Sala Azionisti – Edison S.p.A.

Milan (Italy). Having the office in a historical building in the heart of Milan – although I spend here most of the time – has for sure several pros. One of them is represented by prestigious architectures that decorate and embellish what otherwise would be an anonymous working environment.

The “Shareholders’ Meeting Room” (in Italian: Sala Azionisti) at Edison S.p.A. headquarter is a perfect example to demonstrate what I’m trying to explain. Some days ago I finally had the opportunity to photograph this prestigious room, where there is one of the most beautiful ceilings I have ever seen in my life. It is a finely decorated polychrome glass dome, built in 1922 by the Italian manufacturing company “Corvaya & Bazzi” with a special decorative technique named “tubage”.

Tubage was very popular at the beginning of 1900s, but unfortunately the Second World War made most of the companies working with this technique disappear – and with them, their skills and expertise. Today some specialized companies are able to reproduce this technique, which basically consists of decorating using a syringe filled with a special paste, covering the work with a transparent enamel and tempering the surface at high temperatures.

Unfortunately, the Edison Shareholders’ Meeting Room it’s not a free access place, unless there are some public events. You can check it here, just in case!


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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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The Antiquarium Room at the Munich Residence

Munich (Germany). I’m back from a short-but-nice tour between Germany (Bavaria) and Austria (Tirol). This time it was a real holiday, and one of the things that made my trip “special” was the fact that I did not have to catch any plane! This sentence can sound a bit snobbish, but you must believe me: flying every week (sometimes even more than once per week) is becoming tough and frustrating; and – worst thing – is making me associate flying not to holidays anymore, but to business.

For this reason I decided to use the car for my holiday: to do something of really different from the first moment of the trip!

There’s an interesting book written by the Italian journalist Tiziano Terzani. The title is “A Fortune-Teller Told Me: Earthbound Travels in the Far East”, and it’s a story about “slow travelling”. In 1976 – in Hong Kong – a fortune teller told to Tiziano that 17 years later (in 1993) he would have risked to die in an airplane accident. At the end of 1992, Terzani remembered the prophecy and decided to consider it for the following year, travelling without catching airplanes and helicopters – a tough resolution considering he was a journalist assigned on Far East territories. However, during 1993, Tiziano Terzani travelled around Asia using only land and sea transports (car, train and ship) and discovering the pleasure of the “slow-travelling philosophy” through Laos, Thailand, Mianmar, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Mongolia and Russia).

Although my trip did not last one year (but only few days) and I did not visit exotic places such those visited by Tiziano Terzani, it was nice discovering the sense of travelling without the limits imposed by a plane. There’s a sort of compromise in every journey: flexibility (but limited distances) versus reaching the other side of the world in few hours (but with some obvious constraints, such as flights’ schedules, security controls, liquids etc.).

I should try to not forget this experience the next time I will plan my holidays: it could even be an opportunity to discover more my country and its wonderful regions. Or – why not? – one day I could consider to travel around Asia like Tiziano Terzani did: slowly, and just using trains or ships…

For those interested in the posted photo, here are few words about it: I captured this image at the Munich Residence’s “Antiquarium Room”. The Residence (“Residenz”, in German) is a magnificent place in the heart of the old city. This hall is the oldest room in the Residence, and it is really impressive for its dimensions (66 metres length). Duke Albrecht V had it built from 1568 to 1571 for his collection of antique sculptures (hence the name “Antiquarium”) but at the end of the 16th century, Albrecht V’s successors – Duke Wilhelm V and his son Maximilian I – transformed this room into a hall for festivities and banquets. Of course, I decided to represent it looking for the perfect symmetry (no problem, it’s just my obsession).

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Bibilioteca Braidense (Library)

Milan (Italy). The Braidense Library is a magic destination: I have been desiring to visit it for long time, and I admit I feel guilty for not having done it before. But since in the weekends it’s open only on Saturday morning, I’m partially justified.

Anyhow, last Saturday I finally could visit and photograph it, and it has been really an amazing experience. The Braidense Library was founded in 1786 by Maria Theresa Archduchess of Austria opening to everyone the private library of Carlo Pertusati, and it is hosted in the seventeenth-century Brera building. Before, the only public library in Milan was the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, which was rich of manuscripts but not of printed books. In the years, through several donations and acquisitions, the Biblioteca Braidense arrived to have 1,500,000 volumes and still today is a place where for consultation, reading and studying (since that some in some rooms taking photos is allowed).

I think I will come back to visit this unique place soon. Libraries – and especially the Braidense one – have a very peculiar appeal: they are able to merge history with culture, technique with knowledge organization, and in a time like the current one, in which everything is at “mouse’s length” and with a string on Google it is possible to find every kind of information, thinking about how were the research and the cataloging is rather exciting. And just the fact that a place which has been arranged for the culture, can be thought not only to be functional, but also to be aesthetically beautiful, I think it’s something of extraordinary.

Probably, today’s generations – the so called Generation Z, but probably also Millennials – never opened an encyclopedia, made a bibliographic research or borrowed a book from a library. Today there’s Wikipedia, there are search engines, there are e-readers like Kindle (which I’m a big fan of, to be clear). However, I remember when I was at school and used to go to the library for my researches: at those times I was already so fascinated by all that knowledge so concentrated in such a small space, that I was at the same time enthusiast and unsuitable. Yes, this is the key! A physical perception of knowledge: internet does not give this possibility. A library does! And tomorrow, I’m sure of it, there will be tools to access to knowledge even faster and smarter than Google or Wikipedia; but there will still be also someone – like me – that on Saturday morning will decide to go and take photos at a marvelous place such as the Braidense Library

Milano. La Biblioteca Braidense è un posto magico: desideravo vederla da tempo, e riconosco la mia colpa per non averlo fatto prima. Ma dal momento che nel fine settimana è aperta solo il sabato mattina, mi ritengo parzialmente giustificato.

Ad ogni modo, sabato scorso sono finalmente riuscito a visitarla e a fotografarla, ed è stata veramente un’esperienza emozionante. La Biblioteca Braidense deve la sua apertura a Maria Teresa d’Austria la quale, nel 1786, aprì al pubblico la biblioteca privata del conte Carlo Pertusati all’interno del seicentesco palazzo di Brera, nell’omonimo quartiere nel cuore di Milano. Sino ad allora, l’unica biblioteca pubblica era la Biblioteca Ambrosiana, che però era ricca di manoscritti ma non di libri stampati. Negli anni, attraverso una serie di lasciti e di acquisizioni, la Biblioteca Braidense è arrivata ad ospitare 1,500,000 volumi e ancora oggi è un luogo di consultazione, di lettura e di studio (tanto che non tutte le sue sale sono fotografabili).

Credo che ci tornerò presto e spesso in questo posto unico. Le biblioteche – e la Braidense in particolare – hanno un fascino tutto loro: sono luoghi che fondono la storia e la cultura, la tecnica e l’organizzazione del sapere. In un’epoca come quella attuale, in cui tutto è a portata di mouse e basta una stringa di Google per trovare ogni sorta di informazione possibile, pensare a come era una volta la ricerca e la catalogazione delle informazioni è emozionante. E il solo fatto che un luogo predisposto alla cultura possa essere concepito non solo per essere funzionale, ma anche per essere esteticamente bello, secondo me è un qualcosa di straordinario.

Forse le generazioni di oggi – in primis la cosiddetta Generazione Z, ma probabilmente gli stessi Millennials – non hanno mai sfogliato un’enciclopedia, fatto una ricerca bibliografica o preso un libro in prestito. Oggi c’è Wikipedia, ci sono i motori di ricerca, ci sono gli e-readers come Kindle (di cui io stesso – intendiamoci – sono un grande sostenitore). Eppure ricordo quando ero al liceo e facevo le mie ricerche andando in biblioteca: già all’epoca ero così affascinato da tutto quel sapere concentrato in un unico posto, che mi sentivo al tempo stesso entusiasta e inadeguato. Ecco, forse è questa la chiave di tutto: la concentrazione del sapere e la sua percezione “fisica e sensoriale”: internet non trasmette questa percezione, inuttile illudersi. Una biblioteca si. E un domani, ne sono certo, ci saranno strumenti di accesso al sapere ancora più completi e rapidi di Google o Wikipedia; ma ci sarà anche sempre qualcuno che – come me – il sabato mattina deciderà di andare a fotografare un posto meraviglioso come la Biblioteca Braidense.

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Landscape of Vatican City

Vatican City (Rome, Italy). I guess that this Landscape of Vatican City has been taken millions, maybe even billions of times! I have seen photographs like this so many times, that I was expecting to get bored easily once I was on the top of the Cupola watching the famous Piazza San Pietro. It was not like this; not at all. The only annoying things were all the tourists – like me, of course – that made capturing this image a tough mission, especially finding the (almost) perfect symmetry – my obsession in these situations!

But watching and photographing the landscape of Vatican City was an amazing experience, which I’m sure will repay you from climbing +500 steps to reach the top…

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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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Pamukkale, the Ancient City of Hierapolis

Pamukkale (Turkey). I found some minutes to take this photo during a hectic business trip, in turn happened in a hectic period of personal issues. For this reason, perhaps it’s not my most accurate shots, but I like it for what it represents to me: some minutes of pure freedom, doing one of the things I love the most. Photographing!

To be honest, the Theater of Hierapolis – the ancient city adjacent to Pamukkale, in the Denizli province – has been in my “to do” list for a long time, but for many reasons I could not visit it before. That’s why, despite the tight schedule of a business trip in the area, I tried not to miss this opportunity. I climbed the hill where the theater is located almost running, and still panting I captured this image from the top of its tribunes. There was nobody around, it was truly magic.

Then I walked down to see the famous hot spring pools, but I think you won’t see any photo of them – not exactly what you can see on flyers and other promotional materials.

Pamukkale (Turchia). Ho trovato il tempo di scattare questa foto durante un intenso viaggio di lavoro, a sua volta capitato durante un intenso periodo di cose personali. Per questo motivo non è probabilmente il mio scatto più accurato, ma mi piace per quello che rappresenta: alcuni minuti di vera libertà in cui ho fatto una delle cose che amo maggiormente. Fotografare!

Ad essere sinceri, il Teatro di Ierapoli – l’antica città vicina a Pamukkale, nella provincia di Denizli – è stato nella mia lista di cose da vedere per parecchio tempo, ma per diverse ragioni non sono riuscito a visitarlo prima. Per questo, nonostante il fitto programma di un viaggio di lavoro nella zona, ho cercato di non mancare questa opportunità. Mi sono arrampicato su per la collina dove c’è il teatro praticamente correndo, e ho scattato questa foto dalle tribune del teatro quando ancora ansimavo. Non c’era nessuno attorno a me, era veramente magico.

Successivamente ho camminato giù verso le celebri piscine termali, ma non penso che vedrete alcuna loro foto, dal momento che non sono esattamente come nei volantini e nelle varie pubblicità.


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One More Photo From The Istanbul Marathon

Istanbul (Turkey). In these days I’m posting many photos about the Vodafone Istanbul Marathon (they are all collected under a common tag). The reason is simple: I have lived in Istanbul for many years, and the marathon is one of the best event for capturing very interesting photos; not only of the city – although the landscape from the Bosphorus Bridge is quite extraordinary – but also of people, which gather on the bridge to walk freely and enjoy an unusual Sunday morning.

And – as a photographer – I think that the best observatory point is exactly the mid of the bridge between the two traffic lanes. Well, I admit one reason is due to my addiction for symmetries. But it’s not only for that: I also love to see the human flow coming toward me and observe every single person, alone or in a group. In the behavior of them I try to understand their relationship with the city and, in a wider view, with the whole country. As I already wrote in one of my previous posts about the Istanbul Marathon, the bridge – which normally is a “transit place” to connect two continents – the day of the marathon becomes a gathering place, the place-to-be where people meet “to-be-there” and externalize their feelings, emotions, sentiments, passions and so on.

This Sunday morning Istanbul will meet on the Bosphorus Bridge (the first one). It would be a mistake not being there…

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Galleria Meravigli (Perhaps One Day I Will Expose at Fondazione Forma)

Milan (Italy). I come to this place – the Galleria Meravigli – more or less every time there is a new photography exhibition at the Fondazione Forma, one of the most active reality in the Italian photographic landscape and a reference point for photography lovers in Milan. Even this year I have attended several exhibitions, including one of my favorite ever: the legendary Vivian Maier.

I have selected the Galleria Meravigli some days ago, when I was walking around Milan to test the new Leica M-D camera: It was Saturday morning and there was nobody around. I liked the feeling of being a bit suspended in the past and I took some photos of people walking “over there, out of the gallery”. This is one of them…

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