Turning my obession wtih Italy into something I can pretend is constructive.

Everything you need to know about Italian Coffee for your next trip to Italy!
Let me help you make the most of your trip! Find out more at OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

Everything you need to know about Italian Coffee for your next trip to Italy!

Let me help you make the most of your trip! Find out more at OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

To Do: Milan’s Vertical Forest

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OK, first, can I just say how excited I am to see these in Milan next Spring? 

I first heard about “Il Bosco Verticale”, “The Vertical Forest”, last week when one of my Facebook friends posted about it.  It’s the brainchild of architect and designer Stefano Boeri who somehow managed to find the support to actually BUILD these two experimental towers in Milan’s Porta Nuova district.  

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The two apartment buildings, measuring 260 and 367 feet tall, have been a five-year passion project as they meticulously scrutinize every aspect of the the design.  Boeri’s team carefully selected the 480 big- and medium-sized trees, 250 small trees, 11,000 groundcover plants and 5,000 shrubs (the equivalent of a hectare of forest!) to thrive in this specialized environment.  The actual plants that will be used have been grown explicitly for this use so they would become used to their conditions as they grew and adapt to them.  The planters were designed to accommodate the trees’ heft while allowing for flexibility.  To ensure this, the design team tested them out in wind tunnels to make sure they would make it through strong winds.

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The buildings aren’t just meant to look cool, though.  The idea is for the plants to absorb some of Milan’s small-particle pollution, CO2 and dust, produce oxygen, reduce noise pollution, and create a microclimate around the plants, which will be irrigated with the building’s greywater (water already used by tenants for washing that doesn’t contain human waste).  The roofs will be covered in wind turbines and solar panels will be placed strategically to utilize as much geothermic energy as possible within the building.

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Sure, the project has been met with some criticism.  Boston-based scientist and journalist Tim De Chant wrote on his blog, “In reality, trees on skyscrapers will likely be anything but sustainable. A skyscraper that’s built to support trees will require more concrete, more steel, more of anything structural.”

OK, so what? Once it’s built, it has the potential to enhance the lives of those living in the area for an unforeseeable amount of time, perhaps decades.  And according to Boeri, all of these additions add only 5% to construction costs, a valuable investment in the community.

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The apartment buildings are only the first step of a 6-part project that Stephan Boeri has called “BioMilano”.  Those six projects include:

1) Bosco Verticale

2) “Wood House: social housing and the tree cycle
The Wood House project aims to build low density and low cost social housing by using prefabricated forms of architecture and wooden panels recycled after conservation work on the trees which run along the Ticino river.” (http://www.boeristudio.it/)

3) “Courtyard Farms. A constellation of epicentres within systems of neighbourhood agriculture
The project for the restoration of 60 publicly owned and abandoned courtyard farms around Milan has its origins in the plan to create a new relationship between the city and new forms of agriculture. This kind of agriculture is more varied than in the past (fruit and vegetables, cereal crops, productive woods, bio-mass) and produces for the city as well as allowing for different kinds of research, training and work.” (http://www.boeristudio.it/)

4) “Expo 2015: a global kitchen garden
The project for EXPO 2015 is based around a model for new forms of local agriculture which surround Milan. A vast global kitchen garden will be created, as well as a large space for agro-food production which will produce food for a cosmopolitan metropolis.” (http://www.boeristudio.it/)

5) “Metrobosco: a forest around Milan
The Metrobosco project will develop a ring of trees around Milan which can encourage animals to settle there from those non-domestic species which are common in the hinterland areas close to the city.” (http://www.boeristudio.it/)

6) “Biological and plant decontamination of polluted urban areas
The cleaning up of ex-industrial areas and obsolete structures in the city through biological and plant cultivation creates new possibilities for public open space. Through the cultivation of polluted land, they can be cleaned-up and biomass is also created, and in this way the city can regain lost spaces which were seemingly lost forever.” (http://www.boeristudio.it/)

Sounds incredible, if he can find the support to accomplish it.  That support will probably be based upon the success of Bosco Verticale, which is nearing completion (as of September 2014).  I’ll be in Milan next Spring and can’t wait to see the towers for myself.

Congratulazioni, Signore Boeri!

#MM Elisa / Una Pagina Bianca

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Elisa’s latest CD, “L’Anima Vola” (“The Soul Flies”) is amazing.  I love it.  This track is one of my favorites, totally hooky and uptempo with a catchy lyric.  The video is simply constructed from tour footage, so not too exciting, but press play and then follow along with the English translation below.  Enjoy!

#MM Elisa / Una Pagina Bianca

Davanti a una pagina bianca (In front of a white page)

Davanti a tutto quello che manca (in front of everything that’s missing)

E con in testa un pensiero solo (and with only one thought in mind)

Un pensiero disteso (One relaxed thought)

Raso al suolo (cut to the soil)

Come una specie di telecomando (like a kind of remote control)

Per tornare a dove, tornare a quando… (to return to where, to return to when)

L’aria sul viso pungeva (the air would bite the face)

E la terra sotto ai piedi scottava (and the ground under your feet would burn)

E a me davvero non importava (And it didn’t really matter to me)

Era tutto perfetto (everything was perfect)

Sognare in un letto e… (to dream in a bed and….)

Non volere niente… (not to want for anything)

Non cercare niente… (not to search for anything)

Davanti a qualche sogno di un altro (In front of some dream of another)

Davanti a una centrale d’asfalto (in front of one asphalt plant)

Con gli occhi aperti, spalancati (with open eyes, open wide)

In cerca di qualche meta (in search of some destination)

Con quella voglia di tornare a casa (with that desire to return home)

E stavolta fargliela vedere, pagare (and this time to show him, to make him pay)

Con quella voglia di girare i piedi (with that desire to turn heel)

E trovare la forza, il coraggio di andare! (and to find the will, the courage to go)

Non volere niente da te (Don’t want anything from you)

Non sapevo niente (I didn’t know anything)

Non volevo niente da te (I didn’t want anything from you)

Non pensavo a niente che non c’è (I didn’t think of anything that isn’t there)

E guardare il cielo per trovare un motivo (and to look at the sky to find a motive)

Da restituire al mondo (to give back to the world)

E gli gridavo almeno porta via (and I was yelling to him, at least take away)

Questa rabbia così se io non ci riesco (this rage so if I cannot manage it)

Saprò che tu l’hai data al vento… (I will know that you gave it to the wind)

Non volevo niente (I didn’t want anything)

Non sapevo niente (I didn’t know anything)

Non volevo niente da te (I didn’t want anything from you)

Non pensavo a niente che non c’è (I didn’t think of anything that isn’t there)

Davanti a la mia pagina bianca, bianca (In front of my white, white page)

Davanti a una pagina bianca, bianca (In front of a white, white page)

Davanti a questa pagina bianca, bianca (In front of this white, white page)

Davanti a… la mia pagina bianca, bianca (In front of my white, white page)

La mia pagina bianca, bianca (My white, white page)

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Let me help you plan your trip! Find out more at www.OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

Let me help you plan your trip! Find out more at www.OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

Florence: Giotto’s Bell Tower (in the Rain)

It was January 3rd.  It was a rainy January 3rd.  The sun was nowhere in sight and none of the tourists hustling about Piazza Duomo, colorful umbrellas in hand, seemed to have much hope it would appear soon.  They didn’t really seem to care, though, either.

I was standing in the line of umbrellas behind Giotto’s Bell Tower.  January may be low season, but the lines were still long in Florence.  I heard a lot of Italian in that line and a wide array of Asian languages; not much English.  None, in fact, other than my own thoughts.  image

In 1334AD Giotto di Bondone was named to take over construction of the new duomo projects, which had been laying stagnant for thirty years, ever since the death of the last capomaestro, Arnoflo di Cambio.  Giotto focused his efforts not on the new church itself, but on the bell tower that was planned to stand next to it.

When he died a few years later, only the lower section was finished.  Today the campanile stands 84.7 meters tall and almost 15 meters wide.  It’s covered in marble - white marble from Carrara, green from Prato and red from Siena - forming geometrical panels over its entire exterior.

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They only let so many people into the bell tower at a time.  After about forty-five minutes, after making it to the main door, I bought a cumulative ticket for €10 and proceeded through the turnstile, up the stairs.

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And oh, are there stairs!  Narrow, dark, stone stairs.  Lots of them.  If you’re claustrophobic, it’s probably not going to be your favorite place in Florence, but luckily you only have to go up a few flights before emerging onto a terrace.

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There are three terraces (not including the roof), all offering the same views of Florence at varying heights, and seven bells in the tower: 

- Campanone (“biggest bell”): forged in 1705

- La Misericordia (“mercy bell”): forged in 1830

- Annunziata (“annunciation bell”): forged in 1956

- Mater Dei (“God’s Mother bell”): forged in 1956

- L’Assunta (“the assumption”): forged in 1956

- L’Immacolata (“immaculate bell”): forged in 1956

- Apostolica (“apostolic bell”): forged in 1957

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When you get to the uppermost terrace, you can look down to the one below.

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But why climb all those stairs if not to go to the very top?

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When I climbed the final staircase I emerged to a cloudy gray sky, but at least it wasn’t raining.

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The roof walkway is enclosed in wire, keeping birds from getting in - and people from getting out.  Luckily for me, I think most people had been scared off by the rain, not realizing it had given us a short reprieve, which meant I had an easy, unobstructed walk around the perimeter of the tower.

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Which allowed me to take my time and take pictures from every angle :)  The fog that had come with the rain blocked the view of the horizon, but I could see enough to appreciate the beauty of the red rooftops.

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Next door, people were crowded around the top of the duomo’s cupola, Brunelleschi’s Dome.  They seemed like they were just a little bit higher than I was… which simply means I had to climb the cupola, next :)

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On my way back down I was able to fully appreciate the bell tower’s limited-entry policy.  You climb the same set of stairs down as you do on the way up, which could get really crowded - and probably pretty dangerous - if they didn’t regulate how many people could go up at a time.

Let me help you plan your dream trip to Italy! Find out more at www.OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

Let me help you plan your dream trip to Italy! Find out more at www.OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

Anonymous asked:

What is the distance up the walking path to the castle? What is the altitude of the castle?

Do you mean San Luca in Bologna?  It’s actually a church, not a castle.  The walkway is 3.8 km long and the church is about 220 m above where you begin.

"A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for." ~ Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992), US Navy Rear Admiral, pioneer in the field of computer science

"A ship in port is safe, but that’s not what ships are built for." ~ Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992), US Navy Rear Admiral, pioneer in the field of computer science

Let us help you plan your dream trip to Italy! Find all the info at www.OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

Let us help you plan your dream trip to Italy! Find all the info at www.OneDayInItaly.com/plan-your-trip

#MM Tiziano Ferro / Il Bimbo Dentro

Another lovely sentiment and infectous melody from Tiziano Ferro’s album, “L’Amore É Una Cosa Semplice”… “Il Bimbo Dentro” talks about the struggle we face to grow and overcome our fears and weaknesses while at the same time not losing touch with who we truly are.  Enjoy!

Tiziano Ferro / Il Bimbo Dentro

Che fine ho fatto io? (What end have I made?)

Col viso più rotondo ma mai pallido (With the face more round but ever pale)

Meno sicuro ma (Less sure but)

Più forte a volte per la grande umiltà (stronger at times for the great humility)

Che dormivo sui banchi di scuola (that I was sleeping on the school desks)

Non trattenevo mai i nodi alla gola (I wasn’t ever holding back the knots in my throat)

Che di lottare al volte ero stanco (that at times I was tired of struggling against)

Ma per pensare avevo sempre tempo (but I always had time to think)

E ora no (and now no)

Adesso (Now)

Ti guardo assente e dico: (I look at you absent-mindedly and I say)

"tu non entri tu dentro di me non entri ("You don’t enter, Inside of me you don’t enter)

ora non più non mi ferisci più!”. (Now you don’t hurt me anymore)

Che stringo a tutti i costi i denti (That I clench my teeth at all costs)

E pur di non scoprirmi mi tiro (and to not be discovered I pull myself back)

Indietro un po’ e ancora un po’ (a little and then a little more)

Luna ascoltami (Moon, listen to me)

Se da quell’angolo (if from that angle)

Di altitudine (of elevation)

Ne sai di più di me (You know more of it than me)

Ora stringimi (Now hold me tightly)

Non voglio perdermi (I don’t want to lose myself)

Ma ora non trovo più (but now I don’t find anymore)

Il bimbo dentro me (the boy inside of me)

Che fine hai fatto anche tu? (What end have you made, too?)

Cos’è, sei stanca ormai di dirmelo (What is it, you are already tired of telling me so)

Che non ci sono più? (That I am no longer there?)

Tu che conosci con sincera umiltà (you who know with sincere humility)

La versione integrale di me (the complete version of me)

Che custodisci gelosa i “perché” (you, who jealously guards the “whys”)

Prova a ridarmi quell’assurda ironia (Try to give back to me, that absurd irony)

La voglia matta di andare via (the mad desire to go away)

Ma tornare a casa (but to return home)

Ma ora ti guardo assente (but now I look for you absent-mindedly)

E dico: (and I say)

"tu non entri! ("You do not enter!)

Tu dentro di me non entri più!” (You do not enter inside of me anymore”)

E tu neanche ti ribelli (and neither do you rise up)

Non discuti e ti rassegni (You do not argue and you give up hope)

Aiutami (Help me)

Ti prego (I beg you)

Luna ascoltami (Moon, listen to me)

Se da quell’angolo (If from that angle)

Di altitudine (of elevation)

Ne sai di più di me (You know more than me)

Scavalca i ponti tra mente e cuore (Pass over the bridges between mind and heart)

La soglia estrema del dolore (The extreme threshold of pain)

L’orgoglio ed il suo mare immenso (The pride and its immense sea)

Per far capire che ci penso (to make it understood that I think of it)

Che soffro per amore intenso (that I suffer for an intense love)

Che gioco ancora con il vento (that I still play with the wind)

Ma non trovo più il bimbo dentro (but I do not find the boy inside anymore)

Che rido ancora senza un senso (that I still laugh without a sense)

E navigo distratto e attento (and I sail distracted and alert)

Ingenuo ma con la testa (Naive but keeping my head)

O tutto o niente..o sempre o basta! (or everything or nothing… or always or enough!)

E che sono qui per ritrovarmi (and that I am here to find myself again)

E chiedo aiuto a te (and I ask for help from you)

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