Portrait Of A Dog – Noir

Noir with her tennis ball

Where do I even begin with Noir? It is quite difficult to put into words how extraordinary she is.

My father’s partner acquired her in 2019 after she was found near Agrigento, Sicily (Southern Italy), where she had previously been abandoned by a family who was leaving for the holidays (unfortunately this seems to happen a lot in the summer months), and was then found by a volunteer who put her up for adoption.

Noir is a Flat-Coated Retriever (which, as you may already know, is basically a black retriever) and has the most admirable qualities you will find in a retriever: a self-assured, happy dog, affectionate towards the family and generally getting along well with other dogs.

She is generous and playful. She loves to retrieve pretty much anything, especially her tennis ball. Whenever Noir comes across one, she won’t stop asking you to play with her, even when she’s visibly tired, as she tends to suffer from heat stress in the warm season (we often joke about how she should be used to hot weather, since she comes from Sicily, where it’s super hot in the summertime).

A curious dog by nature, she spends the summer months looking for lizards in the garden with our Pomeranian mix Jolie; the two of them will interrupt their hunting only when food is around!


Visiting The Ceramics Museum In Savona, Italy

Last week I had the pleasure to attend an exhibition at the Savona Ceramics Museum (Museo della Ceramica di Savona). Located in an ancient building called “Palazzo Monte di Pietà”, which is part of Savona’s historic district (for those of you who don’t know, Savona is an Italian city by the sea in the region of Liguria, North-West Italy), the museum hosts a permanent collection of Ligurian ceramics, mainly from the cities of Savona and Albisola, of about a thousand works, from the 15th century to modern times. The collection stretches over four floors of the Palazzo and it is organized into separate collections, alternating type and chronology.

The museum is currently holding a temporary exhibition on the first floor called “Superb Ceramics: Bartolomeo Guidobono and the splendor of the Savona Baroque”; Guidobono, son of Gio Antonio, a renowned painter and decorator of majolica, began his apprenticeship in his father’s shop at the age of twelve. His artistic activity followed two directives: his primary field of application was painting, but he also contributed to a renewal of the decoration in the Baroque style in his ceramics.

Ligurian ceramics – Bartolomeo Guidobono retrospective

Portrait Of A Dog – Grace (Kelly)


Grace is an Irish Setter bought by my father’s partner about ten years ago, so she’s the oldest of the crew. She comes from Scarna’s Red Dream, a dog breeding centre specialized on the breeding of Irish setters (it is in fact one of the biggest in Europe). Born from Cordarragh Sebastian and Cordarragh Titania and originally named Aisha, Grace was among the first dogs my father’s partner got, as she switched to adopting them instead of buying puppies from breeding centres. I think this is a great option, especially because you give the dogs a chance to have a better life and escape from traumatic experiences.

As some of you may know, Irish Setters are usually very intelligent, loyal, affectionate and energetic. Grace embraces all these qualities, even now that she’s old.

She was already nine years old when I met her, so I learned through my family’s tales that she was hyperactive and vivacious when she was younger; she once destroyed the living room when nobody was home, because of her inclination to play and run back and forth in the house.

This image is quite different from the Grace I came to know; now that she’s an old lady, she spends the majority of her time sleeping on the floor or waiting for food. She is gourmand like Jolie, with whom she has a mother-daughter relationship, as I mentioned in this article about our Pomeranian mix.

You can’t imagine how much Grace is interested in food. She is always present every time we are in the kitchen, and one needs to be careful because she may literally steal you the food from your hands! I was told that she once stole a piece of Parmesan cheese from the kitchen counter and escaped to the garden to eat it by herself 😁 she loves food so much that sometimes she is the only dog showing interest for salad, too!


Throwback Thursday: Attending The Locarno Film Festival – 70th Edition, August 2017

Invitation to Locarno Film Festival’s Opening Night

The first week of August in 2017 I had the pleasure to live one of the greatest weeks of my life. I was living in Lugano during that time, so I was eager to attend the 70th edition of Locarno Film Festival.

Locarno Film Festival is held annually in Locarno, Switzerland, and it is the most important Swiss film festival. Like the main film festivals (i.e. Cannes, Venice, Toronto…), it screens movies in different sections, both competitive and non-competitive; this includes documentaries, shorts, retrospective programs and avant-garde films. The festival’s main partners are Swisscom, laMobiliare, UBS and Manor, while the municipalities of Ascona and Locarno are the destination partner. The top prize of the festival is the Golden Leopard, which is awarded to the best film in the International Competition, along with other prizes like the Prix du Public (Audience Award) and the Leopard of Honor (Career Achievement). In addition, it awards numerous minor prizes and it also awards the Green Pardo WWF (in collaboration with WWF), praising the movie which best reflects the environmental theme in any of the competition sections. For this edition, the Artistic Director was Carlo Chatrian, who maintained his role until the following year. The President of the Jury was Olivier Assayas, director of masterpieces like Personal Shopper and Sils Maria.

Olivier Assayas, President of the Jury at Locarno Film Festival 70

I got to attend the festival with an accreditation due to the fact that I was working in collaboration with a friend journalist, so I was very happy to watch as many films as possible. I was there almost everyday and traveling from Lugano is about 45 minutes by car; I was thankful for that because hotels are so expensive in Locarno during the Festival week.

Attending the 70th Locarno Film Festival