Italian Chic, our journey in Italy
Published by Assouline, Sept 2018
Sunbathed squares, palazzi and churches, ancient fountains and vestiges, traditions and customs of picturesque exotism. Italy has always stood for the unmistakable destination of the Grand Tour, the journey artists embarked on in search of new experiences and confrontations, a quest for adventurers to discover (or ultimately lose) their true selves, a veritable initiation rite to adulthood for the European and worldwide Golden Youth.
Many clichés (but yet truthful), a bit of reasonable preconception, a lot of romanticized idealization and enough great Cinema (and sometimes even mediocre) have allowed the myth of the trip through Italy to survive through the ages and to present itself intact to the sagacious eye of the contemporary jet-setter.
Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples still represent the main attraction, the entrance key to access Italy. Next to them, many other destinations, famous or hidden, compose a rich and suggestive itinerary, a deep experience, both intellectual and sensual.
From North to South – Mimicking the traditional direction of the Grand Tour, the images in this book follow a trajectory that is also a quick story of a complex History, influenced by various dominations, indigenous or external, by mercantile and frontier contacts, by the nature of distinct peoples, unified under the same tricolor flag only for the last century and a half.
To unite them here are various flaws, on which we will cunningly pass over in silence, many qualities that will hopefully become obvious while browsing the pages of this book, and a slight of peculiar “obsessions” that, moved by our inner theatrical and passionate spirit, embody the Italian Life-Style in the world.
Hedonism and self-indulgence – the pursuit of beauty in life, good food, good drinks, loving a lot,driving fast, dressing elegant, stylishly getting bored, are distinctive italian traits. This book, not surprisingly, presents many images of restaurants and hotels. It is not a guide, neither is it meant to be so, but it certainly contains good addresses. Trendy places are excluded, as tomorrow they will be replaced without great regrets. We favoured instead, in our forcedly selective choices, places whose history, location, style and of course quality, have impressed on us a long lasting memory and the desire to go back to it.
Italy is an open air museum. Art everywhere, impressive monumental scenery and tiny exquisite details, inherited without too much merit from an exceptional past, that painstakingly stand up to a careless modernity, immersed in a benevolent, and often truly extraordinary, natural landscape. We do not know for sure if this great beauty can contribute, as a model, to sharpen a people’s sensitivity to style, but we believe it is plausible. Here’s why, as we daily ride our Vespa across Rome’s city centre to get to the atelier, we always feel lucky, blessed and privileged.