Maledetti Toscani Shoes for My Birthday

STUPENDO Italian Leather Ankle Boots

On August 25 I suddenly realized that it was my birthday. It was a sudden realization because we had already celebrated with friends over the week-end, and now it was just another boring and busy Monday. Then, I had another realization, and this one wasn’t as exciting: I am finally older than my shoe size. Well, that, along with the many MP bucks I accumulated over the years [note: I have gone on a bit of a spending spree this year and my balance is getting a bit low], pointed to a very simple decision. I need to celebrate this stupendous occasion with a pair of STUPENDO.

STUPENDO Italian Leather Ankle Boots
STUPENDO Artisanal Italian Leather Ankle Boots

This is my second pair of Maledetti Toscani shoes in three months. But it is totally justified: I just happened to read the you shouldn’t wear the same shoes two days in a row because shoes need to breathe so I had let my TOSTA take a breather. Since I had every objection covered I went ahead and got them. So how did they feel?

Just like the TOSTA, the STUPENDO feels stiff and it doesn’t seem to provide much arch support. It also makes me worry that the zipper will open on its own. On the other hand, the leather looks like it can take the abuse and regenerate (unlike the TOSTA which is not going to regenerate its silver shine if you rub it off).

Despite the fears, I love wearing the boots for their looks. They are a dressy casual that I really love and I can certainly feel the difference, as I wear them, between these shoes and the cheaper ones I used to buy. My Italian feet can finally be happy. I am going to wear them on my long walks and see if they hurt my feet.

Oh, and my birthday turned out to be fun. Peggy brought a wonderful cake and we had a fun afternoon at the office. This was definitely a good birthday!!

Murano Glass Tumblers on My Wish List

I have been using a GOTO SBRUFFO Murano Glass Tumbler for a couple of years at the office and I love it. It is very luxurious and it has such a wonderful texture I really enjoy holding it and drinking out of it. But there is another style Murano Glass tumbler that has been calling my name and I want to buy a set to bring home where, at present, I don’t have any Murano glass.

To be more specific what has caught my fancy is the GOTO COLATA Murano glass tumbler. We have six in stock and I want all six because I envision using all six. We either invite two or four adults over with their kids. I wouldn’t dare giving these to the kids so with a set of six I will be all set. The question remains whether these could work as informal wine glasses. I have been using the set we got for our wedding and it is so nice to drink wine out of a proper glass that I wouldn’t want to downgrade too often. Perhaps they will work great with beer, I don’t know, I will have to figure it out.

GOTO COLATA Murano Glass Tumbler in Eggplant
One of my favorite Murano glass tumblers.

The biggest problems that these tumblers would solve are, first, that they are smaller than wine glasses so they are less likely to get broken, and, second, that people always seem to misplace their glass and we don’t have to resort to other methods such as writing on the glass or using some kind of charm to identify each.

Above all, what I am looking forward to is falling in love with these tumblers. Holding the result of millennia of glass blowing traditions and watching the beauty of each item as it interacts with my friends and family is priceless.

Travel Diary of A Canvas Crivelli By Campomaggi

CRIVELLI canvas backpack by Campomaggi

When we went to Italy we decided to bring a Crivelli canvas Campomaggi backpack as an easy to carry carry-on that we could take everywhere with ease. We filled it with mostly Marco’s stuff so it became a sizable diaper back during the trip.

CRIVELLI canvas backpack by Campomaggi
The Crivelli Canvas is a spacious Campomaggi backpack

Besides being spacious, the backpack had quite a few features that I appreciated during the trip. The first thing was that I could get to the contents with just one hand. The magnetic buckles are easy to find and undo, you can flap the flap open, undo the drawstring by pulling on the fastener, loosen the tightened closure string and you are in. The way I described it sounds laborious and it is, but given that it is a backpack, you really don’t want it to be too easy to access when you are worried about pick-pockets. This leads me to the other thing that I liked: for access to emergency items, such as wet wipes, the two front pockets were absolutely perfect. The magnetic buckles closed them securely and made them easy to open. I thanked Marco Campomaggi many times for designing the backpack like that.

The Crivelli canvas backpack is very nice as it almost feels like Campomaggi created it so that he could use it. It is extremely robust and the shoulder straps are padded so that it is not only comfortable to wear, it is also not painful if you choose to pick it up by one of the straps. There is also a very solid short handle that you can use. I thought that it was well designed, light, and a pleasure to carry.

What I Don’t Like About Italy

Italy is a beautiful country and Italians are great. I am extremely proud to be Italian and absolutely love to go to Italy on vacation. I left Italy because living there is too frustrating for me but a piece of my heart is still there. But there are a couple of things that are particularly noticeable in Italy and that really bother me.

The first thing that I don’t like about Italy is that there is cigarette smoke everywhere at every hour of the day. ┬áThis is because Italy finally banned indoor smoking in public places. But, of course, they didn’t ban smoking outdoors. I first noticed the impact of this at a trade show in Milan when I stepped outside and entered a cloud of smoke. My first thought was that this was temporary and it will pass. Unfortunately it didn’t pass. As I started travelling with my family I often felt like sitting at a cafe` in a busy pedestrian area to enjoy a Cappuccino. Well, if you do not like the smell of second hand smoke you cannot do that in Italy. By the end of this last trip we took we were having dinner indoors as far away from the doors as possible. And that is pretty pathetic.

The other thing is waiting in line. I hate to admit this, but we are like water: at the counter to ask for your cappuccino after you paid, you cannot stand in line or you will NEVER get a turn. Like water, you have to melt into the crown and push your way to the counter, then you have to shout before the barista can pay attention to someone else. But the best place to see this is at the airport. They shouldn’t even try to do priority boarding for little children any more. And the best came as we were about ready to go through the x-ray machine. A couple (granted they did not look Italian) came from behind us, put their bags on the rollers in between our bags and headed for the x-ray machine ahead of us in one very swift motion. I really felt like removing their bags, but I desisted. It would have been fun to watch them wait for their bags at the other end.

I don’t know if everyone acts like this, but certainly it is a significant number of people that forces you to act the same way if you want to get what you want. I might master waiting in line Italian-style, but I will not begin smoking: I am afraid that a nice cup of Cappuccino enjoyed with a beautiful view of the sunset, the smell of the sea, and the sound of waves crashing will have to wait.