Brewing In Architecture | By: Valentina Cirasola | Interior Designer

Getting up in the morning with that roaring sound of my Italian professional espresso maker really gets my blood going. Aside from the sound of birds chirping outside my bedroom window there is no better sound I like to hear in the morning.
Espresso, my lifetime lover I can’t do without it. My coffee has always been the same type for years, a blend of Brazilian green coffee beans that I toast myself to my liking. Espresso requires special Italian machines to make it frothy, thick and short.

One type of very common machine for family consumption is made for a stove top and produces one cup (small machine) up to twenty-four cups (very tall). The other kind is the café type with a few levels, one for each cup, a selection to make one or many cups at once, the cappuccino and steam feature, temperature/pressure gauge and more buttons that you know what to do. You get the picture, it is a professional machine, which performs for high traffic cafés.

A coffee maker in Italy like everything in my country must have style, we just don’t settle for functionality, we want beauty in the kitchen too.

Italian architect Aldo Rossi (1931-1997) using architectural features of Italy designed many attractive famous espresso makers all produced by Alessi. He is considered to be the greatest Italian architect of the second half of the 20th century. It has been said: “Aldo Rossi is an author of abstraction, geometrical patterns and silent evocation created some of the most intensely poetic works of architecture and design in his age”.

In his products he utilizes geometrical shapes to make profound design statements. Aldo Rossi designed the Pens espresso makers, La Cupola espresso maker in 1984, la Conica espresso maker in 1988. All these designs reflect the harmony and the beauty of the classic architecture of Italy.  Aldo Rossi has been called  ‘a poet who happens to be an architect’. His theory on the nature of design is about offering an alternative to the technological and functional emphasis of modernism. Italians love to roll around in antiquity even when making coffee. Our eyes rejoice in the presence of a Brunelleschi’s cupola, Medieval Towers or Palladian’s architectural details. Now transfer all that beauty into food and gadgets to serve those food and you have pure pleasure. Espresso for Italians has the same importance as tea for British.  It is one of the many pleasures of the day in the Italian life and it is good for you.

I read a very encouraging article on the New York Times about coffee health. In some researches has been found that caffeine might prove to be a way to stimulate hair growth in men going bald.
Coffee could protect people against multiple sclerosis. Habitual coffee consumption is associated with a substantially lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Higher coffee and caffeine intake is associated with a significantly lower incidence of Parkinson’s disease. Harvard Medical Study says coffee drinking may help against heart disease.
Women who drink coffee are (much) less likely to commit suicide. Abstinence from Coffee drinking leads to early death.
Who would have ever thought of all these benefits!

With this in mind, let us keep the habit of making coffee, but let us brew it in the classicism of Italian architecture where romance is written on buildings the world admires.

I am here ready to help you with the selection of special objects, gadgets and kitchen wear  and to design that special Italian kitchen for you. Leave your name in the box below, I shall answer you in 25 hours time. Ciao,

Copyright © 2011 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved


Valentina Cirasola is an Italian Interior Designer with a passion for kitchens and cooking. She loves to remodel homes and loves to turn ugly spaces into castles, but especially loves to design kitchens and wine grottos.

She is  the author of two regional Italian cookbooks available in this site and in her books site:

Come Mia Nonna – A Return To Simplicity
Sins Of A Queen – Italian Appetizers and Desserts


The Nativity Scene in Italian Art – 2

Neapolitan Nativity Scene
Neapolitan Nativity Scene

In Naples, where the most elaborate creations eventually took place, we have a record of a Presepe given by Queen Sancia to the Poor Clares in 1370.  Development was subsequently rapid, with artists such as Giovanni and Pietro Alemanno and Giovanni da Nola.  The Presepe became mobile, based on wooden sculptures crafted to scale.  Artisans became ever more skilled in creating the “pastori”, eventually adding articulated limbs, wigs, glass eyes, lifelike bare skin.  At the same time the background was developing, the setting became important.  Perspective and special illumination were used, decorative elements were added, attention was paid to colors and the use of reflective surfaces.  In effect the Presepe outstripped its original function of representing  the bare Nativity, and became an artistic ideal in its own right, becoming more and more secularized in the process.  The scope of the representation also expanded: it was now not just the shepherds  and the Magi who came to worship the newborn Christ, but people from all walks of life, the baker, the butcher, the candle-maker…, all in the typical dress of their day and trade.

The Nativity scene is of course represented in very many countries all over the world, and it is fascinating to see how native cultural elements are incorporated into the Diversorium.  The pastori exhibit local physiognomies and local dress, architectural elements echo the architecture of the country, vegetation and other decorative elements are modeled after local examples.  The fidelity that is lost in giving up the attempt to represent the Palestinian landscape of 2000 years ago is more than made up for by the ecumenical union of all believers and by the implicit declaration that the event represented transcends any local characterization and holds a message for all mankind.

In Naples, particularly, we find that unique blend of classicism and religious art that had swept the Peninsula since the Quattrocento.  Thus, a Neapolitan Presepe may depict the grotto of the Nativity next to Roman columns, with the Vesuvio in the background and perhaps even the sea, Naples’ sea, somewhere in the scene.  Today the most spectacular collection of Presepi is found at the Museo di San Martino in Naples.  In these examples, rich in baroque detail and symbolism, some of the figures may be arrayed in valuable cloth and may be wearing real jewels.

The artistic/religious theme began to wane in the 19th century, and the Presepe became a commercial commodity, within reach of most families who wanted to recreate the Nativity scene, in a more or less simplified form, in their own homes.  Today one can buy most representational elements in a wide variety of sizes and assemble them at home – typically a joyous activity that involves the whole family.  A famous street in Naples, San Gregorio Armeno, houses most Neapolitan Presepe artisans, and the neighborhood comes alive every Christmas as hordes of Neapolitans and tourists alike prowl the shops in search of pastori, I Re Magi, il Bue e l’Asinello, the Angels, il Bebe’, and perhaps the Tavern-Keeper and the Shoe Maker.

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Press Release: New Italian Art E-Commerce Website

Italian Art Painter on Beach Enjoying Life was born with a definite mission: to promote Italian-born artists who now live in America and whose work has its roots in the techniques and traditions of the mother country. We achieve this goal by providing these artists and artisans with an electronic storefront on which they can exhibit and sell their work, by facilitating inter-artist communication and synergies, and by providing you, the public, with information and tools to enable you to easily view the artists’ work and to select those ‘must-have’ items.

The Finest Italian:

Paintings; Ceramics; Jewelry; Pottery; Photography; Home Decor; and Much More!

Both established and emerging artisan/artists will benefit from exposure on, and of course the eventual buyer benefits by having an additional efficient and secure channel for his or her acquisitions.

In the background there is a another purpose, one that stems from our love for, and pride in, our country of origin.  We are brought by this love and pride to a desire to promote its culture and its art whenever possible, because we believe that the world can only become a better and more beautiful place by an increased acceptance of Italian artistic ideals and Italian lifestyle.  To this  end we make a donation to the Italian Educational Institute, a non-profit organization based in Atherton, California, each time a sale is made.  The reason for being of the Italian Educational Institute is to promote the increased diffusion of Italian language and culture in California.

Having stated our policy of concentrating on Italian-born artists practicing their craft in America, we hasten to add that it is not our intention to enforce this rule absolutely and dogmatically.  Should we run across opportunities to bring you exceptional work directly from Italy we will do so.  And if an American-resident artisan has preserved intact his artisan traditions, he will not be excluded just because he may be a generation or two removed from the mother country.  Thus, we bring you ITALY as an idea and a lifestyle, rather than as a purely geographical construct.

Finest Italian – a real online opportunity for both established and upcoming artists represents an effort to help artists find their way into the online art markets. It is a very useful website for catapulting artists to new levels in their careers and for increasing the demand for their works.  It also aims to educate by providing information about various painters, sculptors, artisans etc., in a historical context from the Renaissance to contemporary times. The website is a real boon for the upcoming artists as it helps people discover them and recognize their work. By featuring their art on Finest Italian, the website encourages Italian artists to produce more works thus increasing their contribution to the world of art in general.

A gateway of popularity for Italian artists who haven’t made their mark yet

Membership in Finest Italian is a mark of excellence and provides an avenue for selling Italian artwork to buyers and collectors online. Hence, the popularity of each artist is maximized and members of the website may influence the opinions of art critics, both within Italy and other countries. This takes place in a beneficial way for the exclusive artists featured on the website. This website is a success gateway for artists, as more and more people will discover, who appreciate and acquire the work of a particular artist. Then the status of the artists is surely bound to increase.

Finest Italian featuring Italian artwork in various forms

The website provides internet access to a variety of products such as Italian jewelry, Italian ceramics,  contemporary and vintage Italian paintings and photographs, and Italian art and artigianato from various other fields. There are also links to pages that are focused on each product type under the main product categories. The website also contains the complete list of Italian artists featured on the website with links to the price and description of each of their items along with an image of the item when available. You can search the name of artist or find his/her work by running a simple search query on the website.

Italian art is complex art of intense creativity and thinking and we sell these classic works in affordable, high quality modern editions to the customers all over the world. The selection of artists featured on Finest Italian aims at encouraging people to discover the work of modern Italian artists, develop interest in their work and spread the word around the world to encourage the artistic endeavor.