Seductive Venice

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Feb 11, 2021

Venice seduces us in so many ways–with her watery, curving reflections; her hidden corners shot through with light; her disguises, her artistic creations inspired by centuries of tradition.

Casanova once walked La Serenissima’s calle and drifted down her canals, on the way to a tryst or an adventure. Let these images take you back into your own Venetian memories, your dreams and your desires. You might spy glittering glass beads through a window or sumptuous Fortuny fabrics sailing overhead. You might peer through doorways into other vistas. You might repose within the cool marble walls of a bright white church or duck your head passing beneath an arching bridge.

Venice beckons in the shape of gondoliers, maskers, artists, violinists, welcoming you to explore her secret streets and mirrored canals. Play in the shadows and in the light as it bounces off stone and water. Then meet up with your friends for an Aperol Spritz or a cool raboso. As the light closes out the day, toast to love, to beauty, to history, to Venice, grateful that we get to enjoy her charms.

(Grazie mille to Kathleen Gonzalez, author of Seductive Venice: In Casanova’s Footsteps and other books celebrating and revealing Venice’s history and my dear friend Frank Yantorno for several of the dazzling evening photos.)

Amorini, Ambassadors of LOVE!

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Feb 8, 2020

Plump, naked, and adorable, amorini are those androgynous winged babies that tumble and flutter through Renaissance, Baroque, and Rococo art. You may have also heard the related term putti. Both terms are Latin diminutives; amorini for love and putti for “putus,” meaning “boy child.” Amorini are typically depicted as angelic cherubs in religious scenes or frolicking cupids in mythological narratives. In both cases, their presence, whether divine or earthly, always symbolizes love and joy.

However young these playful, ever-curious and fetching flying bambini appear, they’re quite old . . . going back to classical antiquity, when they were winged messengers of the Greek gods known as “erotes,” members of Aphrodite’s train, who conveyed various forms of love to humans. They were recast as child-angels in early Christian imagery but fell out of favor during the dour and dreary Middle Ages.

Then came their rediscovery, along with a cornucopia of other classical images, during the Renaissance when masters like Donatello and Raphael breathed new life into them, creating a new generation as bacchanalian as their ancestors. Ever popular and ubiquitous today, especially around Valentines’ Day, amorini bring delight and enchantment to whatever tableaux they join.

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.