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Svalbard Islands


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EDITORIAL Ovidio Guaita, International Editor-in-Chief

here is an invisible wall that separates us from others. A wall that sometimes prevents us from seeing. A wall that sometimes becomes physical. Until we are able to accept what is “other” or “different” without necessarily referring to it as primitive or uncivilized, we will not have learned to climb over that wall or to travel. We, Great Travellers, have a responsibility, almost an obligation, which arises from the privilege of having seen so much of the world: to promote integration. We, who in our travels have met people who are exceptionally diverse, must contribute to comprehension, even that of those habits and beliefs less orthodox and shareable. After all, we are all foreigners and should show discretion and respect when meeting the inhabitants of this immense village. All a bit different. No matter how near or far they may be. But no wall – certainly not physical - can stop the curiosity or the desire for a life with better expectations. That said, history should be our guide - from the Great Wall on. If migration is unimpeded by large mountain ranges, how can we imagine that a fence or a pile of bricks can clip the wings of dreams?

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CONTENTS

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TOP 10 tented camps

34

ELEVEN MIRRORS Kiev, Ukraine

39

SCANDIC ST. OLAVS PLASS Oslo, Norway

42

HOTEL CRISTIANIA TEATER Olso, Norway


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Kiev, Ukraine

HOTEL WALDHAUS Sils-Maria, Switzerland


CONTENTS

Vietnam

55

FUSION RESORT NHA TRANG Nha Trang

61

ALMA OASIS LONG HAI Long Hai

68

REX HOTEL Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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MOVENPICK HOTEL HANOI Hanoi, Vietnam


Venice Simplon-Orient-Express

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VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS Venezia-Paris

HOTEL DANIELI Venezia


travels4 travelers

Sudan

94

MEROE the pyramides of Nubian black pharaohs

101

CORINTHIA HOTEL KHARTOUM Khartoum

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ITALIAN TOURISM COMPANY SUDAN the itinerary


CONTENTS

travels4 travelers

Faroe Islands

116

FAROE ISLAND North Atlantic Ocean

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GOURMET EXPERIENCES Top Restaurants in Torshavn

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HOTEL FOROYAR Torshavn


travels4 travelers

CONTENTS

Svalbard

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THE MIDNIGHT SUN visiting Svalbard with Hurtigruten

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SPITSBERGEN HOTEL Longyerbyen


Mongolia

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travels4 travelers

SIGNATURE LANDS in Mongolia with Nomadic Expeditions


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lifeStyle

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DON JUAN II dinner cruising on the Seine

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QATAR AIRWAYS weekend in the desert

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VIDEO PRODUCTION corporate video, spot, events

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LORENZO HERVATIN from the still life to the drone


CONTENTS


www.palidano.com


E X C L U S I V E

D E S T I N A T I O N S

2014

This directory offers an annotated and up-todate instrument for the possible destinations for those who want to stay in the city or nearby. This because sometimes it is not only a question of price but rather attention to detail, passion and taste.

HOTEL COLONIALI

2014

Questa directory offre uno strumento aggiornato e ragionato sulle possibili destinazioni per chi vuole soggiornare in città o nelle vicinanze. Perché a volte non è solo questione di prezzo ma di attenzione al dettaglio, passione e gusto.

PP

Places to Stay in Florence & Nearby

HOTEL COLONIALI

L’autore, Paolo Gerbaldo, è inviato di Resorts Magazine.

Top 100

Top 100

Dal Settecento fino alla seconda guerra mondiale. Due secoli di lusso ai tropici, tra ventilatori a pale, verande, tè pomeridiani e stuoli di servitori. Molti in Asia ma anche nelle colonie africane e in Centro America. Una storia affascinante di lungimiranti investitori, pionieri e avventurieri costellata di nomi eccellenti come Raffles, Peninsula e Strand. Questa directory ci mostra i migliori esempi sopravvissuti dove sperimentare esperienze e atmosfere d’altri tempi.

aggiornare ISBN PalidanoPress Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

PP

Top 100 P l aces t o St ay i n

F l or en ce Four Seasons Hotel Firenze

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Top 100

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and nearb y PalidanoPress


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D E S T I N A T I O N S

XII, n. 77 2017

International Editor-in-Chief Ovidio Guaita Senior Editor Lawrence Taylor Contributors Elsa Bozzaotra, Maria Coscarelli, Paola Di Girolamo, Marco Galli, Paolo Gerbaldo, Alessandra Jovinelli, Daniela Komisarjevsky Libero, Pamela McCourt Francescone, Hasrudin Tazep Photos Ovidio Guaita, Lawrence Taylor, Paolo Gerbaldo, Roberto Sessoli, Høgni Heinesen, Daniel Mazza (mondoaeroporto.it) e hotel e resort pubblicati Video for iPad and iPhone app Roberto Sessoli Graphic Design Niccolò Angeli www.nican.me Layout Graphic Department Palidano Press Public Relations Daniela Libero Subscription Europe 300 € Rest of the World 350 €

Publisher PalidanoPress London (UK) © 2016 Palidano Press ISSN 2043-6629 www.resorts.it

Cover: Koks Restaurant, Faroe Islands. Right: Vietnam.


our correspondents All resorts published are choosen by the editorial staff and tested by our journalists-inspectors.

LAWRENCE TAYLOR Lawrence relates his Nordic exploration, amid the Faroe Islands and Oslo, stopping off at Kiev.

OVIDIO GUAITA Ovidio also visited the North European capitals for this issue. However, he toured Mongolia as well.

ELSA BOZZAOTRA Ovidio is experiencing tents to rate the world’s best tented camps.

ROBERTO SESSOLI The Vietnam photos are the work of Roberto as is the video on our Youtube channel.

PAOLO GERBALDO From the Orient-Express to Khartoum. An eclectic trip as well as a bit retrò.

MARIA COSCARELLI Between Hanoi, Nha Trang and Saigon, the new exclusive Vietnam.


Longyearbyen Svalbard

Tรณrshavn Faroe

Paris France

Sils-Maria Switzerland

Venezia Italy

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our destinations Oslo Norway

Kiev Ukraine

Doha Qatar

Hanoi Vietnam

Nha Trang Vietnam

Khartoum Meroe Sudan

Ho Chi Minh City Long Hai Vietnam

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Saint Petersburg Hainan Zanzibar Zurich Cannes Catania Siem Reap Botswana

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Luzern Venezia Lisbon Masai Mara Selous Onguma Chianti Cusco

Ol Seki Hemingways Mara Camp, Kenya

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InterContinental Carlton, Cannes


TOP 10 | TENTED CAMPS

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Elsa Bozzaotra

Top

10 tented camps in contact with nature

1. Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle 2. Aman-i-Khas 3. The Oberoi Rajvilas 4. Amanwana 5. The Oberoi Vanyavilas 6. Kwai River Lodge 7. &Beyond Bateleur 8. Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa 9. Singita Stanley’s Camp 10.Grumeti River Camp

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TOP 10 | TENTED CAMPS

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nl y a few t ru l y no madic peoples still exist, but we m u s t n ot fo rg et t hat we al l were on ce lik e th at. G oin g t h rou gh a tent p hase, o f w hatever k in d, was prac tically i n e vi t a b l e. I t is t hus nat u ral t hat st il l today we feel th e call of t h i s k i n d of shel ter, w hich by it s ver y n ature is precar ious. Pa ra d ox i c a ll y, it is p recisel y t he p recar ious n ature of tents th at f a s c i n ate s u s. Since t here is o nl y a t hin piece of fabr ic th at p re ve nt s u s fro m b eing mu ch mo re in contac t with n ature u n li k e wi t h b uil ding s made o f sto ne and br ic ks - we become, i n a way, m u ch mo re advent u ro u s. Le avi n g i m a ginat io n aside, tented camps – h owever luxur ious t h e y m i g ht b e – are a much mo re ecologic ally- compatible s ol u t i on t h a n co nvent io nal wal l ed b uildin gs. I n some c ases t h e y a c t u a ll y b eco me t he o nl y p rac t ica l solution to preser ve t h e s u r rou n ding enviro nment. This do es n ot, h owever, mean t h at g u e s t s have to p u t t hemsel ves o ut - as th ere are some t h at c a n of fe r l uxu r y w hich is inco nceivable in a tent. Hen ce ou r ra n k i n g means yo u wo n’t have any sur pr ises.

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One&Only Maldives at Reethi Rah Four Seasons Resort at Landaa Giraavaru Four Seasons Resort Langkawi The Estates at Pangkor Laut Taj Umaid Bhawan Palace Four Seasons Resort Bali at Jimbaran Bay Shangri-la's Villingili Resort & Spa, Maldives FrĂŠgate Island Private Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan Amanjiwo Four Seasons Resort at Kuda Huraa

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Taj Exotica Resort and Spa, Maldives Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Verdura Golf & Spa Resort Ananda in the Himalayas Amanusa Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai Il Salviatino Bulgari Resort, Bali Al Areen Palace & Spa Taj Lake Palace The Oberoi Rajvilas Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle Amanbagh Sabi Sabi Earth Lodge Parrot Cay Banyan Tree Phuket The Legian The Chedi Chiang Mai Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora Amandari The Chedi Muscat Four Seasons Resort Mauritius at Anahita Cheval Blanc The Fortress Galle Banyan Tree Seychelles Alila Villas Uluwatu Four Seasons Seychelles The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh Beau-Rivage Palace Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa Palazzo Sasso The Oberoi Udaivilas The Oberoi Cecil Hotel Splendido The Empire Hotel & Country Club Amanpuri

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Le Prince Maurice Singita Sweni Lodge Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa

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Amanwana Amansara Como Shambhala Estate, Bali Shanti Maurice One&Only Royal Mirage, The Residence Anassa Conrad Maldives Rangali Island Reid's Palace Amanpulo Grande Roche Kurland Country Hotel One&Only Ocean Club Aman-i-Khas Amankora Suvretta House Madinat Jumeirah Amanwella Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat Four Seasons Resort Nevis Singita Lebombo Lodge The Nam Hai The Residence Zanzibar Sandy Lane Blancaneaux Shangri-la's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa Amankila Banyan Tree Lijiang Blue Palace Resort & Spa One&Only The Palm Amanyara The Residence Tunis Shangri-la's Rasa Sayang Resort & Spa Hotel Finca Cortesin Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc Le Touessrok Soneva Fushi The Tides Riviera Maya Wharekauhau Country Estate Muse Banyan Tree Ringha Villa San Michele Fuchun Resort Kiaroa Bora Bora Lagoon Resort and Spa Six Senses Ninh Van Bay MesaStila Banyan Tree Sanya Palazzo Versace K Club InterContinental Carlton Cannes

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A DESIGN HOTEL | KIEV

Eleven Mirrors

Kiev

carbonara in Kiev. Unique Ukrainian design hotel. Central, elegant, glamorous. A sophisticated boutique hotel in the historic capital with a central European cuisine that has Italian and Oriental accents. The vaguely Liberty-style façade allows us to imagine a special preference for this style. The interior is decidedly contemporary, characterised by lots of stone, different types of fabrics, original furnishings and...eleven mirrors in every room. They are not really used to see oneself as much as they are a decoration that brightens the walls. Upon arrival the doorman dressed in a kilt leaves us a bit perplexed, almost to the point of believing we are in the wrong city. But after a short time it turns out that he is the factotum of the situation, a kind of well-prepared concierge who is always available. Check-in is rapid and in a flash we are in our room Spacious, bright with an excellent view above the rooftops. The bathroom walls are smoked glass and permit one to see inside the room as well as out over the city. A non-negligible detail is that guests can choose to have breakfast in the restaurant or have it served in their rooms without any additional cost. The restaurant is welcoming and cosy, placed on a terrace overlooking the street. The menu is limited but well articulated and respectful of local products. We tried the quinoa salad with baby spinach and leek confiture. It is simple but noteworthy. The splendid Thai soup with coconut milk and seafood transported us to the Orient; however, we then returned to the shores of the Mediterranean as we continued with a delicate carbonara, tribute to the chef ’s frequent Italian sojourns. Its creamy texture carefully balanced by the robust consistency of the aged Parmigiano allows one to consider it superb. Our stay at Eleven Mirrors was brief but certainly worth repeating to continue discovering the fascinating centre of Kiev.

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DESIGN HOTEL | KIEV

INFO HOTEL

ELEVEN MIRRORS Kiev, Ukraina www.11mirrors-hotel.com Rooms & Suites 49 Villas 0 - Restaurants 1 Spa no Children yes Chain none Affiliation Design Hotels Activities sightseeings Score 66 Environment 75 Design 85 Service 80 Cuisine 80 Health 60 Spa 0 Rooms 80

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Ovidio Guaita

Scandic St. Olav Plass

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Oslo

h e fragran ce of toasted bread l e a d s us to breakfast. We are n ot mistaken : th e ch oice of b re a d s w it h cereals is sur pr isin g, as are th e ber r y j ams wh ic h a re a m ust at th is latitude for con n oisseur s of a delic ious a nd healthy breakfast. Th e ambien ce h ere is spec ial due to t he exception ally clear sk y th at diffuses a blin din g light w hi c h des ign s elaborate arabesques on th e tables. An oth er pl us i s t he buffet with its ch oice of t y pes of salmon : smoked raw, smok ed oven -bak ed, an d smok ed with dill. We are in th e h ear t of Oslo, on ly a ten -min ute walk f rom t he N ation al Th eater Station wh ere th e Fly toget stops. Thi s is th e express train wh ich con n ec ts th e c it y centre wit h t he air por t in t went y min utes. Th e R oyal Palace is a ston e’s t hrow away, as is th e N ation al Th eatre an d th e pr in c ipal muse um s. The S c an dic St. Olav Plass is on e of th e last addition s to t he p o r tfolio of th is dy n amic S can din avian ch ain . N o fr ills. O nl y w hat is n ecessar y is at h an d an d it is ecological too - n o p a p e r, al l in fo is on a video.

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CITY HOTEL | OSLO

Th e e nve lop ing dow n co mfo r ters o n t he comfor table beds prote c t ou r s leep, as do es t he su p er b soun d-proofin g th at pe r m i t s t h e e n joyment o f t he view w it ho ut th e n oise of ur ban tra f f i c b e low u s. Th e h e ate d b at hro o m fl o o r makes us want to lin ger dur in g o u r d a i l y hygiene. Su ccinc t l y, ever yth in g is essential, conte m p ora r y and efficient. This is t he S c an dic St. Olav Plass.

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INFO HOTEL

SCANDIC ST. OLAV PLASS Oslo, Norway www.scandichotels.com Rooms & Suites 241 Villas 0 - Restaurants 1 Spa no Children yes Chain Scandic Hotels Affiliation none Activities sightseeing Score 66 Environment 76 Design 80 Service 78 Cuisine 80 Health 65 Spa 0 Rooms 80

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R CITY HOTEL | OSLO

Hotel Christiania Teater Copenhagen

ecently renovated and just steps from the arrival point of the airport express train, the Christiania is both hotel and theatre, both very close to celebrating a second century. Stuccoes, velour, mirrors and contemporary design characterise the common spaces. Just one more year and the 100 candles celebrating a piece of Oslo’s history can be extinguished. This place has seen celebrities from the worlds of music, politics and the military. With its renovation just finished, the hotel, protected as a historical edifice, presents itself to visitors as a place of seclusion and efficiency. The superb sound-proofing permits guests to admire life on the street without any disturbance from the little traffic found there. The very short distance from the arrival point of the airport express train renders even more exclusive its very central position in front of the elegant national theatre. We dined in the restaurant Teatro. Elegant and charmingly furnished, it has a particular menu with just pizzas, divided among those with a tomato sauce base and “white” ones with a cheese sauce base. We enjoyed the “Chorizo”, with spicy sausage and the “Salmon” which includes marinated salmon and rocket. We recommend both highly. The ingredients are chosen from local products and much is produced “in-house”. This experience concluded with an exquisite serving of ice-cream. There are only a few flavours and, certainly, that of amaretto with its rich and decisive taste was a superb choice. Those who enjoy wine-tasting can choose from among 1500 labels to savour by the glass. By the way, this is one of the largest selections in Oslo. History relives within the walls of the Christiania Teater, with new accents, new plots, new pleasures. A century of activity has made it an institution in the capital and now more than ever it is enjoying the fruit of its labour.

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CITY HOTEL | OSLO

INFO HOTEL

HOTEL CHRISTIANIA TEATER Oslo, Norway http://christianiateater.com Rooms & Suites 102 Villas 0 - Restaurants 1 Spa no Children yes Chain Nordic Choice Hotels Affiliation none Activities sightseeing Score 67 Environment 78 Design 80 Service 80 Cuisine 83 Health 68 Spa 0 Rooms 80

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Paolo Gerbaldo

Hotel Waldhaus Sils-Maria

n oasis for relaxation . Th e h otel, w i t h uniq ue views of L ake S ils an d L ak e S ilvaplan a. A moment of h istor y, c h ar m an d rest can be en j oye d at H o tel Waldh aus in S ils-M ar ia. Sy mbol of th e tour istic a re a o f E n gadin , n ot far from St. M or itz , th e Waldh aus resem b l e s t he arc h itec tural image of th e medieval castle. S ituated i n a do m in ant position , th e Hotel is an oasis for relaxation , offe r i ng a un ique view of th e S ils an d S ilvaplan a L akes. Built in 1 9 0 8 , th e Waldh aus, combin in g different arc h itec t ura l st yles, immediately reveals an atmosph ere of lon g ago t hat revolves aroun d th e great h all with views of th e sur round i ng mo untain s. A collec tion of icon ic obj ec ts from th e past - f rom t he player-pian o to elec tr ical r in gton es placed on eac h f l oor, up to th e th ree h istor ic al bath s datin g from th e per iod of t he open in g – en sures th at th e h istor ic al atmosph ere t hat cha rac ter izes th e Hotel is ver y tan gible.

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MOUNTAIN HOTEL | SILS-MARIA

Th e Wa ld h a u s in Sil s-M ar ia, w it h it s war m family size, today we lcom e s gu e st s by o ffer ing a ser ies o f elegant spaces for s oc i a l m ou nt a in l ife: t he l o b by, t he b ar, th e smok in g-room, re a d i n g room s and l arg e dining ro o m. R e g a rd i n g t he cuisine, t he chef is g o o d at inter pretin g loc al tra d i t i on wi t h o u t neg l ec t ing t he cl assics of inter n ation al c u i s i n e. A ra n ge o f unfo rg et t ab l e exp er ien ces en h an ced by an i d yl l i c contex t is o ffered by t he new Waldh aus S pa: a refuge f rom t h e h u s t le and b ust l e o f ever yday life in h ar mony with th e n at u ra l s u r ro unding s. Th e H ote l Wal dhau s, w it h it s intense h istor y, maintain s i nt a c t t h e t i m el ess char m o f t he B el l e Ép oque an d th e h oliday s e a s on of ye s te r year. 46

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INFO HOTEL

HOTEL WALDHAUS Sils-Maria, Switzerland www.waldhaus-sils.ch Rooms & Suites 140 Villas 0 - Restaurants 2 Spa no Children yes Chain none Affiliation none Activities ski, trekking, excursions Score 77 Environment 87 Design 82 Service 71 Cuisine 85 Health 76 Spa 65 Rooms 80

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DESTINATION | VIETNAM

VI E T foto e video Roberto Sessoli


Maria Coscarelli

Valleys and beaches, temples and skyscrapers, deep-rooted traditions and innovative technologies. A country which in the last decade has made an incredible leap forward.

N A M


DESTINATION | VIETNAM

Nha Trang

A c it y p e r v a ded b y th e wh is pers of the sea and w here the w ave s op e n t h e ir mou th s to r elate hi story. “The ci t y of sun, sea, sand and s u r f . ” T h e r e a r e man y activ iti es t hat can be pract i ced at t he beac h or in t o w n on ly to discov er h ow strongl y peopl e’s l i ves are l i nked to t h e se b lu e water s, wa r med by a sun that shi nes 300 d ays a year.

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DESTINATION | VIETNAM

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Maria Coscarelli

Fusion Resort Nha Trang an oasis of frangipanis A stay at the Fusion is a sensor y discover y. Amid the sand dunes one can see the greener y of our corner of paradise, the Fusion Resort Nha Trang.

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A DESTINATION | VIETNAM

n o asis o f peace in a resor t op e n for on l y a year. The vil l as, b uil t with loc al mater ials, b le n d p e r fe c t ly w it h t he su r ro unding ve getation . A beautiful b ou q u e t of f rangip ani b ids u s wel co me. Th e reception is full of t h e m , wi t h o nl y a few graceful to uch es of lemon grass. Wh e re ve r on e may b e, t heir fragrance is intoxic atin g. The resor t offers ever ything a guest may request. But the real jewel is the Maia Spa. A spa that bases its experience on Ayur veda medicine. Herbs, oils, various essences are mixed wisely for the body and mind. This all proves that a spa is a temple dedicated to the body, which, in its well-being, affects the mind.

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DESTINATION | VIETNAM

E a c h g u e s t may b enefit fro m t wo t reatments a day. I n th e m or n i n g I c h o o se t he Aro mat herapy fo r a per fec t star t, af ter wh i c h I l i e d ow n o n t he so f t w hite san d lapped by c r ystal c l e a r wate r s : a 360 ° dream. I n t he af ter n oon , in stead, th e d i a p h a n ou s h ands o f t he t herap ist caress my body with a M a i a D h a ra m assag e. B u t t r u e lovers o f S al us p er Aqu am can ch oose a un ique s u i te : t h e S p a Suite. H ere ever yt hing is ready for guests wh o a re love r s of wel l ness. O f great effec t, just in side th e door, are th e s u n lou n g ers o n t he ter race. A s t ay at t h e Fusio n R eso r t is no t ju st a c ultural tr ip but also (or a b ove a ll ) a senso r y discover y.

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INFO HOTEL

FUSION RESORT NHA TRANG Nha Trang, Vietnam www.fusionresortnhatrang.com Rooms & Suites 0 Villas 24 - Restaurants 1 Spa Maia Spa Children yes Chain Fusion Group Affiliation none Activities beach and sea activities Score 80 Environment 82 Design 82 Service 80 Cuisine 84 Health 69 Spa 87 Rooms 78

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DESTINATION | VIETNAM

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Maria Coscarelli

Alma Oasis Long Hai an “imperial” place A haven of peace for the body and soul. Long Hai is that ideal place.

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M DESTINATION | VIETNAM

y e mpire is a n ar row f r i n ge of la n d su r ro u nded by many countr ies; sometimes f r i e n d ly, ot h e r t imes l ess so. I have a dre am: to travel aroun d i t, vi s i t i t. An d I have discovered t he r ight place to build a p r i vate re s i d ence fo r mysel f, fo r my queen an d my family. Lon g H a i i s t h at ideal p l ace. Th e re i s a l o ng b each. I t is b o t h exo tic an d wild. I t is th e r i g ht c h oi ce fo r me to rel ax. I wo u l d l ike th ere to be loads of vi ll a s wh e re I can wo r t hil y ho st my hig h -ran k in g guests. Th e s u n i s h ot h e re so I want a p o o l immersed in green er y. Huge. Ad j a ce nt, a b ar fo r af ter no o n tea o r an even in g dr in k . Th e c u i s i n e m u s t d efinitel y b e Viet namese; h owever I also want to ex p e r i e n ce t he cu isine t hat co mes from afar. Th ey c all it M e d i te r ra n e a n . H ence my chef can mix flavour s, smell an d s p i ce s to d e l i g ht t he p al ate. Fi n a ll y, a t a ngib l e p l ace fo r p ure rel axation must n ot be l a c k i n g. M y S pa. The days in Lo ng H ai w il l h ave to be mar ked by

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DESTINATION | VIETNAM

d a i l y we l l - b e i n g. There must b e exp er ien ced h an ds. Th ey will m a s s a g e t h e i r sovereign. They w il l so o t h e th e body an d min d. M y e ye s m u s t b e del ig hted by sheer p e r fec tion ever y wh ere th e y l ook . Th i s w il l have to b e a haven of peace, for th e body a n d s ou l. I a m Em p e ro r Bao Dai. H isto r y w il l reca ll th at I was th e last e m p e ror of t h is fascinat ing co unt r y. I f I h ad been able to d re a m of a l e isure residence, it wo ul d have been c alled Alma O a s i s Lon g H a i R eso r t.

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INFO HOTEL

ALMA OASIS LONG HAI Long Hai, Vietnam www.almaoasislonghai.com Rooms & Suites 69 Villas 5 - Restaurants 1 Spa My Soul Spa Children yes Chain Fusion Group Affiliation none Activities beach and sea activities Score 73 Environment 74 Design 90 Service 73 Cuisine 72 Health 71 Spa 80 Rooms 63

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The largest city in Vietnam is today a dynamic lady full of life. Young people can be found in the squares, on the broad streets and especially on scooters. But in the past this place must have been a sleepy lady because hers is not a happy story. There to remind us are monuments and museums such as the “Museum of the Remnants of War�. Here one finds the history of Vietnam as seen in the photos of the Vietnamese as well as those of famous international photojournalist. It is irremissible. Nevertheless, the real beauty of this urban collage is that today the two ladies have merged into one vibrant entity: Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City, as you prefer.

Ho Chi Minh Cit y

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Rex Hotel

Ho Chi Minh City

he Rex Hotel strolling in history. A hotel that combines the architecture and the Vietnamese spirit for a full immersion into the soul of this country. The phlegmatic gaze of Ho Chi Minh City welcomes us to the Rex. The pulsating center of Saigon surrounds this historic hotel. Here everything is history. Crossing its corridors is a continuous discovery of colonial Saigon. I cross its corridors with soft footsteps sinking into the soft carpet. Silence and history accompany me, for this temple of luxury, which began as a French garage at the beginning of the last century, oozes history in every corner, even the most hidden. In the afternoon after a “high altitude” tennis match and a drink in one of two swimming pools, it’s time for total relaxation. La Cochinchine Luxury Spa offers the gamut of the Asian tradition. The environment is an oasis for guests. The Rooftop Garden is the chic meeting place to start the evening with an aperitif, looking out over the horizon at sunset, or to continue with a pleasant and relaxing digestif. Even during the war journalists would meet at the Rooftop. Today, as then, this is the place to continue a “Five O’Clock Follies” myth. But at the Rex today guests can enjoy a different type of evening at the Vertical Garden, attending a traditional Water Puppet Show. Whether you choose the Rooftop or the puppets show, here you can live the true spirit and soul of the country.

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Maria Coscarelli

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INFO HOTEL

REX HOTEL Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam www.rexhotelvietnam.com Rooms & Suites 186 Villas 0 - Restaurants 5 Spa La Cochinchine Luxury Spa Children yes Chain none Affiliation none Activities sightseeing Score 76 Environment 62 Design 88 Service 82 Cuisine 75 Health 73 Spa 76 Rooms 78

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Exploring the capital of Vietnam is definitely a treat for the eyes and for the camera - with its historic monuments, its lakes, its colorful pagodas and its impressive temples. French colonialism exudes in every corner and its restored houses are small architectural gems. But we should all get lost in the old town, in its “Hangs�, to breathe and savor its true soul.

Hanoi

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Maria Coscarelli

Mövenpick Hotel

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Hanoi

win dow on ... Han oi. Si l e nt. R esplen dent. An oasis of Swiss peace in th e busy c it y ce nte r. At th e exit of th e n ew Han oi air por t, th e smile of our d r i ve r welcomes us with a spar k lin g amen it y-r ich BM W th at mak e our r ide exception ally comfor table. An d in th e win k of an eye we are already in th e h ear t of Han oi, in th e Hoan K iem Dis t r i c t. H ere, a sh or t walk from th e n ightlife an d th e most fa m ous mo numents of th e Vietn amese capital, stan ds th e M öve np i c k H o tel Han oi. I n th e Lobby G en eral M an ager N icolas Josi, with h is Sw i s s cl ass welcomes us. Af ter a quic k ch eck-in we are off to our suite. Th e “Swiss” attention to detail an d th e par tic ul a r l y so ph istic ated tec h n ologic al equipment impress us. We s i nk in t wo fantastic black c h aises lon gues wh ich are dotted w i t h sma ll pear l- gray flower s, th e domin ant color of our suite a nd o ne wh ic h affords a un ique touc h of class.

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I n t h e a f te r n o o n we t ake a l o ng p au se in th e exper t h an ds of a s p a t h e ra p ist. Pure rel axat io n w it h a Vietn amese massage. At s u n s e t, a f ter an ap er it if in t he l o u nge, our appointment i s at t h e M a n go Steen R est aurant, w here th e ch ef delights us wi t h h i s Vi e t n amese Po mel o S al ad fo l l owe d by an or igin al Ph o Cu on Tom a n d an u nfo rg et t ab l e To m Yam Kun g. L ast but n ot l e a s t, a m ou s s e au cho co l at . . . t rès dél icieuse. Th e d ay a f te r, o ur BMW - even mo re g l it ter in g, if th at is in deed p os s i b le - t a k e s u s to t he air p o r t. We t a k e th is oppor tun it y to e n j oy a f i n al l o o k at t he chao t ic Vietn amese capital. I t is tr u e : t h e M öve np icks are o ases o f Sw iss peace th at make a s t ay ex t re m e l y p l easant.

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INFO HOTEL

MOVENPICK HOTEL Hanoi, Vietnam www.movenpick.com/hanoi Rooms & Suites 151 Villas 0 - Restaurants 1 Spa Kinetic Children yes Chain Mรถvenpick Affiliation none Activities sightseeing Score 74 Environment 57 Design 85 Service 82 Cuisine 85 Health 62 Spa 71 Rooms 79

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ORIENT-


Paolo Gerbaldo

A train journey amid history and emotions. Life on board is a two-fold concentrate of sensations: the intimacy of the luxurious cabin and the intense social life in the public cars.

VENICE SIMPLON

EXPRESS


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from Venice to Paris

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Paolo Gerbaldo

Venice Simplon

Orient-Express The journey on the Venice SimplonOrient-Express is a train journey amid history and emotions. An unforgettable chapter of the golden age of travel, started in 1883, comes back to life in an exceptional environment.

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long the mythical Venice-Paris, we find one landscape after another: from the lagoon to the alpine scenery of Trentino and Tyrol to tack then beyond the Arlberg tunnel and the Swiss lakes - getting a glimpse of the lights of Zurich and Basel – all before continuing on to Paris. Life on board the beautifully restored vintage carriages is a two-fold concentrate of sensations: the intimacy of the luxurious cabin and the intense social life in the public cars. Travelers on the Venice SimplonOrient-Express are, in fact, involved in a social ritual that is both timeless and very high-class. In the evocative restaurant cars, Chef Christian Bodiguel serves a refined cuisine. The menu, meticulously proposed, combines great elaboration of the dishes to consistency and clarity of flavors. The service is perfect as well as prompt. Dinner, the most formal time of life aboard with its sophisticated romantic touch, is unforgettable.

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The attention and professional competence of the cabin assistant are supplemented with his affability - a precious presence as discreet as it is efficient. The time in the cabin is highlighted by afternoon tea, masterfully served by the cabin assistant. The same can be said of breakfast. This framework of great comfort in which one travels allows one to enjoy the best of the enchanting mountain surroundings. The hours pass serenely. Meanwhile, the train created to unite East and West eases into Paris. The Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is iconic magic that lives again today with the privileged experience signed Belmond. A unique legend. The universal and timeless legend of the Orient-Express.

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INFO HOTEL

VENICE SIMPLON-ORIENT-EXPRESS Venice-Paris www.belmond.com

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Paolo Gerbaldo

Hotel Danieli a Luxury Collection Hotel

Symbol of Venice and its great tradition of hospitality.Refinement in the choice of materials and combination of different styles and dĂŠcor to suit the most discerning travelers.

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ince 1822 a deep bond has united Venice to Hotel Danieli , which, in perpetual innovation, can always offer guests the best in luxury and grand historical elegance: a symbol of Venice and its great tradition of hospitality. Particularly fascinating are the Dandolo Palace Suites, the result of meticulous renovation headed by Pierre-Yves Rochon. They include the prestigious Royal Doge Suite, from the name of Doge Enrico Dandolo, who built the Palace, and the three Signature Suites dedicated to Maria Callas, Grace Kelly and Greta Garbo. The emblem of the timeless splendour of Venice, symbolised by the Danieli, does not forget to propose an original gastronomic concept inspired by the egg and based on a creative and essential cuisine, represented by the bistro The Egg Nicola Batavia @ Hotel Danieli. The menu, designed by Chef Nicola Batavia, creator of the Italian bistro concept along with Executive Chef Dario Parascandolos, is varied, creative and surprising. The signature dish - “quail egg al pallet with spinach and licorice� - and the evolution of the delicious bite-size Venetian cicchetti, testify to the ability to innovate without betraying the balance between products and flavors. At The Terrazza Danieli, with its unique view, Chef Dario Parascandolos, instead, serves an elegant cuisine, solid in the Venetian and Italian classics which do not disappoint even the most demanding palates. The Danieli, a Luxury Collection Hotel, is, to put it simply, a world legend in the hotel industry.

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INFO HOTEL HOTEL DANIELI Venezia, Italia www.danielihotelvenice.com Rooms & Suites 210 Villas 0 - Restaurants 2 Spa no Children yes Chain The Luxury Collection Affiliation none Activities sightseeing Score 72 Environment 80 Design 92 Service 80 Cuisine 93 Health 63 Spa 0 Rooms 95

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SUDAN

S UDA N


Paolo Gerbaldo

From Khartoum to Karima to Meroe, the path that runs through the heart of Sudan, moving away and approaching the meandering Nile, is, in fact, a kaleidoscope for the senses, prey to constant surprises.


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SUDAN

The adventure begins in Khartoum. The light of the northern desert changes its hues so that it becomes more and more intense. The journey is interrupted by camels, buses, solitary sellers along the way. Sporadic buildings dot the infinite space of sand and shrubs, sometimes revealing improvised resting places lost in nothingness. The strip of asphalt seems endless when, suddenly, there appears a mosque with an adjoining village and a providential distributor. A Karima the imposing cliff of Gebel Barkal, sacred to Egyptian and Nubian

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The Nubian Guest House

pharaohs, almost seems to protect Napata, for the ancient capital of the XXV Nubian Dynasty retains its solitary pyramids from the steep slopes and the remains of the Temple of Amun with decorated rooms carved into the cliff. A few meters from Gebel Barkal, a gentle mixture of modernity and Nubian architectural style enlivened by intense colors and decorative motifs characterises The Nubian Rest House. A key stop-off to refresh the traveller. An oasis to entertain his desire for evasion, making him feel far from the world. A unique complex with rooms complete with a pleasant veranda. The service and cuisine are cared for in their essentiality.

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Next stop Meroe. It takes a few hours get to the archaeological site known for its tall tapered pyramids which appear suddenly from the sand. A timeless world. The infinite dimension of the desert landscape, in fact, surrounds the two Nubian necropolises of the rulers of Kush. The moment is magical. A slow pace marks the rhythm of a calm visit. The journey following the trail of the “black pharaohs� with the solemn cultural testimonies of the past and the colors and vibrancy of the present, clearly visible in the Omdurman souk and in residential areas, faces the sunset. The image of the pyramids of Meroe on the horizon as we return to Khartoum seals a unique experience: the splendor of an ancient civilization added to the authenticity of Sudan.

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Paolo Gerbaldo

Corinthia Hotel Khartoum

The Corinthia subtly blends the needs of a business hotel with the elegance requested for luxury hospitality. Between the sky and the Nile the Corinthia Hotel Khartoum is an unusual address for travellers in search of new impressions.

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uests at this urban oasis are immediately greeted by a maze of architectural forms playing with light. The welcome and service are meticulous. The interiors at the Corinthia’s immediately catch the eye and lead it to follow the great architectural expanse of the lobby. The sinuous forms of the Corinthia design a harmonious and functional unit capable of consolidating, thus conferring intimacy to the ample spaces. The interior design revolves around the light which is clearly at the service of contemporary design. The Blue Nile and the fluvial island, all as a backdrop. The infinite view out over Khartoum and the Nile. The light entering through the grand windows. Traits which optimally enhance the modern rooms. In terms of restaurants, the offering is vast and of high quality. The designer spaces, the view and the spectacular architecture create a fascinating setting for the contemporary cuisine of the Mugran Restaurant: a range of flavors from Mediterranean to African on to Oriental. Tradition and innovation, on the other hand, characterize the menu at the Rickshaw, inspired by China and Japan. The proposal at the Grill, instead, is more international and dynamic - a convivial, modern and cozy ambience. In Khartoum, overlooking the Blue Nile, The Corinthia subtly blends the needs of a business hotel with the elegance requested for luxury hospitality.

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INFO HOTEL

CORINTHIA HOTEL Khartoum, Sudan www.corinthia.com Rooms & Suites 230 Villas 0 - Restaurants 3 Spa Sabratha Children yes Chain Corinthia Affiliation none Activities siteseeing Score 81 Environment 82 Design 85 Service 78 Cuisine 80 Health 77 Spa 76 Rooms 86

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Sudan

The Kingdom of the Black Pharaohs

Day 1 / Khartoum arrival Arrival at Khartoum airport. Meet and greet with the guide and transfer to the hotel. Check in, dinner NOT included and overnight stay. Day 2 / Khartoum – city tour and Dervish ceremony (Fridays only) Breakfast at the hotel. Late in the morning we start the Khartoum city tour. We first visit the Archaeological Museum that, besides many beautiful objects, contains two beautiful temples rescued by UNESCO and moved from the Lake Nasser area, when it was flooded by the water. We then cross the confluence between the Blue and the White Nile near the Presidential Palace where in 1885 General Gordon was beheaded by the Mahdi’s troops and we reach Omdurman, the old capital of Sudan, where we see the Mahdi’s Tomb from outside. Lunch included in a local restaurant on the Nile. In the afternoon we visit the interesting Khalifa’s House which holds a small museum about the Mahdyia (only on Fridays and Saturdays). We then visit the colourful souk of Omdurman. At sunset time we move near the tomb of the sufi leader Ahmed al Nil to assist at the involving Whirling Dervishes Ceremony (only on Fridays). Return to the hotel, dinner not included and overnight. (B.L.) Day 3 / Khartoum - the temples of Naga and Mussawarat – Meroe Breakfast at the hotel and then we begin the journey northward. After about 50 km, we get into a desert area covered with huge round

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granite boulders; these are the last offshoots of the rocky formations of the 6th Cataract. We leave the asphalt road and we drive for about 30 km on a desert track among many camel thorn acacia trees to visit the two archaeological sites. The site of Naga it is one of the two centres that developed during the Meroitic period. In Naga, in a typical Saharan environment with rocks and sand, we find a temple dedicated to Apedemak (1st century A.D.): a wonderful building with bas-relief decorations depicting the god with a lion’s head, the Pharaoh, noblemen and several ritual images. A few metres away there is a small and odd construction with arches and columns, named “kiosk”, in which we can notice Egyptian, Roman and Greek styles, all at the same time. Not far away we reach another temple dedicated to Amon with many statues of rams and beautiful gates decorated with bas-reliefs. We then go to Mussawarat, not far away from Naga. This settlement is located in a beautiful valley crowned by hills. Here the ruins of a very big temple are visible; it once played an exceptional important role. Its main characteristic, the “Great Enclosure” is made by many constructions and boundary walls which surround a temple built in the 1st century A.D. The large number of elephants represented on these walls makes you think that this animal used to have an important role in this area. Beyond the big wadi there is another temple - restored by a German archaeological mission - dedicated to the god Apedemak. Picnic in the area and then we return on the main road and driving North and all of a sudden, we can glance at more than 40 pyramids, located on top of a hill, some of them perfectly preserved, which belong to the Royal Necropolis of Meroe. Arrival at the Meroe Camp with a beautiful view on the pyramids. Accommodation in comfortable and fully furnished tents, dinner and overnight stay. (B.L.D.) Day 4 / Meroe - the Necropolis and the Royal city of Meroe Morning dedicated to the visit of the pyramids. The Royal Necropolis of Meroe is located at about 3 km from the Nile on some hills covered by yellow sand dunes. Several pyramids stand out with their sharp shapes against the clear sky. Each one has its own funerary chapel with the walls fully decorated with bas-reliefs that show the King’s life and offers to the gods. Lunch at Meroe Camp. In the afternoon we move along the Nile to visit the ruins of the Royal city. The excavations confirm that the town of Meroe used to cover a large area and the Royal city was located in a central position, surrounded by suburbs and a boundary wall. Most of the area where the city is located, formed by many small hills covered by red clay fragments, has still to be excavated by the archaeologists. Dinner and overnight stay at the permanent Meroe Camp. (B.L.D.)


Day 5 / Meroe – Bayuda Desert - Karima After breakfast we leave from Meroe and we cross the Nile with the ponton, the local ferry boat, to enter the Bayuda desert. These ferries are a hive of colourful activities. We find ourselves sharing space with people, donkeys, camels and goats. The Bayuda Desert is an area bounded by the loop formed by the Nile between the 4th and the 6th Cataract and characterised by sharp black basalt mountains, most of them volcanic and typically cone-shaped. They alternate with level pebble stretches and large valleys crossed by dry wadis where only little vegetation survives and dorcas gazelles can be seen. It is very likely to meet isolated groups of Bisharin nomads, who live in familiar groups in small huts made of intertwined branches close to the rare water wells, with their caravans and herds of camels and donkeys. In the first part of the crossing we drive among sand dunes. After some kilometres on the asphalt road, the adventure continue following the Wadi Abu Dom, driving on a sandy track among many acacia trees and some wells where it is possible to meet nomads. Arrival at Merowe, on the Nile, where we across the bridge to reach the comfortable Nubian Rest-House. Dinner and overnight. (B.L.D.) Day 6 / Karima - Jebel Barkal and the necropolis of El Kurru Landmark in the Nubian Desert, Jebel Barkal (“Jebel” means mountain in Arabic) can be seen from a few dozen kilometres whilst still in the open desert. At the foot of this wonderful and isolated red sandstone mountain, considered holy since the ancient times, there is a big temple, dedicated to the Pharaohs of the New Reign and to their patron, Amon. Amon’s ancient “Pure Mountain”, the Olympus of the Nubians, was the religious Nubian heart for more than 1000 years. Besides the ruins of the big temple there are still several sculptured granite rams that were supposed to border a long avenue that probably led to the pier on the Nile. In the mountain wall there is a big room decorated with bas-relief. The Jebel Barkal archaeological sites are on the World Heritage list. The Royal necropolis of the ancient city of Napata, the Nubian capital (from 800 to 400 B.C.) before the Meroitic period, had a large number of pyramids, located in three different places: few hundred metres north of Jebel Barkal; a dozen kilometres southwards from the holy mountain, in El Kurru; in Nuri, which is located on the other bank of the Nile. Lunch in the Nubian Rest House. We then move southwards to the village of El Kurru where there is one of the necropolises of the ancient capital, Napata. Here we can visit one tomb, which is excavated in the rock under pyramids - partially collapsed - and it is totally decorated with images of the Pharaoh, of the gods and multicolour hieroglyphic inscriptions. Not far from here there is an interesting site of petrified wood, an ancient forest with hundreds of huge trunks. In the late afternoon, return to Karima, accommodation at the Rest-House, dinner and overnight stay. (B.L.D.) Day 7 / Karima – Old Dongola - Karima Today it is a long day on the road but full of interesting encounters and visits. Early in the morning we will follow the Nile until we reach the archaeological site of Old Dongola. Here there are the rest of a Christian Coptic temple with marble columns as well as several suggestive ruins of churches situated on the banks of the Nile. This area is the central part of the Nubian region. Here the population lives in small villages

amongst yellow sand dunes and palm trees they speak a different language from the Arabs and also the Islamic religion is not as “strict” as in other regions. The women don’t cover their faces and readily speak to foreigners. Some houses in the Nubian Villages are painted with pattern of flowers, but most of them are completely white. We eat our picnic (with our food) in one Nubian house, but the tea and coffee will be prepared by the Nubian family. In the evening return to the Nubian Rest House in Karima. Dinner and overnight stay. (B.L.D.) Day 8 / Karima – Cruise on the Nile – the Necropolis of Nuri After breakfast, we visit the market in Karima, where we can have a real experience of the life of Sudanese people. We then board a small motorboat for a pleasant cruise along the Nile to enjoy the beautiful sand stretches and cultivated islands along the river. A little further northward there used to be the beautiful granite rocky formations of the 4th Cataract, which prevented the Nile from flowing slowly and formed many rapids that obstructed the navigation. In April 2008 the Dam of Merowee has been completed and the flooding of the artificial lake started. Picnic in the area. After lunch, we visit the archaeological site of Nuri where we can see many pyramids among which there is also the one of the great Taharqa. Little walk and then return to the Nubian Rest House for dinner and overnight stay. (B.L.D.) Day 9 / Karima – Khartoum Today we drive south along the tarmac road across the Western Desert. We stop for lunch in a simple “chai house” (a roadhouse where the local truck drivers stop for food and to rest) and in the afternoon we reach Omdurman and we visit the interesting souk again, if required by the group. Check-in at the hotel where day use rooms will be available until 23.30. Dinner not included. (B.L.) Day 10 / Departure Transfer and boarding the international flight.

INFO

Street 31 - Al Amarat Khartoum international@italtoursudan.com www.italtoursudan.com

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FAROE ISLANDS

FAROE


Ovidio Guaita

18 islands, autonomous Danish territory, 50,000 inhabitants. In summary, a natural paradise that can amaze with views, silence, fauna and impressive trekking of varying degrees of difficulty. To each his own, a destination for everyone. Where the cuisine is a surprise.

ISLANDS


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A t la n t ic A ir wa y s con n ects wi t h V agar f rom vari ous centers, i n c lu d in g Oslo, Ber g en , E din burgh, C openhagen, B arcel ona and Li sb o n . T h en by h elicopter th e y f l y to the i sl and s. Recent l y, the N a t io n a l Geog r ap h ic T r a v eller readers voted the Faroes as the mo st a t t r a c tiv e place in th e w orl d . The sm al l tow ns of Torshavn an d Va ga r a r e q u iet cen ter s. The peopl e are rel axed and the at m o sp h e re en g a g in g ; h owever, i t i s t he natural beaut y that c a p t u r e s t h e v isitor . T r ails, th emat i c rout es, cl i mbi ng. Everythi ng on e c a n d o ou tdoor s or on foot i s avai l abl e.

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Mikines

The Island of Mikines can be reached by ferry (usually on a rough sea) or helicopter. The helicopter trip takes only a few minutes ... but it is no less turbulent than the ferry. On the other hand, you can enjoy a breath-taking view of the cliffs. Among the moderately difficult excursions, there is the trail to the lighthouse. Absolutely irremissible, different at every slope and full of surprises. After so much walking the appetite must be satisfied, and, from this point of view, the choices are varied. Here are the restaurants we tried: from the only one-star to those ... in local homes. www.visitfaroeislands.com

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t n a r u a t s e R s Kok Kirkjubøur

t the heart of KOKS is the culinary coquetry of Poul Andrias Ziska. As KOKS’ head chef he masters the artistry of distilling taste and smell from the Faroese landscape, combining them in exquisite dishes. The palate is local, uncompromisingly Faroese. The young avant-gardes at KOKS use Faroese produce, both coarse and fine, ancient and modern, always keeping an eye on sustainability, leaving the hills that bring forth the good fruit to flourish. Rather than chasing the novel for its own sake, every effort is put into exploring the ancient practices – drying, fermenting, salting and smoking. KOKS follows the seasons and what they bring forth, transforming ancient culinary tradition into modern delicacies. The simple and pure, what is fresh and traditional characterizes KOKS, now one-Michelin star.

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Lawrence Taylor

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Heimablidni

“G Tórshavn

hospitality at Anna and Oli’s farm

uess who’s coming to dinner?” Family

If by chance your next question is, “Why would we go to the home of strangers for dinner?”, the answer is simple: because they are farmers. And as such they have their own vegetables and meat produced at kilometre zero. The five-course menu also provides for “street food” called “lamb dogs”, the local version of the hot dog but with lamb, served as the starter with cocktails while the guests socialise among themselves. We will not discuss each course. What is important is that Anna and Oli have discovered traditional recipes and re-propose them in their originality. The ingredients, produced by them or their neighbors, do the rest. An original experience to come into contact with the local traditions and culture, thanks to an invitation for dinner by passionate local farmers.

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t n a r u a t s e R a Etik

L TĂłrshavn

ocated in the heart of town, it certainly does not go unnoticed - if for no other reason than the large windows and the elegantly modern interior. Etika is the only sushi bar in the capital. The varied menu presents the best fish in the region that could not be fresher. The illustrations on the menu assist the neophyte in choosing, according to his or her own preferences. Whatever your choice may be, freshness is assured. Moreover, the dishes are also carefully composed in every detail and the service is efficient. Etika is also organized for take-aways. In fact, there are numerous packages of the same dishes found on the menu - rigorously assembled daily – that can be consumed off the premises. A stop at Etika could either be for a quick snack or an elaborate healthy meal.

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Lawrence Taylor

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Ovidio Guaita

Hotel Føroyar under a grassy roof

Contemporary but traditional. Beautiful but invisible. Outside the city but very near. The historical hotel of the Faroes continues to be the obligatory destination for highlevel hospitality.

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t is useless to try and see it. We know that it is there, on top of the hill but it can’t be seen, buried under the grass that covers the roofs. Originating in the centre of the capital, Torshavn, in 1933, Hotel Føroyar has today been the point of reference for hospitality in the Faroe Islands for nearly a century. Towards the end of the 70s it was decided to construct the present edifice, located on a hillside behind the city centre just a few minutes away. Inaugurated in 1983, the new Hotel Føroyar has created a new standard of quality in the Islands. Contemporary architecture unites with the very common indigenous architecture seen in terraces situated at different levels, where each floor has a roof covered with a grassy lawn. The result is that the structure is almost invisible from outside, but each room has its own spectacular view overlooking the city, bay and sea. In the common areas and the rooms are displayed works of art by local artists, representing local culture and ambient. The areas in the hotel are spacious with glass walls permitting one to look out on to the surrounding greenery. Among the rooms, the Hillary Clinton Suite witnesses to the illustrious visit and is doubtlessly the most important in terms of dimensions and décor. A contemporary hotel rooted in the territory, a name which has made history in the Faroe Islands, the obligatory destination for visiting statesman and VIPs. For the last 100 years visitors as well as locals have taken joy in its presence.

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INFO HOTEL

HOTEL Fร˜ROYAR Tรณrshavn, Faroe Island http://hotelforoyar.fo Rooms & Suites 106 Villas 0 - Restaurants 1 Spa no Children yes Chain none Affiliation none Activities excursions Score 66 Environment 80 Design 90 Service 70 Cuisine 77 Health 69 Spa 0 Rooms 75

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SVALBARD ISLANDS

SVALBARD


Lawrence Taylor

There are no inhabited lands to the north of this Norwegian archipelago, whose name, not surprisingly, means “cold coast.� A lot of ice, no trees, only some low bushes and a light grassy turf in summer. With just over 2,600 inhabitants, Svalbard is subject to the homonymous Treaty which entitles signatories to colonize the archipelago.

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SVALBARD ISLANDS

The colonization rights of the signatories of the Treaty of Svalbard was exploited only by the Russians to open coal mines and today, besides Norwegians, the islands are populated by the descendants of these settlers who remained after the dissolution of the USSR. During the months of summer light, the activities offered to visitors are varied and always centered around the natural setting of the place. The most important of these are the cruises to visit the glaciers, where often you can spot bears. Excursions in canoe, on sleds on wheels pulled by dogs, glacier trekking, itineraries in fast inflatable boats, a visit to the World Seed Bank all await tourists.

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We tried the cruise to the Nordenskiรถld Glacier. A day of sailing in the ice, accompanied by a dazzling sun as one can experience only at these latitudes. On the way, the guide told us fascinated stories of hunters and explorers. And after the BBQ lunch on deck, we reached the Russian mining settlement of Pyramiden.

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Pyramiden

Ghost cities always have their charm. Pyramiden is one of them. Soviet from 1927, the mining settlement was gradually equipped to accommodate the miners and their families, according to community organization with a common dining hall of 200 seats. There was a cinema with 300 seats, a large swimming pool, gym, school, library and even a headquarters of the KGB. Over a thousand people lived here. Following the end of the Soviet Union, decline began, continuing up to the sudden closure in 1998, which froze the place with memories and traces everywhere. Today a dozen Russians residing here manage a hotel for solitary visitors seeking Arctic emotions - maybe not five-star but definitely fascinating.

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le miniere

Among the tours of Hurtigrutel Svalbard we tried, there was also a visit to a little coal mine just outside Longyearbyen, the capital. A historic mine closed in the sixties. Upon arrival we put on the suit and helmets with lamps of the miners and started the visit. We went down by elevator to find in the bowels of the earth tunnels, rails, wagons, a whole world ... but no light. We visited Svalbard using the services of most important local tour operator, Hurtigrutel Svalbard. Hurtigrutel Svalbard www.hurtigruten.com

T +442038 117 645

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Ovidio Guaita

Spitsbergen

Hotel

from mines to gourmet experiences

A building that began as a support base for the nearby mines, and which became more and more “comfortable� until it was turned into a hotel. A story that reflects that of Svalbard.

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s often happens, it is the position that makes the difference, after services, cuisine and decor. This historic building (by local standards) is located atop a hill, offering a splendid view of the bay and the village-capital of Longyearbyen. Here everything rotates around the coal mines. Hence the core of the village also originated with the residences of the miners and mining offices that rose just a bit further up from the bay. The gradual expansion of these original shacks brought about their enhancement with services, such as large bathrooms and a communal kitchen. They became more and more comfortable. From 1985 the building was used to accommodate visitors, and that is when the history of the hotel itself began. Renovated on several occasions, it is today the best choice for those who come to the archipelago. Moreover, the FunktionĂŚrmessen Restaurant is a pleasant surprise due to the view, service and gourmet offerings. It is not by chance that it has gained a good position in the Nordic White Guide.

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We visited in the summer and the first surprise was dining with the sun high despite it being 9pm. A setting for fine-dining and service was not far behind. The modest menu reassured us. One could call it an international cuisine with northern accents, understandably so since fruit nor even vegetables grow here. One can only get them in greenhouses (limited products) or import. The second surprise was the quality, something which became immediately clear with the “Vasterbotten Soup”, served with roasted almonds, marinated fennel and spicy salami. We continued with the “Petit Pois Risotto”, served with arugula and walnuts, “Halibut and Iberian Ham” on a garlic-flavored cream, broad beans sautéed in butter and potatoes spread with Sandefjord butter. A crescendo of flavors, concluding with the “White Chocolate Panna Cotta” enriched with coconut foam, lime curd and blackcurrants along with other berries. We got up from the table at 11, and the sun was still high. It would still descend a bit without ever disappearing. A gourmet dinner in the midnight sun.

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INFO HOTEL

SPITSBERGEN HOTEL Longyearbyen, Svalbard Islands www.hurtigruten.com Rooms & Suites 88 Villas 0 - Restaurants 1 Spa no Children yes Chain Scandic Hotels Affiliation none Activities excursions Score 70 Environment 80 Design 78 Service 80 Cuisine 85 Health 75 Spa 0 Rooms 79

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MONGOLIA

MONG


Ovidio Guaita

A sparsely populated land yet ancient and extensive. Varied and dominated by rolling plains and the immense Gobi desert. Once a vast empire, it preserves ancient traditions that date back to the times of Genghis Khan. A nation to visit in the summer with Nomadic Expeditions, the first and most important tour operator.

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MONGOLIA

Nomadic Expeditions is a pioneering tour operator with exceptional cultural journeys and active adventures throughout Mongolia. The company specializes in arranging private exploration and conservation-focused expeditions for individuals and groups, tailored to the interests and desires of the client. Nomadic Expeditions is distinguished by its intimacy with the vast and diverse landscapes of Mongolia and a heartfelt admiration for the spirit of its people. Founded in 1992 by Jalsa Urubshurow, a Mongolian-American with strong ties to the homeland of his ancestors, the company is committed to exploring the region and learning from the diverse and wondrous cultures that dwell there.

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Three Camel Lodge

The Three Camel Lodge is the luxury wilderness ger camp of Nomadic Expeditions, a leading tour operator with over twenty years of experience creating exploration and conservation-focused journeys into Mongolia. The Lodge blends into the stunning landscape of the surrounding Gobi desert, sheltered by a 54-million-year-old volcanic outcrop of Mt. Bulagtai. It shelters guests with 40 felt gers – the traditional nomadic tents – as well as a main lodge of striking design with full facilities. An oasis of luxury in the desert, the Three Camel Lodge offers comfort and superb service while maintaining a tangible commitment to the ecology of the Gobi. www.nomadicexpeditions.com

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Paolo Gerbaldo

Paris

Don Juan II Along the Seine to discover the magic of Paris. Intimate and extremely elegant with its new Art Deco interiors, the Don Juan II, a boat dating back to the thirties, cruises down the Seine to offer a limited number of guests all the enchantment of Paris.

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ruising leisurely down the river, the Don Juan II of the Company Yachts de Paris affords three hours of serenity. A crescendo of emotions that culminates with the illuminated Eiffel Tower, which we admire from the upper deck before concluding dinner. Greeted with a flute of champagne on the top deck which is followed by the meticulous presentation of the dinner menu, the privileged passengers can then watch the boat gently leave the dock before dinner to begin its calm navigation. In the cozy restaurant the gastronomical menu composed by the talented chef, Guy Krenzer, twice Meilleur Ouvrier de France, is removed. The exquisite meal, designed to highlight delicacy and superbly blended flavors is then served. The onboard service is precise, discreet and attentive to every detail. A cruise on the Don Juan II is a unique and unforgettable way to enjoy the stretch of the Seine that reveals the charm of the Ville Lumière.

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INFO

DON JUAN II Paris, France www.yachtsdeparis.fr

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Ovidio Guaita

QATAR AIRWAYS

weekend in the desert

Desert roundtrip. From London Heathrow, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Manchester. The desert of Qatar is refined and exclusive, within easy reach from Doha and offers wonderful breaks and numerous surprises.

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e take off on time Friday afternoon from Pisa, one of the new destinations of this ever-expanding company with one of the youngest fleets. The Airbus A320 on which we are traveling is not large but our seats in Business expand to 180 ° becoming real beds. In addition, on a large screen we can choose from a range of videos. The flight is full but the service is impeccable. After aperitifs we are served dinner. The menu is basic but the dishes are presented meticulously. Upon arrival there is a quick tour of the Hamad International Airport Doha, chosen as one of the top 10 airports in the world by Skytrax. We stay at the Shangri-la (www.shangri-la.com/doha), elegant and central (top right-hand page). Its large pool is surrounded by a garden. The large spa welcomes travelers with treatments that counteract jetlag. After visiting the MIA Museum of Islamic Art - monumental work of Ieoh Ming Pei - we continue with Travel Designer (www.traveldesigner.qa) for the desert where, after the now familiar climb on the dunes by jeep, we stop for lunch at the Sealine Beach Resort (sealinebeachqatar.com). Here the pleasant surprise of a great Italian restaurant awaits us. Mozzarelline di bufala; a pizza, unusual in size and shape (top right), but delicious; to conclude, a perfect virgin tiramisu. All sealed with an Illy espresso. Returning, we visit The Pearl, a huge high-level residential complex where we find a reproduction of Venice. But the weekend is coming to an end. We proceed to the Arabic Lounge Al Shurfa, located on the terrace of the Waqif Boutique Hotels (www.souqwaqifresort.com), where we can observe the entire Souq. A short stop at the hotel and then off to the airport. A quick Check-in leaves us time for the spacious lounge reserved for the premium classes. The arrival in Pisa is on Monday morning after a good night’s sleep. The visit was only three nights but it was well worth it. 152

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QATAR AIRWAYS Doha, Qatar www.qatarairways.com

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Ovidio Guaita

Video Production interview with Alberto Pini

A video relates, excites, and communicates. For this reason, since the Nineties Alberto Pini with his Videoproduction company dominates the Tuscan Market of motion communication with productions of great formal and creative quality.

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e meet Alberto at Cafe Gilli in Florence, a historic setting with good service and a relaxing atmosphere. While tourists roam around the square beyond the window of the dehors, I notice this elegant man. Operator, producer, director? Who is Alberto Pini? “I was born 44 years ago in Mugello, near Florence. From an early age I developed a strong passion for observing and communicating about the world around me with photos and videos. At 24 I was able to fulfill my dream by founding Videoproduction “. The whys have always made me curious - why someone chooses to communicate through images, why not writing or singing for example? “I was struck by time-lapse images showing in seconds the birth and blooming of flowers. These images made a light turn on in me, a desire to get to know more and more about this world that allowed one to stop a moment. “ Alberto is certain that a video is, above all, a passion that goes beyond the trade and arrives at the point offering customers a communications project articulated in videos, photos, graphics, on the web and with apps. To be precise: the brand “4ideas”. However, Videoproduction’s proposals don’t stop there. Google Street View shows us how much immersive virtual reality is effective today, as are the aerial shots using drones. The reduction in costs compared to those using a helicopter has created a widespread market where the quality, however, is often mediocre. For quality, an aspect on which Alberto has always focused “you need a professional for this type of service. Not only for the airplane flight capacity, but for the framing of the shots, the movement and for the reading of the light that can change each image or video shot into something different”. We like to tell this entrepreneurial success story for the harmony between the founder and the spirit of the magazine. Now the lights have come on in the square and the tourists are heading back to their hotels. Our Martinis are finished and we are about to say goodbye. One last question, the last trip? “It was for the discovery of Cuba, before this’ island might change forever. 1200 km in 10 days, from Havana to Santiago de Cuba in contact with people. Eating and sleeping in their homes, finding in each place a small piece of a puzzle that was composed only at the end of the journey “. So then, a puzzle. Videoproduction reassembles the facets of a reality; they choose them and re-elaborates them. They create an emotion which, as in a journey, only comes together at the end.

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Borgo San Lorenzo (FI), Italia www.videoproduction.it

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Ovidio Guaita

photography evolution

When photography relates an event, emotions, the atmosphere, then communication is effective and the memory powerful.

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cho l ast ic e duc ation does n ot always re f le c t t he interest s o f st udents. Th is is th e case of Lore n zo, who graduated as a sur veyor an d th en c h ose a c a re e r i n p h oto grap hy - creat ive, o f co ur se. Th e pleasure of com m u n i c at i n g w it h p ic t u res, creat ing exc itin g sequen ces c a p a b l e of p re sent ing an event. Th a n k s to years o f exp er ience o n t he most var ied sets, Lo re n zo H e r vat in real izes co mp l ete p ho tograph ic ser vices for com p a n i e s, a d ver t ising and sp ecial events - from por traits to s t i ll li fe, f rom architec t u re to b ackst ag e moments, from spor ts cove ra ge to wedding s. H is u nique education al bac kgroun d, b ot h i n p h oto grap hy and in fil m, ensures a targeted an d i n n ovat i ve p ro du c t, charac ter ized by a sl eek design over view, f rom at te nt i on to det ail to care fo r lightin g design . A f u n c t i on a l p ro du c t aimed at mar ket requirements an d wh ic h i s, n e ve r t h e l e s s, emo t io nal and ar t ist ical ly valuable. Lore n zo i s al so ac t ive in t he video in dustr y, especially f i l m i n g wi t h d ro nes.

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LORENZO HERVATIN Firenze, Italia www.lorenzohervatin.com

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