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04.27.2017

Located at the very heart of Tokyo and commemorating Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Consort Shoken, Meiji Shrine is surrounded by the ravishing landscape of a vast forest. At Meiji Shrine two major festivals are held in spring and autumn, but the spring festival is the grander by far, occurring from April 29 to May 3, with the greenery at its freshest. Inside the shrine, the worshippers perform Shinto rites. In front of the shrine, on a temporary stage, the most highly regarded artists from all over Japan will perform in a variety of arts of different genres, such as Bugaku (Japanese traditional dance), Noh (musical drama) and Kyōgen (comic intermezzos), Sankyoku (instrumental trio), traditional music and Satsuma Biwa (a sort of lute). The azaleas and kerrias in full spring bloom will make a walk in the precincts even more remarkable. Bugaku performances will start on 29 April in the morning; on 2 May Noh and Kyōgen will be shown in the morning, whereas the afternoon will be devoted to traditional music. From the early morning of 3 May, the archery competition will be held at the Shiseikan Dōjō. Other highlights include a tanka convention held on May 7 to close the string of consecutive holidays. Here are a couple of Japanese sweet shops, where you can find some delicious wagashi to munch on, between an event and the other. MizuhoOne of the best daifuku shops in Tokyo, Mizuho is specialised in daifuku rice cakes exclusively. Mizuho’s daifuku are pleasingly sweet, with a slightly salty taste, with a perfect balance between the rice skin and the anko filling. Toraya Café Omotesandō HillsOriginally established in Kyoto five centuries ago, Toraya is café and sweetshop selling a wide array of specialities with sweet bean paste, renowned all over Japan. 

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04.26.2017

It takes a romantic mood to fully enjoy the beauty of the Riviera dei Fiori, the extreme edge of the Ligurian Riviera di Ponente that spans from the town of Andora to France, beyond the border from Ventimiglia. The hills here are covered with terraces and olive trees: such is the landscape in Taggia, a town devoted to olive oil and blending earth cuisine and seafood in its delicious local gastronomy. The Medieval villages, stately mansions and castles show how the lords of every age have chosen this place to settle or to spend the winters, otherwise too rigid in the city. The cities, from Ventimiglia to Sanremo and Bordighera, are all pretty small, definitely on a human scale, yet the glitz of some of their buildings betrays a certain vocation for entertainment, culture and lightness. The leisure opportunities are not lacking: the Riviera boasts not only the hugely popular Italian Song Festival, but also the Milano-Sanremo bicycle race, whose very first edition was held on April 14, 1907, and the Flower Battle of Ventimiglia, an off-season carnival which sees floats brimming with flowers and featuring allegorical Papier-mâché characters side through the streets on the second half of June. Bordighera is a town that sums up more than any other the soul of these places and that links its history to that of Queen Margherita di Savoia, whose presence attracted a colorful crowd of members of the Italian and international nobility, artists and intellectuals in the second half of the Nineteenth century. Among the legacies of that golden period are the iconic palm trees that adorn the whole town and the beautiful chandelier in the Chiesa della Maddalena, a gift from the Queen. But this is also the land where writer Italo Calvino grew up and trained, and which inspired local poet and Nobel laureate Eugenio Montale; to these wasters is dedicated the Cultural Park of the Flower Riviera and Maritime Alps, dedicated to the lives and the works of those who have been able to describe these lands and their multifaceted nature. Finally, the Riviera is a stunning coastline with a crystal-clear sea, offering wider beaches as compared with other parts of the region, so as to leave all the space to those who want to play sports on the sand or simply enjoy the sun. Everyone can build their own journey through ancient and contemporary history, art, nature, culture, gastronomy, music and sports, and choose which tone to give their holidays under the wing of an ideal climate all year roundPhotos: Archivio Agenzia Regionale "In Liguria" 

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04.24.2017

It may sound strange, but in Munich spring and summer can be pretty warm and pleasant, despite the rather harsh winters. And with the arrival of the first warm days locals love to spend more time outdoors at the markets, in the parks and at the many beer gardens scattered around the city - or even along the banks of the Isar River, where it is not unusual to see groups of people sunbathing or having a barbecue. And when the city limits feel just too tight, green Bavaria offers many pleasant destinations just a short car ride away from Munich for day trip or a short break. Here are some ideas. Rothenburg ob der TauerAlong the famous Romantic Road, the nearly 400 kilometers-long route that links Füssen to Würzburg running through many historic and scenic places in Bavaria, this Medieval town built in the tenth century around the Castle of Rotherburg is famous for its charming corners, narrow streets, towers and typical half-timbered houses. Enclosed within the ancient walls, it has its heart in the Marktplatz, the Market Square, dominated by the Gothic/Renaissance building of the City Hall. From here, the main street of the city (Herrngasse), lined with colorful houses, shops and flower-filled balconies, leads up to the Castle GardensNeuschwansteinA short drive from Munich is a beautiful castle that looks like it appeared right out of a fairy-tale. It is the Neuschwanstein Castle, nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace that served as the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. Commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria,the cousin of Duchess Elizabeth 'Sisi' (who later went on to become the Empress of Austria),  it is part of a series of elaborate castles on which the king spent all his personal funds.Also known as der Märchenkönig ("the Fairy Tale King"), Ludwig had the castle built as a retreat erected to pay homage to the famous German composer Richard Wagner, of whom he was a patron. Set on a rugged hill overlooking the village of Hohenschwangau in southwest Bavaria, this fabulous structure has been prominently showcased in many famous movies like The Great Escape and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Today, the palace is very popular, receiving approximately 6,000 visitors per day in summer. Regensburg126 km north of Munich, this little gem is the oldest city in Germany (with nearly 2,000 years of history), and also the best preserved one, so as to have earned the designation of UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site for its magnificent center so intact that it looks like a movie set made of narrow streets, ancient squares and historic buildings.The city, which was rich and powerful until 1245 and then remained on the borders of German history and economy for many centuries, was spared by the bombs of World War II, only to flourish starting from the 1950s thanks to industry and to the founding of the local University. Among its most important sights are the Romanesque bridge Steinerne Brücke and the Gothic cathedral of St Peter, in addition to the many churches and ancient monasteries and the Town Hall. Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest)It takes nearly three hours to reach the Obersalzberg area from Munich, yet this pleasant Alpine resort on the border with Switzerland is worth the journey. Incidentally, the fame of these beautiful places is mostly associated with Adolf Hitler, who used to spend his summers here. And the chalet/fortress donated to the German dictator in 1939, built at an altitude of 1,834 meters on the peak of the Kehlstein (“Eagle's Nest”), is actually one of the major attractions of the area: turned into a restaurant with a very nice belvedere, it can be reached by climbing a 7 kilometer-long winding road, passing through a tunnel and finally taking a scenic elevator. 

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04.20.2017

Who said aquariums are for children only? In recent years, aquariums have become an attraction for adults, too, with cutting edge-technologies, shows and spaces that create the illusion of a deep-sea immersion. If you are as fond of marine life as the Japanese are, you will certainly enjoy the amenities listed below, nationwide. Aqua Park Shinagawa, TokyoRenewed and re-opened in the summer of 2015, Aqua Park is one of the most representative aquariums in Tokyo and its location within the premises of Shinagawa Prince Hotel, near Shinagawa Station, makes it also one of the most accessible. It is a large-scale facility, divided into 11 areas, including Magical Ground, with a water tank equipped with a touch panel and mapping scenarios creating a fascinating world of digital flowers interweaving with the aquatic life in the tank, Dolphin Party, a 12m-tall merry-go-round equipped with LED lights and music, and Port of Pirates, which offers visitors the experience of a gigantic weightless pirate ship. Other must-see spots include the Jungle Zone, the square, where you can take a close-up look at the sea creatures, the Stadium with the dolphin shows, the 20m long tunnel illuminated by a skylight and the Jellyfish Ramble, a mesmerizing jellyfish display. Sumida Aquarium, TokyoThe aquarium, located on the 5th and 6th floor of the West Yard in Skytree Town, uses exclusively artificial seawater, which reduces CO2 emissions released when seawater is transported in large water tankers, and allows the aquarium to maintain a consistent water quality throughout the year, ensuring a comfortable environment for the aquatic creatures living in its tanks. One of the main attractions is a 50 meters-long slope with eight jellyfish tanks aligned and about 5,000 square and triangular mirrors placed on the walls and the ceiling, transporting the viewer into the submarine scene. Sumida Aquarium also houses one of Japan's largest indoor, open pool-type tanks, holding approximately 350 tons of water, LED-illuminated and inhabited by a large crowd of Magellan penguins. Kamo Aquarium and Jellyfish Dream Theatre, Tsuruoka City, YamagataKamo Aquarium ranks top in the world by number of jellyfish varieties and it participates in the Palau Project with the Faculty of Science of Yamagata University, housing and displaying rare Palauan jellyfishes. The Jellyfish Dream Theatre is a 5m-diameter water tank with approximately two thousand common jellyfish, tempting the viewer into a fantastic worldKaiyūkan, OsakaOpened in 1990, this is one of the most famous aquariums in Japan. The main concept is the earth and all the living creatures interacting with each other, participating in the same organism. Here you can experience a trip through various areas of the Pacific Ocean.Highlights include Aqua Gate, where you’ll be able to experience an underwater stroll inside a transparent submarine tunnel surrounded by colourful tropical fish, a space dedicated to the Forest of Japan and the Aleutian Islands area, where you can see the sea otters living in a scrupulous reproduction of North American natural rock. Monterey Bay is the home of sea lions and seals. Panama Bay recreates the ecosystem of the Tropical Rain Forest that used to cover the area almost entirely. The Ecuadorian Forest provides the habitat to animals and plants of the Amazon River. You will be amused by the view of the penguins marching rapidly in the Antarctica space or the dolphins swimming in the Tasman Sea, and amazed by the corals and colourful fish of the Great Barrier Reef or the world’s largest crab in the sea of JapanEchizen Matsushima Aquarium, FukuiOpened in 1959, the aquarium is located near the scenic Tōjinbō, within the boundaries of Echizen-Kaga Kaigan Quasi-National Park, housing dolphins, sea turtles, and deep-sea fish. The see-through glass flooring in the Coral Sea zone will give you the illusion of floating in the sea, amongst creatures such as sunfish. After closing, it is also possible for you to rent out the aquarium for 10,000 yen and experience the enchanting marine world by yourselfShimonoseki Marine Science Museum “Kaikyokan”The aquarium is located in Shimonoseki in the banks of the Kanmon Straits. One of its unique features is the Kanmon Strait Tidal Water Tank that reproduces a 2m-high vortices and tides of Kanmon Strait. When you walk in the underwater tunnel, you can observe how the wave front crushes with the splashing of the water above the head. The unique charm of the aquarium consists in the over 100 different species of fugu blowfish on display. Other rare varieties include the tiger puffer, the porcupine fish and the sunfish. 

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The best way to learn more about Finnish hospitality is sleeping in a Finnish cottage, yet until May 5, if you live in Paris or nearby, you won’t need to go to Finland. Just head to the Institut Finlandais on the Rive Gauche, instead, where Finnish designer Linda Bergroth has created a living installation to show the best in Finnish hospitality and to create a complete immersion in the spirit of Finland. The place is called KOTI, which quite consistently means ‘home’ in Finnish, and it consists of six sleeping cabins, sleeping twelve people, open onto a shared space, where there is a communal dining table and benches designed by architects Mattila & Merz. And everything at KOTI is naturally Finnish-themed: on arrival for a sleepover, guests will be given specially designed robes and slippers by Lapuan Kankurit. The in-cabin entertainment package includes short films, documentaries, animations and Finnish travel guides by Visit Finland. The lamps are from Innolux, the piippu pots from Kaksikko, the breakfast of traditional specialties such as rye bread, salted butter and Finnish berries is provided by Food from Finland and the custom-made ceramic tableware has been designed by Nathalie Lahdenmäki. Whether staying overnight or visiting for the day, Finnish design lovers will enjoy a different kind of encounter that celebrates a sense of togetherness, the beauty of unique interiors, and a peaceful simplicity. In addition to the sleepover experience, KOTI is also playing host to a series of inspiring events throughout the 100 days, such as concerts and talks, film screenings and pop-up restaurant nights. “The KOTI installation highlights the experience of a common, shared home” designer Linda Bergroth says. “It is a bit crazy and experimental experience that requires the guest to engage in something completely new”. If you are willing to try it, be sure to book your room immediately, since the experiment will end on May 5. The booking for sleepovers is hosted by Airbnb. And in case it is fully booked, you’ve still got a chance to experience KOTI in Helsinki at the end of the summer, where it will take over the White Hall building in the city's historic center. 

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04.12.2017

In a sense, volcanoes are small yet sometimes frightful glimpses into what’s happening below our feet. As the most spectacular surface manifestations of the processes acting in the Earth interior, despite representing an actual and unforseeable threat – as history has tragically taught us - volcanoes have always fascinated humankind. To make things even more complicated, volcanologists cannot agree on how to define an "active" volcano, mainly because the lifespan of a volcano can be so long (up to millions of years) that such a distinction appears meaningless when compared to the human lifespan. Most volcanoes live many thousands of years and erupt many times - however, most don't erupt even once in a human lifespan, so while given their long lifespan they could be considered very active, they are not by human lifespan. Today there are over 1,500 potentially active volcanoes, and approximately 500 million people live near them. This may sound scary, and yet being lucky enough to enjoy a magnificent view on these natural wonders – even if just for a few moments - can be a unique and desirable experience. Hence, hre are four volcanoes that are worth seeing at least once in a lifetime. Eyjafjöll, IcelandBetter known as Eyjafjallajökull – which is actually the impossible-to-pronounce name of the glacier covering it – this volcano 76 miles southeast of Reykjavik hit the world news in 2010 when a huge ash cloud raised cause plenty of international flights to be delayed and cancelled. The volcano can be visited by foot, on skis or riding in a jeep, yet always accompanied by a guide as the crevasses can be dangerous.www.visiticeland.com Popocatépetl, Mexico43 miles southeast of Mexico City, at 61,507 feet this stunning active volcano with a snowy peak known as “El Popo” is Mexico’s second-highest peak (after the Ixtaccíhuatl  or “Pico de Orizaba”). Quite consistently with its name – which is Atzec for “Smoking Mountain” - only last year it spewed ashes and rocks over the capital, so climbing is currently not an option. To enjoy the best view on both volcanoes, head to the Izta-Popo National Park and reach Paso de Cortés, the saddle between the two peaks.www.visitmexico.com Krakatoa, IndonesiaThis volcanic island and its archipelago located between Java and Sumatra in the Sunda Strait are the result of a massive eruption which destroyed the pre-existing island and its 3 volcanic peaks back in 1883. The eruptive activity is now limited to constantly smoking peak of Anak Krakatau island, which emerged in 1927 from the 1883 caldera. The island of Anak Krakatoa is a National Park, so to land on it and hike tourists need an official permit (usually included in the guided tours). You may also sail around the archipelago, enjoy the view and a snorkeling session in the coral reefs.www.indonesia.travel Mauna Loa, HawaiiThe name means “Long Mountain” in Hawaiian, and this is actually not only the largest volcano on our planet, but also the highest mountain in the world; although it rises only about 13,448 feet above sea level, its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 16,400 feet, which makes the volcano's summit about 56,000 feet above its base. Covering half of the Big Island, Mauna Loa has erupted 33 times since its first well-documented historical eruption in 1843, the most recent one being in 1984. There is a 17-mile scenic drive that can be done in any car taking you up to the Weather Observatory on the side of the volcano. From there you can start your hike to the summit.www.gohawaii.com

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04.10.2017

Soho, or South of Houston Street, is a synonym for shopping and dining. This exciting corner of Lower Manhattan, a former manufacturing area whose perfectly preserved industrial buildings now house fashion boutiques, restaurants and galleries, has been riding high ever since the 1970s, and although it has changed a lot through the years it does not seem to have lost its primal vibe. Hanging out in Soho means having the opportunity to take your pick among some of the city’s best places to eat & drink, yet with such a vibrant restaurant and bar scene it would be almost impossible to make a list of the very best addresses. So we’ll just follow our heart and recommend some of our favorite places in the neighborhood. Fanelli CafeA Prince Street institution dating back to the mid-1800s that truly captures the vibe of the "old" Soho. Patrons here vary from well-dressed tourists to locals who work in the neighborhood and artists who haven't left Soho since the '70s. Sit at the bar and have a beer on-draft (or a whiskey - neat, of course) and, if you're hungry, the pub fare here is excellent.  EmporioIn the heart of Nolita among a collection of solid yet low-key Italian restaurants lies Emporio, a neighborhood favorite for an after-work drink, a Roman-style dinner or, if you can make it, weekend brunch. Their wood-oven pizzas are among the best in Manhattan but it's the atmosphere (think "trendy" yet quintessentially Rome) that can't be replicated. If you're unable to grab a table for dinner, sit at the bar and have a glass of wine or a classic cocktail (hint: their Aperol spritz is fantastic) - you may even catch one of their daily happy hour deals. Fantastic gluten-free options as well.(foto chiesta) The DailyA hidden yet not-so-hidden gem connected to Michelin star-winner Public, this cocktail bar has the atmosphere of a 1920s speakeasy that many others try and fail to capture. The cocktail menu here is small and changes daily, so just sit at the bar and give the bartender an idea of what you're into: they're guaranteed to whip up an incredible cocktail served properly. Watching the craftsmen at work behind the bar is half the fun. (foto chiesta) Sanctuary THealthy contemporary American cuisine, artisanal tea blends and signature cocktails: here’s the basic formula behid this sleek and cozy restaurant in the heart of Soho whose name was inspired by owner Dawn Cameron’s goal to provide customers with a brief retreat from the clamor of city life, centered around the rituals and sensuousness of tea. And tea is king indeed, with 50+ different brews to choose among. Thanks to Chris Chavez for the recommendations 

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Taking old or discarded objects and materials and turning them into something new and exciting without breaking anything down: this is what we have learnt to know as ‘upcycling’ - as opposed to ‘recycling’, which involves breaking down the original materials. This virtuous process often gives birth to some truly amazing results, and thus it has happily become quite a widespread technique and almost a trend among designers and artisans, tracing a new possible path for the future of the industry. Which leads us all the way to Vienna’s lively Gumperdorfer Strasse, a once nondescript side street between Mariahilfer Straße and Naschmarkt that has been experiencing an authentic renaissance thanks to its closeness to the MuseumQuartier. Here, among trendy restaurants, cozy cafes and cocktail bars, Sascha Johannik and Romana Fürst, a couple of interior designers and skilled carpenters, have established their workshop and store, a 140 square meters space where objects and pieces of furniture officially pronounced dead come back to a new life in the form of lamps, tables, cabinets and more. Sascha first came into contact with creative upcycling and recycling in West Africa, where he spent 2 years from 2006 in Mauritania and Burkina Faso. “It was there, where every item available needed repairs or rebuilding, that the real idea of upcycling was born”, he tells us. “People who have next to nothing create new items by rebuilding old and used products”. Back in Austria, after a short adaptation phase, Sascha had the idea to implement his own ideas with furniture and everyday objects. “But while in Africa upcycling was the only possibility to create new things, here in Vienna buying upcycled products seems more like a lifestyle choice”, he says. “Still, it would be great if sustainability came more into people’s minds as a right choice to lessen consumption of resources in the long run”.  So what distinguishes Kellerwerk’s pieces from the other upcycled pieces? First of all, every Kellerwerk piece is handmade. “As skilled carpenters”, Sascha explains, “we have a good education as a basis. We try to make each of our pieces in such a way that we would like to take it home with us. We try to focus on each piece of furniture with its individual character and bring it to the next level. All our items are one of a kind not only because of their uniqueness but because we put a little bit of us into every piece we make”.  Among the very first pieces created by Sascha and Romana are some garden gnomes that they were given and decided to paint in bright colors. Five of them are still in the store and were used as the template for the company logo.  Sascha’s favorite pieces include a huge dining table made from an old barn door, ceiling lamps from oil barrels or bicycle spokes and side tables from old tube radios. Yet their bestsellers are refurnished armchairs. “Whenever one piece is finished it is almost immediately sold. This shows us that our high level of quality and keen eye for restyle and redesign for furniture items meets our customers’ wishes”, Sascha admits.  As for the Gumpendorfer Strasse district, which besides having become a vibrant nightlife destination seems to have a lively creative scene, Sascha tells us that the neighborhood has a pleasant village feel to it. “It is filled with different shops” he tells us. “Ranging from sustainable clothing places to upscale lighting stores, a bakery, a few restaurants and a typical Viennese Café. The vibe is great, neighbors are friendly and the postman stops by to bring us our daily mail. After almost three years in this space we still feel comfortable and content”.   

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04.05.2017

Ten-don is rice topped with a gorgeous tempura mix of deep-fried shrimps and seasonal vegetables, which add a touch of colour. No wonder ten-don is considered the King of rice-bowl dishes. There are various theories around its origin. Ten-don may have been first served at San-Sada, a restaurant established in Asakusa, close to Kaminarimon in 1837. Another story has it that the dish made its first appearance on a food stand in Shimbashi in 1831. Either way, ten-don is an extant expression of the Edo culture. Nowadays, it is rather common to find ten-don at soba or tempura shops inTokyo. It may be difficult to make a reservation in any of the most renowned restaurants. However, lunchtime may be a good time for you to savour a juicy bowl of rice and tempura. San-Sada (Asakusa)Established more than 180 years ago not far from Kaminarimon, it is believed to have been the birthplace of ten-don and used to be a popular stop-over amongst the people of Edo, on their way back from Sensō-ji, the temple located nearby. The founder Sadakichi came from the old Mikawa province (today’s Aichi prefecture), set up a tempura shop opposite his home in Nigyōchō and named it Mikawa-ya Sadakichi, which was later abbreviated into San-sada, being “san” another reading of the character “mi” in Mikawa. At present, you can taste Edo-style ten-don served with sesame oil in three sizes. San-Sanda is famous for its seafood and vegetable mixed tempura. Tempura Masa (Ginza)It is an extremely exclusive restaurant with only ten dishes on the menu, but the place itself is good value for the money. The speciality is crispy tempura of shrimps and seasonal ingredients served on a bowl of rice, freshly prepared across the open counter. Ten-don Kaneko-Hannosuke (Nihombashi)The restaurant serves ten-don only, consisting in hearty portions of boiled rice, with conger eel tempura sticking out and topped with deep-fried squid, surf clams, shrimps and small green peppers, soft-boiled eggs and dried nori seaweed. All the seafood comes from fresh from Tsukiji market every morning. The secret of the excellence is the Edo-style tare sauce, attracting crowds. Since the shop is not very big, it is not unusual to encounter queues outside. Yama no Ue Hotel (Surugadai, Kanda)It is located near the area in Kanda formerly known for its concentration of publishing houses. For this reason the hotel was a haven for a number of great writers, such as Yasunari Kawabata, Yukio Mishima and Shōtarō Ikenami. Ten-don used to be one of the great writers’ favourite dishes, with carefully selected ingredients of the season, cooked in two pans different in temperature. The seafood is fried at a higher temperature, to make it nice and crunchy, whereas the vegetables acquire a pleasantly crispy texture at a lower temperature. 

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03.30.2017

Crispy rolls (Semmel) stuffed with butter and jam or ham and cheese, a slice of marble cake donut (Gugelhupf) or a Kipfel, the ancestor of the croissant, all of it accompanied by a nice steaming coffee. The classic Austrian breakfast is huge and hearty, yet for those who prefer something lighter or more international, the best cafes in Vienna, just like in all the other great capitals of the world, have much more to offer; you can choose a sweet breakfast of tasty pastries, a salty one with eggs, bacon and all, or maybe a whole brunch. Here are some of our favorite addresses in town. Haas & HaasIt is practically impossible not to find your own favorite breakfast among the over 30 options offered by this legendary and sophisticated Stephansplatz cafe, which takes you on a journey around the world exploring the breakfast traditions of different countries. To accompany the food, go for tea, coffee or their delicious hot chocolate. No shortage of vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options as well. Das AugustinThis charming little place slightly off the beaten track, not far from the U-Bahn Johnstrasse station, is a foodie's paradise. Wheather permitting, it is great to have breakfast or brunch alfresco in their beautiful ‘secret’ courtyard, choosing among the classic Austrian menu, the American one or the most exotic international dishes. Including, of course, coffee (espresso, American, au lait) or maybe a chai, a lassi, a Sencha... UlrichWithin walking distance of the Museum District, Ulrich is a contemporary and laid-back cafe-restaurant where breakfast ranges from eggs & bacon to the the vegan platter. Their Viennese breakfast is called Tabula Rasa and it is super rich (Semmel, salami, cheese, eggs, yoghurt, granola and everything else). The drink list includes some very nice smoothies and fresh juices too. Motto am FlussIf what you want is a breakfast with a view, then this is the right place. Motto is housed inside the futuristic ferry terminal on the Danube Canal. The beautiful cafe on the terrace offers a great all-day breakfast ranging from croissant with café au lait  to the breakfast sandwich and proper brunch - plus homemade bread, jams and lemonade and smoothies. Cafe AnsariNot far from Motto, at the quietest end of Praterstrasse, this cafe owned by Georgian artist  Nana Ansari and her husband Nasser offers a decidedly original cuisine that mixes Georgian tradition and Oriental inspirations. All of this is obviously reflected on the breakfast, available in the Russian, Oriental or Viennese variation. In summer, make your best to grab an outdoor table.  

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03.29.2017

Yet another restaurant in Trastevere? Well, actually yes. While the opening of a new place to eat or drink on the cobbled streets of Rome’s most vibrant nightlife destination is certainly no sensational news, occasionally someone comes up with an idea that manages to stand out from the crowd. The latest notable and unusual business that appeared in the neighborhood is called Eggs and it is a bistro that opened its doors just this month in vicolo del Cedro with a uniquely ‘themed’ offer. Here's why, in our humble opinion, it is definitely worth a try. 1. Because there is not only one kind of Carbonara.At Eggs the classic Roman dish based on pasta, eggs and bacon is available in 10 different color & taste variations, from the ‘violet’ one with vitelotte potatoes to the ‘green’ with crispy artichokes and the ‘orange carbonara’ with zucchini flowers. And altough purists might wrinkle their nose, by ‘eggs’ they quail, ostrich and sea urchin eggs as well – and of course caviar. 2. Because their chicken eggs are top notch.The local and organic chicken eggs used in the restaurant all come from small local farmers, namely Paolo Parisi, Peppovo and L'Uovo e la Canapa3. Because the Zum girls are behind it.Chef Barbara Agosti and her partners in crime Laura Iucci and Dominika Kosik, who created the very first cafe in Rome room entirely dedicated to artisan tiramisu. A close-knit group which is very keen to create unusual and original concepts. 4. Because the furniture is special.Or rather created by a special person, Simona Iucci, the Lisbon-based architect who involved a group of inmates from the Lisbon penitentiary in the production of customized furniture made from construction materials. 5. Because Puntarella Rossa is a partner.And judging by the frankness of the opinions expressed by the famous Italian restaurant review website, we bet that in embracing this partnership they kept an eye on quality. Puntarella is also responsible for the selection of natural and artisan wines served at Eggs and the presentations and conferences chefs and with local producers held at the restaurant.  

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03.27.2017

The route known as Milano-Laghi is supposedly the oldest highway in the world, but what makes it truly unique is mainly the landscape it crosses: right past the Milan Malpensa airport, the urban fabric finally gives way to a warm and slightly surreal scenery - we are right in the heart of one of the most industrialized areas in Europe, and yet surrounded by woods. This is the Po valley gradually becomes hilly, and the lakes of Lombardy, born from the erosion of the glaciers occurred millions of years ago, seem to slip from the Alps onto the morainal hills. Among these, the best known is perhaps the Lario or Lake Como, with its two distinctive branches whose ends are, in fact, Como and Lecco. Como is a beautiful town with many different souls which welcomes the visitor to its streets and architecture with a certain of shyness, as if not to challenge the unsurpassed beauty of the lake and its surrounding mountains, including the Sacro Monte (Holy Mountain), a UNESCO Heritage Site since 2003. At the heart of the city is the Santa Maria Assunta Cathedral, deemed as the last Gothic cathedral in Italy, next to which sit Palazzo Broletto and the Civic Tower, belonging to the same era. Porta Torre is the symbol of Medieval Como, as well as the last standing ancient gate from a time when huge walls which surrounded the entire city, whereas the neoclassical Volta Temple from 1928 and the Gattoni Tower, turned into a physics lab back in 1783, are linked to the memory of Alessandro Volta, the great scientist who invented batteries as well as the first electric generator, who was born in Como in 1745. Finally, there is the Futurist and Rationalist face of the city, represented by the work of architect Giuseppe Terragni, who designed several buildings in the first half of the 20th century. It seems in fact that every century has left a mark on this city, which ideally extends to the natural landscapes on the shores of the lake dotted with the beauty of some truly majestic villas surrounded by huge Italian and botanical gardens, most of them open to visitors: Villa D'Este in Cernobbio - a luxury hotel since 1873 - Villa Serbelloni and Villa Melzi in Bellagio, Villa Lucini Passalacqua in Moltrasio and Villa Carlotta in Varenna, just to name a few. Located at the junction of the two branches of the lake, these villas tell the story of the ancient splendor of the Lombard nobility from the 17th to the 20th century, offering a relaxing atmosphere aristocratic in nature that has seduced celebrities from around the world. Not to be missedA boat trip to CernobbioExploring the Lario by boat is the best way to become familiar with these wonderful places. Thanks to the efficient navigation service that connects all locations on Lake Como, you can travel comfortably on boats and ferries. For a short but intense journey, we recommend a trip from the port of Como to pictoresque Cernobbio, where you can spend the whole day surrounded by pure beautyComacina IslandThe only island of Lake Como, Comacina used to be an important diocesan center in Roman and medieval times, before being razed to the ground in 1169, when it rapidly declined ending up in a state of disrepair. Only since 1900, thanks to the construction of a small ‘artists’ village’, did the island finally get back to life; today, thanks to the beauty of these buildings and to the breathtaking views it offers, it is definitely worth visiting, Also, Comacina is one of the most prominent archaeological areas in northern Italy with regard to the Middle Ages. BellagioRight on the tip of the promontory that separates the two branches of Lake Como lies the small town of Bellagio, known as the "Pearl of Lake Como" or the "City of Gardens", due to the presence of numerous oak, fir, beech and chestnut tree woods. The town center is a small and charming succession of narrow streets that climb the promontory among colorful homes, long stairways and old churches, up to the tip of the Spartivento Cape. Between the 18th and 19th centuries, sumptuous villas were built here by aristocratic and wealthy bourgeois families with the aim of hosting illustrious personalities including Napoleon Bonaparte, Franz Liszt and Alessandro Manzoni, who wrote several chapters of The Betrothed during his stay at Villa Serbelloni. Domaso and Gera LarioDomaso is an old fishing village located in an extraordinary location in the western Lario, at the mouth of river Livo, and characterized by important historic buildings such as St. Bartholomew's Church, housing a famous painting by Giulio Cesare Procaccini. Heading north east along the banks of the lake, you will get to Gera Lario, a favorite destination for water sport and trekking lovers, which counts among its attractions the Romanesque church of St Vincent, famous for its Roman and early Christian ruins. The Como – Brunate funicularBuilt in 1894 to connect the two towns quickly, this funicular railway departs from the lakefront in central Como and rides all the way up to the mountain resort of Brunate, sitting at 720 meters above sea level. Over the years, the funicular has been restored several times, but its current look dates back to 1951 and so it feels pretty vintage. The journey only takes seven minutes, but the view from up there, stretching from the lake to the plains and on to the western Alps, is really breathtaking. Photo credits:Villa Bernasconi a Cernobbio: photo by Dario Crespi under the CC BY-SA 4.0 licenseFunicolare Como-Brunate: photo by Nicolago under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license  

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03.23.2017

Around the 1920s, the New York Public Library began documenting the changing face of New York City by collecting old historic photographs and taking new pictures with a particular emphasis on new building construction. The collection continued to grow systematically through commissioned photographs, purchases, and gifts into the early 1970s, turning into an outstanding resource of over 80,000 original photographs of New York City from around the 1870s to 1970. Today, thanks so the digitization of those images, the Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s collection is available for everyone to see on the NYPL website, but since the number of pictures is truly overwhelming, browsing through the archive to find a specific location can be  pretty hard. And this is where Old NYC comes into the picture: in order to provide an alternative way of browsing the collection, software developer Dan Vanderkam, who formerly worked at Google, associated latitudes and longitudes to the images in the collection. Known as geocoding, this process, carried out in collaboration with the Library, allowed the images to be placed at points on a map, so that if you wish to discover the history behind the places you see every day you just need to click on the location to get an idea of what it looked like in the past. We just love this! 

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03.22.2017

Swimming, sailing, water sports and even diving a stone’s throw away from Amsterdam. Who would have thought that this was even possible? And yet it is: when the warm weather comes, all you need to do is drive 18 kilometers southwards from the Dutch capital to the pretty village of Vinkeveen, overlooking an area known as Vinkeveen Plassen, characterized by the presence of artificial lakes born from massive peat extraction activities. Easily accessible and close both to the Amstel River and the highway, the lakes of Vinkeveen Plassen are a favorite among the capital’s residents, and they can be the ideal base for visiting Amsterdam or a good starting point for a cruise through its canals. Not surprisingly, many VIPs and prominent figures of the Dutch society moved here over the years, to enjoy the tranquility, the privacy and the nature of the place, while remaining very close to Amsterdam. For those who decide to spend a summer weekend on the lakes, there are endless opportunities for recreation: from water sports - surfing, sailing, canoeing, diving, water skiing and flyboarding - to the bike paths and trails running along the shores. There are some very pretty classic houseboats available for a romantic stay on the water, and boats for rent to sail among the sand islands. As a matter of fact, besides the typical flora and fauna of the wetlands (before the extractions this area was essentially a swamp), one of the peculiarities of these water basins is the presence of 44 small islands that are actually thin strips of sand, where you can stop to relax or have a picnic while exploring the lakes by boat. Because they are subject to constant erosion from water, the islands are likely to disappear, and it is precisely for this reason that the local Municipality has recently decided to put them on sale. Starting April, it will be possible to purchase them for a price between 10,000 and 50,000 euro each, and of course prospective owners will have to carry out repair works as part of the deal. At the end of a relaxing day on the lakes, it is a must to enjoy the sunset while sipping a drink in one of the many cafes and marinas overlooking the water, and to experience the local cuisine at one of the nice restaurant of the area. In particular, we recommend Villa Lokeend, a hotel and restaurant housed inside an old traditional building in Scandinavian style once devoted to wild duck hunting, and restaurant Bowen Water, which offers a tasting menu composed of sophisticated dishes based on local ingredients. 

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03.21.2017

Often portrayed in films, paintings and literary works, Ferrara has been discovered by mass tourism only in recent times, and this makes it a city as fascinating as it is still authentic. Its undoubtedly unique charm, made of misty narrow cobbled streets and gorgeous squares looking like open-air living rooms, is the result of an ancient miracle - that of the transformation of a small village on the river Po into a Renaissance jewel full of nobility and splendor performed by the Este dynasty. A gradual process indeed, whose traces remain in the clear separation between the Medieval city and the Renaissance addition. The first one, in the southern part of the old city, includes the beautiful and narrow Via delle Volte, Trento-Trieste Square, the Cathedral with its Romanesque-Gothic façade and the imposing and perfectly intact castle, complete with a moat, towers and drawbridges. The second one, the result of a huge and pioneering 15th century project, includes airier architectures such as that of Piazza Ariostea and of the wide Corso Ercole I d'Este which reaches from the city center to the ancient walls, lined with historic landmarks such as the ‘Diamond Palace’ and the monumental Certosa cemetery. And it is precisely along the nine-kilometer-long border of the walls surrounding the old town that runs one of the most fascinating discovery routes through the city, to be covered either on the top of the embankment or down in the sottomura, either on foot or by bicycle - one of the symbols of this city still living on a human scale. Built in the Middle Ages and rebuilt between the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the walls feature a number of ramparts, gates, steps and towers which were built in different ages to defend the city. Today, these ancient barriers lined with ancient trees are the green lung of Ferrara, beloved in equal manner by joggers and pedestrians, and bordered by a huge urban park. Not to be missedVia delle VolteYou just can’t help being charmed by this Middle Ages corner the old city where time seems to have literally stopped. The ancient cobblestone street crossed by arches and suspended passages (the Volte) that once used to followed the course of river Po must have looked dark and almost hostile in a very distant past, but today it is simply picturesque. Palazzo Schifanoia23, Via Scandiana "To avoid boredom": faithful to this motto, in the late fourteenth century Borso d'Este commissioned Palazzo Schifanoia specifically for the entertainment and leisure time of the court. Its most famous feature is the Hall of the Months, characterized by a Renaissance cycle of frescoes by different Ferrarese painters from the Cosme Tura school depicting pagan deities, scenes from daily life, and astrology symbolsMura degli AngeliImmortalized in the famous novel The Garden of the Finzi-Continis by local writer Giorgio Bassani, this peaceful, green and charming section of the city walls north of the center definitely has some magic to it. The nickname is a reference to Porta degli Angeli, a lookout tower built in the sixteenth century, and to the former name of Corso Ercole I d'Este, formerly Via degli Angeli, that reaches here from the old city. The Jewish cemeteryVia delle VigneSheltered by the walls, this old Jewish cemetery is a small and quiet corner of countryside in the city, very close but separate from the Christian burial ground, the Certosa. In the shade of its huge trees, popular writer Giorgio Bassani rests among other eminent personalities of the local Jewish community. To enter, you must ring the bell of the gatekeeper, who will escort you through the great portal and to the bare old gravestones adorned with stones left by visitors in memory of the deceased. Comacchio and its lagoonsA 50 km ride from Ferrara, Comacchio is a picturesque lagoon town looking like a small-scale Venice, crossed by canals lined with ancient pastel-colored houses. Its hallmark is the Pallotta Bridge, better known as Trepponti, built in the seventeenth century as a fortified gate for those entering the city from the sea along the waterway. The beautiful nearby Comacchio Lagoons, in the Po Delta Natural Park, can be explored by boat on a guided tour that reveals the history and the natural features of the place, stopping at two old fishing stations where you can visit the fishermen's huts and see their traditional fishing equipment. These areas are also home to a huge variety of aquatic birds, including flamingos

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03.20.2017

Martini, Negroni, Cosmo: for anyone who’s into cocktails and the mixology scene, these names are so familiar that it is as if they had always existed. Yet most of the drinks that are still hot today were born around the late nineteenth century - not such a remote time - and some even more recently. However, it rarely occurs to us to ask ourselves why they are called like that and who invented them - which is why we decided to retrace the stories that led to the birth of five of the most famous cocktails of all time. Here is what we found out. Dry Martini: American or Italian?The famous gin and dry vermouth aperitif served with an olive, much loved by the Americans and featured in so many memorable scenes from popular movies and TV series, has a rather debated origin. According to some, its name derives from Martinez, a nineteenth-century cocktail, yet others argue that it was actually invented by an Italian bartender working at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York, who specially created it for John D. Rockefeller. Finally, a less elaborate version of the story suggests its name might simply refer to Martini&Rossi, a famous Italian brand of alcoholic beverages founded in the nineteenth century. Manhattan, it all started with a partyWhiskey, sweet red vermouth and angostura bitters. The origin of the world’s most famous red aperitif (actually, given the ingredients, it would also be perfect as a digestive) must also be traced back to nineteenth-century New York. According to a fascinating theory, it was created in 1874 for a reception at the Manhattan Club (hence the name) thrown by Jennie Churchill, the soon-to-be mother of Winston Churchill, in honor of Samuel J. Tilden, the new governor of the State of New York. Cosmopolitan, sleek & feminineAfter the planetary success of Sex & The City, this popular cocktail is often referred to as fictional fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw’s favorite drink. But the fame of the ‘Cosmo’ – a mix of vodka, cointreau, lime and cranberry juice - actually dates back to the 1970s, when it became popular in the cocktail bars of Miami and New York City, although its origins are probably to be found further back, around the 1930s. Because of its fruity flavor and its red-rosy color, it is generally considered a ladies’ drink. Negroni, a revisitation of the Americano It was the year 1920 in Florence when Count Camillo Negroni, a regular at Caffè Casoni, asked his bartender to add a dash of gin to his Americano to replace the usual dash of soda. What he probably could not imagine is that this idea would give birth to the most famous Italian cocktail ever, which soon quite fairly took his name. Ever since then, red vermouth, Campari bitters and gin have been the basic ingredients of this robust drink - also known in its lighter version, the Sbagliato, with dry sparkling wine replacing the gin. Daiquiri, from Cuba to the worldA favorite of Ernest Hemingway’s, who sipped it in large quantities at the counter of the El Floridita bar in Havana, this mix of white rum, lime juice, and cane sugar syrup is the object of many legends related to its origin. The most imaginative one involves a US marine who supposedly landed in Playa Daiquiri so thirsty and craving for a drink that he invented a cocktail right there on the spot. A slightly more credible story is that of the Italian engineer working in Cuba who, faced with the challenge of offering a drink to an unexpected guest, improvised a recipe with whatever he had at home, accidentally creating a legendary mixed drink. What we know for sure, though, is that the Daiquiri became officially popular around 1914 thanks to the skilled Catalan bartender of the Floridita, Constantino Ribalaigua Vert

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03.20.2017

Kanazawa, the capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture on the Sea of Japan, flourished as the capital of Kaga Domain during the Edo period. After Toshiie Maeda’s takeover, the city was never affected by any war or earthquake. For this reason, the earthen walls and cobbled roads still retain the charm and the beauty of the old downtown. Kanazawa was built around the castle, in the area flanked by the Sai and Asano rivers. In the 16th century, the population of Kanazawa was the fourth largest after Edo, Osaka and Kyoto. The Kaga domain was the wealthiest in the whole nation. The eight Maeda families of the Kaga clan and their entourage took up residence in the castle and the neighbouring estate. Nowadays, the area has become an artistic promenade with a museum and a memorial house. In addition to the samurai residence, the Kaga clan left a number of famous gardens. The Maeda-Kaga clan promoted culture and collected an enormous amount of books and written material, and, decades later, Meiji literature prospered with the work of the Three Greatest Writers from Kanazawa: Kyōka Izumi, Murō Saisei and Shusei Tokuda. Furthermore, a number of contemporary writers was born or is based in Kanazawa, like Hiroyuki Itsuki and Kei Yuikawa. One of Kanazawa’s major attractions is the food, prepared with the freshest and highest-quality ingredients, both from the sea and the mountains. Every season offers different tastes of the refined Kaga culinary tradition.Here is a list of sceneries and eating establishment where you can enjoy the beauty of Kanazawa to its fullest, in the cherry blossom season. Nagamachi Bukeyashiki DistrictIn this district, which is still inhabited and used as a shooting location for photo-calls, films and television dramas, you’ll be able to see the ancient residence of the samurai supported by the Kaga-Maeda clan. You can also visit the museum and the original houses for a small fee. Oyama ShrineBuilt in 1873 in memory of Tohiie Maeda, who died in 159, this shrine has a beautiful main gate completed in 1875 and distinguished by an interesting mix of traditional Japanese, Chinese, and European architectural elements, currently designated one of Japan’s Important Cultural Properties. The glasswork fitted in the third layer is a must-see both during the day when the sunlight is shining through it and with the evening illumination, until ten. The garden is characterised by a pond with island and bridges shaped like a koto and other instruments of the ancient Japanese court music. The East Gate connects the shrine grounds to the ones of Kanazawa Castle. Maedatosanokamike MuseumThe museum displays several collections belonging the Maeda Tosanokamike family line, inaugurate by Toshiie Maeda’s second son Toshimasa. In the initial stages of the Kaga-Maeda clan, eight families who had distinguished themselves for their deeds were elevated to the status of Elders. Among these was the Maeda Tosanokamike. You can still admire the black-lacquered armour and helmet used by Toshimasa Maeda, as well as books and other precious memorabilia. Kenroku-enBuilt for the House of Maeda, Kenroku-en is one of Japan’s three greatest landscape gardens, along with Okayama’s Kōraku-en and Mito’s Kairaku-en. The name stands for the six attributes of a perfect landscape: spaciousness, silence, artifice, antiquity, waterways and natural scenery. It is also known as Kanazawa’s best cherry blossom viewing spot. Nagamachi YuzenkanYuzen is name of the traditional technique of hand-painting kimonos, devised by and named after Yuzen Miyazaki, which flourished in the Kaga Domain in the middle of the Edo period. Kaga Yuzen has distinctive features, such as the painting style with motifs of nature and the classics, and the use of colour, which is based on Kaga Five Colours (deep blue, dark brown, ochre, grass green, Tyrian purple). There are dyeing workshops and also kimonos available for rental. Crafts HirozakaIt is an atelier gathering the twenty traditional crafts that constitute Kanazawa’s inestimable heritage. At Crafts Hirozaka you can find exhibits, workshops and a gift shop. Kutaniyaki Art MuseumThe timeline of Kutani ware can be roughly divided into the four periods: the early Edo period, late Edo period, Meiji to early Showa period, and late Showa to the present. The craft of Kutani porcelain was devised in 1655 under the supervision of Toshiharu Maeda, the first Lord. Kutani ware made in that era is called “old Kutani”, and it is regarded as a special masterpiece among porcelain craftsmen and intellectuals for the Aote and Iroe decorative styles. This museum exhibits Kutaniyaki works with a history of about 360 years. The museum is located in the city of Kaga, not too far from Kanazawa. The Delicacies of KagaBecause it is close to the sea and the mountains, Kanazawa is a trove of fresh ingredients throughout the year. Spring is the season of bamboo shoots and a number of recipes featuring the small Japanese fluvial sculpin. Ohmicho Ichiba – nicknamed “Kanazawa’s kitchen” – is a market where you can find fresh foods and other general merchandise. The tea ceremony has been in vogue since the days of the Maeda clan and the wagashi (“Japanese sweets”) created for it are just countless and are still made and sold in a great deal of shops. At the Ishikawa Prefectural Tourism Hall, you can even experience wagashi making.Last but not least, sake is one of Kaga’s jewels in the crown, prepared with the rice from the Kaga Plain and the fresh spring water from Mount Haku. If you go to the Higashi Chaya District, you may want to pay a visit to Higashiyama Shuraku, taste about 120 types of local sake and buy the ones that you like the best. 

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03.16.2017

The succession of repetitive gestures performed by the main character from Alike, a bank employee named Copi, is a bit of a cinematic cliché, evoking the famous assembly line scene from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times. In a way, it seems to suggest that, in spite of the epoch-making change from industrial to knowledge economy, alienation as an aspect of the working life seems is far from extinct - and indeed in the digital world the isolation and loneliness of the employee appears even more obvious, along with the increasing amount of time that we devote to working and thus subtract from our personal and emotional lives in a world where we are constantly connected. The eight-minute Alike short film draws inspiration from this simple observation, so naive an yet so illuminating, depicting the latent absurdity of our way of life through the eyes of a child, Paste, on which father Copi - as the name itself suggests - is gradually and inexorably "pasting" his own resignation to the rules of a literally gray existence, deprived of alla curiosity and distractions. But there is hope, of course - and it appears in the form of a musical epiphany that results in an embrace restoring color to the existence.Alike has been directed by Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafa Cano Méndez and produced by Daniel Martínez Lara and La Fiesta P.C. with the support of Pepe-School-Land.  

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03.15.2017

Thick forests, lagoons, mountainous peninsulas that arise from a crystal-clear sea, tufa cliffs, long sandy beaches, ancient thermal springs, plains and rolling hills covered in fields and vineyards: with its huge area nestled between Tuscany and Lazio, Maremma offers the visitor an incredible variety of landscapesThe Alta Maremma, including the province of Livorno and the Follonica Gulf, ranges from the gentle Val di Cornia slopes scattered with fortresses, castles and charming medieval villages to the metalliferous hills. The gem of the area is the beautiful medieval town of Massa Marittima, which dominates the landscape with its wonderful white Duomo. Further south, the city of Grosseto, protected by majestic Walls, is the ideal starting point for exploring the area’s archeological sites as well as its most popular seaside resorts: Marina di Grosseto, Principina, Castiglione della Pescaia and Punta Ala. In the hinterland, at the foot of Mount Amiata, among woods and hills hide small treasures such as the lovely village of Scansano, home of the fruity ruby red Morellino wine. In the so-called Bassa Maremma, on the border with Lazio, new surprises await the traveler especially along the coast, where the last stretch of the Tuscan sea, lapped by the Uccellina Natural Park, is dotted with gems like the Orbetello lagoon, the ancient village of Capalbio and the gorgeous Talamone fortress jutting towards the sea. Not to mention the rugged cliffs of Monte Argentario and the pristine Giglio and Giannutri islands. Back inland, the Bassa Maremma acquires an entirely different character: here you will find the impressive ancient Etruscan roads excavated in the tuffaceous rock (vie cave) and a bunch of magnificent fortified towns such as Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana. In the vicinity, the waters from the natural hot springs of Saturnia, Tuscany’s most popular thermal resort, flow into the small Gorello river that carries them through a cane field and up to a beautiful waterfall surrounded with calcareous tanks, where everyone can enjoy their healing properties for free. Not to be missed Piazza Garibaldi in Massa MarittimaLooking like the scenery of a film set in the Middle Ages, the main square of Massa Marittima is dominated by the white and solemn San Cerbone Cathedral, whose monumental staircase and diagonal positioning across the triangular paved square creates an unusual perspective. There is no trace of cars, and all around sit historic palaces, old shops and ancient arcades. Most of the buildings are made of travertine marble, which turns pink in the sunset making the view even more sublime. The tuff villagesIn the hinterland south west of Grosseto, the so-called "tuff villages” - Pitigliano, Sorano and Sovana -  are the fascinating heritage of the Etruscan civilization, just like the vie cave, ancient roads excavated in the tuffaceous rock. Start your exploration from the beautiful Pitigliano, and then on to Sovana, famous for its Etruscan necropolis, and finally to Sorano, also known as "the Tuscan Matera”ScansanoBest known for its ruby​​-red fruity wine, Morellino, this village on the hills in the hinterland of Grosseto is a maze of narrow streets lined with picturesque houses and balconies brimming with flowers that climb towards the old town, dominated by ancient churches and historic buildings. The view on the vineyard-lined valley below is amazing. CapalbioThe last village in the Tuscan Maremma, a few kilometers from the border with Lazio, is a popular holiday resort with sandy beaches and a beautiful sea, exuding all the charm of a Medieval village. Giannutri IslandLess known than the nearby Giglio Island, this little island of the Tuscan Archipelago National Park is a veritable gem, merely 500 meters wide and 5 kilometers long but fringed with coves, surrounded by beautiful backdrops, embellished by the ruins of an ancient Roman villa and enriched by two beautiful beaches, Cala Maestra and Cala Spalmatoio. Photo creditsOpening image (sunfowers): photo by Giovanni under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseLe cascate del Gorello: photo by Waugsberg under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licenseCapalbio: photo by Yellow Cat under the CC BY-SA 2.0 licenseMonte argentario: photo by Markus Bernet under the CC BY-SA 2.5 licensePorto romano, Giannutri: photo by Aldo Ardetti under the  CC BY-SA 3.0 license

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Why do we surround ourselves with digital tools like computers, tablets and smartphones, but still carry a notebook, sketchbook or stacks of paper around? This is what Magnus Wanberg, the CEO and founder of reMarkable, asked himself a few years ago. And the answer was that paper is the ultimate tool for thinking in a time when we are bombarded by a continuous flow of communication, reminders, tweets, emails, texts, and headlines: it lets our mind work without restrictions or distractions, and it makes us focus. Still, because it is disconnected from the digital world, it is also not optimized for the time we live in. And this is why in 2013 Magnus and his team set out to create a connected and limitless digital paper experience, a digital paper tablet for reading, writing and sketching, conceived for those who cherish the simplicity and power of working on paper. Now, after three years spent developing and perfecting a digital paper tablet that delivers the experience of real paper in close collaboration with E Ink, reMarkable is finally here. ReMarkable’s 10.3” display is designed for reading, writing and sketching without interruptions, but what’s truly unique about it is the technology behind it: while other companies have tried to create paper tablets, none solved the so-called ‘slow ink’ issue, also known as or high latency.Basically, in order to make the handwriting and sketching experience as natural as possible, ultra-low latency is imperative; thanks to a breakthrough proprietary technology known as the CANVAS display, reMarkable has managed to deliver a 55ms latency pen-on-paper experience. Finally, whenever you need it to reMarkable connects to the digital world, so that your words or sketches are instantly synced to reMarkable’s cloud service and made available on all your devices. 

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03.13.2017

Relations between Italy and China are increasingly close and strong, both for commercial reasons and because of the presence of a huge Chinese community counting over 330,000 residents. Still, the coexistence of these two worlds is not necessarily synonymous with a cultural exchange and mutual understanding between the two cultures. That's why initiatives like this one that is about to open in Vicenza in the splendid Palladian Basilica are not only welcome, but also necessary. An event conceived by Yvonne Maria Pugliese and Peng Feng and organized by the Municipality of Vicenza in collaboration with YARC, Flow is a work-in-progress exhibition now in its second edition depicting an imaginary dialogue between Chinese and Italian contemporary art thanks to the work of 24 artists who, besides speaking two different languages, express themselves through the most diverse material and immaterial media and artistic languages, from live performances to ceramics, from Plexiglas to neon lights, from wool to paper, from canvas to digital technologies. The result is an inevitably rich and unusual experience where the points of view on the two cultures and their encounter will multiply without limits or restrictions, leaving the observers free to build their own personal interpretation of the individual works and of the juxtapositions, thus becoming familiar with a different culture as well as getting in touch with themselves and their inner worlds. The only “guide” will be the videos self-produced by the artists themselves telling the story of how their works came to life, and the words of two philosophers, Marcello Ghilardi and Riccardo Caldura, revolving  around the deepest meaning of the "dialogue" that the exhibition intends establish between Italy and China. 

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03.13.2017

A ryokan and the warmth of its wooden interiors make travelling around Japan a unique experience. Last week we presented a few rules you should follow when you are staying at one. This week we have a few recommendations for you. Notoya Ryokan, YamagataGinzan Onsen has a long history going back to 500 years ago, when it was prospering as a silver mine. The place feels like a journey back in time, to the first decades of the twentieth century, when the Japanese culture recombined the hues of the Western world into the so-called Taishō Roman style. Among the extant wooden buildings stretching along the Ginzan River, stands the beautiful Notoya Ryokan, decorated with makie lacquer and wooden panels. You can enjoy the early spring in the ravishing nature of Yamagata, while soaking in the original rotenburo, a stone-carved open-air bath. Hoshi Onsen Chojukan, GunmaLocated on the site of a secret hot spring in Jōshin’etsu-kōgen National Park, Hoshi Onsen Chojukan has a 140-year history and has been registered as a tangible cultural property. The colonnade at the entrance of the traditional wooden premises is decorated according to the season. There is also a hearth the like of which are rarely seen nowadays, burning all through the year and providing the hot water for the tea ceremony. The peculiarity of this ryokan is the mixed bath, that is a bath shared by men and women, albeit with separate changing rooms. The hot thermal water constantly springing from the bottom of the bath will keep you warm throughout your long, relaxing soak, in the midst of a wondrous landscape. Kanaguya, NaganoThe name Kanaguya comes from the blacksmith businesses that used to be there at the time of the Matsuhiro Domain during the Edo Period (1603-1868). The place was known as an inn town on the Kusatsu Kaido, the road connecting Zenkoji and Kusatsu on the Shiga Highlands. Two of the extant blacksmith’s shops have been registered as a tangible cultural property. In the evening, guests can enjoy the stories about the architecture and history of the buildings and the techniques of shrine construction. Furthermore, there are eight hot-spring baths, which include open-air baths. Apparently, the setting for the Ghibli animation hit Spirited Away was inspired by Kanaguya. Gero Onsen Yunoshimakan, GifuIt is an old-fashioned inn established in 1931 in a grove of 50,000 tsubo (1 tsubo = 3.3m2), overlooking Gero Onsen. The entrance, the bridge corridor, the wooden three-storeyed main building are registered as one of the evening sceneries that participate in the National Cultural Festival. The stained glass in the hall is also perfectly preserved. The ryokan is a haven where you can completely unwind to the voices of different birds, surrounded by flowers and plants of ravishing beauty. Gero hot springs, together with Arima and Kusatsu, are regarded as one of Japan’s three famous fountain springs, and are said to date back to the early tenth centuryKayabukinosato Kawaba Onsen Yutorian, GunmaIt is like a step back in time into an old village dotted with seven thatched cottages, connected by a monorail. Built, destroyed and re-built throughout the centuries, these houses are an outstanding example of the craftsmanship of Japanese builders from the Edo, Meiji and Taishō period (1868-1926). 

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03.09.2017

Genoa is a seaside and a frontier town - not simply because it sits by the water but mostly because it has always been projected towards the elsewhere, as if pushed by the mountains that surround its shoulders. Even today, the city conveys a certain sense of adventure, of unexplored opportunities and possibilities floating in the air as numerous and diverse as its many faces: the imposing ancient palaces of the rich seafaring families along the aristocratic via Garibaldi, the somewhat grimy darkness of the Carruggi - alleys so narrow that not a single ray of sun will reach them - the profiles of the elevated roads, the gorgeous beaches that suddenly appear along the coast, rimmed by the bright colors of the traditional sailors’ houses perched on the rocks. From Genoa, Christopher Columbus departed to what he thought was Asia, and thousands of migrants left towards every continent, carrying along a little bit of the city - so that, for instance, the colorful La Boca neighborhood in Buenos Aires owes its name to Genoa’s Boccadasse, the beach near which Genoese ships sailed to the Americas back in the nineteenth century. Within the boundaries of the city, on the other hand, to those who did not leave the good life has always been a cherished tradition, jealously presreved by the seemingly gruff character of its citizens, and certainly helped by the perfect climate, whose long summers and mild winters make Genoa the perfect destination for a visit or a short holiday in every seasonNot to be missedVia GaribaldiHere is where the beating heart of the city lies - in this beautiful historic street lined with ancient noble palaces. Do not miss a visit to Palazzo Doria Tursi, Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Bianco and Palazzo Spinola, home of the National Gallery. The CarruggiIt would be simply impossible to speak about Genoa without mentioning the Carruggi, the famous (and infamous) narrow alleys of the old city. Athough the chance of running into unpleasant encounters is not exactly remote, wandering around these narrow meandering streets will also give you the unique opportunity of plunging into the city’s past, recognizing the ancient trades and the faces so magnificently described in the songs of the late local singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André. Genoa BoccadasseThis ancient fishing village bordered by Corso Italia and the Cape of Santa Chiara, offers a breathtaking view from its cove bordered by colorful old housesTrattoria OsvaldoSince the late 1940s, the small Trattoria Osvaldo has been serving home cooking, seafood specialties and typical Genoese dishes in the beautiful Genoa Boccadasse quarter. A must-try for anyone willing to savour the taste of the old city. 

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03.07.2017

Romantic, chaotic, crazy, violent, picturesque or surreal. Whatever idea of Paris you have in your head, it is most probably not just the result of experience, but also of all the films set in Paris you have seen over the years, which resulted in layers of images, stories and visions whose unique combination shaped your concept of ​​the city, of its essence, and of Parisian style. Hard to say if Paris is the most cinematic place in the world or just the city that the film industry has helped more than any other city in the world become immortal – but the fact remains is that in our own idea of ​​Paris these stories and these images play a leading role. Under the Roofs of Paris (René Clair, 1930)The very first French sound film, which was actually shot on a huge great in Epinay, at the gates of the city, depicts a working-class Paris inhabited by thieves, street performers and people of modest conditions. The roofs from the film’s title are seen from above in the opening sequence, topped with smoke from the chimneys, as the gentle sound of an accordion raises from a small square. The 400 Blows (François Truffaut, 1959)To twelve-year-old Antoine Doinel, estranged from school and from his own family, Paris in the late 1950s is the background for his own coming of age, and a place of freedom and adventure, charming and hostile at the same time. The sequences that see him wandering through the city streets are simply unforgettable. Bande à Part (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964)The first thing that comes to our mind as we think of this film is the Louvre. The image of two boys and a girl holding hands as they run through the halls of the Musée du Louvre to beat some crazy speed record is perhaps one of the most quoted and familiar scenes of French cinema, almost a cliché. Yet it still feels like the perfect Nouvelle Vague moment – one of those cinematic moments that have contributed most in shaping our idea of Paris. Last Tango in Paris (Bernardo Bertolucci, 1972)Despite the title, the world of Last Tango in Paris is all wrapped up inside an apartment in the Passy district, where two strangers meet and try to live a different life through anonymity, sex and passion. Out in the streets of the city and at the tango bar is reality, and with it comes everything that the two wish to escape - failures, shortcomings, misery and conventions. Three Colors - Blue (Krzysztof Kieślowski, 1993)A big city where to find solitude and anonymity to cope with grief: this is what Paris is to Julie, a widow who abandons her country house to rent an anonymous apartment after surviving the car accident that killed her husband and young daughter. Blurred in the background are the markets, the streets, the cafes, the sex clubs, the Piscine Pontoise, slightly cyanotic under the bluish lights. La Haine (Mathieu Kassovitz, 1994)With La Haine, the banlieues of Paris made their first appearance on the big screen, enveloped in a stark black and white evoking the reality of the news story on which the film is based. The background for the movie’s turbulent events is the banlieue of Chanteloup-les-Vignes, a suburb of brutalist 1960s tower blocks in the outskirts of Paris. Amélie (Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 2001)Jeunet’s adorable and wacky Amélie lives in a sly, romantic and somewhat surreal Paris, a city with pastel, desaturated colors inhabited by weird characters. A quirky fairy tale world that is mostly set in the pictoresque area around the Butte, the hill of Montmartre, which also houses the Café des Deux Moulins, where Amélie works, and the Au marché of the Butte store, where she does her grocery shopping. Before Sunset (Richard Linklater, 2004)The second episode of Linklater’s romantic trilogy brings Jessie and Celine together again nine years after the critically acclaimed Before Sunrise, this time in a postcard-perfect Paris whose locations include the Shakespeare & Co. bookstores, the banks of the Seine and a cozy Parisian bistro. The city suddenly becomes a little authentic when the two protagonists leave the main road to enter the beautiful courtyard that leads to Celine’s home in Court de lEtoile dOr, a few steps from Place de la Bastille. Midnight in Paris (Woody Allen, 2011)"That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me". These words from the diary of Adriana, the protagonist’s love interest, perfectly sum up the love letter to Paris, and particularly to 1920s Paris, that this Woody Allen film is. Picasso, Buñuel, Dalí, Gertrude Stein, Cole Porter, Francis Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald are all part of the director’s idea of Paris’ golden era, appearing like caricatures of themselves on the background of the same mythicized city that already appeared in Everyone Says I love you, only in a retro version. Mood Indigo (Michel Gondry, 2013)Among the many cinematic faces of Paris, it would be impossible not to mention Michel Gondry’s depictions of the city, and particularly the one from this film based on one of the strangest novels in the history of contemporary French literature, Boris Vian’s Foam of the Days. In transposing the unusual style of the novel into a movie, the director creates equally surreal visions, where Paris bends to the moods of the protagonists in terms of form and colors as Gondry’s signature strange mechanical creatures take to the streets. 

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03.06.2017

It was the year 1917 in Leiden, in the southern Netherlands, when painter Theo van Doesburg established a journal called De Stijl to showcase the artistic philosophy of the Dutch avant-garde art movement De Stijl (Dutch for ‘The Style’), of which world-famous artists like Piet Mondriaan, Gerrit Rietveld and Bart van der Leck were members. The movement’s most iconic artist was Piet Mondriaan, with his unique use of primary colors and horizontal and vertical lines which would inspire the work of plenty of other artists, architects, fashion, furniture and fashion designers sharing the idea of a “new art” capable of modernizing the whole society. The belief that architecture and design can improve the world is still deeply rooted in Dutch Design, and the basic principles of the De Stijl movement continue to inspire countless Dutch designers to this very day. That is why, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the foundation of De Stijl, throughout this year there will numerous large and small exhibitions in various cities in the Netherlands, all centered around the theme From Mondriaan to Dutch Design. Following are a few highlights from the official event calendar. Exploring Mondriaan’s Work in The Hague The beautiful Art Deco building of the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in The Hague, which boasts several works by Monet, Picasso, Schiele, Kandinsky, Louise Bourgeois, Francis Bacon and many others, will host an exhibition featuring 300 works by Piet Mondriaan and the world’s largest collection of works from the De Stijl movement (from June 30 to September 24). Until May 21, the exhibition Piet Mondrian and Bart van der Leck - The invention of a New Art works explores the relationship between the two Dutch artists through 80 works, and from June 20 to September 17, visitors will be able to learn how De Stijl laid the foundations for contemporary Dutch design and proved to be a glimpse into the future through the exhibition De Stijl Architecture and Interiors. In Leiden, Hometown of De StijlA half hour from The Hague, this delightful university town not far from the sea and surrounded by flowers fields is ideal for a spring short break. It also happens to be the city where Theo van Doesburg and Modriaan founded De Stijl a century ago, so this year it will host several events, beginning with the open-air exhibition Openlucht Museum De Lakenhal (from June 2 to September 27), which will see the beautiful Pieterskerkplein (the square opposite St. Peter’s Church) host an exclusive prototype of the Maison d'Artiste, an elaborate cubist artist’s house designed by Van Doesburg and architect Cor van Eesteren in 1923. From May 11 to September 2, the LUMC Gallery will present the works of 10 contemporary artists inspired by the geometric abstraction of De Stijl, while from May 18 to August 6 several contemporary sculptures inspired by De Stijl will be showcased in front of the imposing Gothic church of St. Pancreas, in the old town. In the Dutch Design DistrictThe region of North Brabant, the birthplace of Vincent van Gogh and Hieronymus Bosch, includes the cities of Eindhoven, Den Bosch, Breda, Tilburg and Helmond, and it is considered the district of Dutch design. From the Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven to the many remarkable museums and buildings, this area is the ideal destination for those who want to focus on the theme of design as well as get to know the work of design pioneers such as Gerrit Rietveld, author of the famous red and blue chair, contemporary and emerging designers.Among the 2017 special events is the opportunity to visit the building of the De Ploeg former textile factory in Bergeijk, designed by Rietveld according to the principles of the De Stijl movement and surrounded by a beautiful park designed by acclaimed landscape architect Mien Ruys. 

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03.06.2017

If you are travelling around Japan, a ryokan offers a perfect accommodation, where you can experience the country’s traditional beauty and hospitality, and ease the fatigue of a long day exploring the most famous historical sites. The traditional Japanese inns have become increasingly popular amongst travellers. A ryokan is a different kind of accommodation. You can have your meal either in your room or sharing a table with the other guests. You will sleep in a futon that will be unrolled in the evening and rolled up the next morning. You will take a long, relaxing bath with the other guests. In other words, time spent with other people staying at the inn is increased. As a consequence, you will need to know a few simple rules of etiquette that will allow you to spend the best time possible. Arrival and dinnertimeYou will usually be asked for your dinnertime preference when booking at a Japanese inn. As the ryokan prepares dinner according to the arrival of the guests and their dinnertime preference, if your arrival is delayed or you want to change your dinnertime, it is highly recommended that you contact the staff and inform them beforehand. Do not step on the threshold and on the edge of the tatamiLike in a Japanese-style private home, please refrain from stepping on the threshold and on the edge of the tatami. KokorodzukeJapan is not a tipping culture. However, there is a custom of giving tips in Japan, which is known as kokorodzuke and is still in fashion in some ryokans, where guests are expected to express their gratitude to the nakai-san, “waitress”, who has just greeted and shown them to their room. If you want to tip the nakai-san, please make sure you have a pochi-bukuro with you. Pochi-bukuro is a type of envelope the Japanese use on occasions such as New Year’s. You will find pochi-bukuro envelopes in any convenience store. Use them for kokorodzuke. It is extremely bad form to just hand in the moneyDo not take yukata and towels from your roomThe yukata robes and towels provided in the room are property of the inn. If you like them, you can try and talk the nakai-san into giving them to you at a reasonable price. Some establishments even sell them in their souvenir shop. Whatever you do, please refrain from sneaking objects out of the ryokan. It is regarded as boorish to a very great degree, like in the rest of the world. Do not bring beverages to your roomAt dinner you can have all the drinks you like. Please refrain from taking any beverage to your room. If you do, make sure you tidy up and do not leave any rubbishIn the bathJust like at onsen hot-spring resorts and sentō public bathhouses, when you soak in the ryokan’s communal bath, especially if you have long hair, please make sure you do not leave any hairs behind. Clean yourself thoroughly and pour warm water on yourself before entering the bath. Do not use any towel in the bath. And please do remember a bath is not wash house: do not do your laundry in the bath. When you get out of the bath, do not go back to the changing room all wet, but please make sure your body is dry and you do not leave behind a long wake of water on the floor.  

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03.02.2017

To really get to know Palermo, Sicily, one needs to let the city itself be the guide, to walk along its streets plunging from one era into another, from sunny squares into dark alleys, from silence into loud chatter, and from the majesty of its ancient churches into the green of its beautiful parks. Palermo has been much loved and often betrayed by the peoples and the kings who conquered it: they all attempted to make the city their own, yet no one ever managed to leave more than a mark, later incorporated into the urban maze teeming with life and people. The majestic palaces of the historic neighborhoods surrounding the old port are just the superficial layer that hides what lies beneath: the streets, the true place where everything happens in this town, because nothing explains the unique beauty of Palermo more than the life, the faces and the stories that crowd the city streets. The ideal day in Palermo starts with an early awakening to hit the markets and immerse yourself into the sounds, the smells and the colors that take over the streets of the city almost every morning. These are the places where locals meet and chat, the center of social life, a privileged viewpoint from which to observe the city, and last but not least, a veritable street food paradise. Of course, even the historic sights and monuments in Palermo are a source of constant amazement: from Palazzo dei Normanni, the oldest royal residence in Europe, to Palazzo d'Orleans, home of the Regional governement; from the magnificent Cathedral with its monumental arches to Palazzo Abatellis, housing the Sicilian Regional Gallery. And then of course there is the fairly famous octagonal square know as Quattro Canti, a seventeenth-century architecture and sculpture masterpiece with statues and columns chiseled on convex facades to protect the four fountains at the corners, each representing one of the four seasons. And finally, the nineteenth-century Viale della Libertà, graced by beautiful Art Nouveau houses and the two main city theaters: Teatro Massimo and Politeama Garibaldi. Not to be missedThe markets The markets of Palermo are the perfect place for a taste of authentic local culture. The most important ones the Vucciria, Mercato del Capo, Borgo Vecchio and Ballarò, the latter being the oldest one in the heart of the city. Each of them belongs to the history and the culture of the city, yet what they really share is the pleasant mixture of voices, smells and noises that will give you the impression to be part of an old black and white photograph. Of course, even the clamor of street vendors inviting passers-by to try and taste their products is a crucial part of the local color and charm. Chiesa della Martorana A UNESCO World heritage site since 2015, this incredible Byzantine church is one of the most important places in the history of Palermo, as well as a unique piece of architecture: completed in 1143 at the request of Admiral George of Antioch, it is a rare example of surviving Eastern religious and artistic monument in Italy. The church, which has been enriched over the centuries by various artists belonging to different cultures, is characterized by a unique diversity of stylesFranco U’ Vastiddaru 102, Via Vittorio Emanuele Mixed fry, panelle, crocché, pane ca’ meusa: the quintessential Sicilian street food siciliano in one of the most historic streets of the city, available till late night. Pasticceria Cappello Founded in 1944 as a dairy shop, in the 1990s this confectioner’s has become one of the most prestigious ones in Italy. Following the local tradition, the pastry chefs offer all of the great classic Sicilian classics along with a delicious selection of high-end patisseriePanificio GrazianoAccording to many, this bakery makes the best pizza slices in the city, to be strictly enjoyed strictly on paper trays and with a humble plastic fork. The queue can be massive, but this baby is really worth the wait - and anyway the sweet smell that emanates from the shop is absolutely irresistible. Photo creditsPalermo from above: photo by Xerones under the CC-BY-SA 2.0 licenseThe Cathedral: photo by Antonio Manfredonio under the CC-BY-SA 2.0 licenseChiesa della Martorana: photo by Fabio P. under the CC-BY-SA 4.0  licenseQuattro Canti: photo by Bjs under the CC-BY-SA 2.5 license 

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03.01.2017

In 1944 the charming Humphrey Bogart, then forty-five, met a breathtaking nineteen-year-old Lauren Bacall on the set of the movie To Have and Have Not. It was love at first sight, followed by the wedding the following year and the birth of two children. In this footage from La Settimana Incom dated May, 10, 1951 and taken from the amazing Istituto Luce archive, the legendary Hollywood couple is on vacation in Venice, enjoying a classic gondola ride with the iconic Rialto Bridge in the background. A delightful vintage postcard accompanied by the unmistakable narrative style inherited from the classic 1940s newsreels, of which La Settimana Incom was an evolution. After hitting the covers of magazines and newspapers worldwide, the love story between the two Hollywood stars would eventually end due to an unfortunate event, the untimely death of Bogart six years later, at the age of 57. 

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A designer who’s also an avid baker, a digital agency looking for new and exciting projects and a deep love for chocolate: these are the basic ingredients for Complements, a unique project that will certainly appeal to anyone with a penchant for cool design and sweet flavors. These modular chocolates - the result of an all-Australian collaboration between Sydney-based design-oriented Bakedown Cakery and  Universal Favourite, an independent brand, design and digital agency from Darlinghurst - come in beautiful colors and patterns and can be actually stacked like Lego bricks to create one's own flavor/color combinations. The creative process started with designing an original modular shape that was 3D printed into positives and then turned into chocolate moulds. The agency then created the look of the chocolates, experimenting with color, finishes and patterns, and eventually Jen from Bakedown worked her magic developing the flavours and making the chocolates into the real deal. Shortbread/yellow, matcha/green, blueberry/purple, black & white/cookies & cream and single origin dark/black are just a few of the many flavor/color combinations for the basic pieces that represent an invitation to use one's imagination and start building the perfect match, turning the simple act of eating chocolate into an authentic aesthetic experience