On the third day of Milan Fashion Week, past and present merged at Donatella Versace's joyous, celebratory, healing runway tribute Friday to her brother Gianni Versace, 20 years after his slaying in Miami. And it culminated with her own reckoning with how she has born the weight of her brother's creative legacy. The show brought together the superm...

The late philosopher and novelist Ayn Rand defined art as “…a selective recreation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.” Since early modern humans first appeared in Europe approx. 40,000 years ago, mankind has “selectively recreated reality” in numerous ways for many different purposes. Many early civilizations, like An...

At Milan’s Salone del Mobile in 1971, Florentine architect Lapo Binazzi assembled polyurethane pieces into a Doric temple, queued up his sound track, and pressed play. “Our dream was to ruin the temple to the ground, to the sound of an earthquake,” remembers Binazzi, now 74 and still based in Florence. The practical application of the remaining chu...

Pizza, pasta, mozzarella, burrata, parmesan, gelato, limoncello. Once you think you have conquered every type of mouthwatering Italian food, there is another to sample. Is there an end to the country's delicious fare? We sincerely hope not. So, how can the rest of us adopt some of the core philosophies of Italian cooking - fresh local ingredients a...

In 1976, a bustling retail store opened on East 59th Street in New York: It was called Fiorucci — a global concept shop by the Italian designer Elio Fiorucci, who had opened other outposts in London and Milan. It housed Fiorucci’s own fashion line, which had become famous for baby-faced angels on T-shirts and some of the first stretch jeans, as wel...

It doesn’t take long to spot the tendencies of members of Arte Povera, the “poor art” movement that took shape in late-1960s Italy. Each of the poveristi had certain creative signatures — generally fertile, sometimes meandering toward shtick. Michelangelo Pistoletto did the mirror paintings, where the viewer is forced into the work, sharing the mir...

In the Italian mid-south, on a spur east of Naples and Mount Vesuvius, there is a small rustic village, Calvanico, ringed by the spectacular Picentini mountain range. For the past six years, at a rambling farmstead in the heart of this village, an unlikely band of entrepreneurs, researchers, artists, farmers, and technologists have set up their hea...

Italy has produced many explorers of international fame, with one of the most famous being Marco Polo (1254 – 1324), the man responsible for epic voyages to China and the Far East. Polo is remembered also for his friendship with Kublai Khan, the subject of the 1797 classic poem that bears his name by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Also the world over kno...

Nearly half a millennium after their creation, artist Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s vegetal visages live on through a handful of kitschy European food brands. From the southern tip of Sicily, his painting Summer (1563) solicits buyers of oblong and ox heart tomatoes. Further north, Vertumnus (c. 1590) has been adopted by the Bertuzzi juice company. And at...

Michelangelo, Raffaello, Leonardo... and then again Leonardo, Galileo, and many more famed artists and scientists: there is no doubt that Firenze – the Renaissance City – has been for centuries the real keystone of both Western art and modern science. In fact, it appears that some of the leading figures of the city’s art scene were also very well-v...