The 8th Wonder of the World!

As you saw in my previous post, San Gimignano is a pretty unique place. A complete fossilized city in the middle of nowhere. One of the most intriguing things about the city is their delicious food!

Evelina Galli in Tuscany

I found a restaurant that Tripadvisor gave more than 1200 reviews. It was located in a non-descript alley, with an unmarked door.

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A little curious fact is that the restaurant was  right next to the Museum la Tortura.

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(As you may have guessed, “Museum la Tortura” means “Museum of Torture.” Because my hands were shaking when taking the photo, you may notice the skeleton in the cage.)

The restaurant that I was looking for was called Cum Quibus. The sign said they will open at 7:30 pm.  And just in case someone wanted to open the door to peek in, it had curtains in front of it: a complete mystery.

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It was only 3 o’clock and I had to eat something. Some American tourist suggested Cafe Stella, and I thought, well maybe something light will help me survive to 7:30 pm. Of course I ended up eating a 3 course meal (dessert included) since this was the absolute best food I have had in Italy so far! Caffe Stella was not even close to Cum Quibus’ ratings on TripAdvisor, so my desire to go there was hightened 10 fold!

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At 7:25 I went back to Cum Quibus and waited another five minutes under the pouring rain, for the doors to open. The restaurant was booked completely but somehow they managed to find an extra table. The place had a really cool rustic Tuscan vibe and was very small.

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Food started coming in and despite the more casual presentation it had the most surprising, bold flavor combinations that were extremely artistic.

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Then some of the loyal patrons started coming and congratulating Lorenzo, the restaurant’s young owner that TripAdvisor just announced Cum Quibus as the 8th BEST Restaurant in the WORLD! 

That was unbelievable! 8th restaurant in the WORLD in the middle of nowhere?! How is it possible?

evelina galli in tuscany

Cheers for Cum Quibus from Instagram

But it made me think of an Armenian proverb that says “a polished diamond won’t sit on the floor for too long”.

Regardless of where you are and how small you are, if you’ll do a good job, it won’t be unnoticed.

That was the beautiful lesson from old San Gimignano and wounderful Cum Quibus.

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Lost and Found in Tuscan Hills

People don’t normally like the feeling of being lost, me included. It is the uncertainty, the loss of control, disorientation, frustration, anger, denial, and the list can go on.

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But if we have time and we can move past the initial sense of anxiety, being lost can be an opportunity to see new places, to discover new things, to become an explorer…almost like Columbus.

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I was not quite in the philosophical mood when I got lost on the way from Florence to Sienna. Rain and feeling hungry did not help the situation. But pretty soon a structure that resembled old city walls appeared, as well as promising signs of Trattorias and Pizzerias nearby. The medieval city structure was so impressive that for a little while I forgot I was hungry. Rain almost became a drizzle and my iPhone finally got an Internet signal showing that my location was at San Gimignano.

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Since I had never heard of this city, I wanted to get inside and see what was happening inside the city walls.

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Especially after seeing that TriplAdvisor.com recommended an amazing restaurant there, which had more then 1200 reviews on it, all being fantastic and fabulous!

Inside the city walls the cutest medieval city was hiding! Coming from LA it almost felt like a movie set. But of course it is as real as it gets!

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With the 14 towers that were leftover from the previously built 72 (the highest one 54 meters!), it was an architectural gem that I was feeling so blessed to see.

I will tale more about this fascinating city but I wonder if you can guess why people will build these labor-intensive tall towers in the 14-century, 72 of them and one higher than the other?

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Styling à la Florentine

When you enter a city trough the medieval gigantic doors, you know it is a special place.

Firenze (Florence)  is an epitome of the Italian Renaissance where even the hotels are built with the Renaissance in mind.

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When the hotel room has a Renaissance themed frescoes on the walls, it must be Florence!

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Florence has a very distinct style.

It is an open air museum that would take a visitor a few months to experience and appreciate all the gems that this city has to offer.

One of the least touristy places is the Medicis’ villa. There are so many primary spots that I think the Medicis’ villa hardly gets any traffic.

It is a unique feeling to experience such historical locations in a Zen atmosphere.

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In this Zen environment, I have stumbled upon the most beautiful movie theater ever!IMG_1998

Doesn’t it just look fascinating?

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It just needs a popcorn and a soda machine!

Talk about Form NOT Following the FUNCTION!

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And if the movie is boring, one can always look up to the “sky” for more action!

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What do you think? Would you like a home theater à la Florentine ?

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Crystal Chandeliers and the Gas stations

Spending time in Venice seems like time travel. Life in a beautiful painting, life in a fantasy land. No cars, no streets, no gas stations…instead it is canals, bridges, palazzo and basilicas.

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I was almost afraid that I lost touch with reality.  When it was time to stop by a gas station on the way to Florence, I was almost excited: finally back to the modern life, not as pretty and romantic, but you know it is REAL!

But there was an element of a surprise waiting inside the gas station. Cristal chandeliers, dark hardwood flooring, freshly made Panini’s, gourmet espresso and  restaurant quality amazing pastries.

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“Welcome to Italy,” I told to myself. How could you expect an ugly gas station where food and beauty are the matter of a national pride!

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I do agree with the “form follows function” rule that moved 20th centuries design and esthetics, but maybe there is something else besides pure “function” of an object that the “form” needs to reflect …such as uplifting the viewer’s mood with it’s pleasant look.

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Gas stations with crystal chandeliers and wooden floors can be a great example for the new ‘postpost modern’ esthetics of the 21st century, where some excess won’t only be allowed but also welcomed.

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Will Love Last?

Early in the morning , while I was having breakfast with the most picturesque view that I have ever seen in my life, I thought about, “What makes love last?”

Evelina Galli Venice

Everything was as perfect as it can possibly be.

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The plan was to go to the close of the Accademia museum where some of the Leonardo Da Vinci’s original artwork was on display. (Being a lifelong Da Vinci Fan this was not an opportunity that I could miss).

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On the way to the museum when crossing  the Accademia Bridge,  I noticed a very strange-looking gentleman hanging from the street lamp with metal-cutting scissors in his hands and attracting attention from those passing by.

_MG_0075Apparently that was the infamous Venetian Love Lock Cutter and he was doing his performance art by cutting down all the locks that were attached on the bridge.

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Before seeing him I did not even notice the existence of thousands and thousands of locks on the bridge.

_MG_0087The Love Lock trend in Europe started from Federico Moccia’s story “I Want You” in 2006.  Lovers all over Europe started writing their names on the Padlocks attaching them to the bridges and throwing away the keys into the water. This Love Locking process is believed to make the love everlasting.

It is incredibly romantic if not one small downside: there are millions of couples who are in love, which results in enormous quantity of the Love Locks and subsequently extreme amount of weight that  damages the structural integrity of the old bridges.

Government authorities are interfering with the romantic Love Lock movement and cutting them down at least once a year. Italy is probably the strictest and there is a high fine for trying to attach a padlock.

So what should romantics do?

They want their Love Locks to last and not be thrown away. How to make the Love last?..Well at least Love Locks last.

The Love Lock concept  reminded me of the wishing trees that I have seen in Armenia, where people would wish for love and tie their handkerchief on the tree.

It did not look extremely appealing but provided couples with the comfort of knowing that their love will last.  I could not stop thinking about it until I found the Perfect Picture that provided the solution to the issue.

Love Lock Trees!!! Good for lovers, tourists and the government officials!

What do you think? Would you prefer old bridges or trees to immortalize your love ?

xo

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Falling in love in the Springtime Paris…

Evelina Galli Collection

It is amazing ,what you can find in the old archives!…I have discovered my very first collection that I made from  Burlap and Silk yarn…as a 16-year-old student in design school.

The only cheap fabric that I could find was Brown Burlap (It is the material that potato sacks are made of), but since Brown is NOT my favorite color (at least for clothes)…I’ve bleached it and  amazingly it turned into this soft, cream color fabric that was very pleasant to touch and had a silky sheen to it.

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At that time I was also really into crocheting, so the only embellishment I have used was the crochet pieces from the silk yarn.

Evelina Galli Collection

The shape  inspiration for this collection was the Period of the Renaissance and The Mood was Falling in Love in the Springtime Paris…somehow made perfect sense for me at that time…

Evelina Galli Collection

These pictures were my very first pictures taken with a professional camera with film. I was so excited!…I can’t find all the shots, but still happy to find these.

Evelina Galli Collection

The scene was a rooftop of the hospital where my friend was working, I really liked the color of the stones and blue of the sky…

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…Models were very sweet and were trying to help me as much as they could,

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didn’t even mind smoking and drinking their soda, while sitting on the roof.

It still is my all time favorite collection…because it was the first and made with love :)

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Till next time,

xoxo

E.

Thunder Perfect Mind….

Poems are not highly popular these days unless they take the form of lyrics and appear as a song. But there are classics that certainly will withstand the changing times, like the “The Thunder Perfect Mind.”

Evelina Galli…Why am I certain?

Because it already did.

I stumbled upon it in one of my favorite perfume ads (my guilty pleasure).

It is a perfume ad for Prada and I keep watching it over and over, it was just so hypnotizing…. and of course, watching Daria Werbowy in Prada clothes can have a similar effect :)

But this was special… the words were puzzling and alluring and seductive and weird.

So I wanted to find out what it was.

The poem was apparently discovered only recently in 1945, but some scholars date it back to 350 C.E. It comes from Alexandria (Ancient Egypt) and talks about a feminine divine nature. It is believed to be about the expression of the goddess Isis .

It is very long, so I will give you just a taste of it.

I was sent forth from the power,

and I have come to those who reflect upon me,

and I have been found among those who seek after me.

Look upon me,  who reflect upon me,

and you hearers, hear me.

You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.

And do not banish me from your sight.

For I am knowledge and ignorance.

I am shame and boldness.

I am shameless; I am ashamed.

I am strength and I am fear.

I am war and peace.

Give heed to me.

I am the one who is disgraced and the great one.

Do you have a LIFE?….

Lunch with my girlfriend…Evelina Galli-”I have Facebook,Twitter,Google Plus,Yahoo! MSN,Skype,WhatsApp,…”

-”Seriously?!!!…Do you have a LIFE?”

-”OMG! NO ! Send me the link ! “

Evelina Galli

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Spring!

Spring seems to be having an on and off relationship with LA this year, can’t wait for the ON part..

…but today was one of those surprisingly nice spring days where wind and sun were in perfect balance with each other. No power plays today…

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For a  leisurely stroll, of course I overreact and wear a coat, but a little walk feels great when you’re draped in warmth… My “walking bonus” was seeing the nature in bloom… a highly refreshing scene!

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springspring…and the gorgeous Sunset

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