Love, Lust and Lavazza

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May 31, 2019

Can coffee boost the libido?  Une caffe is sexy: it is hot, black, lively and gives you an instant kick. It is full of heady aroma. And yes, coffee CAN be weapon of seduction, “prendere un uomo per la gola”, “take a man by his throat” as they say in Italia …

Lavazza has long understood this with its playful, sensual and even occasionally scandalous imagery. At one time the company received a rap on the knuckles by the Ethical Trade Council of Sweden for an ad campaign it considered sexist …

If you plan to visit Torino with its fabulous and elegant cafes and chocolate shops, do check out the hyper-caffeinated Lavazza Museum which opened in June of 2018 at Lavazza’s Nuvola Headquarters. Here you will experience immersive multimedia installations and learn about global coffee culture, 120 plus years of Lavazza family & company history and view more than 50 years of advertising, which has always been highly imaginative, provocative and edgy. But what kind of coffee museum would this be without a free sample? At the end of your visit, you can try one classic drink and something new, like a coffee-infused cocktail. Another of the many reasons to visit Torino.

Paradise Lost & Parhttps://postcardsfromtheboot.com/art-architecture/paradise-lost-paradise-found/adise Found in Rome

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May 18, 2019

The Eternal City is filled with some of the most extraordinary works of ancient art; one the most beautiful is surprisingly one of the least visited.  It’s the summer dining room from the Villa of Livia, who was the wife of Emperor Augustus. Life-size frescoes of trees, flowers, fruit and birds decorate four walls to create a continuous 360° view. The luxuriant paradise was unearthed in 1863 and dates back to 39 B.C., now housed in Palazzo Massimo, Rome’s Archaeological Museum (located near the train station and Santa Maria Maggiore).

Allow yourself to be completely immersed as Livia’s garden casts its enchanting spell. A lush Eden grows improbably beyond an illusionistic fence where birds take flight in sky whose color variations create a mesmerizing atmospheric effect. You can almost detect the rustling of wind through the leaves. Scholars have recognized a plethora of vegetation including umbrella pine, oak, red fir, quince, pomegranate, orange, myrtle, oleander, date palm, strawberry, laurel, cypress, ivy, acanthus, rose, poppy, iris, violet, chamomile, chrysanthemum, fern and more! Livia lived to 83, extraordinary for the time, and was the only woman to be deified for her service to the Empire.

Palazzo Massimo also has an extensive collection of statuary, mosaics, frescoes and coins. Be sure and visit the next time you are in Roma!

Burano’s Candy-Colored Casas

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May 4, 2019

Forty minutes from Murano, world famous for its glass, is the island village of Burano, famous for its lace … and where the dazzling colors of locales like the Caribbean meet the haunting qualities of the Venetian lagoons. Many visitors to Venice, perhaps forgetting one out of confusion with the other, or perhaps due to time constraints, choose to go to Murano and not take the second 40-minute vaporetto journey to its almost-namesake. But those who do are treated to some very yummy eye-candy. Along the canals are charming two-story houses — cherry, pink, chartreuse, azure, tangerine and canary yellow, with contrasting-hued shutters, brightly patterned curtains for doors, window boxes and ceramic pots overflowing with flowers, and some very nicely art-directed clotheslines.

No one really knows how all this exuberance began, but there are, naturally, many stories about the origin of Burano’s vivacious color scheme. One plausible suggestion was that back in the day, painting each house a different color helped define property lines. Another more amusing, though less plausible suggestion is that on days of winter fog or very rough seas, the fishermen could not go fishing and spent their day playing cards and drinking vino. By the evening they were feeling so festive they couldn’t recognize their own houses. So it was decided to paint every house a different color so every wife could be sure the right man would return to the right home after a day on the town.