Tag Archives: Italy

Greece

Greece Best Travel Destination 2016: Report

Despite the economic turmoil and migrant crisis that has plagued Greece in recent memory, the Mediterranean country has topped Condé Nast’s 2016 Readers’ Travel Awards as the best travel destination in the world.

With more than 60 untouched islands, stretches of idyllic beaches and historic sites that span millennia, it is little wonder that tourists remain enamored by Greece. In fact, the country’s tourism board is looking forward to a bumper year for 2016, with arrivals estimated to reach 25 million, or 27.5 million including cruise ship passengers. Yes, we recommended Greek holidays too!

greece

According to Condé Nast, factors for the surge in popularity include fears of violence and unrest in neighboring Turkey, Tunisia and Egypt – once major resort destinations – which caused holidaymakers to divert their vacation plans to Greece. Italy and the U.S. follow closely behind on the list.

maldives

Maldives continues to reign as the top island retreat destination, followed by the Greek Islands and Balearic Islands in Spain. We couldn’t agree more. Readers of the UK-based magazine also revealed their selection of 5-star boutique hotel Eden Rock – St Barths as best hotel of the year. The Caribbean hotel – owned by Pippa Middleton’s new in-laws – is part of the Oetker Collection, which also boasts The Lanesborough in London and Le Bristol in Paris.

Here are the top 10 countries and islands that made it to Condé Nast’s Traveller’s online Readers’ Travel Awards 2016:

Top 10 countries:

1. Greece
2. Italy
3. USA
4. South Africa
5. France
6. Spain
7. India
8. Australia
9. Thailand
10. Mexico

Top 10 islands:

1. Maldives
2. Greek Islands
3. Balearic Islands
4. Sicily
5. Seychelles
6. St. Lucia
7. Bali
8. Koh Samui
9. Malta
10. St. Barth’s

Full results appear in the October issue of CN Traveller.

Italy Chefs Support Amatrice Quake Victims

Italy Chefs Stand with Amatrice Quake Victims

More than 700 Italian restaurants have added spaghetti all’amatriciana to their menus in solidarity with the victims of an earthquake that destroyed the birthplace of the famous pasta dish.

Chefs around the world are being urged to follow suit after the Slow Food movement threw its weight behind the idea, with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver also backing the idea and urging customers to #EatForItaly.

Amatrice was one of several mountain villages devastated by Wednesday’s powerful quake and it will be some time before the hilltop beauty spot is once again serving up its signature dish to the gastronomic pilgrims who flock there in their thousands every summer.

In the meantime, amatriciana, one of the staples of the cuisine of Rome and much of central Italy, is going to be much more widely available thanks to Paolo Campana, a graphic artist from the Italian capital.

Under an initiative he launched on Facebook, restaurants are being encouraged to put amatriciana on their menus and to donate two euros from every dish sold to the relief fund for the quake victims.

The idea has taken off spectacularly with over 700 restaurants contacting him by Thursday lunchtime to say they wanted to participate, he told AFP.

“I’m very attached to Amatrice,” he said. “On New Year’s eve last year I had dinner in the Hotel Roma which makes the best amatriciana in the village. Today there is nothing of it left.”

The hotel Campana was referring to collapsed in Wednesday’s quake, just days before it was due to be at the center of an annual festival dedicated to a sauce first created by shepherds in the rugged mountains that surround the village.

“At the start it was just a rough idea I put up on Facebook. But it has taken off and I’ve made a little poster that restaurants can put up in their windows to show they are participating in the initiative.

British chef joins in

“I’ve got requests from all over Italy, from Puglia to Tuscany, and also from abroad. I have been asked to translate the sign into several languages to export the scheme. Even restaurateurs who have never cooked amatriciana before are going to have a go.”

Carlo Petrini, president of the Slow Food movement, urged restaurants around the world to put the dish on their menus for at least a year.

“We hope in this way to keep the public’s attention for longer — we have to look beyond the immediate emergency and start working from today to rebuild,” he said.

In a posting on his official Facebook page, Britain’s Oliver said he and the 700 chefs working for him would be cooking up the dish for the rest of the month.

“It will be on the specials board tonight at Jamie’s Italian, and for the rest of the month £2 (2.35 euros/$2.65) from each dish will go straight to the International (Committee of the) Red Cross,” he wrote. “I think we can easily make thousands and thousands of pounds to help.”

An authentic amatriciana

Amatriciana is one of those dishes that Italians love to argue about. Although it is always essentially a combination of pork cheek (guanciale), onions, tomatoes and pecorino cheese spiced with a bit of chili, recipes vary significantly, particularly as the dish has been exported around the world.

Some people use sweet-cured pancetta (pork belly) instead of guanciale, others, including the celebrated River Cafe restaurant in London, throw in a bit of rosemary.

Spaghetti is the most frequently used pasta but in Rome, where the restaurant trade is full of natives of the Amatrice region, they favor bucatini, a slightly thicker noodle with a hole in the middle.

There is also debate over whether to use red or white wine to deglaze the pan after frying the cured pork and onions to the (also much discussed) correct degree of caramelized crispness.

Against this backdrop of culinary confusion, the local council in Amatrice issued a decree a few years ago spelling out exactly how to make an authentic amatriciana.

Spaghetti gets the nod as the pasta of choice, no more than a splash of white wine is allowed and if you use anything other than fatty guanciale you must give your sauce another name.

“Only with guanciale will the dish be incomparably delicate and sweet,” the council warns on its website. San Marzano tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, are de rigeur.

A tiny piece of fiery dried chili is all that is required for a subtle heat and the grated pecorino must only be added at the end, to the cooked spaghetti just before the sauce.

africa

Africa, Italy Most Popular Winter Destinations

It may seem unlikely but Africa has become top choice for the rich and wealthy when it comes to holiday season this winter. According to a new report from international luxury travel network Virtuoso, Africa has seen a spike of 28 percent in sales compared to last year.

Kenya is expected to be the fastest-growing destination in terms of number of visitors, with a projected increase of 59 percent. Meanwhile, travel to South Africa has increased 28 percent, while Tanzania, 27 percent. Virtuoso reckons this is due to the rise in popularity in safari expeditions, which is great for multi-generational family trips.

However, the top three most popular holiday destinations this winter are still in Europe – Italy, followed by France and the UK. To attract the traveling elite, hotels across Europe are lowering daily rates, a move which will also attract budget-conscious tourists. Parisian hotels have seen a two percent decrease in daily hotel rates. In comparison to summer rates, those in Rome are down six percent, London seven percent and Barcelona 15 percent.

Here are the top 10 most popular fall and winter travel destinations among wealthy travelers:

  • 1. Italy
  • 2. France
  • 3. United Kingdom
  • 4. South Africa
  • 5. Spain
  • 6. China
  • 7. Mexico
  • 8. Australia
  • 9. New Zealand
  • 10. Israel

Countries that have seen the largest percentage growth year-over-year:

  • 1. Kenya
  • 2. Iceland
  • 3. Saint Martin
  • 4. China
  • 5. Ecuador
  • 6. Japan
  • 7. South Africa
  • 8. Tanzania
  • 9. Croatia
  • 10. Jamaica
Lamborghini-Huracán-LP610-4 Avio-Blu Grifo

Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Avio: Ready For Takeoff

The Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Avio might just be the closest thing to a fighter jet you’ll see on the roads. Unveiled in Hong Kong earlier this week, the limited edition car’s name, color and materials are a proper salute to the world of aviation and aeronautics.

Lamborghini-Huracán-LP610-4 Avio-Blu Grifo

“The Huracán Avio pays tribute to the significant impact of the aviation world in shaping the evolution of Automobili Lamborghini,” says Albert Wong, Director of Lamborghini Hong Kong. “From the custom-developed aeronautic exterior paints and liveries, down to the smallest laser-engraved details in the interior, this limited edition Huracán represents a culmination of Lamborghini’s cutting-edge designs and technologies inspired by avionics.”

Lamborghini-Huracán-LP610-4 Avio-Blu Grifo

True enough, the Lamborghini Huracan Avio borrows several stylistic features from the aeronautical world. It comes in five specifically developed color variants: the standard Grigio Falco with pearlescent finish, and four optional matte colors: Blu Grifo (blue), Grigio Nibbio (light grey), Grigio Vulcano (dark grey) and Verde Turbine (green). Fun fact: these colors are taken from the coats-of-arms representing courses at the Italia Air Force Academy. Contrasting double white or grey stripes run along the roof and down the front bonnet.

An L63 logo on the Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Avio door panels sets the limited edition apart from the standard version, complete with a tricolor cockade, an aeronautics symbol distinguishing nationality. In its cockpit lies a suave amalgamation of black leather with a special black Alcantara that’s laser-engraved with a unique hexagonal motif. However, if you’re feeling something a bit more cheery, there’s always Lamborghini’s Ad Personam customization program.

Lamborghini-Huracán-LP610-4 Avio-Blu Grifo

Like almost all other Lamborghinis, the Huracán is named after a famous Spanish fighting bull, and it had big shoes to fill after taking over the baton from the Gallardo. But the Italians have got that sorted out. The savagery that lives under its bonnet comes in the form of a naturally-aspirated 5.2-liter V10. Combined with a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox and hybrid chassis in aluminum and carbon fiber, the car is capable of 610 hp, and will do 0 to 60mph in a whiplash-inducing 3.2 seconds. Flat out, it’ll oblige 202 mph.

The Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Avio is a limited edition of 250 examples, and this exclusivity will cost you a minimum of HK$4.48 million.

Media Premiere: MCY 80 Yacht, Trieste

Monte Carlo Yachts went back to its hometown of Trieste, Italy, late last month for the unveiling of its brand new yacht the MCY 80. We joined several invited guests for the exclusive media premiere to find out more about the yacht and witness the exquisite design for ourselves. At a gala dinner on July 23, Monte Carlo Yachts brought out the newest member of the Monte Carlo Yachts family. While the MCY 80 was the star attraction, the Beneteau-owned firm also invited opera singers Christiano Cremonini and Simona Ferrari to serenade guests as they wined and dined the night away.

While the public will be able to lay eyes on 24-meter yacht at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September, we can provide you with a few titbits about the sixth yacht to join the MCY collection. To craft a new addition to the award-winning model line-up, Monte Carlo Yachts teamed up with the MCY designers Carlo Nuvolari and Dan Lenard. The result was an elegant design that kept the classic elements of the MCY range while providing a spacious area for relaxation.

Interior of the MCY 80

Interior of the MCY 80

Far from minimalistic, the yacht is fitted with bleached oak floors alongside luxurious leather and stone fittings and finishings. Adding to the design of the interior are furnishings from luxury labels such as Hermes, Armani Casa and Minotti for a modern and tasteful result.The MCY 80 doesn’t hold the title of third largest yacht in the collection for nothing. While the yacht is crafted to serve as a home while out on the high seas, it aims to be a powerful and refined piece of machinery that provides good performance.

“Don’t call ours a dream, call it a vision,” says Carla Demaria, President of Monte Carlo Yachts. “Behind every success story there is always a powerful dream, but we prefer to call it vision. A vision is the art of seeing what it is invisible to others, but to deliver results, the vision needs to be converted into a strategy, and the strategy deployed into a plan of action. 80 is our new goal, that is the MCY 80s campaign claim, and it is a fitting motto for the way Monte Carlo Yachts operates.

Monte Carlo Yachts is represented by Simpson Marine (Asia) and Asia Yachting (Hong Kong, Macau). For more information on the MCY 80, visit Monte Carlo Yachts.

Il Sereno Lago di Como Opens by Lake Como

Il Sereno Lago di Como Opens by Lake Como

By the tranquil banks of Lake Como’s eastern shore sits ll Sereno Lago di Como, a newly-opened five-star boutique residence that will also mark the first new hotel by the lake in decades.

Designed by prolific Milan-based architect and designer Patricia Urquiola, the Il Sereno is located a convenient 6km away from the center of Como and a mere 50 minutes from Milan. It joins its neighbor Villa Pliniana by the same lake and Le Sereno Hotel and Villas in St. Barthelemy to be the third Sereno Hotels property.

Merging both contemporary design and quiet elegance, the compound houses a private beach, infinity pool and gardens designed by botanist Patrick Blanc, so you can expect total serenity amidst nature. At the helm of the Ristorante Berton is decorated Milan restauranteur and Michelin star chef Andrea Berton, who will serve up a menu inspired by the region.

“Sereno Hotels has perfected the art of providing luxury service in a relaxed manner and we look forward to introducing our brand of service to Lake Como. Guests will have access to not only the best in design, amenities and cuisine, but will also find an attention to detail that is unrivalled,” said Samy Ghachem, Managing Director of Sereno Hotels.

This story is also available in Bahasa Indonesia. Read it here: Il Sereno Lago di Como Dibuka di Sisi Danau Como

Rolls-Royce-Dawn until dusk-Dawn

Rolls-Royce Unveils Bespoke ‘Dusk Until Dawn’ Cars

It is easy to see Porto Cervo’s charm, especially to a top-shelf automaker such as Rolls-Royce. The swanky seaside resort destination in Northern Sardinia boasts a spectacular coastline, lots of beautiful people and a laidback glamour like no other. Rolls-Royce even has a special initiative related to Porto Cervo, which we have covered previously. No surprise, then, that Rolls-Royce is returning to the Italian marina as palette inspiration for ‘Dusk Until Dawn’ – a bespoke series of two of its well-loved cars, a Dawn drophead and a Wraith coupe.

Rolls-Royce-Dawn until dusk-Dawn

Revealed at the brand new Rolls-Royce Summer Studio in Sardinia, both cars are infused with the ambient hues of Porto Cervo at its most spectacular: dawn and dusk. As its name suggests, the bespoke Dawn (pictured above) is a vision of the marina’s aquamarine waters as light breaks upon the waves. An ethereal emerald green exterior envelops a seashell and green leather cabin, complemented by teak trimmings (yacht decks, anyone?) that extends to the tourneau cover that shields the roof and trunk compartment. With an insignia of Porto Cervo on the dashboard fascia that’s embedded with real emeralds and mother-of-pearl in white gold, this Dawn is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious vehicles in the world.

Rolls-Royce-Dawn until dusk-Wraith

For the one-off Wraith, an iridescent two-toned silver finish on its exterior reflects the changing light as the sun sets, setting the mood for its ethereal twilight-infused interiors. Step inside to a cocoon of glamour with seats swathed in decadent plum-colored ostrich leather and wooden veneers and marquetry in shades of slate greys, browns and black.

Rolls-Royce-Dawn until dusk-Wraith

“Patrons of our marque delight in inhabiting some of the world’s most beautiful enclaves,” said Isobel Dando, General Manager, Future Retail, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars. “The stunning Bespoke Wraith and emerald embellished Dawn, inspired by the sights and colors of Porto Cervo, have been commissioned in the spirit that so many of our customers delight in.”Rolls-Royce-Dawn until dusk-porto cervoIt’s also somewhat fitting that the British car marque extends its bespoke reveals to one of its clients, tattoo artist Mo Coppoletta, who used Sardinia’s stunning environment as inspiration for two tattooed Rolls-Royce headrests. “The designs I have created for Rolls-Royce evoke the emotion experienced by observing this magical place from the harbor of Promenade du Port,” Coppoletta said.

This story is also available in Bahasa Indonesia. Read it here: Rolls-Royce Menampilkan Unit Pesanan ‘Dusk Until Dawn’

Giuseppe Zanotti Collaborates with Jennifer Lopez

You can now quite literally walk in the shoes of Jennifer Lopez – Giuseppe Zanotti has announced a collaboration with the pop star and actress for a capsule collection called Giuseppe for Jennifer Lopez (or #GiuseppexJennifer for all you social media mavens).

Slated to go on sale worldwide in January 2017, WWD reports that the line will first be shown at the Footwear Fashion Association of New York from August 2 to 4. While we expect the designs to be top secret till its launch, Zanotti has let us in on a bit of the collection – expect crystal-encrusted booties, strappy gladiators in snakeskin-printed leather and embellished wedge sneakers. Two styles of handbags are also in the works, and the collection is expected to retail from a reasonable $795 to $1,195.

This isn’t Lopez’s first foray into the fashion industry. The American personality has a portfolio that includes a now-defunct eponymous clothing and lifestyle label J.LO in 2001 and an everyday fashion collection for budget retailer Kohl’s. She has also collaborated with perfume conglomerate Coty on 17 different fragrances. While Zanotti has previously crafted shoes for stars the likes of Kim Kardashian and Janet Jackson, the Italian shoe designer is highly selective of his collaborators; he’s worked with Beyonce and model Anja Rubik, but Lopez will be his first major celebrity collaborator to date.

“It’s impossible not to feel like a more confident, sexier version of yourself when you’re wearing a pair of Zanottis. The shoes are so in line with my personal style, it felt easy and natural.” Lopez mused.

couturier jean paul gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier OVS Capsule Collection

Proving that haute couture can appeal to mainstream audiences with the help of collaborations, Jean Paul Gaultier has yet another capsule collection that we can look forward to. The designer will be teaming up with Italian retail chain OVS for a 60-piece capsule collection set to be launched in November.

The collection called ‘Jean Paul Gaultier for OVS’, will see both men’s and women’s ready-to-wear designs be launched across the brand’s 900 stores. The collaboration will also be made available online. Since closing his own ready-to-wear line in 2014, Gaultier has focused on his haute couture collection and dabbled in collaborations with various retailers.

So far, he has teamed up with Japanese retailer Seven & I, Australian retail chain Target and even creating costumes for a revue. The show, at Friedrichstadt-Palast in Berlin, will see the designer churn out 500 cabaret-inspired costumes. To top it all off, Gaultier is also managing a fragrance empire.

OVS was founded in 1972 as Magazzini Oviesse and expanded throughout the 70s and 80s to include household items, sporting goods, toys, perfumes and leather goods. Recently the brand has worked to cultivate an edgier image, collaborating with designers such as Elio Fiorucci, Costume National and Matthew Williamson.

Turin Boosts Vegetarianism, Threatens Local Cuisine

One city in Italy may soon be amongst the most vegetarian places on earth (which is remarkable for so many reasons and probably leading to some head-scratching in green circles, especially the traditional ones in India but more on that in a bit), all thanks to the new mayor, Chiara Appendino. Turin, which is known for signature local dishes such as wild boar ragout, beef braised in red wine as well as raw beef marinated in lemon and olive oil, is trying to encourage a switch to a less meaty diet.

The mayor has announced a five-year plan (because those always work out) that the government hopes will see a reduction in meat consumption. As part of the program, residents will be introduced to a plant-based, meat-free diet alongside public awareness campaigns in schools, and the community. These campaigns will see children being taught about plant-based nutrition and animal welfare.

“The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding our environment, the health of our citizens and the welfare of our animals,” reads a manifesto from Appendino’s Five Star Movement party. The news, has met with much resistance by the meat-loving city where critics took to social media to air their concerns. Adding to the announcement, are four separate incidents in Italy where children brought up on vegan or vegetarian diets were found to be severely under or malnourished.

While Turin may soon be Italy’s first vegetarian city (by dictatorial fiat), it will not be able to hold the title of world’s first vegetarian city, thanks to Palitana in India, which opted for a religious decree rather than an ideological one. In 2014, the town outlawed the buying and selling of meat, fish, eggs as well as fishing and caging animals after a hunger strike by the Jain monks in the area.

 

New Buccellati advertising campaign by Peter Lindbergh

Buccellati Reveals Elisa Sednaoui Advertising

Luxury jewelry brand Buccellati is a company we’ve followed for some time, having as it does a presence at our favorite watch and jewelry fair, BaselWorld. We don’t get much news on what the company is up – although it makes superlative jewelry with an eye on the future. What we do know today is that Buccellati has unveiled its latest fall campaign, returning once more to model and actress Elisa Sednaoui and photographed by Peter Lindbergh. Yes, those two have also graced our stories a number of times so we forgive you feel a touch of déjà vu.

The new yearly advertising campaign, set in Venice, marks a departure from the family-owned Italian firm’s previous choice of Milan (on recurring theme for Buccellati although it is perhaps more renowned in the USA at the moment). Speaking of recurrences, Sednaoui and Lindbergh come together for the brand for the second time.

The series of images, shot across the Conzafelzi Bridge, the The Venice Lido, and the Palazzo Pisani Moretta, showcase several of Buccellati’s creations, including the new “Opera Color” collection, the silver “Blossoms” jewelry collection, and the brand new Giglio range. Sadly, we missed the brand at BaselWorld this year but perhaps the press people will have a showcase in Asia sometime.

The campaign, themed “A Day With Elisa, In Venice,” is scheduled to begin appearing in international publications from July, 2016 so you might have seen it already. Don’t fret if you haven’t, Buccellati is the opposite of ubiquitous.

Opera Gallery: 4 Italian Contemporary Artists

Opera Gallery Singapore recently presented a group exhibition titled ‘Italian Contemporary Art’, from 3 to 19 June 2016, in recognition of the great influence Italian art has had over the European and world art scenes. Exploring different styles and media in the contemporary Italian art scene, the exhibition showcased works by Marcello Lo Giudice, Umberto Mariani and Gianfranco Meggiato.

Marcello Lo Guidice (b. 1955), born in Taormina, Sicily, is an Italian contemporary artist. He graduated from the University of Bologna in 1988 with a degree in geology before attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. Structured by thick layers of pigment and coating, buried and re-emerging under various phases of scratching, abrasions, removals and levels, Lo Giudice’s sedimentary canvases give shape to the matter and inconsistent bodies of hue and material. A graduate of geology, the artist’s works bring attention to the cyclical alliance between man and matter. Lo Giudice participated in the Venice Biennale in 2009 and 2011, and has exhibited in numerous exhibitions throughout the world. His works can be found in major public collections and museums including the MoMa, Zagreb; The Museum of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome; John Elkann Collection, George Segal Collection, Phillip Morris, Switzerland, among many others.

La Forma Celata (detailed view), Umberto Mariani.

La Forma Celata (detailed view), Umberto Mariani.

Umberto Mariani (b. 1936), born in Milano, is a post-World War II multimedia artist. He graduated from the Accademia di Brera and he currently lives and works in Milan; not to mention he has become the subject of academic essays by virtually every critic in Italy. Recognised for his affinity to the folds of textiles, Mariani’s work was inspired by the Classical Greek statues he grew up observing on the streets of Italy. Fascinated by the delicate folds of fabric carved out of white marble, Mariani developed a desire to manipulate the material. His first monumental narrative work in the 1960s was for the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, and in the 1970s, he exhibited widely in prominent institutions in Europe such as the Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels and the Musée Moderne in Paris. Best known for his complex draperies on irregular-shaped canvases, his work explores illusions of light and shadow created within the folds of fabric.

Gianfranco Meggiato (b. 1963), born in Venice, is a sculpture artist. He attended the Istituto Statale d’Arte art college where he studied sculpture. At only 14 years old, Meggiato began exhibiting his artworks. Early on, he participated in two collective art exhibitions in 1979 and 1984 at the Galleria Comunale Bevilacqua La Masa in Venice. Since then, the artist has participated in many exhibitions both in Italy and abroad, and has gained worldwide recognition in Europe. Influenced by the undulating lines and reflective ponds of his homeland, Meggiato’s sculptures capture the essence of the Venetian bronze. Using the ‘lost wax’ process, a method of casting in which molted metal is poured into a mould that has been created by a wax model, the artist’s sculptures are preoccupied with the void rather than the surface. Contemplative and energetic, Meggiato’s sculptures are evocative of a classic tradition seeped in contemporary meaning.

Matrix D, Gianfranco Meggiato

Matrix D, Gianfranco Meggiato

Visually stimulating and intellectually sophisticated, these artists manipulate the surface of their works, exploring the influence of light and shadow on monochromatic surfaces and experimenting with the void rather than the surface. The resulting works are evocative of a classic tradition seeped in contemporary meaning.

Opera Gallery Singapore

This article was first published in Art Republik.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Restores Historic Venetian Building

For the last three years, Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre has been funding the restoration work of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco, a building that holds a special place in the hearts of all Venetians. Initially founded as a fraternity in honor of Saint Roch (Patron saint of the plague-stricken), the brand is now inviting the public to participate in an initiative, running from August 31 to September 10, which will increase the donations for the restoration.

To participate, visitors to the Jaeger-LeCoultre reception and exhibition area on the Lido simply have to draw a heart in the digital guestbook provided by the venue. With each sketch of the symbol, a donation is triggered by the brand toward the restoration. To kick off the initiative, Jaeger Le-Coultre invited its ambassador Carmen Chaplin, actress, director and granddaughter of the late Charlie Chaplin, to be the first person to take part. Her drawing was then engraved onto the back of a Reverso timepiece will be on display for the duration of the occasion.

An artisan at work, restoring the hall of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Image by Monica Vial and Renzo Benedetti.

An artisan at work, restoring the hall of the Scuola Grande di San Rocco. Image by Monica Vial and Renzo Benedetti.

What binds the historical building with the luxury watchmaker, is in fact Jacopo Tintoretto. The artist’s paintings are on display at the Scuola Grande di San Rocco and showcase his attention to detail — a quality that Jaeger-LeCoultre prides itself in as well. Thus far, the brand’s contributions to the restoration now allow guests to enjoy improvements such as a new LED light system in the Sala dell’Albergo, that projects fewer infrared and ultra violet rays. This means that Tintoretto’s highly sensitive artwork can be enjoyed to perfection, for years to come.

The second part of the restoration will see the marbles of the Sala Capiolare and the area leading to the imperial staircase receive some much needed tender loving care. By preserving areas of heritage, the brand sees this as an opportunity to pass on the knowledge and skills of skilled artisans to future generations. Apart from being a patron off the building, the watchmaker is also a partner of the Mostra, Venice’s International Film Festival.

The restored pendant watch.

The restored pendant watch.

During the festival, Jaeger Le-Coultre will exhibit images of the restored pendant watch designed by its founder. Antoine LeCoultre first designed the piece for his wife Zélie LeCoultre and it featured a crown winding system. The ingenious invention was a replacement for the key required to set the time and wind the watch (today of course, most wristwatches that require winding handle that via the crown). On the caseback os the restored pendant watch is an engraving by the founder’s grandson Jacques-David LeCoultre, dedicating the watch to his grandmother. With the help of the master watchmakers, the timepiece will now have a new lease of life and solidifies Jaeger-LeCoultre’s quest to conserve culture and art in Venice.

Greece, Italy Top Luxury Hotel List

London and Geneva may boast Europe’s highest costs of living but when it comes to luxury hotels, Italian and Greek cities are in a league of their own. According to a Luxury.Hotels.com study published Monday, the most expensive place in Europe to take a holiday this summer is southern Greece. At €1,779 a night, the Amanzo’e in Kranidi, Greece tops this year’s summer chart.

In second place is Le Dune in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy (€1,645 a night) and while the Cap Estel on the French Riviera rounds out the top three (€1,596 a night) it is the only hotel located anywhere other than in Greece or Italy to make this year’s top 10.

Beyond the top three, 12 of the top 20 hotels in this year’s list are in Italy, three can be found in Greece and a further three in France leaving just 16th place for the Belmond Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons in Oxford, in the UK and 18th place for the Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum, Turkey. This seems perfectly in line with what we discovered in our own story recently. We’ll be delving into the good times to be had on the Greek islands soon…

Fendi Celebrates 90 Years at the Trevi Fountain

On Thursday, Fendi is set to host a fashion show “Legends and Fairy Tales” at the iconic Trevi fountain. The show is held in conjunction with the luxury fashion brand’s 90th anniversary; as such the chosen location of its hometown is a fitting tribute.

Having opened its first boutique at Via del Plebiscito in 1926, the brand featured a small fur atelier and leather goods workshop. Today, it is a world-renowned brand that hosts in-house ateliers; highly skilled artisans who produce finely crafted pieces from Italy. The backdrop of the show, unique in its own right

With the help of the Trevi Fountain’s water and, the brand is set to unveil a catwalk that features the effects of water and lights — co-ordinated to infuse a magical atmosphere to the show. “A Fashion Show in Rome at the Trevi Fountain is the best way to celebrate Fendi’s 90 years anniversary as it expresses our roots and DNA while transmitting daring creativity and craftsmanship. The Trevi fountain is a unique place and its represents Fendi preservation of values, tradition and historic patronage while looking towards the future,” states Pietro Beccari, Fendi Chairman and CEO.

Playing on the concept of water, the brand has also launched a new mini-site to countdown to the show. Along with the countdown, the site will provide daily content in English, Italian and Chinese that detail its journey over nine decades. The site will also host the live coverage of the show on July 7.

 

Ermenegildo Zegna Restores Podere Case Lovara

The long-forgotten beauty of Italy’s rustic landscape – specifically that of Punta Mesco in Cinque Terre National Park – has now been restored, thanks to the relentless efforts of Fondo Ambiente Italiano (FAI) and the significant contributions of Fondazione Zegna.

First, a little history on this idyllic clifftop location. Situated within the national park, Punta Mesco is an area steeped in history. Cultivated by humans from the Middle Ages right up to the end of the 20th century, the land was eventually acquired in the 1990s by a property company in hopes of turning the site into a holiday home. This plan was not to be – in 1999, the inauguration of the Cinque Terre National Park signalled the start of environmental conservation efforts and the end of human encroachment in the area. In the final toll, wear and tear damaged the buildings, land and ecosystem of Punta Mesco.

04a. Podere Case Lovara a Punta Mesco SP , foto di Davide Marcesini 2016 ≈ Archivio FAI

Three years after the initiation of the restoration, spearheaded by Anna Zegna, President of Fondazione Zegna and Marco Magnifico, Vice President of FAI, the Punta Mesco has come a long way to recovering from 20 years of abandonment and neglect. Spread out over 45 hectares of farmland, the Podere Case Lovara sees three rural buildings, of which two (Casa Bianca and Casa Rossa) have been fully conserved and reinstated. FAI have converted them into sea-front retreats, including a farm-holiday complex which respects economic and environmental sustainability.

Outside, the thriving vegetation is testimony to the project’s effectiveness. Along with the regeneration of almost two kilometers of existing dry-stone walls, around 5,000 square-meters of olives groves, a vegetable garden, orchard and even three beehives have been restored. In partnership with the Italian National Association for Biodynamic Agriculture, a biodynamic agriculture route has been put into place to ensure the health of soil sans synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and weedkillers.

06. Podere Case Lovara a Punta Mesco SP foto di Davide Marcesini 2016 ≈ Archivio FAI

Today, the Podere Case Lovara is open to the public, with guided tours and subsequently, over-night stays an option. Fondazione Zegna and FAI have taken the first steps to achieving sustainability with the installation of 22 photovoltaic for electricity generation and four solar panels to heat water for sanitary purposes. Experimental methods are also underway in hopes to achieve territorial protection and reduced carbon dioxide emissions. The foundations’ prudence in energy conservation has resulted in 60% of overall energy requirement being met by renewable sources, an astounding figure by any measure.

Focus: Bulgari Roman Sorbets Jewelry

La dolce vita is the key to Bulgari’s new Roman Sorbets line. The sweet life as imagined by the Italian jewelry house consists of year-long summer vacations, spent in and around Florence or Milan under a wide-brimmed sun hat, half of the itinerary of which is dedicated to lounging. The cherry on top of this imaginary ideal is a cold, sweet treat – in the Italian tradition, it would be sorbet, a frozen dessert.

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Bulgari has captured this simple and minute pleasure in their Roman Sorbets collection. The classical Bulgari-Bulgari disc shapes play host to a smattering of jewels cast into the pieces. Pink tourmalines and amethysts, and blue sapphires and tsavorites nestle into pink or white gold band rings and necklaces, introducing a refreshing contrast of color.

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The double whammy of brand icons – a duo of Bulgari logos and the playful use of colourful gemstones – is surprisingly understated. Indeed, the spirit is more youthful and jubilant because of its embrace of pink gold – a mellow-hued alternative to rose gold, which features in their B.zero1 pieces as well. A lighthearted collection like these Sorbets are a fun break from breath-taking haute joaillerie – these are the kinds of pieces you can easily wear every day.

This story first appeared in L’Officiel Singapore.

Artist Christo’s Floating Pier Opens In Italy

The Floating Pier installation by the artist Christo Vladimirov Javacheff (whom we’ve covered in the past over here) has finally opened to the public – it is ongoing until July 3. Anybody who wishes to know what it feels like to walk on water can head over to Lake Iseo down in Italy for a stroll on the elongated ‘yellow-brick road’ set out by the artist. You probably won’t find yourself in Oz, but it’s definitely an experience to try out.

[UPDATE] In view of visitors far exceeding the estimate originally expected, Christo’s Floating Pier may change its plans about opening day and night until July 3. With 270,000 visitors coming in less than 5 days, as opposed to the estimated 500,000 over 16 days, wear and tear was caused to the walkway. The installation was shut down for essential maintenance, and may be closed at night from midnight to six o’clock.

“It’s not a painting, it’s not a sculpture. You need to walk on it… feel it with the sun, with the rain, with the wind. It’s physical, not virtual” Christo explained. The project was originally devised by his late wife Jeanne-Claude back in 1970 for the River Plate delta in Argentina and is only coming into fruition now. The total cost was a mind-boggling $16.7 million, but it is open free for the public and is expected to attract 500,000 visitors by the time it closes.

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Christo loves to make works that form an entire environment onto themselves. One of his favorite tricks is to drape a certain object, whether man-made (like the Reichstag) or natural with cloth – creating a new kind of lush and grandiose texture. A major project of his, the Surrounded Islands, took this concept to an extreme when he surrounded 11 islands situated in Biscayne Bay with millions of square feet of floating pink fabric. It is a similar water-based project that he’s enacted with the Floating Pier – putting together 200,000 recyclable polyethylene cubes linked by 200,000 giant screws draped in yellow fabric.

The opening of the walkway is already looking to be one of the major cultural events of the year. In fact, local businesses are already trying to cash in on the phenomenon. One of these is Michele Pescali, a bakery owner close to the lake who created a line of “Christo biscuits” for the occasion, made of pastry covered with jam and orange peel.

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Fans of Christo’s work have even arrived days early so as not to miss the final stage of the installation. Almut and Walter Horstmann from Germany are two such visitors. “We wanted to see the construction work. We already saw the Reichstag, the wrapped trees in Basel, the wall of oil barrels, the Oberhausen gas holder in Germany,” said Walter, who is 75.

Even as an octogenarian, Christo still doesn’t plan to wind down. He’s already seeking approval for two projects – one in the US and the other in Abu Dhabi. When asked whether he’s planning to settle down and stop work for once, the artist simply replied: “Artists do not retire, they die”.

This story was written in-house, based on a report from the AFP and images from the same.

Italy’s Osteria Francescana Crowned Best Restaurant

Osteria Francescana snagged the top spot of World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 awards, making it the first Italian establishment to win the prestigious accolade.

Helmed by chef Massimo Bottura, the restaurant in Modena previously came in second last year, and third in 2013 and 2014. “I want to thank everyone because it’s been so hard, our job is all about art work,” said an ecstatic Bottura. “It’s all about our work, in the kitchen every day to work and succeed.” Bottura’s experimental twists on traditional ingredients and his “Five Ages of Parmigiano Reggiano” earned the judges’ accolades. His “deliciously executed classics” such as the tagliatelle with hand-chopped ragu and risotto cooked in veal jus. The three-Michelin-star chef beat last year’s winner and hot favourite El Celler de Can Rocawho came in second, while New York’s Eleven Madison Park took the third place.

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The list also saw restaurants of 23 countries across six continents – six each from Asia and United States and seven from Spain, including three that made the top 10 list. The French also clinched several individual top honors, including Alain Passard of Arpege for a Lifetime Achievement Award, Dominique Crenn for the Best Female Chef and Pierre Herme for the Best Pastry Chef.

The awards began in 2002 and has become the ultimate guide for foodies internationally. Its jury – consisting of 972 experts, including food journalists, chefs, restaurant owners and gourmets – make their choices based on where they have eaten the past 18 months. There has, however, been criticisms on the impartiality of the system because the jury is not required to provide physical proof of visiting the restaurant. William Reed, the British media company who runs the contest have responded by claiming that consultancy firm Deloitte oversees voting, to ensure the “integrity and authenticity” of the process.

For more on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, click here.

The Floating Piers Installation to Open in Italy

Bulgarian artist Jeanne-Claude may have passed on nearly a decade ago, but her legacy lives on thanks to her husband Christo, who worked alongside her to create unique art installations. On June 18, Christo is set to unveil The Floating Pier Installation, a walkway that will span 3 km (1.86 miles) and connect Monte Isola and San Paolo to Lake Iseo in Sulzano, Italy.

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The walkway will be constructed out of 220,000 floating polyethylene cubes merged together to create a modular floating dock system. Once in place, the cubes will be draped in a shimmering fabric that will transform the walkway into a dazzling display that changes from red to gold in the light. Even after the walkway touches dry land, the fabric-covered path will continue a further 1.5 km into the streets of San Paolo and Sulzano – merging water and land seamlessly. The mountains serve as the best vantage point to catch a glimpse of red and gold stream as it stretches across the lake.

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The Bulgarian-born artist, known simply as Christo, first conceived the idea of “The Floating Piers” with his wife and partner Jeanne-Claude in 1970. Despite her death in 2009, Christo has continued with their joint projects, including “Over The River” (Colorado) and “The Mastaba” (UAE).

“The Floating Piers” installation is scheduled to open on June 18 and will be accessible until July 3. For more information in the installation, click here.