Tag:

Italy

Florence by Night (Landscape from Villa Bardini)

Florence (Italy). This is a postcard; an “easy” postcard. I know. And I’m not a big fan of this type of photos. But it’s also Florence, my city, captured from probably the best observatory in town; and I could not resist. This image has been taken from the terrace of Villa Bardini, a former private residence now used for exhibitions. From there, it seems possible touching the heart of the city; and by night, Florence becomes even more magic. As said: I could not resist.


Firenze. Questa foto è una cartolina; una “facile” cartolina. Lo so. E non sono un grande amante di questo genere di foto. Ma è anche Firenze, la mia città, fotografata da quello che probabilmente è il punto di osserazione migliore possibile; e non ho potuto resistere. Questa foto è stata scattata dalla terrazza di Villa Bardini, in precedenza una residenza privata, oggi utilizzata per ospitare delle mostre. Da là, è possibile toccare il cuore della città; e di notte, Firenze diventa ancora più magica. Come detto, non ho potuto resistere.

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Landing at Venice Airport (Landscape of the Lagoon)

Venice (Italy). I have been landing at Venice International Airport (VCE) for several years, and every time it is a very exciting experience! It’s unmissable: just before touching the ground, the plane approaches the landing strip flying very close to the city, offering to its passengers an unique opportunity for a bird’s-eye view of the downtown, the lagoon and the canals. Amazing!

During all these years, I have been collecting several photographs taken from the plane. Some of them – unfortunately – are unusable or look all the same. But with the remaining ones, I have created a small gallery, and I’m posting them here on my photoblog with the tag “Venice Airport (VCE)“.

Here’s my personal advice for all airplane travellers coming to Venice: reserve a window seat along the right side of the plane (far from the wing, obviously). And when the plane starts approaching the landing strip, not only you must put your seat backs in their most upright (and uncomfortable) position, close your tray table, and open the window shades; in this case, passengers are recommended to take their camera, switch it on, check its settings, compose the scene and – click! – capture the most exclusive landscape of Venice!

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Fuorisalone 2016 (Milan Design Week) – 50 Manga Chairs by Oky Sato / Nendo at San Simpliciano

Milan (Italy). In these days, Milan seems “the place to be” – and not only for architecture lovers, trendy designers and unmissable hipsters. For sure, like every year around this period, the city attracts an incredible amount of people coming here to discover the latest tendencies in the sectors of furniture, lighting, decoration and home appliances.

I cannot miss the opportunity of keeping my eye (and my camera) on this interesting world of course, and I like to share what I’m seeing here in my photoblog (isn’t it its purposes?). What’s really impressive, for those people living here all the year, is assisting to a true and deep change in the city’s spirit: let me try to better express myself. Although I consider Milan as probably the most living, enjoyable, innovative and “sparkling” city in Italy (for sure, one of the best life quality), during the so called “design week” the “routine” goes through an authentic transformation, which means pulling out a completely new soul made not only of parties, events, vernissage, opening ceremonies and installations (these things are pretty normal – let me say) but made of a sense of general “discovery”. Yes, during the Fuorisalone’s week, Milan’s people (re)discover their city made of hidden courtyards, beautiful buildings (some of them exceptionally open to public), street decorations and so on. In other words, it looks like a sort of “inspirational wave” floods the city’s districts (not only the fashionable Brera or 5 Vie, but also Lambrate, Tortona etc.) to demonstrate that the urban environment can react to the daily routine, and transform the ordinary into something of extraordinary.

Of course there are critics: why it can’t be all the year? Why the next week – once the design events will be over – Milan will return to hide its beauty? I’m not in a position to answer; but as long as I see that this creative magma is still boiling under the city’s asphalt, the enthusiasm’s eruption of the design week is very, very welcome!

The photograph posted here shows the wonderful exhibition of “50 Manga Chairs” by the Japanese – Canadian designer Oky Sato, included in 2006 (when he was only 29 years old) in “The 100 Most Respected Japanese” ranking prepared by Newsweek magazine, winner of innumerable awards and with a long list of collections exposed at the most prestigious museums all around the world (from the MoMA of New York to the Victoria and Albert Museum of London; from the Centre Pompidou of Paris to the Triennale Design Museum of Milan). I loved the concept of this exhibition, which – by the way – is hosted in what I think is one of the most beautiful and prestigious locations of the entire “Fuorisalone 2016”, the cloister at San Simpliciano church, in the heart of Brera district (and for those visiting it, do not miss a walk in this wonderful and old church).

The exhibition includes 50 chairs, each one based on typical Manga comics’ abstract lines and shapes: the idea is perfectly displayed in a video at the end of the exhibition, and I think visitors should start from it to better understand the concept of Oky Sato’s work. Each chair is made of stainless steel, and all of them have the same basic frame (legs and seatback): what it changes and makes each piece something of unique is the “decoration”, representative of an emulation of the movement – as it is described in a manga comic. If the observer remains concentrated on a single chair per time analyzing its decoration, at the end she will perceive – with the chair itself – the emotion given by the represented movement. The result is a collection of 50 objects conceptually very static (such as chairs can be) but emotionally incredibly dynamic. A great contrast – the one between statics and dynamism – that only a great designer, such as Oky Sato, can represent in this masterful way.

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Testing the Leica M-D (Misunderstanding at Prada Shop, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II)

Milan (Italy). Frankly speaking, although in the post title I wrote “testing”, this was not a proper test.

First of all, because who am I to test a camera? I’m just a “passionate user of photo devices” and I intend cameras as instruments for creating positive feelings – that’s it.

Second point, because there are so many official and unofficial tests on this camera around internet, that mine would be “just another one”. Who cares of it?

Third, and probably most important aspect: what’s the sense of testing a camera that is the essence of pure photography? The sensor? Well, it’s the “usual” 24-megapixel high-resolution CMOS full-frame sensor. The screen? There’s no screen in the Leica M-D. The effects? Please, don’t make me insist…

So, all above considered and to be more precise, this was not a test: this was an experience.

Yes, the correct title should have been “experiencing the new Leica M-D”, concentrating the whole content on my feelings and emotions with this fantastic camera. And probably, the best feeling that explains what is photographing with a Leica M-D, is the same that a swimmer has when she starts swimming from shallow to deep water – does it give the idea? For a large number of photographers, the presence of a screen on the back of the camera (to review the captured images) represents a sort of comfort zone, given by the opportunity of instantaneously check what has been photographed. The new Leica M-D – let me be a bit “hard” – gives a kick to photographers’ backs, saying “ok, if you call yourself a photographer, demonstrate that you are confident enough to survive without the screen!”. On the other side, a photographer must love this kind of challenge – at least, I did!

So, I walked randomly around Milan downtown for more or less one hour. A sort of touristic tour around Piazza Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and Piazza dei Mercanti, capturing photos and being exclusively concentrated on what I was doing. No distractions. No feeling a sense of accomplishment, because I had no idea of what I had captured. My eye was only on the street through the viewfinder, not down on the screen zooming-in&out to see the result of my previous clicks, and potentially risking to miss another shot (I guess that film photographers perfectly understand). Yes, this is the true difference of the Leica M-D: with a screen camera, you constantly bear the risk of being distracted by the screen itself (eventually missing a better capture, the next – decisive – moment) and of feeling the sense of accomplishment that a photographer should never feel. With the Leica M-D, photography is a pure action, done straight forwardly to the subject, the scene, the situation.

This is my feeling. And I think I will experience it again, since I’m seriously considering to buy this camera. Yes, because – as clearly stated here in my blog’s manifesto – I buy the cameras I use, and I’m totally free to say what I think.

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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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Sunset at the Florence Rowing Club

Florence (Italy). This is the Florence Rowing Club, it’s my second home – or at least it was. I spent here the largest part of my life from 6 to 26 (before moving from Florence) and as soon as I come back home, I can’t resist from returning here. Today there was a fantastic sunset, typical of this period of the year. The sun was going down behind Ponte Vecchio and its rays were partially hidden by the blade of one oar left on the rack. I thought it was a great set for a photograph…

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Fuorisalone 2016 (Milan Design Week) – Dragontrail By Asahi Glass at Superstudio Piú

Milan (Italy). In these days, Milan seems “the place to be” – and not only for architecture lovers, trendy designers and unmissable hipsters. For sure, like every year around this period, the city attracts an incredible amount of people coming here to discover the latest tendencies in the sectors of furniture, lighting, decoration and home appliances.

I cannot miss the opportunity of keeping my eye (and my camera) on this interesting world of course, and I like to share what I’m seeing here in my photoblog (isn’t it its purposes?). What’s really impressive, for those people living here all the year, is assisting to a true and deep change in the city’s spirit: let me try to better express myself. Although I consider Milan as probably the most living, enjoyable, innovative and “sparkling” city in Italy (for sure, one of the best life quality), during the so called “design week” the “routine” goes through an authentic transformation, which means pulling out a completely new soul made not only of parties, events, vernissage, opening ceremonies and installations (these things are pretty normal – let me say) but made of a sense of general “discovery”. Yes, during the Fuorisalone’s week, Milan’s people (re)discover their city made of hidden courtyards, beautiful buildings (some of them exceptionally open to public), street decorations and so on. In other words, it looks like a sort of “inspirational wave” floods the city’s districts (not only the fashionable Brera or 5 Vie, but also Lambrate, Tortona etc.) to demonstrate that the urban environment can react to the daily routine, and transform the ordinary into something of extraordinary.

Of course there are critics: why it can’t be all the year? Why the next week – once the design events will be over – Milan will return to hide its beauty? I’m not in a position to answer; but as long as I see that this creative magma is still boiling under the city’s asphalt, the enthusiasm’s eruption of the design week is very, very welcome!

And the “Dragontrail™” photographed here is one of the results of this “eruption”: I captured it at Superstudio Più (Via Tortona): a nice subject to be photographed! The idea comes from AGC Asahi Glass, with Eisuke Tachikawa (Managing Director at Nosigner) and Izumi Okayasu, lighting designer. Together, they have created an installation incredibly light (looks like a crystal cloud), flexible and expressive; another strong “contradiction” (like the 50 Manga Chairs at San Simpliciano, from Japan too): transforming something of rigid and fragile (such as glass) into something of soft and flexible, simply using 5,000 small fragments and showing how this amorphous material can be treated and used.

The glass used for Dragontrail™ is the same one used for smartphones, tablets and other touch screens. Light, robust, flexible, resistant and scratch-proof: Dragontrail™ was a sort of microscopical view of the real structure of glass, able to make visitors incredibly small and to give them the possibility to appreciate this fantastic material.

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The Municipal Building in Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste

Trieste (Italy). I have already written in my previous post about the Central European soul of Trieste, and how it perfectly coexists with the Mediterranean one. Here is a clear example!

This photo has been taken in Piazza Unità d’Italia, one of the most suggestive squares I have ever seen, and which recaps very well the coexistence between these different souls of Trieste. Standing at the center of the square, in front of the Municipal Building’s facade, it’s impossible not being amazed by the majestic and imposing architectural styles, which bring the mind to buildings in Vienna or Budapest. These buildings – not only the Municipal one, but also the close Palazzo del Governo photographed here – make feel all their presence and austerity to people, as if they want to remind when Trieste was the Austro-Hungarian Empire’s south outlet and the main maritime emporium of the Mediterranean region.

Yet, an observer turning over and looking behind his shoulders will see that this square has a side which is completely free. It’s the sea…

I had the privilege of visiting another square, as beautiful as this one, characterised by an empty side on the sea that enhances the magic: I’m talking about Praça do Comercio in Lisbon. Those who have visited both Piazza Unità d’Italia in Trieste and Praça do Comercio in Lisbon will take very short time to connect these two places (although the second one is more exactly on a river – the Tejo – in its last part before flowing into the sea). Both of them are conceptually and architectonically very beautiful, but are also characterised by an incredible light.

The light that few cities – and Trieste is among them – have, and that make photography something able to give unique emotions.


Trieste. Ho già parlato in questo mio post precedente dell’anima Mitteleuropea di Trieste e di come questa conviva perfettamente con quella Mediterranea. Ecco un bellissimo esempio!

Questa foto è stata scattata in Piazza Unità d’Italia, una delle piazze più suggestive che abbia mai visitato e che sintetizza benissimo questa coesistenza tra le anime diverse di Trieste. Ponendosi al centro, davanti alla facciata del Municipio, è impossibile non restare affascinati dai maestosi e imponenti stili architettonici che rimandano agli edifici di Vienna o di Budapest. I palazzi – non solo questo del Municipio, in foto; ma anche il vicino Palazzo del Governo – fanno sentire tutta la loro presenza, la loro austerità, quasi a ricordare quando Trieste era lo sbocco a sud del potente Impero Austro-Ungarico e il principale emporio marittimo del Mediterraneo.

Eppure, basta che chi osserva si giri e guardi dietro le proprie spalle per vedere che la piazza ha un lato completamente vuoto. E’ il mare…

Ho avuto la fortuna di vedere un’altra piazza altrettanto bella e famosa, caratterizzata da un’apertura sul mare che ne esalta la magia: è Praça do Comercio a Lisbona. Chi conosce sia Piazza Unità d’Italia a Trieste che Praça do Comercio a Lisbona ci mette poco a collegarle (sebbene la seconda sia più propriamente su un fiume – il Tejo – nel suo ultimo tratto prima di incontrare il mare). Entrambe non sono solo concettualmente e architettonicamente bellissime, ma sono anche caratterizzate da una luce incredibile.

Quella luce che poche città – e Trieste è una di queste – hanno, e che rende la fotografia un qualcosa in grado di dare soddisfazioni uniche.

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