martedì 19 agosto 2008

Prima di tutto, l'UOMO

Non vivere su questa terra come un estraneo, o come un turista nella natura.

Vivere in questo mondo come nella casa di tuo padre:

credi al grano, alla terra, al mare

ma prima di tutto, credi all'uomo.

Ama le nuvole, le macchine, i libri

ma prima di tutto ama l'uomo.

Senti la tristezza del ramo che secca, dell'astro che si spegne, dell'animale ferito che rantola

ma prima di tutto senti il riso ed il pianto dell'uomo.

Ti diano gioia tutti i beni della terra:

l'ombra e la luce di diano gioia, le quattro stagioni ti diano gioia

ma sopra tutto, a pieni mani ti dia gioia l'uomo!

Nazim Hikmet (ultima lettera al figlio)

giovedì 7 agosto 2008

Food, glorious food!

How many times have we been on holiday, and upon our return tell our friends: the weather fantastic, the food was great, and the people were friendly? Well, in Italy these are all understatements. So much has already been said about Italian food, that to say something new is virtually impossible.

However, it is possible to do something new: go to a "Sagra". There's a good website called which, if you subscribe to their free newsletter will list all the upcoming Sagre for the season. Probably, the most enjoyable are those held in summer in the public piazzas where you can mix with the locals and eat local produce, which is usually genuine home-grown and very fresh.

Lazio, with it's soothing microclimate offers some of the finest fruit and vegetables, varying from the "fragoline di bosco" (forest strawberries) of Lake Nemi in Castelli Romani, to the "porcini" mushrooms and olive oil of the Tuscia. Magnificent game can be tasted during the "festa dei cacciatori" in Capranica or Maremma beef in Monte Romano.

All this and more will give added flavour to your holiday, and maybe, if you're lucky you'll make some new friends too. Another real life cross-cultural experience possible with a little help from Intrinsics to enjoy the pleasures of slow travel. Feel free to ask questions by contributing to the blog.

mercoledì 6 agosto 2008

Are you ready for yet another blog?

Hello unknown efimeral friends. The mission of this blog is to bring together artists and "artigiani" who feel their worthy art is being underestimated by the majority. The great bloggers will probably disregard its contents, but who said "grande è bello"? So, to all those who have something to say about art, in English or Italian, welcome.

Two years ago, I created the Intrinsics project to promote slow, sustainable travel to a small town in the heart of Tuscia: Castel S.Elia /province of Viterbo. Far from the madding crowd, this town, only 45kms north of Rome boasts an Abbey called "Basilica di S.Elia" of XII century origins. Today, the Basilica is one of the most popular churches in which happy couples make their wedding vows and is booked often two years in advance.

So, what makes this church a special place to be wed? Perhaps those who married there should answer that question. Suffice it that Castel Sant'Elia has a very spiritual aura dating back to VII century when S.Gregorio Magno visited the area as Pope, when he fled from Rome to escape the ransack of Rome by the barbarians, where he met secretly with Queen Teodolinda asking her to convince her husband not to put Rome to flames and fire. Apparently he succeeded in his quest, thus saving Rome from a dismal destiny.

Since it's Etruscan, medieval and subsequent Renaissance development, Castel Sant'Elia has maintained its minute proportions (2.200 inhabitants) also its slow "village" life. That's what makes it so fascinating to visitors.

Hence the need to offer accomodation in keeping with the town; no modern hotel, internet and satellite TV, rather a true community life experience, in a medieval house hewn from the historical battlements. The very same Pope Gregorio Magno had fortified during his stay, and that Alessandro Farnese later elaborated during the XVI century.

Here artists can show their work in the Intrinsics Gallery, which will be officially inaugurated early September.