GEORGIA – Italian architecture in Tbilisi

GEORGIA – Italian architecture in Tbilisi

Georgia Tbilisi

In Georgia Italy has always been famous for many of its qualities such as art, food, music, cinema, fashion and football. In the last 15 years, however, it has begun to make itself known also for architecture, thanks to two great architects who have redesigned the skyline of Tbilisi.

In fact, the Georgian government in 2004, to start a political-cultural renaissance in the country, to redo the look and to transform Tbilisi into a cosmopolitan city, hired the italian (from Ferrara) architect and designer Michele De Lucchi.

One of the first projects entrusted to him by President Saakashvili was the redevelopment of the Rike district, near the city center, where a new park was built and where the new Presidential Palace was built (which is very reminiscent of the Reichstag in Berlin), whose works, which started in 2004, ended in 2009.

Subsequently, De Lucchi was also entrusted with the construction of the new building of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, a structure built in 2008, built on an area of 50,000 square meters, entirely covered with glass and reminiscent of the shape of a corrugated ribbon.

The following year, the architect also oversaw the construction of the Bridge of Peace, which connects the historic Berikoni district to the Rike district, crossing the Mtkhvari river and immediately becoming one of the symbols of the Georgian capital. It is sinusoidal in shape, consisting of steel pipes and trapezoidal glass elements. Seen from afar, the bridge seems to be suspended over the water, as the only supports are located along the two banks of the river. The work was conceived as a real bridge between ancient and modern, not only because it divides the historic center from the renewed Rike district, but also because it symbolizes the ambitions of a country that wants to look ahead without forgetting its identity.

After this important collaboration, it was then up to Massimiliano Fuksas, one of the best known architects internationally, to enrich the skyline of Tbilisi with new works. The first structure built by Fuksas in the Georgian capital was the Tbilisi Public Service Hall, currently home to numerous administrative offices, a few hundred meters from De Lucchi’s Bridge of Peace, is made up of seven cantilevered volumes covered with glass, arranged around to a large central square. Finally, the entire structure is covered with 11 large “petals” that differ in geometry and size, structurally independent of the rest of the building and supported by a tree-pylon structure.

Another work created by the Roman architect, completed on the exterior but unfortunately not yet used, is the Music Theater and Exhibition Hall, born as a periscope from the Rike park to reach out towards the city, in fact it is composed of two volumes vaguely shaped like large pipes and connected as a single body to a retaining wall.

JORDAN – Rum Farm

JORDAN – Rum Farm


Rum Farm is a farm located in the Wadi Rum valley in Jordan, near the border with Saudi Arabia. It was founded in 1986 and covers approximately 2000 hectares of land in the middle of the desert.

More specifically, this valley is called the “Valley of the Moon” and is a very arid area, with very little annual rainfall and sparse vegetation.

Red sand areas alternate with granite and sandstone mountains, with gorges, caves, natural arches … everything would be said except that it is a fertile land where you can produce and cultivate something. Yet the desert regions of Israel and Jordan have been the subject of numerous agricultural projects for years, so with the involvement of some local Bedouins, activities have begun here that are starting to be successful.

In fact, it has been discovered that under the Wadi Rum desert there is a large aquifer and which guarantees a large part of the water supply for the whole nation. The water is then taken from the underground aquifer, 30-400 meters deep and irrigates 78 hectares of circular fields, a technique that works very well.

Rum Farm is today a farm specialized in the cultivation of products such as vegetables, cereals and forage, aubergines, cabbage, figs and pomegranates, potatoes, squash, tomatoes. The crops are grown using special irrigation techniques and a method that is said to have been in use since ancient times by the Egyptians and the Nabataeans.

OMAN – The Aflaj

OMAN – The Aflaj


The Aflaj irrigation systems (in the singular “Falaj”), typical of the Sultanate of Oman, have been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2006.

Each mountain village has its own Falaj to support the cultivation and development of local agriculture. In Oman there are about 10,000 of them, the largest being the Falaj Daris, which is located about 7 km from Nizwa.

The Aflaj system was first introduced to Oman by the Persians in 2500 BC. and developed mainly from the 6th century.

The water comes from wadis (river beds that fill with rainwater), from rainfall or from mountain springs. By taking advantage of gravity and a system of slopes, the water is channeled for many kilometers, mainly for the purpose of agricultural irrigation, but also to serve the smaller villages.

In other cases they are dug along a slope where there is an aquifer and the water flows directly from the mountain.

Observation towers have been built along the Aflaj route to always have control over their operation. In these desert areas, water is an extremely precious commodity, it should not be wasted and the presence and quantity depends on the survival of many villages and the country’s agricultural economy.

The management of this patrimony is still guaranteed by very rooted common values and guided by astronomical observations.

MADAGASCAR – The Pousse Pousse

MADAGASCAR – The Pousse Pousse


In Madagascar, many of the most practiced jobs are those that still require human strength. You can see it in the fields, in the shops, in the construction sites and certainly in this row the pousse-pousse riders fall, the typical Malagasy rickshaw which is one of the most used means of travel in many cities.

There are different types, but what unites them is the fact that they are always colorful and often small pieces of art in movement, they always attract the attention of people.

In Madagascar everyone uses pousse-pousse every day, from students to workers, to women who come and go from the markets. It is the cheapest alternative to buses and taxis, but it is also the most convenient way to go through the narrow and crowded streets of the city centers.

The capital of its use is undoubtedly Antsirabe, but it is widespread and common in all the main cities of Madagascar.

Even for tourists it is a pleasant attraction, real city tours are organized in pousse-pousse where you travel lulled by the rhythm of the steps of the rider and you can see the landscape and local life slowly parading on the sides.

The local imagination is very striking, often for children it is one of the jobs they would like to do when they grow up.

Do you know that Morocco was the set of numerous Kolossal?

Do you know that Morocco was the set of numerous Kolossal?

Marocco Marrakech

The love between Morocco and cinema was born with the birth of the cinema: it is said that as far back as 1896 Louis and Auguste Lumière have traveled to Morocco several times to resume moments of everyday life.

It is therefore no coincidence that a very strong union has developed between film producers, attracted by new “Studios” and by the multiple opportunities they offer, and the territory itself, particularly evocative for settings that often go beyond the context of the landscape itself.

The numerous films shot make Morocco very familiar to the whole world, instilling a very welcome, enveloping and exotic image in travelers who dream of reliving the adventures dreamed and admired in films with possible travel, full of strong emotions.

At the “Studios” of Ouarzazate, still active and with scenic settings still in existence, you can still relive numerous sets of successful films: Kundun, The Gladiator, Othello, The Mummy – The Return, The Jewel of the Nile, Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra: despite their location was elsewhere, they were almost entirely shot here.

There are also films set in Morocco that often take on a connotation just like a “travel experience” in these lands, with an “on the road” component or the search for an “elsewhere”. Just think of Marrakech Express, The Sheltering Sky, A Train to Marrakech.

Then there are other very evocative films that have contributed to increase a mystical and exotic dimension to the destination, but which however have not been entirely shot in Morocco. Starting from the famous Casablanca, passing through The Wind and the Lion, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Adventure to Morocco

Interesting and valuable, although less known by the general public, the national production, with most of its producers and directors who emigrated to France.

Many cities (and also – more or less-  well-known tourist places) can boast of having hosted scenes from many international films, including recently produced ones. For example: at the Kasbah of Ait Ben Haddou, in addition to some of the aforementioned films,: Jesus of Nazareth, 007: Danger zone, Lawrence of Arabia, Alexander; in Meknes: the Jewel of the Nile; in Tangier: The Bourne Ultimatum; in Essaouira: Othello, Last Minute Morocco, in Rabat: Black Hawk Down, El Khoubz el Hafi; in Erfoud: I Giardini dell’Eden, in Marrakech: Alexander, La casa sulle nuvole, Marrakech Express, Last minute Morocco …

Cine-tourism is a new frontier to discover Morocco, especially if it will be able to get in touch with local culture with a logic of respect and sustainability. However, tourists will not be surprised why producers has chosen Morocco with its splendid natural panoramas as the scenic setting of their films.

ARMENIA – Lake Sevan

ARMENIA – Lake Sevan


Lake Sevan is the largest lake in Armenia (and the Caucasus) and one of the largest high altitude lakes in the world. It is located at 1900 meters above sea level, covers an area of940 sq km, is 80 km long and 30 km wide at its widest point. It receives water from 28 rivers and the only river emissary Hrazdan has come; but only 10% of the water that leaves the lake leaves the river. The remaining 90% is subject to evaporation.

It was the scene of many clashes between Armenian and Arab Christians from Turkey. Important for Armenian history was the battle of 859 in which King Ashot managed to repel the Arab invasion.

It is the most important fresh water reservoir for Armenia, therefore especially during the last century works have been made to try to make the most of resources and to produce electricity. Some unfortunate attempts and projects, however, led to an ecological disaster in the 1950s which led to the lake being lowered by almost 20 meters and the power plant was then blocked. Subsequent interventions stabilized in the situation and now waters from other rivers are also flowing into the lake.

I have also been introduced by man to some species of fish that have gone to threaten endemic ones such as the trout of Sevan.

On the banks of the lake there are some monasteries that date back to the Middle Ages. The most famous are Sevanavank, on the western shores of Hayrivank and to the south Noraduz with its Khachkar cemetery, the typical Armenian stone crosses.

Today Sevan is a tourist destination, in fact Armenia has no outlets on the sea and in summer the water temperature (18 ° -22 °) provided bathing. It is only 70 km from the capital Yerevan, therefore a convenient day excursion location.

MALDIVES – The Residence Dhigurah, an eco-sustainable resort

MALDIVES – The Residence Dhigurah, an eco-sustainable resort


In this period of renewal, it is with a pinch of pride that The Residence Dhigurah announces that the EARTH BASKET (sustainable garden) project has become a pleasant reality with the first harvest of lettuce and watermelons. While green peppers are coming to the harvest!

Production will become increasingly important so that we can delight our next guests with delicious fresh salads and genuine jams.

In the meantime, what will be produced from our garden will be distributed to the staff, which is increasingly specializing in this local cultivation technique.

The island is also full of coconut palms that grow spontaneously, and this will allow us to extract a natural coconut essential oil that can be used inside our Spa by Clarins.

This project is part of a larger project by the Cenizaro Group which will see all the Resorts committed to improving the quality of the environment around us, also according the recent 50th Anniversary of Earth Day just celebrated in April.

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Street-food Vietnam – The Pho

Street-food Vietnam – The Pho


Pho is considered to be one of the most popular street food in all major Vietnamese cities and is among the best twenty dishes in the world according to Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eatlist.

At any time of day or night, a steaming dish of pho is never difficult to find.

It is a noodle soup in a meat broth and today there is no dish that can better represent the essence of Vietnamese cuisine. It is usually accompanied by aromatic herbs, lime and spices and despite the apparent simplicity, pho is a harmonious set of flavors and textures.

The preparation, however, is more difficult than it seems: the mix of spices used (anise, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves) must be expertly balanced, then there are the noodles that make up the main part of the dish and a small amount of meat cut into very thin slices which is prepared separately and added to the broth only at the last moment.

Basil, mint, onion and coriander are then the final touch and the garnish of the dish.

Average cost of all this about 1 euro.

As in all important national issues, claims on the origin of the Pho and on the variations between north and south of Vietnam cannot miss.

Tradition however tells that it originated in the northern areas of the country and then spread to the rest of Vietnam.

The northern Pho (called Pho Bac) has a slightly saltier and stronger taste, the southern Pho (called Pho Nam) is prepared with thinner noodles and the vegetables are served separately.

When you find yourself in front of a steaming bowl of pho (whether you are in the north or south) squeeze the lime and pour the juice (seedless) into the broth, add broken chilli and spicy sauces as you like. We suggest to taste it when it is hot.

So chopsticks in one hand and spoon in the other and … enjoy your meal!

West SIBERIA – The Altai Republic

West SIBERIA – The Altai Republic

Regione dell'Altai Siberia

Russia, the largest country in the world, retains in some remote regions a charm of the past and something mysterious and surprising. Asian Russia has always attracted explorers and adventurers and still today is not a destination for mass tourism, despite offering countless opportunities, including discovering the different native populations or several protected national parks or world heritage sites of the UNESCO.

The Altay Mountains – and in general the whole territory of the homonymous Republic – are a jewel of nature, a sort of shangrli-la from Central Asia, a destination for eco-sustainable tourism and for travelers looking for unique and rare experiences.

The landscape of this region that ranges from the steppe to the taiga, from the glaciers to the semi-desert and is characterized by more than 7000 between lakes, rushing rivers, is the perfect setting for fabulous excursions, sports activities such as rafting or trekking or more simply for those who love to photograph pristine territories.

OMAN – Magic Camps Wahiba Sands

OMAN – Magic Camps Wahiba Sands

Magic Camps Oman

The first season of operation of the Magic Camps Wahiba Sands has recently ended, unfortunately a little earlier due to the Covid-19 emergency.

A first year full of satisfactions and enthusiastic comments from the guests who stayed there.

After years of activity with the Magic Camps in private basis, from 1 October 2019 the Magic Camps Wahiba Sands is open, an eco-chic tented camp located in Oman in the Wahiba desert.

It can be reached with a 40-minute crossing of the desert since leaving the paved road, and this stretch is already a very suggestive experience.

The camp consists of only 10 tents, so it has a very small size, to create a very intimate atmosphere between the guests and the context in which it is inserted.

One of the main characteristics of the camp is the absence of the current generator, in this way you can stay in contact with the desert without interference. The absolute silence, the warm light of the lamps and candles, the crackle of the fire.

All with accommodation with attention to every detail and furnished with refined taste, a private bathroom tent for each bed tent is available to guests.

The cuisine is highly sought after, a mix between western and local dishes, strictly using fresh local flavors and raw materials.

Combined with the stay you can organize various activities both for fun and for exploring the desert and contact with local Bedouin families.

The appointment is therefore for the next season, starting in early October for other unforgettable nights under the starry desert sky.

For information and pictures you can consult the website