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Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
February 10, 2023
Within the recently released book Aria d’Italia, created by Tod’s and published by Rizzoli International, contemporary Italian culture is described and illustrated so deeply it’s transportive. Over 230 pages are filled with intimately warm images by Guido Taroni, and illustrations by Franco Raggi, taking the reader on a journey through the personal homes, small towns, and iconic cities of creatives that call Italy home.
Set to the theme of just eight words over eight chapters—Pleasure, Timeless, Imagination, Craftsmanship, Passion, Heritage, Joy, and Boldness—select artists, artisans, innovators, hosts, and more share their side of contemporary life in the countryside and cities through photographs and personal tales, celebrating all aspects of Italian identity.
Following a rich, textured green cover and its collage by Roberta e Brambilla, photos of creators in kitchens, hotels, art studios, family businesses, and more guide us through the Italy of today—rich with history and traditions, and full of contemporary ideals. Close-up images of families and centered shots of well-designed homes are in dialogue with images of landscape, expressive artworks, and symbols of leisure. For most Italians featured in the book, the importance of family and their place in the old and new worlds they straddle, is the key to life.
“What makes me feel the most Italian?” asked Marcello Mereu, an automotive detailer. “I’m very fond of my family and I bring the idea of family to the workplace as well.” In the pages that follow, in the workplace and not, we see siblings and partners enjoying small moments together that reflect larger values. Activities—like sipping coffee, lounging on the couch, carrying vats of tomatoes, or creating art—are shown to be a collective experience to enhance life’s true meaning.
Food, a non-negotiable in true Italian life, is also highlighted in Aria d’Italia. Images of a family dining are seen alongside a photo of Chef Marco Baldeschi, topped with a green cap, drinking a beverage atop his countertop. “Every day I discover something new about Italian cuisine. It’s never-ending and complicated. Like us.”
The architect and designer, Giovanna Carboni agrees, saying, “It doesn’t make me angry when we Italians are described with the clichés of pizza and the mandolin. There’s some truth to that. We love food and we are natural entertainers.”
Diving each chapter passages featuring thoughtful phrases like “Night Thinking Day Dreaming,” “Life Is too Short Not To Be Italian,” and “True Joy Is Not Having Something You Love It’s Sharing It With The People You Love.” These notes, feel hand-written and mirror values shared by Italians—from Florence to Sicily and everywhere in between. These snippets also guide the reader to sit back and imagine traveling through these towns to experience the true Italian lifestyle, filled with an afternoon aperitivo hour and a dip in the Adriatic or Tyrrhenian Seas.
“If a Martian were to land on Earth, I wouldn’t take them to Rome but rather on a trip around the provinces, to discover little-known stores and trattoria, places off the beaten path yet truly excellent,” said entrepreneur Francesco Mondadori. These farther-flung places—tucked beyond the hills in cities like San Gimignano—are where local wines are made, textiles are woven by hand, and shoes are mended by cobblers.
On page 62, a Piaggio Ape—a traditional three-wheeled vehicle common in small Italian towns—carries baskets of vegetables and bright yellow florals. Positioned in front of an old, ornate building, the image lends meaning back to Mondadori’s idea of small-town charm and less-traveled roads.
“The culture of stopping to chat with someone in the town square. The neighborhood life that makes you become friends with perfect strangers. The tradition of the aperitif out in the open. In all these interactions with others, at times strangers, there is an idea of being in the world with passion,” said Caio Castellini, a student.
Between the special title’s oversized pages, we also get a glimpse at works by artists and designers, including sculptures by Sol LeWitt, vases by Ettore Sottsas, chairs by Verner Panton, bookcases by Luca Bombassei, and tables by Lica Bombassei. “There is poetry in doing things calmy and carefully,” said the artist Costanza Chia. “It is the warm Italian touch.”
For Tod’s, a storied brand with such dedication to craft, each chapter is an opportunity to showcase shared values—from approaching style carefully to living in the moment. This, it seems, is the true essence of La Dolce Vita.
Joining the house’s previous publications celebrating Italian lifestyle, Italian Touch and Italian Portraits, Aria D’Italia is available for purchase online and internationally in stores.