Bernardo Ricci Armani

Happy Birthday, Turkey! (Turkish Republic Holiday)

Istanbul (Turkey). This photo comes from the incredible fireworks shows during the celebration for the 2013 Turkish Republic Holiday in Istanbul (29 Ekim Cumhuriyet Bayramı). I remember that I went two or three hours earlier to Ulus Parki to set my tripod and camera in the best possible place. The year before, I photographed the pyrotechnic show from Eminonu, so this time I was intrigued by a different angle.

This is one of many shots. All of them are under the tag 29 October

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The British Museum in London

London (United Kingdom). What does make the beauty of a museum? I mean: saying that a museum is a beautiful one, what can be the main reasons? Have you ever questioned yourself about it? I did it, and I still do it basically every time I visit a museum – which luckily happens quite often because I love going to a museum.

But before giving my answer I want to say something I noticed, and that appears to me quite as a nonsense: for several people (perhaps the majority) the beauty of a museum is given by the number of famous authors (painters, sculptors etc.) exhibiting there. And unavoidably, the result  is that a museum with ten Picasso is better than another one with only two. Isn’t it absurd? Oh yes, definitely it is; but it’s also true. So, the consequence is that visitors are much more concentrated on the small label with the title and the author of a painting, than on the painting itself! And they spend the whole visit at a museum curved down on the low corner of the frame, admiring the name of some famous author, without putting their eyes on what could be a masterpiece of art’s history.

For the same reason, I love when I visit a museum and I see someone standing in front of a canvas or a sculpture, writing or sketching on a notepad: it’s a totally different approach, much deeper and in intimate relationship with art…

Anyhow, coming back to my initial question: what makes the beauty of a museum? To me, one of the key elements is its architecture: the visit to a museum is a pleasure not only for what it includes, but also for the spaces where the visitors walk. For this reason I loved the Fondazione Prada in Milan, where people walk in a former industrial site, completely reinvented but with well visible the traits of some structures used in the past to produce spirits. And of course I loved the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris, designed by Frank Gehry with his typical futuristic concept of structures. But one of my favorites and that I loved most is the British Museum (in the picture, the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court), with its striking ceiling designed by Sir Norman Foster (based on Foster’s concept for the roof of the Reichstag in Berlin, Germany).

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Afternoon at the Museo del Novecento

Milan (Italy). After a rainy Saturday in Florence, I think I deserved a wonderful sunny Monday (April 25th is bank holiday in Italy) in Milan! I spent some hours between Palazzo Reale and the Museo del Novecento: the first one is currently hosting a very interesting exhibition about Umberto Boccioni, an Italian painter and sculptor, known for being a main actor of the Futurism movement (his works are exhibited at several prestigious museums including the MoMA and the Metropolitan Museum in New York); the second one, among some works from Boccioni himself, includes works (paintings and sculptures) made by artists from the XX Century such as De Chirico, Modigliani, Kandinskij, Klee and many others.

It was not my first time at the Museo del Novecento, but this is such a beautiful place that it is worth more than one single visit. And not only for its paintings and sculptures, but also for the building interior design, with a spiral staircase which brings the visitors from the ticket booth to the museum entrance, and for its arrangement on several floors, ending at the top of the building where a wonderful windowed room offers an unique landscape over the Cathedral’s Square.

Of course, once arrived here I captured many photos, including some without anyone (I went there late afternoon, when the museum was going to close). But at the end I selected this one because the presence of some people doing different things (chatting, photographing or simply watching the fantastic landscape) makes it more “alive”, more realistic, more dynamic. As usual, I found my “comfort zone” trying to find the room symmetry, exalted by the geometric weft of the windows’ frame. Out of the window, the Milan Cathedral and the arch of the Vittorio Emanuele’s Gallery – with an intense blue sky in the background.

As said, I found in this scene – with its light and colors – an opportunity for people, architecture and landscape photography at the same time and the perfect (and well-deserved) compensation after a rainy weekend in Florence!

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Sunset from the Church of Soccorso, Forio (Ischia)

Naples (Italy). I don’t like (anymore) photographing a sunset “in itself”, stand alone; unless there is something else in the image that can characterise it. Yesterday I was shooting some photos around Forio, a lovely small village on the Ischia Island – not far from Naples, in the South of Italy. Here, there is a small church called “Chiesa dell Soccorso” (literally translated, “Church of the Rescue”) and around it, plenty of people gather together every day to assist the show of the sunset in the sea.

I took this photo to celebrate the beginning of my summer holidays…

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Nostra Donna Church in Pontremoli (Pano)

Pontremoli (Italy). Here I’m again with a photograph taken in Pontremoli. I’m happy that – post after post – this small town is finding its well deserved room in my blog.

Some weeks ago I was around Pontremoli with some guests, and I had the opportunity of visiting probably the most beautiful – albeit hidden and unknown – church of the entire city. Its name is Nostra Donna (the full name in Italian is “Chiesa di Nostra Donna” also known as “Oratorio della Madonna del Ponte”) and it’s a true magnificent example of the local baroque style.

To give an idea about the interior of Nostra Donna with its rich decorations, I took several photos and I composed them in a single panoramic view – with an evident unnatural distortion, sorry for that.

However, if you are planning a visit to Pontremoli or – just in case – you are around the Lunigiana region, I strongly recommend you to look for a visited tour contacting a professional guide. In case you might be interested, do not hesitate to write me and I will give you the right contact.


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Heavy Clouds Always Break Up. Street Art by Beast

Milan (Italy). If you are in Milan in these days (by the way, there will be the fashion week soon!) and you walk around the popular area around Corso Garibaldi, you will probably notice the fantastic masterpiece by the Italian artist Beast. The title is “Heavy Clouds Always Break Up” and it shows a long boat with some politicians on board. It’s easy to recognise Matteo Renzi, Angela Merkel, David Cameron (three Prime Ministers) and the so called “eurosceptic” Matteo Salvini: they are all on the same boat trying to cross a river in a stormy context. A true metaphor of these contemporary times inspired by the painting “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze.

I love this example of Street Art, I think it’s a great form of expression, accessible to everybody (those passing from here on their way to the office, or coming for a night walk, easily stop in front of Beast’s work and take some photos) and it seems that people are quite enthusiastically following the appearance of such works on Corso Garibaldi’s wall.

I tried to photograph Beast’s new work without people and without distortions, so that you can appreciate much more its details. If you want to see it live, copy and paste these coordinates in google maps 45.479095, 9.185913


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Melting Love Locks (Pont des Arts)

Paris (France). I just passed the Seine on Pont des Arts, the former “Love Bridge”, used by lovers to hang their locks to the railing and throw the keys into the river. The previous time I was here, the municipality of Paris was removing all the locks – I wrote a post about that event – and I was curious to see the bridge free from everything.

This is a piece of the railing: it’s funnily representing hundreds of love locks melting down. I found it quite ironic…


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San Gimignano

San Gimignano (Italy). When I take photos of very popular destinations it’s always a big challenge. It’s easy to capture the same image like many others did before, and it’s difficult not to be conditioned by a sort of “already seen syndrome” related to magazines of websites showing something about that specific place.

Travelling around Tuscany, this situation can be very frequent; and it is frustrating – believe me! However, what can make the originality of some photo is strictly related to the curiosity of their author. I travel because I want to see the world, including that world with which I think I’m familiar (Tuscany is part of this world). So when I travel, I like to explore and – possibly – to leave the conventional paths. The photo is the final step of a process, which starts with watching around me and continues with applying my curiosity to what I have been seeing till that moment.

Here, I was in San Gimignano: a place that has been photographed by millions of people I suppose (and there are great shots on the web, really!). However, I was very attracted by one of the many towers – the so called Torre Grossa – which is open to visitors and offers an extraordinary observatory point. I did not hesitate to climb it as soon as I understood that it was open: once on the top, I was completely alone and I captured this photo from there. It’s not my best shot – I know but it’s a bit different from what you can see googling “San Gimignano” on internet.

So, my personal tip for photographers is therefore the following: sometimes, try to click less, and possibly to be more curious!

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