Monthly Archive: November 2007

Tuscany in Toronto

Anyone who has traveled on the Toronto subway system or visited New York’s Grand Central Station recently could not help but see a sophisticated ad campaign about Italy. With the slogan “Italy for life” the two dozen different posters go beyond the usual photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to portray everything from spas to locations for business meetings. The posters sing about “landscapes where emotions come alive,” “culture that inspires” and “artistic beauty that fascinates.” You don’t need to convince me. Still, I wanted to find out more about the campaign so I called the Toronto office of...

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The future of books

The strike by the Writers Guild of America offers a glimpse into the future of intellectual property and how people get paid for cranial creativity. At the moment, 20 per cent of all U.S. homes have TiVo, which means TV programs can be downloaded and watched whenever the viewer chooses – without having to bother with the commercials. A recent New York Times article flat-out declared this means the end of television and drew a parallel to how vaudeville performers must have felt when talking movies arrived. If there are no eyeballs watching soap ads, why should Dove bother spending...

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Angels without wings

Of all the people we met in Florence, the one with the most impact was Peter Porcal, the resident art historian for the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD). Now in his early sixties, Peter has led his “children” for more than two decades. That’s Peter pictured at the top of the blog adroitly holding a spray of peppers. Click on the photo to enlarge it for a closer look. Every Wednesday morning, he takes successive classes of students somewhere in Florence to see Renaissance art. He also leads day trips and weekend excursions to the antique sales in...

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How to write a book: Part five

Prior to going to Florence, I knew there were two stories I wanted to tell: the pressing of olive oil and the tasting of vintage wine. In November, when the olive harvest was in full flight, the opportunity arose for us to see how olive oil was made. It was our landlord, Roberto Bianchi, who made the arrangements for us to visit Villa S. Andrea in Montefiridolfi, 20 km. south of Florence. In addition to harvesting their own olives, Villa S. Andrea also acts as a co-operative. Signor Bianchi takes his olives there for pressing, so he was able to...

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