A Journey to Middle Island, Miramichi

 
 
 

Text&Photography   Katrice Dustin

The journey from Miramichi’s town centre to historic Middle Island in the dead of winter consists of a quiet 30 minute stride down Water St through pale, free-falling snow. Heading east by foot along the Miramichi River, dense fixtures of white birches line the highway along the water’s edge, as a convergence of Balsam firs begin to peek out in the distance. 

If simply stumbled upon, one wouldn’t dare imagine this tiny, beautiful island as a former quarantine station for the Irish settlers who contracted typhus and scarlet fever on board the Looshtauk ship from Dublin headed for Quebec in the mid-19th century.

Fleeing desperately from the Irish Potato Famine, 462 hopeful immigrants made their way across the Atlantic not knowing what lay ahead of them. News of the ill newcomers spread quickly and the crew had no choice but to disembark here, wherein it was declared an official quarantine site by the Canadian Federal government for 75 years - from 1873 to 1948. 





 

Multiple treatment facilities were thereafter erected, including two hospitals, a wharf, a lighthouse and a caretaker’s home, and 96 eventually perished. Prior to European settlement, the region covering Miramichi’s townships were home to the Mi'kmaq first nation, who named the island “Hiksenogowakun”, or “place for sick people.” An affective fact, considering what forlorn events would occur here years later. 

A visceral reminder of New Brunswick’s rich history of Irish immigration in a land formerly known as Acadia by the colony of New France, Middle Island was designated as a provincial park and official historic site in 1999 and now holds an interpretive center, restaurant, and amphitheatre, as well as multiple beach and picnic sites.

Although all tourist facilities are closed for the winter season, one can still see the traces of life as evidenced by trails of footprints on the 100m causeway which leads here, with local townsfolk taking advantage of the serene pathways neatly traversing through a tidy forest of pines on one end and a calm coastal view on the other. 




 

A golden labrador follows their leader. Crows proceed with their conversations. An enveloping silence fills the air, intermittently broken up by the heavy sound of ice breaks on the surrounding water. 

The stark white glow of the All Saints Roman Catholic Church beams proudly amongst the glaring green across the river at nearby Millbank. Against the backdrop of a sky nearing dusk, a vision of spirituality residing so close to what the locals refer to as one of the area’s most haunted sites feels more than poignant. One could imagine the presence of the church as a symbol of hope for the Catholic souls who never made it off the island.

The forgotten dreams of those who lay in their eternal rest still reverberate somehow - softly echoed in the shadows between cold branches and the whispers of rustling leaves overhead.

Contemplation of life and death feels inevitable especially in the presence of a grand Celtic Cross of stone, erected to commemorate the deceased buried underfoot - reduced to mere bones and dust now, and no more human than the soil itself. 


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Glitz and Glamour in Austria

Photography  Arturo Bamboo

Text   Isabella Ehrmann

In the dreamy and historic state of Salzburg, just by the foot of High King Mountain, the drive towards Bavaria seems like an infinite and surreal dead-end road. Maria Alm and Saalfelden are some of the names written on the desolate street signs covered in white. Just behind the valley, where the landscape gives the illusion of total isolation, the road leads to the little village of Hinterthal. Here travelers looking for a contemporary hideaway, stop at Hotel Wachtelhof, a boutique hotel that feels both intimate and precious. Guests come here to live the dream of the Austrian chalet and indulge in all sorts of comforts one can imagine during winter season: cozy corners for undisturbed reading, golf car shuttles to the ski lifts, an intimate hotel cinema with home-made popcorn, the mandatory spa area and a picturesque outdoor pool surrounded by meters of snow. Only one road leads in and out of the village, a few ski lifts and a beautiful forest walk along the river await the tranquility seeking guests.

On first glance Hinterthal might seem all peaceful and quiet, but head over to the legendary Almbar for dinner and you might end up dancing on the tables until the early morning.

One hour west towards Tyrol, in the medieval town of Kitzbühel, an exceptionally glorious stop is the legendary Hotel Tennerhof. It overlooks one of the most dramatic parts of the tyrolean Alps, the infamous Hahnenkamm, where a particularly dangerous and spine-chilling downhill race takes place every year. The air here is electric and oozes a love for adrenaline, no wonder it proved a great source of inspiration for many notorious writers such as Ian Flemming, the creator of James Bond, who used to be a regular guest at the Tennerhof. This traditional estate dates back to 1679, the interiors retained an old-world charm with antique pieces of furniture belonging to the family, some rooms even boast an in suite fireplace.

High up on 1.450 meters altitude in Lech at the Arlberg stands a former post house where the imperial and royal mail of the Austro-Hungarian Empire used to be collected. This historical structure with its traditionally painted facade is considered amongst the most iconic luxury hotels in the area. Owned and operated by the Moosbrugger family since 1937, Hotel Gasthof Post is an institution that draws in contemporary jet-setters and international socialites alike. The town exudes a classic sense of glamour, reminiscent of the works of Slim Aarons. First class facilities confirm this: the ski lift seats are heated, the slopes manicured and the service is spotless throughout.

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The Store

A concept of new retail experience has emerged as a result of the rising popularity of online shopping, when it became clear that the regular brick-and-mortar shops must now offer something more than just shopping to compete with convenience of e-commerce. One of the current trends in new retail, already put in practice by Apple, Adidas and Off-White, are inhabitable hybrid spaces that offer visitors a shopping experience together with leisure and culture, often combining a store, a gallery, pop-up events and a place with food and drinks. London-based Alex Eagle made a name for herself by pioneering this trend and helping brands create commercial spaces that are designed to be inhabited without the pressure to purchase anything, ‘places to hang out’. As the ever-innovative concept of Soho House was conceived of as a ‘home away from home’ for representatives of creative industries, it made perfect sense that Eagle was chosen by the group to create and oversee their first fashion appendix, The Store Berlin, to be followed by the second location, The Store London. The Store Berlin occupies the ground floor of the Grade II-listed building that dominates the intersection where the bohemian Prenzlauerberg ends and the hip Torstrasse begins.

"Built in the 1920s in the modernist style of New Objectivity, the facade of great proportions with no decor brings to mind official establishment rather than a department store that was originally in there".

No wonder that Hitler Youth and the Communist Party gravitated towards the building alike, using its seven storeys for offices and archives. Nowadays the overpowering official air of the building is toned down by the professionals of creative industries hurrying for a meeting at the rooftop bar, travelers checking into the hotel rooms seduced by the proximity of Alexanderplatz, and fashion types on their way to the trendy shops of SoTo (South Torstrasse).

The Store serves as a hybrid of an open lobby hall, a concept store and a cafe. The space with the industrial loft aesthetic is designed with self-awareness: the full height mirrors, green leafy plants and flower installations by the Gucci collaborator Ruby Barber are highly pleasing visually, and furniture and stylish items of decor for use are also for sale. A curated selection of clothes and accessories consists of this season’s it-items from Vetements, Raf Simons, Burberry, Off-White, Balenciaga, alongside beauty products and vinyl records. The Store is one of select Berlin destinations for independent international publications: it offers fashion magazines, photography books and is a home distributor to The Travel Almanac and 032C. The Store’s well-connected manager Celia Solf makes sure the relevance of the place stays high: a look at the regulars in the mid-century chairs uncovers an international designer sipping on a cold pressed juice of the in-house brand House Press or an editor of a Berlin-based magazine who popped in for a lunch from the Store’s Kitchen. On a special day, a visitor can catch a surprise DJ-set of Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh or a video installation by the in-demand filmmaker Kahlil Joseph.

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Wildcarpets

Interview  Peer Martiny

Your birthplace lies at the foot of the Swabian Alb, which is certainly not a place directly connected with the world of carpets. How did your great affinity for them come about?

Already as a student I tried to earn my own money on trips, and to think of ideas that connected beautiful or romantic things. I came upon the idea of amber, which the Germans had sold to the Romans via the Amber Road—blonde hair and amber were the export hits of the Germanic traders in Rome—but it was only possible to buy amber in Gdansk after the fall of the Berlin Wall. During my first visit to Tibet I’d noticed that amber is of enormous importance for Tibetans, because Baltic amber also reached Tibet and China in ancient times via the Silk Road. I purchased unprocessed amber and worked it on Lamma Island in Hong Kong, with a friend of mine who owned an amber cutting shop for the Tibetan taste. I tried to sell these pieces in Tibet, but also in Mexico and in New York, for example. In Tibet the difficulty was in trading amber for cash, which was almost impossible. The Tibetans were very interested in bartering though, and as I’d been travelling in this cultural area since 1983 I already had a well-functioning network, so the amber became my first currency for buying carpets.

So how did you start making money?

Already on the second trip to Tibet I had some, because after trading the carpets for amber I’d sold them in Berlin at the flea market on June 17th, immediately and without any hassle, and also through the daily newspapers. The interest in antique Tibetan carpets was great. The main market for these carpets was in Hong Kong, which was still British at that time and had a large number of people who were trying to do business with the half-closed China; there was no Shanghai or Beijing as we know it today.

"Many of these people were bored and some of them collected things like old porcelain, furniture, carpets and textiles."

It was very interesting for me to buy carpets and textiles in Tibet at that time and to sell them in Hong Kong, fast and maybe a little too cheap. But the profit was always good enough to keep up my small trade and to learn a lot, so these were the beginnings of the flying carpet merchant.

Was there any certain place which you particularly appreciated?

That was without a doubt the Snowland Hotel in Lhasa, which I regret to say no longer exists today, as it was demolished by the Chinese in the course of an “old town renovation”. I’d rented the top floor of the Snowland with a handful of colleagues and we merchants sat together in the evening showing our new acquisitions and discussing them. We were all, in this international round, of one vintage: the year of the dragon. I received visits from merchants who, like me today, owned a shop somewhere in the world, but only had a week or a few days to buy carpets, so it could happen that I bought a carpet in the morning and sold it to a New York gallery owner in the afternoon. I sent many of my pieces to Kathmandu to have them cleaned and restored; in Kathmandu there was a very active expat community and it was very popular at that time, the luxury hotels always fully booked. Tibetika sold well and Tibet was very strongly represented in the media all over the world. My mentor in Kathmandu was Bob van Grevenbroeck, and it’s fair to say that he made the Tibetan carpet presentable. Bob was a great stroke of luck for me, but unfortunately he died far too soon. But I was also aware that this mood would not last forever in Lhasa and Kathmandu, so I soon collected the pieces which I thought were very special, and had them sent to my apartment at Rosenthaler Platz in Berlin.

So Berlin was a safe haven for you?

I didn't necessarily want to be a dealer for Tibetika, which would have been difficult to realize with the small collectibles from Tibet. I preferred to become a carpet dealer who could offer a wide range of oriental, authentic and decorative carpets, because I also wanted to give space to my inclination to furnish. I must also have had a desire to settle down after living nomadically for so many years, and so it was obvious to open my shop in Berlin-Mitte. That was in 1998.

Did your interests broaden as a result?

I work in this respect without restriction. Whether its an Anatolian kilim in minimalist style, or a Persian Heriz with a large central medallion, or an Art Deco carpet of Chinese origin with floral decorations, the carpet must please and enrich the respective living situation. Since the mid-90s I’ve also been interested in Moroccan Berber carpets. These had already found their way into the work of Bauhaus and Scandinavian architects and harmonized with the furnishings of classical modernism. Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto, Charles and Ray Eames are just three examples.

"These carpets met the taste of my generation in a special way, influenced by the so-called Mid-Century styles."

Why do you think that is?

It’s partly due to their ‘archaic minimalism’, which marks a break with the sober, clear furnishing concept of the Western Europeans. Often it’s just about the texture. Within the Berber group there are carpets that strongly correlate with our understanding of art. Artists such as Tal R, for example, see much more in these carpets than I could, since they look at them with a purely artistic eye. Also gallerists such as Nicole Hackert and Bruno Brunnet have discovered these carpets as a collection area. In our Western understanding, the carpet is not an object of art in itself, although it has been part of the Western furnishing culture for centuries. This tension between near and far is repeatedly taken up by artists; Jeppe Hein recently used forty carpets of mine in a performance at the Galerie Johann König in Berlin. I also occasionally develop exhibitions in my rooms on different topics, such as the Afghan war; carpets in whose pictures the current war traumas of the Afghan people are reflected, such as by replacing a Granatapfel design with a pattern of hand ridges. My interest in the deeper meaning of the carpet is an essential reason for my curiosity about them, but this interest is not absolutely necessary to find pleasure in a carpet, if it can develop its decorative power convincingly.

Is there any one carpet that holds a special attraction for you?

The carpet trade has always been a relatively small market segment; it’s always been ‘Internet’ because it could only be operated internationally. In 1993 I purchased a fragment of a carpet in Tibet, fortunately a central part of an original carpet that had been cut up for reasons unknown to me. Two years after purchasing the first fragment, I was able to buy another fragment in Tibet with the same motif, which I thought was a different carpet until I realized it was a second piece of the first one. Two years later I discovered another segment in New York, in a photograph. Two years after that I discovered another section in Kathmandu. The carpet comes from Khotan, an oasis city in the Taklamakan desert, and is extremely rare. Khotan was the Buddhist center of the Silk Road until about the eleventh century, and its carpets reflect influences from the entire Silk Road. I now own seven parts, almost the entire carpet, which I’ve collected in Asia, Europe and the USA. My special relationship to this piece tells a lot about the carpet trade, and about us traders’ associated passion for hunting.

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Nobelhart und Schmutzig

Just a few metres away city outbound, a few steps from the tourist haven of Checkpoint Charlie, across from the southern exit of the Kochstraße U-Bahn, stands a storefront whose actual business can’t be easily gleaned. It could be anything. The offices of a small but self-confident guild, a casting agency or a shadowy massage parlour. You step closer, ring the bell, a friendly person opens the door, welcomes you, and suddenly you are standing before a greyish, ceiling-high wall and seem to be in a much-too-narrow hall. The friendly person takes your coat and finally leads you around the ominous grey wall. A restaurant!

Indeed, Berlin’s “brutally local” locale, the thirty-seat horseshoe of Nobelhart & Schmutzig. The designation “brutally local” signifies the further development of local food and also a practical criticism of the concept of regionality, which, so watered down by tourism, often means little more than “regionally washed.” In the middle of the horseshoe, the Michelin-star kitchen. In the kitchen, a busy but by no means hectic bustle, no noisy pushing around of pots or clanging of dishes, no loud or continual talking by the staff. Concentration on the essentials. Muted music plays with dignity from a record player. You assume your seat at the horseshoe, look around at the other guests, give yourself over to considerations and estimations. Hear numerous languages. Berlin’s “brutal locale” is a cave.

Cooled birch water, tapped from a birch tree in Prenzlauer Berg. Fresh, soft and velvety. A stimulating start to the only menu, one of ten courses. As you learn, some 45 local and regional suppliers provide this place with clean and pure products. Though it is not defined what is still considered regional and what is not. Whether chicken eggs, fingerling, lamb or goutweed, behind each product stands a person with a clear opinion on purity and how the particular thing is to best grow and flourish. “Brutally local.” A self-given label that would be fatal for music, for painting, for art, even for life itself, since coexistence, influence, stimulation and inspiration are everything.

“Brutally local” is hard to keep up when it comes to wine and coffee.

The international wine list and the sommelier’s guidance are excellent, inspired and full of surprises and originality. It is also a major accomplishment to attend to non-alcoholic drinks and their food pairings with equal earnest. Elstar apple juice with pine needles and a lilac-hay juice are just two examples.

Spelt sourdough bread from Sironi with dated raw-milk butter, self-explanitory and delightful and a obliging tie-over for hungry patrons all too impatient to begin. Trout, drained and dried for five days, accompanied by onions prepared in whey. “On point!” your tastebuds cry, though you have no comparison. Evidence is the term in philosophy. But that is the point: to create dishes, meals, combinations that become their own references, not continually compared to other things. Guests must be open to this. “If you have three colors, paint with two,” Picasso said. Here at Nobelhart & Schmutzig it seems they know this sentence, as a random selection from the menu shows:

Egg / Mustard. Pike / Bay Boletus. Red Beet / Parsley. Schwarzkopf Lamb / Green Asparagus. Only the producer of the base product is listed additionally in a slightly smaller font. These producers also have their own histories and stories, as we have long known and long to know about winemakers. “Return the face and history to food, too!” might be the motto. Let’s try it! Nobelhart & Schmutzig shows us what that might look like.

Go see for yourself. Forego pepper, espresso machines and chocolate for an evening. There is much to discover. PM

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TTA15 Privacy Dinner with Horizn and Beats

Angelika Taschen and Marco Velardi

Paul Snowden and Christophe Chemin

Polina Sova

Marta González, Maryama Luccioni, Dauwd Al Hilali

Jan Werner, Dustin Hanke

Juno Meinecke, Theresa Genth, Roman Schramm

Vladimir Trisic and Angelika Taschen

Romy Pope and Patricia Bondesson Kavanagh

Avelina Boateng

Anuthida Ploypetch and Richy Koll

Seiji, Marcus Rossknecht and Romy Pope

Emily McDermott and Johann Courgibet

Maryama Luccioni and Dauwd Al Hilali

Paul Kominek and Polina Sova

Ildiko Dienesch

Photography by Markus Ortmanns

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TTA&Reference Studios present "Privacy" at Silencio Club

Valentina Nemchenkova

Veletina

Valentina Nemchenkova

Venus X

Juergen Teller

Juergen Teller

Jonathan Taylor & Katrice Dustin

Jonathan Taylor & Katrice Dustin

Paul Kominek

Julie Ellen Günbil

DJ Pawel

Maria Carvalho

Maxime Ballesteros

Maxime Ballesteros

Venus X

Tim Neugebauer

Marta González

Photography   Adrian Crispin

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Monumental Cemetery

Photography  Marta González

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Israel by Kira Bunse

Photography  Kira Bunse

Text   Giulio Perticari

This May Israel celebrates 70 years of statehood. From the first week of independence, the nascent Jewish state had to fiercely defend from its neighbors the blurring boundaries that the United Nations had delineated, and this has become an integral aspect of the Israeli national identity ever since. Palestinian leader Arafat used to claim that the two blue stripes in the Israeli flag represent the rivers Nile and Euphrates, the boundaries of the land God promised to the Jews. This of course is nonsense. The design derives from a traditional Jewish prayer shawl, the Talit. However, it represented a charged rhetorical weapon to talk about the disputed territory and allege that Israel’s territorial aspirations are grounded in religious nationalism. After the murder by an ultra-Zionist in 1995 of Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Prime Minister who signed the Oslo I Accord that recognized the Palestine Liberation Organization as partner in territorial negotiations, the discourse about state borders became the most divisive subject within Israeli society. Recently, even an Israeli star like Natalie Portman, who is an outspoken supporter of the state, has criticized the current conservative government for violence carried out on the Gaza Strip, the Arab territory that is walled-off from the rest of the world. Moreover, many prominent Israelis such as writer Amos Oz have criticized settlement policy of development and expansion of Jewish areas on occupied Palestinian land for making the dual state solution untenable. In Jerusalem, the city the United Nations recognizes as being above all nations, it becomes clear that the border is even more sedimented in people’s minds than in reality. Tourists can seamlessly go from east to west, without even noticing where the boundary lies. But locals are very aware of it, not only because the documents they possess dictate where they are allowed to move, but, regardless of political faction, religion or nationality, they all know how to cold read the border on each other’s faces, clothes, accents, movements and names.

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Hotel Brunelleschi

Florence, with its aura of ancient mystical spirits, that still inhabit the walls and dark alleys of the historic city center, draws in millions of culture thirsty travelers from around the world each year. Not only during the Pitti fashion weeks, all throughout the Summer season, “regular tourists” battle with fashion and art crowds and school classes for a room at the hotels and inns of the city. Accommodation within the ancient center is limited and so prices can reach dizzying heights during those peak weeks. Some places however retain a good balance of quality, location and price, even during those fiercely competitive times. One such hotel is the Brunelleschi, named after Italian designer and engineer Filippo Brunelleschi, modestly called one of the founding fathers of the Renaissance. Set in a circular Byzantine tower in a medieval church, the hotel offers history not only around its premises, but also right within. Underneath the Pagliazza Tower, the oldest part of the hotels structure, significant historic relics were uncovered and are now made available for interested guests as part of the hotels own museum. For more modern needs, the hotel offers a state of the art fitness center, which was conspicuously empty during our stay. This probably due to the fact that most Florence visitors collect their miles on the way to dinners, exhibitions or other forms of entertainment that can only be reached on foot.

Rooms at the Brunelleschi are very heterogeneously furnished, which gives the hotel a bit of a ragbag touch, not without charm and the occasional surprises. Some rooms feel very modern, almost corporate, others seem to have functioned as the set of a Fellini movie.

Staff is well mannered and fairly helpful. The bellmen in particular are readily available to walk a considerable distance in case you got lost and desperately parked your car somewhere in the cobbled alleys that surround the hotel. Which brings us back to the main plus of Il Brunelleschi, which is its location, location, location. Few hotels can put “direct views onto the Duomo” onto their list of highlights. And although just a few of the suites offer that privilege, most guests will most likely prefer to descent into their quiet chambers undisturbed and dream of the mystical spirits that surround them.  PK

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Gucci Garden

 

Piazza della Signoria, 10, 50122 Florence - ☏ +39 055 7592 7010- www.gucci.com

One of Alessandro Michele’s most beloved and used symbols is the snake, “which slips in everywhere, and in a sense, symbolizes a perpetual beginning and a perpetual return.” Like the alchemic image of the Ouroboros, Michele’s aesthetic integrates past and present in a loose way, as if time were nonlinear because references and knowledge possess that quality. The snake is a polysemic archetype in Western culture, appearing, for instance, in the most significant scene in Genesis, where, in the Garden of Eden, the snake tempts the first humans to value judgments: moral, aesthetic, social…with emotional byproducts such as shame but also taste.

These are some of the reasons that pushed Michele to rebrand the old Gucci Museo as Gucci Garden, a garden of luxury by Gucci, a paradise of consumerist pleasure. Gucci Garden is housed in the Palazzo della Mercanzia, a former tribunal for business affairs that dates back to 1337, facing Piazza della Signoria, the most important square in Florence and by temporal proxy of the Renaissance. With Gucci Garden, Michele does not only want to materialize the top brick-and-mortar Gucci retail experience, with a showcase of pieces from the brand’s past and products that are exclusively sold there, but he also makes the case in point of Gucci’s determination to display its humanist principles: that of private patronage of the municipality - 50% of each ticket sale will be donated to support restoration projects in the city of Florence; that of sponsorship of the arts - Michele reimagined the museum as a “living, collaborative and creative space,” where he invited artists to decorate and exhibit their work, in retail and dedicated spaces, such as the red-velvet tented cinema auditorium called Cinema da Camera. The highlight of these collaborations is the one with chef Massimo Bottura, internationally famed for his three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana. Bottura was invited to open an intimate restaurant on the ground floor, the Gucci Osteria, for which he created a menu that takes influences from his travels applied to Italian cuisine. Even here the space is used to stress the link between the house, Florence and its past, with golden lettered lines of a 15th-century carnival song by Lorenzo de’ Medici, the patron par excellence.

During Pitti Uomo this June, Gucci opened two new rooms that will host special presentations as an addition to the permanent collection in the other spaces. The inaugural exhibition is an installation dedicated to the work between Björk and Alessandro Michele for the video The Gate (2017), with the emphasis on the dresses that Björk wore in the bucolic and futuristic landscapes of the film.

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Piazza dei Ciompi

Piazza dei Ciompi 50122, Florence - ☏ +39 055 328 3513

There’s something beautifully nostalgic about open air markets in Italy; about the rundown stalls, the chaos, the life - especially in summer, with the sun beating down on your back as you sift through the objects laid out in front of you, hunting for a treasure that you don’t know what it looks like but you feel it is there, waiting for you to discover it and give it a new home and purpose.

While always an open-air market selling excellent fruit, vegetables and the occasional knick-knack, on the last Sunday of the month the legendary Piazza dei Ciompi flea market descends on the area of St. Ambrogio, engulfing the daily regulars and creating a distinctive buzz and energy in the air.

On this day you’ll find everything from skeleton keys and old cracked Tiffany lamps to vintage designer bags and hats; people young and old, locals and tourists, families and friends all come together to stroll through the cobblestoned streets appreciating, touching and debating their findings

. What used to be a quiet Florentine alleyway that housed two scooters and a clotheshorse strung with laundry drying in the sun, is now reminiscent of a Moroccan souk, filled with the smell of old leather, colorful fabrics and energetic hand gestures - a language in themselves passed down through generations of Italians.

While you never know what you will find when entering Piazza dei Ciompi, one certainty is that you will find Paolo’s stall where he sits in the shade surrounded by his cases and cases of vintage books for sale. Yellowed pages, cracked spines and torn corners force you to look past the book cover - which has been held so many times that the lettering is faded beyond legibility - and into the book itself, transporting you for a split second into another era. And just for that moment you glimpse out of the corner of your eye a horse-drawn carriage bringing two noble women back from their afternoon at their country estate in the Chianti hills. Paolo adds his own magic to your vision as he recounts, in his broken english, the stories of the people who sold him the books, of the many faces he has seen crossing the threshold of his wooden bookstore. Who will ever know if those people really existed or if they are all characters, part of Paolo’s own novella that he continues to develop day after day like the " cantastorie " that roamed these same streets centuries before you and I looking for inspiration for their evening performances. CB

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