Creating Handmade Italian Marbled Paper in Florence, Italy

The art of paper marbling is mesmerizing. An artisan applies droplets of paint to a small pool of water. The colors appear to gracefully dance upon the surface of the water, but these individual splotches of paint respect the neighboring colors’ boundaries. As the artisan adds more and more colors, this dance continues. Finally, whenContinue reading “Creating Handmade Italian Marbled Paper in Florence, Italy”

Komiža, Vis: Savoring the Off-Season Charms of One of Croatia’s Most Remote Islands

The enchanting Croatian island of Vis has had many identities over the last few thousand years. For a time, it was an ancient Greek colony known as Issa. Then, from the 1950s until the 1980s, Vis was a secret Yugoslavian naval base that was off-limits to foreigners. From there, tourists — and filmmakers — startedContinue reading “Komiža, Vis: Savoring the Off-Season Charms of One of Croatia’s Most Remote Islands”

The Art of Florentine Marquetry: Watching Italian Mosaicists “Painting with Stones”

The arts have long flourished in Florence — the so-called “cradle of the Renaissance.” Hundreds of years ago, there were tens of thousands of artisans in the city, each dedicated to everything from leather goods and hand-decorated paper to jewelry making. Over time, the number of workshops has declined. Nevertheless, Florence still has a sizableContinue reading “The Art of Florentine Marquetry: Watching Italian Mosaicists “Painting with Stones””

Watching How to Make Kelaghayi Silk Scarves in Sheki, Azerbaijan

Located among the leafy foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, the Azerbaijani town of Sheki is green, tranquil, and artsy. Low-rise buildings feature eye-catching stone and brickwork. People smile easily and are eager to engage in conversation. What’s more, Sheki still bears delightful evidence of its Silk Road past. Before we got there, I had theContinue reading “Watching How to Make Kelaghayi Silk Scarves in Sheki, Azerbaijan”

An Apiary on Malta’s Xemxija Heritage Trail

Since ancient times, the island of Malta has been renowned for its splendid honey. There’s even some speculation that the country’s name has its origins in honey. The ancient Greeks referred to Malta as “Melite” (Μελίτη), translating to “honey sweet.” During the Roman period, the island was called “Melita.” In Latin, “mel” means honey.

Armenia, a Land of Lavash

We took the night train from Tbilisi to Yerevan. Arriving in Armenia 11 hours later, we were feeling disoriented, groggy, and ravenous. When Shawn and I chanced upon some ladies baking lavash flatbread inside a restaurant next to our apartment, we immediately perked up. Sensing our curiosity about the baking process, an employee motioned forContinue reading “Armenia, a Land of Lavash”

Brač, Croatia: Hunting for Hercules in a Roman Quarry

For nearly 2,000 years, limestone has been extracted from quarries on the Croatian island of Brač. In the 3rd century, laborers used this dazzling white stone to build the palace of Emperor Diocletian in the city of Split. During the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Brač limestone was used to construct the Saint James CathedralContinue reading “Brač, Croatia: Hunting for Hercules in a Roman Quarry”