HEART OF BERLIN

Next day we decided to explore the Mitte area, the most historical area in Berlin: from our hotel, we crossed Oranienburgerstrasse, where You can find some interesting buildings, such as the “Postfuhramt” – it was an ancient stable with two hundred horses employed to delivery mail – and the “Neue Synagoge”, the largest synagogue in the world, completed in 1866, but sadly set on fire during Kristallnacht in 1938, and after also damaged in 1943 by air raids. It was reconstructed starting from 1987.


We continued to the Sprea island (Museumsinsel), where are located many international museum of the city. The history of Museum Island started with King Frederick William III who, in 1810, commissioned the creation of a public museum on Spree Island.  In 1822 Karl Friedrich Schinkel drew up plans to develop the island, and a first museum building, the Royal Museum – nowadays the Altes Museum – opened in 1830. The museum was built to allow the general public to view the royal art treasures of Prussia. The other museum were established during XIX century. Sadly, most of these buildings were destroyed during World War II and, after the conflict, the collections were split up between East and West Berlin. After German reunification the collections were brought together again and a masterplan was drawn up, to not only restore all five museums but also expand and modernize the museum complex.


We took the chance to visit the Pergamon Museum, where you’ll find a remarkable collection of Greek, Roman and Babylonian antiquities. Highlights include impressive monuments such as the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, the Market gate of Miletus and the enormous Pergamon Altar. It’s really impressive to see such kind of artifacts included in closed rooms, with for example, Ishtar Gate that nearly reach the ceiling.

After the visit, we took a stroll around the Museum complex: crossing the colonnade, You’ll reach the Dom, Berlin’s main cathedral, that was built at the end of the XVIII century as a protestant counterpart of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The cathedral is lavishly decorated in the Baroque style.




The basement of the cathedral holds the Hohenzollern family crypt. It contains more than ninety sarcophagi, including that of Frederick William, the Great Elector.
If You don’t have fear of heights, you can climb to the dome and enjoy a great view on the rooftops of the city.


The garden in front of the Dom is called “Lustgarten”. The garden was originally created as an exotic garden for Princess Luise, spouse of the Great Elector. King Frederick William I, the so-called ‘Soldier-King’, turned the garden into a military parade ground. Here you find Altes Museum, reopened in 1966 as a museum of contemporary art, it houses nowadays ancient Greek and Roman antiquities. The building resembles infact a Greek Ionic Temple.


to be continued..Cris

 

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STILL ALIVE!

Woah! We’re already in March, really? Time flies when you’re busy, indeed…Forgive me for the long lack of posts, but it was for a good reason: I got married on 31th December (yes, really) and I was totally absorbed by the final preparations first, by the honeymoon after, and then by a lot of work piled up from before at my arrival!
Now I’ve caught up and returned to the daily routine, little by little, I Just wanted to show You some pictures that we’ll treasure for the whole life: it was simply blissful, everything, I’ve no other words to describe it.

Very soon we’ll talk again about good food, good travels, good interior design. Hope You all had a great start of the Year, like me. Hooray! Cris

CITIES OF THE WORLD: BERLIN

I’m not sure about where I have to start speaking of Berlin. In February I leaved without many expectations to visit it for the first time, so I admit I’ve been taken by surprise from this city. What do you think first about Berlin? Probably the first things you remember are historical events: Second World War, the cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall…and so on.

What can I say is: you’ll find in Berlin all of these, but also much more. Strolling throught the streets of the several quarters, you’ll perceive the many souls of the city: there is a Renaissance Berlin; a contemporary one; a place where abstract and graffiti art have significance; a city which offers ideas in many fields, sometimes alternative and still a bit subversive.

Personally I was surprised by the capability of this city not to succumb to the shadows of its past: Berlin could have eclipse after the destruction and the senseless violence of the war: ever since the creation of a unified Germany in 1871, the nation’s tumultuous history has had a profound impact on the history of its capital Berlin.
Many historic neighborhoods and monuments were destroyed during the Second World War, but since the reunification after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, historic areas like Potsdamer Platz and Pariser Platz have been completely revamped. Nowadays, Berlin is once again one of Europe’s main cities: lively, dynamic and inviting.


With the following posts, I’ll retrace my steps and accompany you across some of the salient points of Berlin, starting right now from the Castle of Charlottenburg. We arrived in the afternoon, and we started right away our exploration from this western district, even if we couldn’t visit the inside of the residence.

This is the biggest historical palace left after the Second World War in Berlin, though burned to the ground during the Second World War but it has been completely reconstructed. The palace was built at the end of the 17th century and was greatly expanded during the 18th century. It includes much exotic internal decoration in baroque and rococo styles. A large garden surrounded by woodland was added behind the palace.
Originally commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, wife of Friedrich III, and built as a modest summer residence, the Schloss still nowadays show the grandeur of the Hohenzollern dynasty who for centuries ruled over Prussia.

The central and oldest part of the palace is the domed Altes Schloss (Old Palace) Here you can visit the apartments of Frederick I and Queen Sophie Charlotte. The rooms are decorated in a sumptuous Baroque style with plenty of stucco, wood paneling, gilded ornaments and frescoes. Other interesting rooms include the Oval Room, which looks out over the garden; the opulent Schlosskapelle, a chapel with an impressive royal box; and the Porcelain Chamber, laden with more than two thousand pieces of Chinese porcelain.

to be continued…

THE FRIDAY NIGHT “SNACK”: POP CORN PISTACHIOS&PAPRIKA

Hello!I can’t believe how much time I spent away from the blog, but don’t worry, I’m alive! I went throughout a particularly sensitive time, an emotional rollercoaster with big joy and happiness, but also some unpleasant moments. So I choosed to keep some distance from the blog, give me time to be confortable again and now … I’m back with new ideas and travels! However, I’m still a bit in a hurry, so as you can see “The Friday Night Recipe” for this week becomes “The Friday Night Snack”… (hoping a snack’ll be enough to bring to Fiesta Friday)
Checking out sites like this gave me a nice (and yummy) idea: to personalize a pop-corn recipe. Let me say first that in Italy we don’t have such a large choice of flavoured pop-corn, if so I think I’ll try all of those! Personally, pop-corn reminds to my childhood afternoon snacks, or to the winter nights when my father made pop-corn before watching a movie. Here in Italy we do have sweet-flavoured pop-corn, but generally we eat the salted ones. I do love the salted version, so I thinked about a personal salty version.

When I’ve some time, I prefere to make them in a frypan with extra-virgin olive oil, not in the microwave. I just love to “shake” lightly the frypan and hear the familiar popping sound, while inspiring the sweet corn scent.
This time I was lucky because Maryam, a dear friend, brought me fabulous iranian pistachios, so I thought about a “mix” of ingredients!

FLAVORED POP-CORN PISTACHIOS&PAPRIKA

INGREDIENTS: (4 people)

– 3/4 fistful of corn grains;
– extra-virgin olive oil;
– 100 gr pistachios;
– some pinches of sweet paprika
– some pinches of salt

PREPARATION:

Just prepare pop-corn in a frypan: when the oil is warmed-up, put the corn grains in the frypan and cover it with a pot lid; shake the frypan from time to time and wait till the pop-corn are ready; then chop the pistachios in tiny pieces (I often use a meat mallet), and put them on the pop-corn.


Transfer the pop-corn and the chopped pistachios in a freezer bag, and then add some pinches of paprika. Shake several times the bag and then pop-corn are ready to be served!
This is my combo, but I would like to know what kind of pop-corn do you prefer, salted or not, and flavored with?

See You soon!Cris

SALONE DEL MOBILE 2017

Hello! This post remained “frozen” for a while, because of my recent work commitments, so this year I’m in huge delay about the last trends about interior design. But I took some interesting pictures, to catch the atmosphere I breathed.

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Let me reassume simply what’ll be trendy next season:

– First of all, we’re back in the 70’s: geometric shapes, flashy colours, fancy wallpapers, round armchairs: if you’re a nostalgic, this is the perfect time for you.
– Make way for rich fabrics and materials: velvet and taffeta are the protagonist of the home, giving a cozy, warm touch, together with the classic marble – or cultured marble for the table surfaces. –
– Let’s have fun combining particular colours: dark moss green with yellow, powder blue with orange, and so on.
– Greenery is good!: wallpaper and pouffs with palms, but also great profusion of plants and vases everywhere, and also cupboards with leaves and blossoms motifs.

SPRING CHALLENGE

Hello! Salone del Mobile in Milan is just over, and, speaking about design, it’s time of the year when you wish to make some changement to your home, with all the new “collections” approaching. I’m really excited to take up the “challenge” of redecoration also this year, and during these days I’ve been greatly inspired especially from Arhaus website and the Arhaus’ Instagram.
The challenge consists in redecorate a room in my home and make it feel more like spring: I choosed my bedroom to redecorate, ’cause I don’t really have so much time to think about giving a refresh to my own home, so this could be a beautiful occasion! Now, let’s start from quite an empty room, only the essential: upholstered bed, light-wooden wardrobe and sidetables, a warm and cozy chocolate brown wall.

Can you imagine to give it a fresh hint? First of all, let’s think about spring, and what it evoke for us: probably greenery, leaves and grass, beautiful scented flowers, isn’t it? The simplest things are always a good point to start.


Now, taking a tour on Arhaus website, I found some interesting hints to transform this room. I prepared a palette board to make it simple. As you can see, we’ll play with the shades of green, adding some pink and fuchsia accents. Thanks also to the shades of beige and brown of the room, which remind me a little at the ground where the blossoms bloom, the final result should be really regenerating.

But let’s resume a bit all the hints I suggest to you:

– Wallpaper: also the wall are main part of the final result. Using a tree and leaves wallpaper could be a great idea to give quite an exotic touch to the room.
– Mirror and Frames: antique white and beige frames would be perfect to combine, better if elegant in shape but rustic in the finishing.
– Cushions and pouffs: let’s prefer natural fiber – linen and cotton cushions and plaids are just perfect – but you could dare to insert also some shipskin pillows or carpets.
– Vases and complements: lace motifs vases and transparent smoke colored ones are great for fresh scented flowers, like pink ranunculus and gerberas. If you’re not pink-addicted, you could insert some shade of yellow instead of the pink one.
– Take some time also to choose some pendant lighting from the site: adding a flower-shaped pendant light, or an elegant glass lamp to a room, can create the right atmosphere.

And last but not least, if you have a quite big bedroom like mine, sure you have enough space for an armchair. Personally, I love to insert wooden outdoor chair in a corner of a room indoor: It creates an effect of originality, like these two chairs by Arhaus, with a simple elegant design, made by rattan and teak wood. Now you could play matching the pillows for your bedroom chair, and it’s done.

Hoping to have given you some good suggestion, I just wish you too a good Spring Challenge in your homes! Cris

PALLADIAN VILLAS OF VICENZA

Hello! Today we return to Italy for a moment to talk about a little jewel I recently discovered: I’m talking about the city of Vicenza, located in Veneto region. Less famous than Verona and Venezia, undoubtly it worth a visit to discover an important side of Italian architecture.

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If you’re taking a one-day trip to Vicenza, I suggest to start early in the morning with the visit of two of the most famous Palladian Villas: Villa Valmarana ai Nani and Villa Capra (so called “La Rotonda”).
Valmarana ai Nani is a splendid architectural and artistic site, composed by three buildings connected thanks to a well-preserved vintage park. The buildings “Palazzina” (1669), Foresteria and Scuderia (1720), are surrounded by green areas based on symmetry, axial geometry and on the principle of imposing order over nature: the famous “Giardini all’Italiana”. The garden is open to all  those who visit the villa.
Palazzina and Foresteria are frescoed by Giambattista and Giandomenico Tiepolo, called in 1757 from the owner Giustino Valmarana. The Villa takes its name from the 17 stone dwarf-statues, previously scattered into the garden, and now placed on the surrounding wall of the property.

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Family Valmarana still live in the Villa, considered the maximum expression of the eighteenth century and the hightest proof of Tiepolos mastery. From the “Palazzina” building, dominated by statues of several divinities, you could enjoy a peaceful panorama on the Valletta del Silenzio,  with the Sanctuary of Monte Berico in the background.

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Villa Almerico Capra, named “La Rotonda” is achievable by walk from Villa Valmarana: designed and builded for commission from Andrea Palladio in 1570, the name “Capra” derives from the Capra brothers, who completed the building after it was given to them in 1592. From 1911 the building is owned by Family Valmarana, that opened the complex to visitors starting 1986. This building is conserved as part of the World Heritage Site “City of Vicenza and the Palladian Villas”.


The site selected was a hilltop just outside the city: rather than a villa, infact, you could call it a “palazzo”: the design is for a completely symmetrical building having a square plan with four facades, each of which has a projecting portico. The name La Rotonda refers to the central circular hall with its imposing dome, beautifully painted with frescoes by artists such as Anselmo Canera and Alessandro Maganza.

A full morning is enough when not crowded to visit both the villas, then in the afternoon you can head to the city center, with its beautiful and well-preserved historical buildings.

to be continued…

POSTCARDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD: BERLIN

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“Per visitare Berlino bisogna saper vedere anche quello che non c’è più e saper intuire una ingannevole realtà. Qui gli eventi sono cicatrici sul volto della storia, ma la loro capacità evocativa è intatta. A Berlino nulla resta più visibile di ciò che si cerca di cancellare.”

“To visit Berlin must be able to see what is not here anymore, and be able to grasp a deceptive reality. Here events are scars on the face of history, but their evoking ability is unaltered. In Berlin nothing remains more visible than what you are trying to delete.”

(Johann Bernhard Merian)