In the wonderful atmosphere of the Ecali Club in Athens, I was invited to give a lecture on Venice “The Splendour of the Floating City”.
was a virtual and eloquent tour comprising the Myth, History and the Beauty of its Arts, and we discovered hidden corners, walked through alleys and stopped at the charming bridges above the canals to contemplate the architecture of the gothic palaces.
This is Μy Venice. Μy beloved city whose images, sounds and light are always within me. The audience was fascinated by the magic of this dream-like city, and I was so pleased to share this truly delightful experience with them through personal anecdotes and experiences.
Learn more: MY VENICE
With great pleasure I gave the lecture The Voyage of the Order of the Knights of St. John in the Mediterranean to an audience that was deeply interested in the History of the Crusades and the Mediterranean Sea. All this transpired in the elegant atmosphere of the Argo Gallery in Athens.
We wandered from Jerusalem to Syria, from Cyprus to Rhodes and the coasts of Asia Minor to Malta and Rome, embarking on an adventurous journey that followed the history of the Order of the Knights of St. John and the places where they settled.
After the lecture we were delighted to taste the amber-coloured sweet wine known as Commandaria, which the Knights loved to drink so much. The wine was produced in the vineyards around their castle in Limassol, Cyprus in the 13th century, and was exported to Europe’s royal courts. Large quantities of which were also produced to supply pilgrims en route to the Holy Land.
There are some cities that charm you, and others that capture your imagination. Then there are those that remain in your heart.
Thirty years ago, I discovered Rome with a book by the French writer, Stendhal. Walks in Rome in hand, I set about the city and observed it through his eyes, even though he had visited Rome at the beginning of the 19th century and I only began to live there in the late 20th century. The city of course had not changed all that much, but beyond what I was seeing through the eyes of Stendhal, what I held as the most precious lesson was not to waste my gaze here and there.
I focused my attention on a work of Art, on a view, on the architectural detail of a church, the interior decoration of a palace or even focused on an artistic / social event in which I was participating, with the city providing the perfect backdrop. A whole world opened before me, ready to be assimilated effortlessly, in a genteel way, and with all my sensations.
At that time I didn’t know that I would ever write a book about the city that had adopted me. This happened much later. But Stendhal’s lesson, apparently, had brought to light that magic that is so difficult to explain. As soon as I started writing, the words flew onto the blank, white page like the rushing waters of the Tiber. It was not me who was writing, but rather Rome that spoke through me.
The audience enjoyed the lecture as we wandered through the old narrow streets, inside the spectacular palaces and around the squares with the gushing Baroque fountains of the Eternal City.
Learn more: FEELING ROME
In the elegant atmosphere of the ARGO Gallery, I was delighted to give a lecture on India with the subject: “When Fantasy meets Reality”. Not only was the audience fascinated by the splendid colours, the stunning landscapes and the majestic palaces of the Maharajas, I, myself, was once again wrapped up in its seductive aura and it felt as if I was narrating a fairy tale.
My words flowed effortlessly, but it was India that spoke through me, unraveling its Arts and History and revealing its treasures. From the Mughal emperors in Old Delhi, down to Agra with its romantic mausoleum, the Taj Mahal. From its legendary medieval fortresses in Rajasthan, to the pink and blue cities of Jaipur and Jodhpur, far up in the Thar desert where caravans had once crossed, on their way from Persia and where Rajput tribes still live today, to end up in the mythical collections of the Maharajahs of Udaipur, and finally we sailed up to the peaceful, exquisite Lake Palace, which we saw being borne through the water.
Imagination and reality, dream and life, all mingled within us. Step by step, we let India give us its splendid lesson through its great contradictions and exaggerations, and we completed the lecture at the buffet with a delicious pilaf curry with tiny shrimps to get a last, lingering taste.
Learn more: INDIA and my Persian garden
Subsequent to the gracious invitation of the Cultural Association TEXNH ART PATMOS, where I have the honour of being a member, I was delighted to give a lecture on Venice to the international set of friends that spend summers in their beautiful, old mansions in Chora - the capital of the island.
Sure that many of them had visited Venice, the theme of the lecture was specific: the birth of the city emerging from the waters, its ties to the Byzantine Empire that strengthened it in order to expand its possessions of the Greek islands of the Aegean and Ionian Seas and, finally, its stormy rapport with the Ottoman Empire. All these factors influenced the Serenissima so much that many scholar-travellers said that the Orient actually began in Venice.
The lecture was held in the charming garden of a dear Italian friend overlooking the picturesque harbour, with the moon sending its silvery light onto the sea to illuminate the sailboats that were peacefully anchored there.
Learn more: MY VENICE
at the Circolo Italo-Britannico in Venice, Italy
In early November, invited to the Circolo Italo-Britannico of Venice, I presented the book MY VENICE in an unusual way. Rather than talk about the beauties of Venice, which the audience knew extremely well, I talked about the beauties of Greece and Constantinople.
The members of the club, English and lovers of the Serenissima, showed great interest in seeing images of the fortresses left by the Venetians on the islands of the Aegean Sea or the Ottoman palaces of Istanbul on the shores of the Bosporus combined with pictures of the palazzi of the noble-merchants on the Grand Canal.
It was a singular presentation because in the book MY VENICE I convey the colours of the East due to my cultural background.
Learn more: MY VENICE
in Bagno Vignoni, Tuscany, Italy
“Colours of a Book” paint the picturesque village of Bagno Vignoni in the Orcia Valley in Tuscany where I was charmed by the warmth of its inhabitants and the hospitality of the organizers. The day was splendid, people arrived from the surroundings and Michele Taddei with his extremely nice colleague interviewed me in a soft way.
There was also a book fair where the thirty exponents proposed old books on their stands around the famous pool with thermal water. Emotionally touched to return toTuscany, that I deeply love, I retain the best memory.
Learn more: A YEAR IN TUSCANY
at the Castello dell’Olgiata, Rome
The first presentation of A Year in Tuscany was held at the Castello dell’Olgiata in Rome, where I wrote the book surrounded by the beauty and serenity of the landscape. Immersed in the Castello’s magical atmosphere and surrounded by all my friends and acquaintances. The event was particularly felt and appreciated.
Certainly, I was moved because it was my first presentation in Italy and I was able to transfer my deep love for the country that has adopted me to my guests. I know that I have described the spirit and the idea of my book with all the enthusiasm that accompanies my writing. It was a beautiful spring Sunday and I received many good wishes and compliments, something that further cheered and touched me.
Read more: A Year in Tuscany