As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? I was always fascinated by newsstands so I wanted to become first a news vendor, then I wanted to be a journalist.
What do you love most about Florence? Santa Maria Novella Cloisters, Piazza Santo Spirito, little and narrow streets and hearing people talk in Florentine accent.
Do you collect anything? Quotes and Articles about the future of environment, of historical sites and landscapes and tons of small objects for “still life” on the kitchen window sill.
What traditions from the Italian culture do you incorporate in your life? A deep love for cities, workshops, historical cafès, villages, reading authors of the Renaissance and previous authors: Cennino Cennini, Bonvesin de la Riva, singing in choirs especially Gregorian Chants, cooking saffron risotto with ossobuco (which my nephews adore).
What inspired you to write this book? My love for art cities, an editorial offer.
Which 5 people would you like to have over for dinner? People who want to save “real life” in cities and villages, people who want to save landscapes. People who hate cement. People who shop in small shops. People who fear the young will live in a world that is too technological and virtual and people who have thoughts for other people.
What are your favourite tools? Everything regarding the graphic and paper world: pencils, brushes, textures and writings
What was the most interesting thing you discovered when working on this book? The liveliness and shrewdness of Florentines, the pedestrians who let you work peacefully, that you can be the director of an uber-famous museum and still manage to answer a stranger like me with personal information after just 15 days of correspondence.
What was one of the best things that happened because of this book? The encounter (and consequently the friendship that originated from this encounter) with a Japanese couple with an adolescent daughter: the husband is a musician and his wife works with a humanitarian organization. They have invited me to stay in Tokyo as long as I wished but I never went (they came over for dinner at my house once).
What else would you like to work on a book about? I’d love to create something about Venice, Milan, cuisine, chefs, and ancient kitchens.
Read my review of ‘Magic Moments in Florence’ here.