Monday, September 22, 2014


You never quite know what you’ll find happening in the city of Vicenza.

Take, for example, a commemoration honoring the 500th anniversary of Magellan’s voyage around the world. Why in Vicenza? Magellan didn’t make it home from the 2-year cruise, struck down in a hail of spears on a remote Phillippine island, after turning his canon on indigenous residents, having chosen the wrong side during a local rebellion. But Antonio Pigafetta, a Vicentino scholar and paying passenger on the ship, survived the attack. Upon his return he gave the only eyewitness account of Magellan’s untimely end. Pigafetta’s house still stands in Vicenza, the finest example of Gothic architecture in the city, and an oft-visited destination on the architectural walking tour, which mostly includes the finest examples of works by Palladio.

Unexpected things always appear year-round in little Vicenza, less known than its nearby sisters Venice and Verona, both easily accessible, about a half hour distant. A re-enactment of Pigafetta’s return home included a procession of costumed actors followed by horn players, drummers and flag-throwers, who stopped intermittently among Vicenza’s narrow cobbled streets and Renaissance plazas to perform balletic routines to stirring drum rolls. The procession ended on Pigafetta’s doorstep, where the great man himself read from his diaries of the circumnavigation completed five centuries ago.

In the town square called the Piazza Signori, a thriving market of delicacies was in progress, and later in the day local residents could be seen sampling from the stalls: cheeses, salumeria, exotic honeys, rustic breads and the first black truffles of the season.





Thursday, September 18, 2014


In a whirlwind week, two extraordinary events occurred in northern Italy, both under the stewardship of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.

On the night of Wednesday, September 10 at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Torino, a traveling exhibition showcasing the finalists to this year’s Prix Pictet launched. This year’s theme, Consumption, introduced by Pictet’s Stephen Barber at a gala reception, themes the world’s most prestigious annual photography prize. You can visit this important show at the Fondazione’s impressive and expansive space, a converted factory, through October 12.

The following Sunday, September 14, Divine, an installation focusing on highlights from the 20th century costume jewelry collection of Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, opened at Ca’D’oro in Venezia. A gathering of local luminaries and international guests witnessed the official launch of the show. Over 400 objects notable for their history and elegance are displayed in the Galleria Georgio Franchetti, remaining on exhibit through January 11, 2015.

In her exhibition notes, Sandretto re Rebaudengo says she first developed interest in accessible costume jewelry designs because they represent a cultural heritage that “brings us back to hard times and great social change.” But you will find they are also remarkable for their craftsmanship and inherent beauty.

Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo 
Via Torino Modane 16, Torino
tel. +39 011 3797600

Ca D’Oro Galleria Giorgio Franchetti 
Cannaregio 3932, Venice 
Tue-Sun: 8:15 to 19:15 / Monday: 8.15-14

Prix Pictet reception in Torino

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Venezia

Stephen Barber introduces the Prix Pictet exhibition in Torino