This week… pottery, postcards and rats

So, in the UK someone appears to have switched off summer, and in the cold rain temperatures have dropped dramatically. Of course, being British we staunchly hold on to the hope that the sun will come out again before autumn sets in but the mood as I write feels like the dog days of summer. I’m craving a bowl of warming homemade soup (broccoli, pea and pesto, thanks for asking) so there’s definitely a slight shift to the earth’s axis. Ahem.

That’s the science part over and about my range scientifically speaking. Culture, now that’s a different matter. In an effort to drown out the sound of rain lashing against the windowpanes recently I’ve been re-running films from the 1930’s through to the 1970’s beginning with the original The 39 Steps (1935), and moving on to Hitchcock’s The Lady Vanishes (1938). So I’m excited to hear about a new Italian museum dedicated to an iconic filmmaker opening next month.

Here’s a few more things I liked this week.

Rimini – new Federico Fellini museum

The new Federico Fellini International Museum at Rimini and main blog image. Photos courtesy Tourismo Emilia Romagna.

A new museum dedicated to Federico Fellini, will open now open on 19August in Rimini where the 20th century filmmaker was born. The Federico Fellini International Museum will be devoted to the Italian screenwriter and film director’s life and work, and will feature drawings, original scripts, letters, costumes, exhibitions, film showings and scenographic elements.

The museum will occupy the fifteenth century fortress, the Renaissance Sismondo Castle, and the 400-metre outdoor space, ‘Square of Dreams’. Digital technology will create video installations, augmented reality and some of Fellini’s movie sets, including the famous La Dolce Vita. Anita Ekberg’s famous scene set in the Trevi Fountain has become a motif in films. Remember Under the Tuscan Sun (2003, with the staggeringly good Lindsay Duncan imitating Ekberg’s character) and Elsa & Fred (2014, starring Shirley MacLaine and the late, great Christopher Plummer)?

It was in Rimini, in the restored Cinema Fulgor, where Fellini (1920-1993) saw his first ever film Maciste in Hell. A “cinemino” will be set up to show Fellini movies throughout the day.

By way of digression, I have happy memories of my one visit to Rimini in the early noughties which turned out to be an unexpectedly wet and chilly week in May. Located on 15km of sandy beach on the Adriatic coast of Emilia Romagna the resort makes a wonderful setting but with no let-up in the weather I explored the local area, wearing as many cotton T shirts as I could get on to keep warm. I was delighted to discover some excellent boutiques and came home with six boxes of Italian shoes and a new handbag! A wonderful tour guide, English but married to an Italian and having lived there for years, introduced me to my first ever glass of Prosecco as an aperitif. Unknown outside of Italy it was a delightful revelation. We also hopped on the ferry across the bay to Venice a couple of times. I’ve visited the floating city of Venice a few times but on this occasion it was flooded everywhere, including the magnificent Piazza San Marco or St Mark’s Square. Having seen an image in a book or magazine, I have always wanted to see the city under snow. Sadly, with global warming, that’s one I should probably delete from my bucket list.  

The new Fellini museum makes me want to re-visit Rimini. Now, where’s my umbrella?

Yoko Ono

MEND PIECE for London, Yoko Ono 1966/2018. Images courtesy the artist.

An interactive installation by artist, musician and activist Yoko Ono (b.1933, Japan) opens at the Whitechapel Gallery this month. In MEND PIECE for London fragments of broken pottery sit alongside glue, wire, scissors and other simple repair items on plain white tables. Simple instructions provided by the artist invite visitors to ‘Mend carefully. / Think of mending the world at the same time.’ Mended objects are displayed on adjacent shelves.
MEND PIECE returns to London more than 50 years after it was first presented as Mending Piece at Ono’s 1966 solo exhibition at the counterculture Indica Gallery. The artist’s career spans performance, writing, visual art, experimental music and film.

For those of us who have been around since Ono’s early days as an artist her work has always challenged the definition of what art can be, and has continued in the development of both Fluxus and Conceptual art. Her practice has remained true to the concept of participation and collaboration from the 1960s, as have Ono’s campaigns for peace and non-violence through her work. Of course, BED PIECE (1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono) was considered rather outrageous at the time but it wouldn’t bat an eyelid today. Interestingly though, and sadly, the message remains as relevant.
MEND PIECE for London draws on the Japanese tradition of kintsugi. The art of repairing broken pottery uses lacquer mixed with precious metals such as gold and silver. The process nurtures breakage as an important part of an object’s history, rather than seeking to disguise it, an approach now fudamental in heritage object conservation. Here Ono presents the physical act as a metaphor for ‘mending’ the mental through community.

It’s a timely reminder in a world that feels somewhat ‘broken’. MEND PIECE for London runs 25 August to 2 January 2022 at the Whitechapel Gallery

Rats make sentimental lovers

LtoR: Sunrise 7 Heritage Boutique Hotel ’s new Zlata Vila priva; ‘rat’ lights at the spa.

Bohinj Heritage Boutique Hotel Sunrose 7 opens new wellness spa

Slovenia has been added to the UK government’s green travel list. As I’ve mentioned before I was due to visit last year but you know the rest of that story #cancelledtrips. Nonetheless, Slovenia is high on my must-see list and this hotel would be a wonderful base to begin exploring this remarkable country.

The Sunrise 7 Heritage Boutique Hotel was established in 1890. It is an independent hotel and sits amongst alpine meadows, mountain streams and, not far away, the valley of the Seven Triglav Lakes, all in the heart of Triglav National Park.

The hotel’s new Zlata Vila private wellness and spa area features a carbonised Finnish sauna, a relaxing hot tub and an ice waterfall for Kneipp treatment. Ancient handmade chairs, tables and other used and abandoned furniture, has been reimagined into wall panels for a luxurious ambiance. Black iron ore patterns on the walls and floor pay tribute to the Bohinj ironworks heritage. The new wellness spa accommodates just six people maximum so perfect for a private hire for family and (very) close friends 18+ only.

I had to show you the lighting (above). The hotel says; “Rats are, according to the Chinese belief, sentimental, sensual and warm lovers. They will do anything to please their lover and like to take the initiative in seduction.”

I like that the seven elements of relaxation offered each represent a healing element of the ‘natural wonders of the National Park of Bohinj in the Julian Alps.’ The one about the rain seems particularly relevant at the moment.

  1. The luxury of the refreshing Grmečica waterfall for Kneipp therapy
  2. A hot tub made of stainless steel in the shades of Triglav’s seven lakes
  3. A pearl bath therapy with the ionized air of Pokljuka
  4. A Finnish sauna with fully carbonated interior and aromatherapy with local herbs
  5. The famous Bohinj rain with hot-cold therapy
  6. Relaxing sound therapy with the sounds of Bohinj forests
  7. Elements of fire & love in the handmade lanterns


The Dolce&Gabbana collection at the Hotel Cala Di Volpe.

A quick one to finish. I love that hotels are reimagining their offer. No longer a place to simply lay your weary head, many hotels are now offering programmes of unique events, workshops, private concerts and more. At the Hotel Cala di Volpe a new beach-style fashion collection by Dolce&Gabbana celebrates the nature and landscape of the Porto Cervo bay at Costa Smeralda, Sardinia. Featuring brightly-coloured hippy-style caftans, as well as t-shirts, caps and foulards the collection is available exclusively in Dolce&Gabbana’s pop-up store in the hotel. The print designs aim to represent a collage of postcards that capture the dazzling colours of the Mediterranean sea and the golden sand that circles the island, as well as fragments of tiny coastal towns.

That’s all for this week. Enjoy your week and catch you next time! Stay safe and well wherever you are in the world.

As always please check the for the latest on domestic and international travel guidelines. It’s also a good idea to check individual web sites for the latest of opening times and safety requirements.

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