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posts tagged ‘ holiday italy ’

The house in the rock: an interview with the architect Michel Boucquillon

posted by Home In Italy on January 26th, 2018

Born in Belgium in 1962 from a Belgian father and German mother, Michel Boucquillon graduated in architecture at Saint-Luc in Brussels in 1986. In 1988, aged 26, after two years of working experience in Florence, he won the Architectural competition of the Chamber of the European Parliament in Brussels, signing the beginning of his Architectural and design career. In ‘2000, he opened a second workshop dedicated to industrial design products and experimental architecture in Lucca – Tuscany in his home and office Alibia, where he lives with his wife Donia Maaoui and their two daughters.

Villa Alibia is an extraordinary property, a laboratory and place of experimentation. The villa, the guest house and the swimming pool are real jewels of contemporary architecture and technology immersed in the Tuscan nature. The architecture of the two properties is very bright and transparent.
This is the first house in the world with a hydraulic roof: the two wings of the roof of the villa open at a 30 ° angle like the wings of a butterfly allowing natural ventilation to cool the house and bringing to the villa a very unique magic sensation of literally sleeping under the stars.
Michel is currently working for exclusive clients and for world-known design companies such as Alessi, Artemide, Antoniolupi, Aquamass, Auerhahn, Martinelliluce, Nestle, Serralunga, Tecno, Technolux, Valli Arredobagno, Valli&Valli. He won many international awards and his design creations are exposed in many museums all over the world.
Architect Michel Boucquillon sat down for an interview and touched on an array of topics, from the start of his successful career to his future project.

When did you realize you wanted to be an architect?
All began when I was around 10 or 11 years old. I visited the farm situated close to the house where I lived and it was that bad organized that I returned home and did a little plan sketch called “the ideal farm”. I showed it to the farmer, who thought I was crazy. However, I loved it and it gave me the first sensation of being an architect. At the age of 15 I decided to study architectural drawing at the high school before graduating in Architecture in St Luc, Brussels.

Where does your passion for beauty and art comes from?
All the men of my family, both father and mother side, are Engineers. I am an hybrid: I have always loved drawing and inventing. Architecture made me discover design, and design made me discover art. My wife, Donia, is a sculptor, so we are totally in full immersion with art.

What does villa Alibia represent to you and your career?
When my wife and I decided to move to Italy, we wanted to build our “world of architecture” in one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany: Lucca. We found this extraordinary 10 hectares land in the first hill around Lucca, one of the very rare place where you can perfectly see the hole city and its walls, the middle-aged towers from 200meters high. We wanted to make an innovative but respectful architecture totally opened on the magnificent Mediterranean vegetation by sliding the big windows and opening the roof. The result is a very pleasant place where you have the impression to be outside of the real world, in total harmony with the wonderful surroundings. Who enters in the house is totally emerged in our world and our sensibility. I would say everything you see was drawn by myself, by Donia or by both. The architecture, the furniture, kitchenware, the sculptures, the limited edition furniture …

What can we expect from you in the future? Are you currently working on another magnificent project?
In the future, I will continue creating architectural project worldwide for exclusive clients and industrial design, which is my second passion. At the moment I’m constructing two private houses where the roof will open like in our house. In the design field, I’m drawing with Donia a wide collection of object for Alessi brand, called Bark. I am also drawing high quality furniture, lamps and bathroom products for other world known companies.

5 Great Places To Spend Christmas In Italy

posted by Home In Italy on December 19th, 2017

Visiting Italy during the Christmas season offers two bonuses: you’ll avoid the high summer season tourist crowds and you’ll get to see the country decked out in all its holiday finery. You’ll find a festive atmosphere in every corner of the country. There are a few areas, however, that seem to take the holidays to another level. Here are a few suggestions for the best places to spend Christmas in Italy.

Rome & Vatican City

Heading for Rome over Christmas is probably the most best choice: in addition to the festivities in Rome itself, you also have Vatican City‘s celebrations. It’s like getting two cities’ worth of holiday in one spot.
At the Vatican, the Pope delivers a Christmas Eve midnight mass (book tickets well in advance if you want to sit in St. Peter’s), there’s a huge Christmas tree in St. Peter’s Square and a life-sized Nativity scene in front of the basilica.


Even if you’re not lucky enough to witness snow falling on the canals and gondolas, Venetians know how to ward off the chill with hot spiced wine and other holiday treats, sold in the Christmas markets. No matter your age, you’re bound to be charmed by the figure of Santa Claus arriving by gondola to distribute goodies, and Christmas Eve mass held in St. Mark’s Basilica is enough to make any trip to Venice worth it.


Naples is home to a street that can rightfully be called “Christmas Alley” year-round. This city is the epicenter of Italy’s Nativity scene tradition, and the shops along Via San Gregorio Armeno that make both the detailed structures and the myriad figurines that inhabit them work (and sell) all year long.
The figurines range from the expected (holy family and shepherds) to the regional (pizza makers) to the topical (current political or sports personalities).


For a location with loads of Italian Christmas traditions but with much milder weather, head south to Sicily. Second only to the Neapolitans in terms of their affection for the Nativity scene, Sicilians erect elaborate Nativities everywhere (from public squares to churches to private homes), including a living Nativity in a cave near Trapani. In other words, locals dress up and re-enact the Nativity daily from Christmas Eve through the Epiphany.

Trentino-Alto Adige

Spend Christmas in the Trentino-Alto Adige and you’ll have snowy winter scenery straight out of a postcard while you sip mulled wine in the market squares.
This area is also a good base if you want to take day-trips into Venice or Verona.

It’s winter time … and time to explore Italy!

posted by Home In Italy on November 22nd, 2017

For those who do not mind low temperature, winter can be a great time to discover Italy! Fewer tourists, less crowded museums and shorter lines: during this season, opera, symphony and theaters are in full swing, meaning lots of opportunities for visitors. So take a sweater, a rain jacket, wear a scarf and a winter hat and enjoy your holiday!

Why travel to Italy in winter time?
Here are just a few of the reasons why it’s worth making a trip during the tourist low-season in Italy. First of all, it will be much less crowded at some of the most popular and historic spots than it is during summer time. Secondly, you will find good prices on airfares to almost all Italian airport.

Winter weather in Italy ranges from relatively mild along the coasts of Sardinia, Sicily and the southern mainland to very cold and snowy inland, especially in the northern mountains. Even popular tourist destinations like Venice, Florence, and the hill towns of Tuscany and Umbria can get a dusting of snow in winter.

Winter is a good time for cultural events and performances in Italy’s elegant historic theaters. Naples is one of the top cities for Christmas nativities and many people visit Rome for the midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Early winter sunsets mean more time to enjoy cities after dark. Many cities light their historic monuments at night so strolling through a city after dark can be beautiful and romantic.

There’s a lot to do on a winter vacation in Italy!
When winter comes around and the crowds die down there are some truly extraordinary things you can see and do.
Spending winter in Italy may not be something you’ve previously considered, but the country is just as spectacular at this time of year as it is over summer. So, take a look at some of the wonderful events and experiences you can attend, making your winter break to Italy unforgettable.

Take a cooking class: Italy is famous for its delicious food and fine wine, and taking an authentic cooking class will open your mind and taste buds to some sensational flavours. Take a cooking class from a local chef and learn how to replicate some of the most exquisite Italian dishes at home. This is a great activity to do if the weather isn’t on your side, as you can escape the harsh weather whilst still enjoying your holiday.

Head to the theatre: purchasing a ticket for the theatre in Italy is one of the smartest moves you can make. You will not only escape the cold but will also get the opportunity to view some of the most unique shows in Europe.

Visit a winery: for the self-proclaimed wine enthusiast, visiting a winery may be the perfect winter activity. The grape harvest would have just finished but the cellars are now full of new-born bottles.

Take your time in a museum: visiting a museum can be an extraordinary experience, even more so when in a country with as much cultural heritage and history as Italy.In winter, crowds are considerably reduced making your visit peaceful and relaxed.

Italy is one place you must visit in your lifetime as it is full of rustic charm, delicious food and a fantastic atmosphere, which can be better enjoyed in the winter months. So, it is definitely time to start planning that last-minute winter break!

Umbria Jazz Winter @Orvieto: 100 artists in 5 days to celebrate the New Year!

posted by Home In Italy on December 30th, 2015

It has now become a tradition for Orvieto to welcome the new year to the rhythm of music. From December the 30th 2015 to January the 3rd 2016 the town will host the winter edition of Umbria Jazz: five days of music at the highest level, concerts and performances.

The Winter Umbria Jazz in Orvieto

it will not be only jazz music to enliven the evenings, but also blues, soul and gospel to be listened and appreciated all around the city, at different hours of the day and the night. Most of the eveining concerts are held in the Theatre Manicnelli , in Palazzo del Popolo and Palazzo dei Sette.
Jarrod Lawson and Allan Harris will play in the stunning Cathedral of Orvieto. And in the Cathedral, during the Mass celebrated in the afternoon of New Year’s Day, it will raise the notes of a vibrant gospel concert, expression and synthesis of different cultures and religious beliefs.

Let's celebrate New Year's Eve in Umbria