Spotted a Dragonfly

The other day I was sitting in my backyard with Chiara and she spotted a dragonfly flying around. When it settled she took a picture of it using my cellphone and then it flew away. She only had one chance to snap a picture and a camera that is hard to use for a 5-year-old, but the photo turned out much better than I expected. I was impressed by her interest, so I decided to read up the Wikipedia page about dragonflies and found a few interesting facts.

Chiara's dragonfly

Chiara’s dragonfly shot is fuzzy, but it is already surprising that she was able to catch it. Dragonflies move quickly!

Although some cultures are not fond of dragonflies, in Japan the dragonfly is associated with summer and autumn and they are a symbol of courage, happiness, and strength. The dragonfly was often depicted in Art Nouveau jewelry.

There are more than 5,000 species of dragonfly so I am sure that some of the traits don’t apply to them all. The one in my yard could fly really fast and I wasn’t surprised to find out that they are among the fastest flying insects.


The LIBELLULA dragonfly keychain sits patiently to be photographed and is a symbol of courage, happiness, and strength.

Our favorite artisan, Gianni, depicted dragonflies and we carry his LIBELLULA Key Chain as part of the very endearing collection of animal shaped leather accessories.

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Thoughts on the Forlanini

I’m back with a small update! It has been probably 6 months or so since I first got my Forlanini. The biggest thing that caught my attention was how nicely the leather has broken in. I mean, it looks even better than brand new! The leather is much softer, it has slightly darkened in color overall and it fits by my side like a glove. I’ll have to admit that I haven’t treated the Forlanini in the most careful manner but it still feels like it’s indestructible. It has been exposed to a light drizzle once but I was only outside for a few minutes. I definitely don’t recommend letting your leather products get wet as it will damage the leather. Luckily my bag hasn’t been damaged! I need to be more careful about moisture. The usual wear and tear has occurred though but it’s nothing unusual; Places where the bag rubbed against my clothing has darkened more than the rest of the bag and very small minor surface scratches appeared. Little things like this can be easily cleaned off and buffed out with a leather cleaner but frankly, I don’t mind it. Over the duration of owning the Forlanini, I have used a leather conditioner on it once, maybe twice. It wasn’t really necessary but I just thought I’d try it to see if it would make a difference in the way the leather looked. The small surface scratches do go away with the conditioner, but I think the natural oils in the leather do just fine on its own and it shows! I imagine the leather will be even more awesome many years down the road. Let’s see how this one will look in another 6+ months!


Forlanini, 6 months later!

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Customer service? You got it.

Shopping online can be difficult for a number of reasons–photos don’t do the colors justice, size can be hard to gauge, the product you’re looking at might not suit you, etc. Whatever it is, not being able to physically examine the item makes everything more complicated, and we understand that.

A couple of days ago, I had a customer ask for help on choosing a color for the Zavatti. Based on the customer’s preferences, I chose a couple of backpacks that I thought might be good candidates for the job and sent over some photos. This was helpful because the customer was able to choose the exact backpack based on what is shown to them rather than imagining it through a series of convoluted descriptions. I mean, wouldn’t it be more helpful to have a photo of the exact bag? “It all starts with an intense dark roast from the richest Colombian coffee laced with deep red/orange/purple hues comparable to that of the darkened sky at dusk. Highlights sprinkled throughout, swirling, twisting, and fading back into the brilliant sea of ebony like the tendrils of a vine, retreating back to safety.”

Anyways before I go off on all sorts of wild tangents, as I was saying, we will do our best to help you choose the perfect bag whether you prefer works of visual or literary arts. All you have to do is shoot us an email at with your request and we will get back to you as soon as we can! Enjoy the quick shots of the Zavattis I sent to the customer!


Zavatti Distressed Espresso

Zavatti Distressed Olive Brown

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Helping a Customer Find The Perfect Campomaggi Leather Bag

When a bag is in stock, it might be easy to find the color that is perfect for you, but when a bag sells out frequently like the FELICIE doctor handbag, and doesn’t have a huge sales volume, getting the bag in the shade that you like might be a bit hard. Today I am taking pictures of two FELICIE in Distressed Cognac that just arrived. My customer had seen a color in one of our pictures that was just right, and wants to get another that looks like it.

As we know about Campomaggi leather bags, it is quite difficult to get a bag that is similar to another. The shade that conquered my customer’s heart was apparently a light cognac and I am afraid that these two are not going to cut it. Yet, I think that they are beautiful specimens (especially the one at the bottom, so I am going to give it a try. Let’s see what she says!
Latest FELICIE Cognac arrival 1.

Latest FELICIE Cognac arrival 2.

If you need help choosing a Campomaggi bag or have a specific request about Campomaggi bags please do not hesitate to ask us. You never know, we might be able to help and we are for sure going to try!

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A Closer Look at The RICCI Studded Messenger Bag

Marco Campomaggi has discontinued the RICCI long ago and we can’t get any more even if we beg kicking and screaming. Some of the color options are permanently sold out now and we only have four in Espresso (two of them darker) and two in Cognac left. Since this is such a unique product, when our stock falls to one of each I will move them in our museum (which doesn’t exist yet, but is a planned section of our web site for rare, actually one-of-a-kind, Campomaggi bags).

I like the Ricci a lot because it looks so cool. I know, I haven’t said much: most Campomaggi bags do look very cool. What appeals to me are the two columns of studs and the fact that the flap is a pocket with a zipper at its edges on the sides. I know that the bag fits my laptop like a glove but what about room for the charger? Let’s go pull all six from stock and take a look.
The 6 RICCI in stock

The photo shows the six RICCI that we currently (as of May 29, 2013) have in stock. The photo was taken by me, using my camera phone, in the lighting conditions offered by our showroom: so don’t rely on them to provide a good interpretation of the color, please. The bags on the left are Distressed Cognac, the ones in the middle are Distressed Espresso, and the ones on the right are Distressed Espresso Darker. Out of these my favorite one is the Distressed Espresso in the top shelf. I also like the Cognac ones but they are a bit too light for my taste. Next I am going to take a video of me loading up my favorite RICCI and we will be able to tell whether it is going to work.

The video suggest that the laptop fits well, the charger also fits, but if I start adding more things the bag will become bulky. I later added my Daniele with my wallet and phone inside and the bag did not bulge too much as long as the DANIELE and the charger were kept apart. That is the extent of what I am planning to carry, so the bag meets my needs. The pocket on the side of the flap is definitely intriguing. When I put my phone and my wallet in it you could not really tell that it was in use. The zipper, though, requires two hands to open at least until the bag has softened.

It’s too early to give a verdict, but for sure the RICCI in Distressed Espresso remains a contender.

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Which Campomaggi Bags Should I Evaluate?

I had some ideas in mind, but I got so many suggestions on Fans of Campomaggi and elsewhere that I will have to go through all of the options and it will take a while. And given that each bag is unique, I will have to look at each item in stock to make sure that I don’t miss out on the one bag that would have captured my heart. But first, I would like to narrow down my selection to just a few models, and I know that it will be a hard thing to do.

RICCI Studded Messenger Bag

I’ve had my eyes on the Ricci studded messenger bag for a long time, but is it big enough?

As I have mentioned at the beginning, my two favorites are the Ricci and the Santarelli. At least those are the first ones that come to mind. As I browse the website I keep on finding new potential bags, so to create a list of favorites I clicked on the heart next to all the products I want to evaluate. Then I can just click on the Your Favorites link to see them all in one place.

The other bags that I have marked as potential are:

Da Vinci

This is a long list of bags and through it will require a lot of time. Yesterday as I pulled out the charger from the COLOMBO’s inner zippered pocket all my pens got dragged out and fell everywhere: just a reminder that I need a new bag.

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What Do I Need My Leather Bag to Carry, And Where?

In my last post I declared that it was time for my COLOMBO messenger bag to get a bigger brother (technically sister since “borsa”, in Italian, is feminine). After a few people suggested that I carefully document my decision, I started thinking about the idea of people getting a new Campomaggi bag in general and my first thought was that everybody’s needs and wants are going to be completely different. So I am going to detail my needs first, so that everyone can compare my needs to theirs and figure out whether what I say applies to them  too.

I bought a new laptop so that I can work better when I am not at the office (mainly for when I am at home). So I will be carrying it and its charger instead of the netbook with no charger as I did before.

My new Toshiba laptop is about 12.5

What I love about it is that at 2.5 pounds it is as light as the netbook was. The problem is that the charger would really be a tight fit for the COLOMBO so I need to get a bag that is more spacious or has extra pockets that will fit the charger. The photo below shows the contents of my current COLOMBO plus the charger and the DANIELE, which contains my wallet and phone, and might occasionally need to be stored in the bag if I am not wearing a belt (when I change to go for a run, for example).

The contents of my COLOMBO plus the charger and the DANIELE.

I probably should remove a few pens and give Chiara her toy cartridge back, but I think that this sums up pretty well what I need to carry on a day-to-day basis.

The other consideration that comes to mind is where do I need to go with the bag. I don’t travel very often, most of my days involve only short trips from the car to the office and back. I also rarely walk around all day long (I do that mainly in Italy) so weight is generally not an issue, and when I do travel, I would like to have a comfortable strap and to be able to slide the bag in the seat in front of me.

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It Is Time for a New Campomaggi Bag

I have had my COLOMBO Messenger Bag for four years now. While I love it and it will last seemingly forever, I just got a new bigger laptop that does not fit in the COLOMBO very well. It does fit, it just sticks out by a couple of inches and, since I do have to carry the charger, things become pretty tight and there is very little room for anything else. Before I got my laptop I only carried my netbook (mostly without charger) and occasionally my tablet. There was still plenty of room for other little stuff like a journal, wallet, credit card case, sunglasses, etc. If I try to fit all that stuff in my COLOMBO now along with my new laptop I would end up with an unsightly bulge.

My COLOMBO with my new laptop inside.

My COLOMBO with my new laptop inside shows that the laptop stretches it and the flap doesn’t come down as low as normal.

So the first thing I need to decide is how big a bag I want and identify my options. What I need to carry is the same stuff as before plus the laptop and its charger and minus the netbook. My first thought was for the RICCI, but when I realized that I had to have room for the charger I started considering the SANTARELLI. Of course, the minute I mentioned this on Fans of Campomaggi, the suggestions started pouring in.

Thats’s what I will do in my next post: begin evaluating a few of the options. If you have any suggestions post them here or on Facebook: I am all ears!

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Handmade Gnocchi for Easter

I hadn’t made homemade gnocchi in at least seven years. I remember slaving away for hours last time and the fact that I had made my famous Gnocchi ai Quattro Formaggi that time meant that nobody was that keen to have something just as yummy but, unfortunately, equally fattening (we are all older and exercising less, unfortunately, so this time we stuck to a nice homemade red sauce). What got me to decide to try making them again was the fact that Trader Joe’s recently started selling a pack of gnocchi imported from Italy. I tried it, and it was good. It was exactly like the gnocchi we buy at the supermarket in Italy, which means they are a bit hard and packed  with preservatives. The thought of feeding my family preservatives is what pushed me over the edge. I want to avoid that whenever I can.

Chiara insisted to help me peel the hot potatoes. She did a great job!

Chiara turned out to be an awesome potato peeler. I’ll keep that in mind.

Since I remembered how long it took last time, I got an early start. The potatoes where cooked before noon, Chiara helped me peel them while hot (I did not ask her, she just insisted), then I mushed them really well. So by noon I had already made a few mistakes: too many potatoes (also I selected them without thinking about getting the driest kind) and mushing them well. After I was done I read that you don’t want to do that at all. Some even suggest baking the potatoes for a while to dry them up.

I then started kneading this massive ball and I kept adding flour, then I used up the recommended amount of flour, then I kept adding flour because I was trying to get a dough. That was another big mistake. Most advice I found later says to start cutting the gnocchi as quickly as possible.

Chiara developing her gnocchi-rolling technique

Chiara developing her gnocchi-rolling technique

Chiara, again, came to help and she helped me roll the dough so that I could cut it up. She also tried to shape each gnocco against the cheese grater, but we still have to work on that technique.

The gnocchi turned out hard. Much harder than last time, when they wear soft and delicious. They were still good, we had them with a homemade red sauce that turned out really well, but they were chewy and filled us up quickly. Ten gnocchi were enough to make up a filling portion.

The end result. Good, but not what I had envisioned.

The end result. Good, but not as fluffy as I had envisioned.

This was a reminder, that handmade products require practice and passion. I was out of practice, but I resolve to trying again! What I liked most about the experience was that I got to spend time with Chiara and that she was thoroughly entertained. She did not ask to watch TV at all!

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A Leather Key Chain with Royal Roots

There is a new member of our key chain family. The Dragon key chain, that we have carried since the beginning of our existence, got a younger brother: the red dragon. After spending 10 years by himself and being referred to as simply the “dragon key chain”, the veteran key chain will now be called Green Dragon Keychain.

Why the sudden addition you might ask? Well, we did not plan it. Last year we were contacted by a customer in Wales who told us that the Red Dragon is the symbol of Wales. After finding that out we immediately ordered it from Gianni and began reading about the association between Wales and the red dragon. It turns out that the red dragon has been officially part of the Welsh flag only since 1959, but the ties between dragons and Wales possibly go as far back as the second century when Roman cavalry stationed in Wales (and elsewhere) used the symbol. In 1485 Henry Tudor, of Welsh descent, flew the dragon of Cadwaladr during his invasion of England from France. He defeated Richard III and became king. It was then that he added the Tudor colors, green and white, to the dragon to complete the Welsh flag.

The Red Dragon Key Chain might be on the Welsh flag some day

The Red Dragon Key Chain might be on the Welsh flag some day.

What was most interesting to find out was that there is no standard design for the dragon on the Welsh flag. So, technically, the design of Gianni’s red dragon could, some day, make it to the flag. Until then, the Red Dragon Key Chain will be happy to represent Welsh pride and occasionally light a fire in your pocket.

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