Reframe by Ai Weiwei at Palazzo Strozzi, Florence (Via Della Spada)

Florence (Italy). Last weekend I was walking around the downtown of Florence, when I saw this interesting installation made by the contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. It’s a serie of 22 rubber boats positioned in correspondence to Palazzo Strozzi’s windows, on its façade. The installation’s title is “Reframe – Nuova Cornice” (new frame). In these years the same type of boats have been used by refugees which, escaping misery and looking for a better life, cross the Mediterranean Sea and arrive in Italy.

Firenze. Lo scorso fine settimana, passeggiando per il centro di Firenze, ho visto questa interessante installazione dell’artista contemporaneo cinese Ai Weiwei. Si tratta di una serie di gommoni, montati sulla facciata di Palazzo Strozzi, in corrispondenza delle sue finestre. Il nome dell’installazione è “Reframe – Nuova Cornice”. Si tratta degli stessi gommoni utilizzati dai profughi per attraversare il Mar Mediterraneo ed arrivare in Italia per scappare dalla loro miseria alla ricerca di una vita migliore.

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The Giants and the Girl (Casa degli Omenoni)

Milan (Italy). It’s all about motivation. What? Everything.

Yes, everything. Everything is about motivation: our whole life – without a reasonable dose of motivation – will be empty, grey, dark, senseless. Why I’m writing this? Because in the past days I’m so overloaded with things to do with my job, that my mind is totally distracted by things to do and I essentially lost my motivation for photography!

And it’s quite weird, especially because normally photography is my discharge valve for when I’m under pressure: what’s happening then? I don’t know, this time seems different. When I fly, commuting back and forth to Paris, I love reading books, especially about street photography, and I imagine myself with my Leica shooting around in incredibly stimulating environments. But it’s just imagining… The reality seems different in these days.

What I know, is that in such situations I’m extremely happy that photography is not my work. It’s already frustrating walking around me with the camera in my hand but without seeing nothing capturing my attention; I can’t imagine how it could be if I should send my shots to an agency or a customer… terrible!

Anyhow… Last Sunday, after a very tough week, I decided to take a walk around Milan. The weather was fantastic and the city during the weekend is incredibly crowded (I thought that after Expo it the situation would have been more calm, but I was definitely wrong). In such situations it’s nice walking and photographing around me, but as said my eyes were frozen and I could not see anything. The only “inspiring” moment was when I notices this little girl being observed by these huge men on the facade of “Casa degli Omenoni”, a famous palace just behind Piazza della Scala. If you want to know more about this place, this is the wikipedia page.

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Reflections on the Canal Grande in Trieste at Sunset

Trieste, (Italy). Afternoon break along the Canal Grande (Grand Canal) in Trieste, when the sun goes down and the facades of the buildings around it are reflected on the water surface.

A walk along the Canal Grande in Trieste is a real pleasure and a must-do of those visiting this city: it is definitely less popular than the Venetian namesake, but it’s never too much crowded, offering the possibility to stroll about, standing and watching the life in Trieste flowing around…

Trieste (Italia). Pausa pomeridiana lungo il Canal Grande di Trieste, quando il sole inizia a scendere e le facciate dei palazzi intorno si riflettono sull’acqua.

Una passeggiata lungo il Canal Grande di Trieste è un vero piacere ed è una delle cose da fare quando si visita la città: è sicuramente meno famoso dell’omonimo veneziano, ma non è mai troppo affollato, ed offre la possibilità di fare due passi fermandosi e ammirando la vita di Trieste che scorre intorno…


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The Cimitero Monumentale  in Milano

Milan (Italy). The “Cimitero Monumentale” in Milano is an old and very large cemetery in the heart of the city. I went there yesterday for another test session of my new Leica Q camera (which is becoming one of my favorite companion, not only for street photography).

The light was very soft – it was more or less 8 PM – and there was nobody around there (the Cemetery itself was already closed). I took few shots, as usual I tried to find the perfect symmetry keeping the uprightness of lines. This is the result.

The Leica Q is an amazing camera: I’m shooting mostly in manual focus, there’s a thin sense of pleasure in doing it for me, especially with the excellent focus peaking feature. I like to alternate street photography – which is not my most typical sector, but I’m enjoying it more and more – with something of more “traditional” for my eye, like this large view of the building’s facade.

Some more shoots with Leica Q will come in the following days! Stay tuned if you are interested in them, and feel free to write me if you have questions or comments!

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Villa Manin (Behind The Gate)

Passariano di Codroipo (Italy). The lucky people that were able to visit the Italy Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, probably noticed this magnificent villa in the video containing the “Italian Excellencies”.

The name of this place is “Villa Manin”: it is an historical building (a typical “Venetian Villa”) placed in the middle of the Friulan countryside, between Pordenone and Udine, not too far from Venice. It was built by the Manin family in the 1650, and today it is owned and managed by the Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia (the regional administration), which uses Villa Manin to host prestigious international exhibitions, including those of some photographers such as Robert Capa (I loved it!) and Man Ray.

Some historical facts: Villa Manin was the residence of Ludovico Manin, the last Doge of Venice. Among its famous guests there was Napoleon Bonaparte, which established here for a couple of months his headquarter during the signature of the Treaty of Campoformio between France and Austria (17 October 1797).

I took this photo without thinking too much about the composition: I simply liked the wide facade of Villa Manin behind the big entrance gate and with a dark cloudy sky in the background. Since the day I took this photo I was just walking and I hadn’t my camera bag with me, I used the small and powerful Ricoh GR camera (always in my jacket’s pocket).


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Istanbul Backyard (Akaretler)

Istanbul (Turkey). I’m perfectly aware of the fact that terraces like this one are everywhere in the world. But for some reasons, those ones I see in Istanbul have something of magic, at least for me. And I like thinking that behind that set of jackets, coats and suits there could be a story – one of the many incredible ones – of millions of people living in this amazing (and suffering) city.

Istanbul. So benissimo che terrazze come queste sono ovunque nel mondo. Ma per qualche motivo, quelle che vedo a Istanbul hanno un qualcosa per me di magico. E mi piace pensare che dietro a quella serie di giacche, di cappotti e di abiti possa esserci una storia – una delle tante incredibili – delle milioni di persone che affollano questa meravigliosa (e sofferente) città.

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Trieste Upside Down

Trieste (Italy). I generally like seaside towns and frontier towns, and for this reason I really love Trieste, which includes these two aspects in the same city. Furthermore, here the Central European soul (Trieste was the main sea access of the Hapsburg Empire, a period of strong economic and demographic growth for the city) merges the Mediterranean one, in a melting pot of races, cultures, religions and lifestyles.

Sometimes I have the opportunity to spend some hours in Trieste, and I think it’s a wonderful city to visit and to photograph, both with its traditional landscapes, both with its hidden corners. In the image here above, I captured the facade of a building along the Canal Grande, taken from a different point of view, reflected on the sea surface. Indeed, the two spirits of Trieste: the Central European one and the Mediterranean one.

Trieste. Personalmente amo molto sia le città di mare che le città di frontiera, e per questo a maggior ragione amo Trieste che ne incarna entrambi gli aspetti. Non solo, ma qui l’anima Mitteleuropea del nord (Trieste è stato il principale sbocco marittimo dell’Impero Asburgico, periodo durante il quale conobbe un’epoca di straordinario sviluppo economico e demografico) si fonde con quella Mediterranea in un crocevia di razze, culture, religioni e stili di vita.

Di tanto in tanto mi capita di aver occasione di passare qualche ora a Trieste, e trovo che sia una città bellissima da vedere e da fotografare sia con i suoi panorami più classici, che con i suoi angoli nascosti. Nella foto qui sopra, la facciata di un palazzo che si affaccia lungo il Canal Grande, presa da un punto di vista un po’ diverso, ossia riflessa sulla superficie del mare. Appunto, le due anime di Trieste: quella Mitteleuropea e quella Mediterranea.



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Villa Manin by Night (Behind The Gate)

Passariano di Codroipo (Italy). My followers probably will notice this photo of Villa Manin, as it is the same view, taken from the same position of this other image captured some weeks ago (but that time it was during the day). I just wanted to “play” with my Leica Q at high ISO (6400) and see how it perform (although I already knew it is great at night). I already wrote some stories about this place (they are in the linked post). For art lovers, in these days – and until the 3rd of April 2016 – Villa Manin will host an important exhibition of Joan Miró.

That’s it. I don’t have too much to say today… I will fly to Paris this afternoon, maybe I will find the time to write something on the plane.

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Trieste in Chiaroscuro (Palazzo del Governo)

Trieste (Italy). I love photographing when the sun goes down and paints the buildings facades with a warm tonality, creating at the same time long dark shadows. I have even created a tag to describe this special situation of contrasts – naming it “chiaroscuro”.

Some days ago I was walking around Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste, undoubtedly one of the most beautiful squares in Italy, and the sunset was partially painting the elegant facade of the “Palazzo del Governo” (Government Building), which today hosts the Province and the Prefecture. Is there any better situation to enrich my gallery of chiaroscuro photos?

Trieste. Mi piace fotografare quando il sole scende e colora con una tonalità calda le facciate dei palazzi, creando al tempo stesso lunghe ombre scure. Ho anche creato un tag – l’ho chiamato appunto “chiaroscuro” – per descrivere questa speciale situazione di contrasti.

Alcuni giorni fa ero in Piazza Unità d’Italia a Trieste, senza dubbio una delle piazze più belle d’Italia, e il tramonto colorava una parte della facciata dell’elegante Palazzo del Governo, sede della Provincia e della Prefettura. Quale miglior occasione per arricchire la mia galleria di foto in chiaroscuro?

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