Elsa Peretti danced the night away at Manhattan's Studio 54 during her days as a top fashion model. But she also is a jewelry designer and philanthropist. A lover of architecture, she is also largely responsible for the restoration of the village of Sant Martí Vell in Catalonia, Spain. Through her foundations, she supports a wide variety of cultural, social, and artistic causes. One of her more artistic endeavors proved to be a real challenge...
Peretti's La Torre was a ruin of a watchtower on the steep and craggy cliffs of Southern Tuscany--it was hardly a typical beachfront villa. Built by Spanish invaders in the 16th-century as a military lookout between the Tuscan archipelago and the island of Corsica, its remote setting appealed to Peretti but its decrepit condition was daunting. The tower contained awkward, spartan interiors with thick stone walls, cell-like rooms and thin slits as windows. Milanese architect Renzo Mongiardino helped change all that.
The design could go take one of two possible paths: honoring the structure and its spartan shapes with whitewashed walls, simple wooden furniture and mattresses on the floor, or creating a three-dimensional fairy tale tower with tromp l’oeil effects.
One of the main features is a fireplace mantle created by a copy of a gaping, monstrous mouth, inspired by the sculptures found at the 16th-century Bomarzo Garden of Monsters. Tromp l’oeil columns, pediments, and vines emphasize the fairy-tale-like quality of the tower, taking it back into the 17th century. Some of the effects include distorting perspective to make the spaces appear more spacious than they actually are. Mongiardino designed the tower sitting room as a “Roman ruin” with trompe l’oeil coffered ceiling opening to sky. The patterned floor incorporates terra-cotta, wood and marble.
The influence of Bomarzo Gardens is obvious
Casalinga trimming the veggies.
Getting the shopping done.
Settling in for dinner
Mr. Darcy would be shocked. Because Colin Firth is now an Italian citizen. He obtained dual citizenship because of Brexit — Britain’s plan to exit the European Union — and the political “uncertainty” that is happening across Europe. He was able to obtain citizenship because he’s married to Italian film producer Livia Giuggioli. Firth decided to make the move because his wife and their two children already have Italian citizenship. Both their kids were born in Rome, so they have dual citizenship. And now Firth does, too.
“We never really thought much about our different passports,” Firth told the BBC. “But now, with some of the uncertainty around, we thought it sensible that we should all get the same.”
READ MORE HERE...
Maria Grazia Cucinotta: an Italian actress who has featured in films and television, also a film producer, screenwriter and model. Best known for her roles in Il Postino and as a Bond girl in the The World Is Not Enough.
Monica Belluci: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Malena, Matrix: Reloaded
Caterina Murino: born in Cagliari, Sardinia, and initially wanted to be a doctor. She has appeared on stage in Shakespeare productions and as a Bond Girl.
Asia Argento: an Italian actress, singer, model, and director.
Argento is best known for the role of Yelena in the action film xXx.
Elisabetta Canalis: was born in Sassari, Sardinia and is a dancer,
television hostess and actress.
Sara Tommasi: an Italian actress and television personality known
for dating soccer stars and posing nude.
Melita Toniolo: born in Treviso, she is a film actress.
Vanessa Hessler: an Italian-American model and actress since she was 15. Hessler has appeared in many publications throughout Italy, Germany and France.
According to the so-called "experts" at Glamour magazine, she is--for the second year in a row. The 44 year old Alyssa Milano is known more recently for her role on the television series Charmed, and back in 1984 (to a whole different generation) in Who's the Boss with Tony Danza (Lord, that's a long time ago). Earlier, she started her career at 7 years old with a role in Annie on Broadway.
I mean, yes. For a 44 year old actress, she's held up well. But using a critical eye she's a bit worn at the edges. For instance, her make-up has gotten heavier and heavier over the years--along with her hips. Speaking as a photographer, her best looks are done as still shots in the studio using what we in the industry call "beauty lighting", with large banks of flat lighting that mask any age lines. Before being printed, retouching is the norm. To check out her "sexiest" looks in a critical way, look for shots captured candidly on the street with natural lighting, or harsh on-camera flash shots done by paparazzi.
Ok, here's my choices, but not for "Sexiest Actress Alive". That's a pretty tall order. Instead, my list for actresses over 40....
Besides just being the cutest means of transportation on the Planet Earth, the Vespa Piaggio is now planning to introduce fuel-injection technology across its entire model range in the near future. Currently, the Vespa scooters get an old-school carburetor. With a carburator a Vespa (depending on the size of the engine) should get between 60 and 90 miles per gallon! With fuel injection, it can only get better. And depending on the model, you can go Slow Italy style at a top speed of 40 mph, or if you're more the Ferrari type, up to 80 mph on the larger models.
Here's a sampling of Vespa models and what they'll set you back...
A Brief History of Vespa
The first Vespa scooter was produced in 1946 by Enrico Piaggio. Inspired by the Cushman scooters used by the American military during WWII, designer Corradino D'Ascanio first produced a scooter design for Ferdinando Innocenti (Lambretta), but after a disagreement, took his design to Enrico Piaggio, an aircraft manufacturer. Vespa, meaning "wasp" in Italian, was attributed to Piaggio's first sight of the design, exclaiming that it looked like a wasp. Production started in December 1946.
But if you want a genuine feel-good reason to get a Vespa, check out the collaboration between Piaggio Group and (RED)®, which has created Euro 4 VESPA 946-RED, a Vespa clad in shiny red, designed to benefit the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, promoted by the organization founded in 2006 by Bono and Bobby Shriver. For every VESPA 946-RED purchased, $150 will go to the Global Fund to fight AIDS with (RED)®, which can provide more than 500 days of lifesaving HIV medication to help prevent a mother living with HIV from passing the virus to her unborn baby. Forget chic.... this is just plain solid! And how's a 90+ mph top speed and
The Vespa also joined with fashion guru Giorgio Armani to produce a version of the 946 called the Emporio Armani, but when I weigh whether I'd rather have some of my cash go into Armani's very full pockets or toward helping the helpless of the world... well, there's only once choice. What goes around comes around, you know?
To be honest, when my wife Lisa and I were first getting to know each other, I used to hide her Madonna CDs under the front seat of her car where she couldn't find them. I never really liked Madonna or the nasal sound of her voice. I also though her dancing was pedantic at best. But when I heard about her spending her 59th birthday in Puglia, I thought perhaps there's hope for her celebrity soul yet. Puglia is one of the most interesting and beautiful places on the planet, and one of the most under-rated regions of Italy.