assembling and disassembling objects and electronic devices from the last decades are available for everyone to get an idea of how they work and how they are built. The museum includes 8 sections exploring the impetuous and contradictory evolution of 20th century Italy, which witnessed two World Wars and the economic boom, the doubling of the population, mass schooling, the transition from an agricultural economy to the advanced tertiary sector. Every aspect is covered, from the demographic and landscape evolution to consumption, customs, science, economy, public life and the progressive growth of a national identity.  The last section challenges visitors to understand what we are talking about today when we talk about being Italian, with a remarkable collection of views and opinions collected from around the world. The third floor houses the museum’s permanent exhibitions. Opening on December 22nd, L'Italia dei Fotografi. 24 Storie d’autorewill feature works by some of the most renowned Italian photographers including Letizia Battaglia, Ferdinando Scianna, Giovanni Chiaromonte, Gabriele Basilico, Maurizio Galimberti and Francesco Jodice.  

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12.17.2018

It is undisputed truth that hot spring baths are exceptionally beneficial to the body, initiating the recovery of organ function and from fatigue, eliminating lactic acid and easing muscle pain and arthritis. By warming the body, they also contribute in activating metabolism and the calorie-burning process. Lastly, sulphur waters are natural cures for acne and blemishes on the skin. If you are in Tokyo, there are a few places that you easily access on a leisurely one-day or weekend trip. Hiratsuru (Atami, Shizuoka)Atami is known as a historical hot spring resort, but in particular, Hiratsuru is a hot spring inn worth of attention, because of its rōtenburofilled with naturally warm water sourced directly from 300m underground. The open-air bath is an infinity pool perfectly integrated in the environment of Sagami Bay, with a scenic view of Yugawara and Atami. After soaking in it, wear a yukataand indulge in the delicious fresh seafood from the bay. Shima Yamaguchikan (Gunma)Shima Onsen is a long-established hot-spring town, where the accumulation of rain water fallen over 60 years ago gushes out in a warm, plentiful stream, rich in minerals which are instrumental in treating gastrointestinal disorder, movement disorder, rheumatism and wounds in general. Shimameans “forty thousands”, referring to the number of ailments the hot spring water is said to heal. Shima Onsen is located in the Shima river valley, where you can enjoy the sound of gushing water and birds in the trees, in a mystical ambience. Yumori Tanakaya (Nasushiobara, Tochigi)Due to its being located in the Nikkō National Park, Shiobara Onsen offers a magnificent view of mountains and valleys It has been one of the most renowned hot spring sanatoriums since as far back in time as 1200, and its mineral-rich baths still enjoys extraordinary popularity. The water contains a great deal of calcium and is drinkable. There is hardly anything more soothing than a long soak with the backdrop of the dales and vales of Nikkō. Hottarakashi Onsen (Yamanashi, Yamanashi)Hottarakashi is a hot spring destination located not too far from Tokyo, which is famous for its open-air baths covered by a “ceiling of starry skies”. There are two outdoor baths, one calledKotchi no yuand overlooking Mount Fuji,and the other called Atchi no yu, which is double the size of the former and offers the remarkable scenery of both Mount Fuji and the Kofu basin. The slightly alkaline hot-spring water is gentle to the skin and provides an effective treatment for neuralgia, muscle pain, joint pain, frozen shoulder, motor paralysis, bruised, sprains, poorblood circulation,fatigue, chronic gastrointestinal disease and so on.With a180°panorama, you can contemplatethe sunrising over Mount Fujiin the morningand setting in the evening, as well as reputedly one of the three greatest night sceneries of Japan.  

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We share journeys and homes. We buy things from all over the world without leaving our house. We share passions with people from every latitude. We don’t need to buy a car, a bicycle or a motorbike: we have hundreds available without ever owning any. And quite obviously, this is just the beginning. Have you ever found yourself in a foreign country in need of help to solve a problem that would have been trivial at home and yet seems impossible there? Have you ever thought about asking for a ride on a private plane? The sharing economy has a peer-to-peer platform for just about everything. Just ask and it will be given to you! WinglyIf you should ever find yourself longing for a ride on a private plane in the UK, try Wingly, the platform that connects pilots and passengers organizing flights on private airplanes for 2 to 6 passengers BookMochWhile it is hard to part from a book that you loved, it is also virtually impossible to have enough space to store all the books of your life. BookMoch solves the problem by giving everyone the opportunity to exchange books by only paying for the shipping costs.  MeetngreetmeRussian-born Elena Shrakubo, from Denver (Colorado, USA), launched an app that works as a social concierge service putting locals in touch with visitors and newcomers in need for tips on what to visit, how to settle, or simply have fun and discover the best of the city. CourtsoftheworldBasketball has no borders. Whether you want to train or socialize during a trip, this platform offers an almost global overview of the outdoor basketball courts available around the world. Get there and see who's playing or contact online registered local players to organize a match. MealsharingExoticism is a relative concept, and what’s new and exciting to us may be someone’s grandma's old recipe. Mealsharing is a worldwide food lover community offering everyone the opportunity to experiment with the dishes they grew up with. Pick a type of cuisine, find the closest expert, choose the formula and take part in a meal that is a way to experience food "in the family", immersing yourself into history and tradition.  

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The judges of RIBA Prize probably did not imagine that, to take a look one of the projects in their final shortlist, they would have had to go as far as to the edge of the Amazon Rainforest, in northern Brazil, a few hundred kilometers north of Brasilia. And yet, right here in this remote part of the world with such an extreme climate condition, they saw the greatest ambition of architecture materialize: becoming a tool for social change. The Children Village is a building complex designed to accommodate over 500 children between 13 and 18 years during the school week. Each of them gets there via long and difficult routes, and along streets often made impracticable by the weather, the heavy rains and an average temperature above 40 Celsius degrees.  But once they get there, they’ll find is a "home away from home" where they can study and be together, sleep in comfortable rooms and share recreational spaces. Acknowledging of the value of education as a driving force for the human and professional growth of young people, the Bradesco Foundation, which commissioned the project, has accompanied and assisted over 100,000 children in their path of education since 1956, bringing schools and accommodation to the most remote areas of Brazil. Architecture studios Aleph Zero and Rosenbaum have given form to this ambition and chosen a precise path, using materials, shapes and structures that are typical of traditional Brazilian architecture, and chenged them to meet the specific needs of the place. The two main buildings that make up the Children Village, identical and specular, are made with local raw materials processed using local techniques. Blocks of soil have been turned into walls with natural thermoregulating properties and local wood has been used for the frame in order to make the buildings look familiar to the community and blend with the surrounding landscape. With "humble heroism", as the award jury pointed out, the designers integrated local materials and building techniques into contemporary aesthetics, putting themselves in the shoes of the boys and girls who will experience this place on an everyday basis to allow them to feel comfortable and at ease. 

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12.06.2018

Thisis the time of the year in which the new brew of sake is ready for consumption.When one thinks of a sake brewery, the first image that comes to mind is a place buried deep in the countryside. However, there is a number of historic saka-gurawhich can be easily accessed from Tokyo, where one can taste new sake accompanying a delicious meal. Sake breweriesare generally signalled by a sugidama, aball made from sprigs of Japanese cedar, traditionally hung in the eaves. Sake brewers used to be affluent families, thus considered as royalty in the different areas. Production of sake is carried out during October and November, using the rice harvested in the autumnThe new sake will be ready by December and a green sugidamawill be hung to announce it. The “Brewing Year” (acronym: BY), encompasses a twelve-month periodfrom 1st July to 30th Juneof the following year.The sake sold in December and January is called shiboritate, “freshly pressed”OzawaSake Brewery (Ōme, Tokyo)Ozawa Sake Brewery is located in Okutama, in the Western part of the Tokyo Metropolis, and it is renowned for its Sawanoi branded sake and tōfu. Sawanoicomes from Sawai-mura, the former name of the Okutama area, known for its clear area, lush greenery and excellent rice. In the restaurant “Mamagoto-ya”Mama”,directly managed by Sawanoi, you can enjoy the sake paired withflavourful tofu and yuba(tofu skin)dishes. IshikawaSake Brewery (Fussa, Tokyo)Ishikawa Sake Brewery isa historic sake brewery composedof six buildings designated asTangible Cultural Properties of Japan. Historical materials of sake brewingare displayed in the historical centre ofthe sake brewery.In addition to the famous labels Yaezakuraand Tamajiman, the company has brewed beer under the name Japanese Beer since 1888. Amongst the many premises, there is also a restaurant called Fussa no Beer Koya, where you can savour wood-fired pizza and seasonal dishes, while enjoying the dignified view of the brewery from your outdoor terrace seat or next-to-the-window table. Kumazawa Sake Brewery (Chigasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture)Kumasawa Sake Brewery is considered the last remaining sake brewery in the Shōnan area. Established in 1872, the company continues to produce craft sake on a small scale, in accordance with Shonan’s climate. Brands include Tensei, Shokō, Kumazawa, Shōnan and Kamakura Shiori, as well as unfiltered beer made with water sourced from an aquifer that comes from the Tanzawa mountains. Refurbished in the style of the Taishō Era (1912-1926), Kuramoto Ryōri Tensei is a restaurant where you can enjoy a glass of newly-brewed sake with dishes based on a few core ingredients, namely rice, water, fish and vegetables. Yamanashi Meijo (Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture)Known for its supreme quality sake Shichiken, which has been made with the pure water of Hakushūsince 1750, the brewery is located in the Southern Alps, which were added to the UNESCO biosphere reserve list in 2014. Its restaurant Daiminserves seasonal menus with rice, vegetables and fruits of the Hakushu area. Popular dishes include salmon pickled in malted rice and wasabi pickled in soy sauce.  

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12.05.2018

Travelling from Ferrara towards the Adriatic Sea, you may stumble into a mirage: in the middle of the plain, not far from the delta of river Po, the imposing architecture of Tresigallo appears out of nowhere, with its perfect geometries, evanescent colors and unexpectedly tall towers. Also known as "The Metaphysical City", Tresigallo actually looks  like the three-dimensional version of a work by the famous Italian Metaphysical painter Giorgio De Chirico, or the life-size planning model of an ideal city. Truth be told, Tresigallo is a mix of both elements. It has the driving force of Futurism and the architectural rigor of Rationalism, blended to build a utopian city from scratch with the aim of creating a place where entrepreneurs and peasants would live side by side, where the land and its fruits would coexist with the factories needed both to process them and to manufacture farm machinery, eventually reviving an area otherwise destined to be abandoned. Everything started between 1933 and 1939, when Edmondo Rossoni, a native of the village, became the Minister of Agriculture and gathered the resources needed to carry out an ideal emancipation of this farmlands, previously exploited as extensive agricultural estates. As a consequence, the small rural community expanded to reach 12,000 inhabitants, an impressive growth abruptly interrupted by the beginning of the Second World War, which caused the local population to decrease. Ad of today, Tresigallo has barely 4,000 inhabitants, a sparse population which makes the majesty of its architecture appear even more surreal. To visit Tresigallo means to walk inside the idea of ​​a city, an idea guided by the principles of Rationalism and the undisputed primacy of function over form, of the utilitarian function  of buildings and objects: to quote Louis Henry Sullivan, architect and founder of American Modernism, "form ever follows function". The orderly appearance and the cleanliness of the elements is a direct consequence of this principle: design must be comprehensible, and every form of decoration is an element of potential confusion. The overall balance must produce a sense of quiet, the result of the harmony between aesthetics and engineering. Finally, the most debated point: the Rationalists’ belief that prioritizing function would automatically generate beauty. Today, the story of this forgotten city is safeguarded and passed on by the localTorri di Marmoassociation, which invites architecture students to enter this village suspended in time to actually experience what they have been studying in books, feeling with every sense how architectural thinking can transform space and shape our everyday life and perceptions. Visiting Tresigallo is a literally unique experience, a veritable journey into beauty, history and architecture.  

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11.26.2018

Among the Art Deco buildings of the Porta Venezia district in Milan, hiding in a quiet courtyard, Stamberga is a special place that contains multitudes. Part tea room, part bookshop and part art gallery, Stamberga houses design, art, fashion and travel magazines and books and a permanent black & white photo exhibition called Spiritus featuring the work of Marco Beretta, a traveller and the founder of Stamberga, focusing on Tibetan monasteries. We met Marco to learn more about the journey that led him to create Stamberga. SJ: How do you choose the objects and books for Stamberga? MB: Every single title, object or detail is chosen, desired and conceived following a thin thread that links everything. Choice is a process, emotional at first and then rational. The search, instinctive and continuous, is always followed by a pause that makes the sensations settle. At Stamberga, form and meaning are are inseparable: the aesthetics anticipates the content, the content confirms the aesthetics. SJ: Stamberga is a space with an urban DNA whose definition goes beyond the classic genre boundaries, yet the idea of travel seems to be at the core of it. MB: When I look at Stamberga, I get the real meaning of the term ‘contamination’: a harmonious fusion of elements of different origins. And I guess this is rooted in travel: for 30 years, I have been travelling extensively and meeting the most diverse people, going from a Tibetan monastery to a concept store in New York, sleeping in a tent on the Himalayan plateau and in the Burj Khalifa skyscraper in Dubai, travelling by train from Beijing to Ulanbataar and then on a Royal Enfield motorbike in India, visiting a museum in Santiago de Chile and an artisan shop in Burma or a gallery in Berlin, eating sashimi in Tokyo and snake soup in Hong Kong. And finally, one of my greatest passions: drinking tea, be it a cup of green tea in Shanghai or a mint black tea in Riyadh. SJ: Which cities or countries contributed the most to shaping your taste?MB: Burma and India. Paris and Tokyo. These are the places where I always want to go back. SJ: Auberge Thé Bleu, the tea served at Stambrga, is your creation: tell us about the orifin of this project.MB: I have learnt the pleasure and the art of tea in over 25 years spent traveling to Chinaas an international fashion manager. Once I ran out of the supplies accumulated throughout that period, I looked for small shops in Europe that could bring back that flavor and above all that spirit, so slow and far from mass consumption. Only in Paris did I find something similar, so I decided to make a dream of mine come true and become a tea merchantmyself. I contacted pure tea importers, became a tea sommelier, came up with a flavor list, made a selection of 25 types of tea and finally created a brand and a concept that reflected my ideas and experience. The Auberge Thé Bleu imagery is inspired by the colonial period, the atmospheres of French Indochina, the vessels of the East India Company and to out-of-time quiet of Tibetan monasteries SJ: Are tea rituals and aesthetics part of Auberge Thé Bleu's identity?MB: They are an essential and indispensable part of it. In the Far East, the gestures and the rituals are the essence of care and attention. Like Stamberga itself, Auberge Thé Bleuaims to evoke perceptions and to express ideas and intuitions.  

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11.22.2018

When architect Albert Baert designed La Piscine in Roubaix at the beginning of the 20th century, he certainly could not imagine that a gallery of modern art sculptures would have found room in the large 40-meter-long central pool. Yet this is exactly what happened: a century later, La Piscine – André Diligent Museum of Art and Industry in Roubaix repurposed this huge Art Deco architectural complex transforming it from a spa into a museum attracting over 200,000 visitors a year to this corner of France set in the so-called French Flanders. One thing has not changed, tough: La Piscine has always been and still is at the heart of Roubaix, a place where the many different souls of this city meet. Roubaix is ​​an industrial city, the capital of the French textile industry from the late 19th century to the mid-20th century, until the country’s productive geography began to change. As a beacon of industrial mechanics and a source of great fortune (the famous La Redoutemail order company was born here), Roubaix increasingly lost its historical and social identity and its role. La Piscine recovers and transfigures the historical, material and evolution heritage of the city and transforms it into experience by distributing it in chronological and thematic order in the spaces of its most iconic public building, where all the notable families of the city once spent their free time. The Roubaix Industry Museum, founded in 1835, offers its heritage in the fields of science and the applied - arts, fashion, design and ceramics. The works of fine art, sculptures and paintings that bear the signatures of Giacometti, Rodin, Claudel and Picasso among others, celebrate beauty and creativity and complete the collection that earned La Piscine the title of National Museum of Industry and the Arts. The transformation from pool into museum took place in two stages under the guidance of architect Jean-Paul Philippon. After the closure of the swimming pools in 1985, the year 2001 marked a new beginning and the opening of the museum, which can be reached by following the long red brick wall of the old adjacent cotton mill.  The first renovation brought back to its original splendor of the Art Deco mosaics that surrounded the central pool and the thermal baths with their surrounding public spaces, where the over 70,000 artifacts and works of art from the museum’s collection are now exhibited: the sculptures are on display in the central pool, the paintings in the rooms of the side spa baths and the selection of ancient textile artifacts, from Ancient Egypt to today, in the spaces that once housed the showers, turned into display cases.  The natural light from the large colored windows adds further charm to the layout, accounting for its definition given by the prestigious Journal des Artsas “the most beautiful French museum outside of Paris”. On October 20, 2018, after two years of works, the new renovation of the museum was inaugurated with the addition of three new areas created by Jean Paul Philippon, in perfect harmony with the style of the existing buildings. These new spaces, covering over 2,000 square meters, will house additional services for the visitors (particularly for children) and exhibition areas devoted to the history of Roubaix and to emerging local artists. In addition to the permanent collection, until the beginning of 2019 La Piscine-Roubaix will present three main exhibitions focusing respectively on Hervé di Rosa, a contemporary French painter, and to works by Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti: the sculpture Man With Sheepand the Portrait of Rol-Tanguy, a hero of the French resistance. In both cases, the works are the perfect excuse to tell about the historical and biographical context that produced them, interweaving history and art as it is in the nature of this literally unique museum. 

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11.15.2018

Kobe beef has attained the international status of delicacy meat, but what does its fame come from? “Kobe Beef,” “Kōbe-gyū,” are all registered trademarks in Japanfor the meat products obtained from the Tajima cattle breed. For a meat to be acknowledged as such, it must be compliant to stringent guidelines, concerning place of rearing, stock and quality.  Tajima is the name of acattlebreed born and reared in Hyōgo prefecture, whose bloodline has been maintained since the Edo Period(1603-1868). The excellent pedigree and the strictly controlled breeding environment result in an extremely tender meat, which can be easily recognised by its distinctive marbled pattern, given by the white parts of fat interspersed between layers of red meat, known as sashi. Wagyū defines a type of cattle, obtained during and after the Meiji period by crossbreeding Japanese cattle with stocks of foreign origin. However, the Japanese beef enjoying so much popularity worldwide is not necessarily produced in Japan. If you want to taste real Kobe beef, check out the following restaurants. Kobe TanryūThe restaurant uses counter seating, which allows the patrons to observe the chef cooking the meat teppanyakistyle, that is sliced and grilled on an iron plate. The restaurant has won the title of Champion Kobe Beef multiple times at the over 50 Kobe Beef contests held throughout the year, so you know the meat regularly served there is of unexcelled quality. Kobe KikusuiIt is a butcher’s shop and a restaurant, serving steaks and Japanese specialities, like sukiyaki and shabu-shabu, which exalt the fleshy flavour brought out by a skilful ageing of the meat. Kobe Steak Restaurant MōriyaWith a history of 130 years, Mōriya is a restaurant specialising in Kobe beef, obtained from pure-bred Tajima cattle reared on a contract farm located in the city of Yabu. Here you can taste excellent steaks at a reasonable price.  Kobe Beef Ramen YazawaIt is the company shop of Yazawa, which is famous for purchasing whole beefs. The house special is a sumptuous ramen, served in a soup which takes 16 hours to make, using Kobe beef bones and other select ingredients, such as vegetables, grown in the prefecture of Hyōgo, and chāshū (roast pork). Another recommendation that you cannot find anywhere else is Kobe beef tendons and egg over rice. A true delicacy.  

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11.09.2018

Those lucky enough to have visited Sri Lanka before the civil war, which has made this island off the southern tip of India basically unavailable to tourism for almost 30 years, will probably remember its still intact atmospheres, its delicate exotic taste, that feeling of being in a miniature India, more livable and kind, less chaotic. In an era in which intercontinental travels were a niche and the island was still mostly unknown to mass tourism, one was bound to be hosted by locals for very little money, be invited for ginseng tea in the jungle or escorted from beaches to tea plantations, temples and ancient ruins on a battered van, having surreal conversations in broken English. The feared Tamil tigers, which would soon trigger the war, were often evoked with terror or named under one’s breath, yet for a tourist it was still difficult to get an idea of how how serious the situation was getting. In 2009, the former British Ceylon, now the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, reopened its doors to visitors. Almost 10 years later, the landscape has definitely changed compared to the 1980s: Sri Lanka is not a niche tourism destination anymore, it has developed a proper hospitality industry with luxury hotels and spas that allow visitors to discover its charm without giving up the perks and the comforts. Here’s a bunch of good addresses to consider for your next trip to Sri Lanka. KK Beach (Habaraduwa)The minimalist design of this boutique hotel lets the colors and the beauty of the Indian Ocean, whose magic is portrayed in the works of local artists who decorate the suites, steal the scene. The long, champagne-colored beach and the tropical gardencomplete the view from this oasis in the south-western part of the island, which is also reasonably close the colonial city of Galle, a Unesco heritage site famous for its Dutch colonial style villas. Santani Wellness Resort (Kandy)Near Kandy, the town in the mountainous heart of Sri Lanka which is home to the so-called Temple of the Tooth, Santani is a real sanctuary of wellnesssurrounded by nature, where you can practice Ayurvedic detox rituals and Yogato find your balance and peace. Ulpotha Yoga & Ayurveda RetreatUlphota is a mountain village in the north-western part of the island, near Kurunegala. The local economy revolves around rice but for six or seven months a year, from November to March and from June to August,the whole town turns into a Yoga and Ayurveda retreat where you can sleep for a bargain and attend seminars on yoga and traditional Ayurvedic therapies. Legend has it that Ulphota was founded by a group of pilgrims from the Himalayas in search for the traces of Shiva’s son, so this is the perfect place to breathe spirituality. Saman Villas (Bentota Beach)On a promontory stretching out into the Indian Ocean on the west coast of Sri Lanka, between Colombo and Galle, the 27 suites of this resort recall the design of the ancient local temples, each offering an unforgettable view. It is one of the most scenic and romantic places on the island, where privacy is sacred and the service is taken care of in every detail. Sen Wellness Sanctuary (Renawa Turtle Beach)Yoga and Ayurveda rule at this spa hotel designed to collect the energy of the Earth and give it to its guests. Near the long beaches of the lagoon of Renawa, it also offers osteopathic treatments and excellent food, in line with Ayurvedic medicine. Tri HotelSustainable luxury is at the heart of this exclusive resort on the shores of Lake Koggala, in the southern part of the island, between Galle and Madara,  co-owned by popular Yoga guru Lara Baumann. The 11 suites stretch along the promontory that makes its way between the waters of the lake.  
 
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