I wrote and erased my sensational opening sentence for this post at least some fifteen times before going out for a walk among the deserted heaths of my small town, which lead to the Venetian lagoon in an endless landscape of “barene” (marshes).
The Venetian countryside seems tired, consumed by the cyclical seasons of intensive seedtime and harvest, that turn these lands in a flat sequence of orderly fields.
While I am looking at the first ploughs working the loamy ground, so gray after the long winter, I think about the differences between this landscape and the soft hills of Tuscany, where the old olive trees stretch as far as the eye can see, till the blue line of the sea. Continue Reading
Charles de Gaulle Etoile underground stop, a young girl with long reddish hair and sleepy eyes sits in front of me: a “typical Parisian beauty”, I think. But how can we define a Parisian beauty? Is it because she seems to come out of a painting? Whose painting? In my arts archive I see Toulouse Lautrec’s, Tissot’s, Renoir’s women, but also Suzanne Valadon’s, Atget’s photographic portraits, Paris at the end of the 19th century.
[This post was made in collaboration with Amio (you can find this recipe here!) and my friend Eugenio Marongiu who took the pictures in Venice! ]
If you leave a continuous stream of steps behind, after a dark sottoportico the road stretches silently. Just a little further, in a small courtyard, there is an old door – like many others in Venice – with a set of brass bells at the side.
Inside, on the upper floor, the rooms are well divided, like they always are in the noblest palaces: a wide entrance at the centre and well distributed rooms at the two main sides.
The shape of furniture has left its mark on the brightly colored walls – Pompeian red and dark viridian to reclaim nobility – as if someone traced it to remember it. But the apartment is empty: only a wooden table – bright green, as well – has remained in the small kitchen. It was surely left there because it was not so precious. Continue Reading
[ *This recipe was made in collaboration with Amio pulses, you can read it even HERE, along with many other recipes made by me, Giulia and Valentina! ]
Early morning, almost dawn. I put on my rubber boots and, after a few steps, I turn right. It seems to be raining but it is only very wet. I cross the bridge over the canal which is lined by dark, too severe magnolias. The great gate is always open: it is a passage for the peasants working in the neighboring fields. There used to be a forest here – they told me – where famous people like Hemingway went hunting. Passing through that gate is like receiving a special permit to enter another time, for me. A double line of century-old poplars draws a long avenue and allows us only a glimpse of the central part of a big 18th century villa. There are wide untilled spaces which are kept as garden. The tall trees make boundaries disappear. Continue Reading
I’ve begun to smell in the air that Christmas was advancing towards us since early November, when the incredibly tempered Autumn still hadn’t showed any sign of crumbling away.
I wandered around Venice without my coat, looking at the first festive lights which were shamefully turned on in advance.. and with them, even a certain sense of bewilderment because, after all, this time of the year is a kind of gap: an ending and a beginning of many things.
I was born on the threshold between two years, just a few hours before midnight on the 31th December 1988, and so this is also – for me – the moment when one more year is literally added to my biographical age.
December is s a weird month, because it marks the change. And this is quite funny, because I find it ironic that I happened to be born exactly in a moment which symbolically represents such a transition stage! It always reminds me what I need to remember more than anything else and that – because of my nature – I find difficult accepting: everything changes. And holy crap if it changes fast…! Continue Reading
Here’s how our story begins: with a drill, a real one, with the iron tip, the noise and everything.
The spinning drill, connected to an iron plate, turned the fickle and flaky wheel. This was our first makeshift pottery wheel, and it took quite a lot of courage to call it that.
After a lot of cursing and short circuits, we learned to make our first imprecise, uneven edged bowls. We admired them with a mix of pride and frustration, trying to justify their weird shapes with our inexperience. Freaky. There wasn’t better word for them.
And that is how The Freaky Raku was born, just one year ago, amongst clumsy attempts and some happy-go-lucky shaping, as a side project of this blog (you can read more about it here!). Continue Reading
How is it possible that the news always arrive altogether, I wonder.
While I look at the water-flooded garden, the bamboo trees have already turned yellow and the heavy rain makes them swing.
Yesterday everything was still green, while an incredible sun shone brightly as if winter was still far away.
I am not the kind of person who accepts rapid changes, I think. Yet I am beginning to understand how necessary they are for me sometimes, to remain flexible like a bamboo tree.
Renata arrived one afternoon with a backpack on her shoulders and some fresh Norwegian air in her golden hair. She smells good and her magnetic eyes look at things for the pleasure to discover and treasure them.
Some time ago Valeria invited me to dinner. While we enjoyeddelicious homemade seafood dishes (directly from the Chioggia fish market!) we inevitably ended up talking about the countless things we love and share. It was such a great evening that I could hardly believe we were just a few kilometers from home.
Valeria lived in London for a long time and then in Sidney, but she came back to Veneto, her homeland, to work at her cookbook which will come out soon. I got used to travel quite long distances to reach “my fellow beings”. New friends and people, who miraculously appeared in my life filling spaces in my heart, often took me far away from home.
Just like Autumn comes back coloring the first leaves of the trees, there is something which almost cyclically brings me back to Gradara. If I think that until last year I didn’t even know where this little diamond town was, I can’t believe that now I feel at home when I am there.
There is an entire family waiting for me: a Mom who cares if I eat or not, a Dad who is always busy but with a chirpy mood, an always happy dog who wags the tail (which he has not!)… and a dear friend – almost sister, whose hug can erase in just a second the distance which normally divides us. Continue Reading
That’s right. I am announcing a workshop in Australia and I don’t know how I will manage to end the page without screaming too many times yeeeeeh-yhuuuuuu-whoooo-jabadabadoooooo while jumping up and down and throwing my passport towards the ceiling like a mad woman. You can imagine me this way, while I prepare some cakes with a vaguely aristocratic name, wondering if they can be valid as an “Australian recipe” since I twisted it by spreading in the house the very essence of Italy: espresso.
Before giving you the details of one of the most exciting projects for 2017 I want to tell you about the intensity life slaps us with, sometimes. But this is not a sad story, I promise.