Sunday, December 8, 2013

Back from Iran

Back from Iran (fascinating country) with plenty of pictures to show and stories to tell - including a story of an incognito journalist, a spy at the hotel, a sequestered passport, a visit to the Tehran police station, and a brave team leader…

Don’t miss a post!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Concluded my week with Leo, recovered Mathilde and Tommy in Venice, we drove towards north, beyond the Cadore, towards Alto Adige, and we finally stopped in the Ampezzo Valley, right at the heart of the Dolomites, where we spent the second leg of our vacations…

(I am leaving to Iran in a few hours, and will be back in about ten days. I will continue the account of our vacations at my return; please, be patient...)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

La colazione del campione

They say that Michael Phelps, the eight-time gold medallist at the Beijing Olympic Games, used to swallow 12,000 kcal for breakfast every day.

With 240 ml of milk, a spoon of honey, and a ‘bombolone’ filled with cream, Leo is on the right path… 

Monday, November 25, 2013

La bici di Andrea

Se macchine, camion, ruspe e scavatrici sono state la passione dell’estate, e la scavatrice di Andrea l’amore a prima vista - la bicicletta di Andrea è stato il vero oggetto del desiderio, nemmeno troppo celato, di Leo questa estate.

E così un po’ Chip (foto 1) e un po’ Easy Rider (foto 2), Leo si è fatto chilometri di lungomare a cavalcioni della bici di Andrea. 

Rigorosamente di nascosto dal gelosissimo proprietario…

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Saturday, November 23, 2013

La scavatrice di Andrea

Leo got grabbed into cars over the summer. Motorbikes, cars, trucks, tractors, caterpillars, excavators, bulldozers… And the bigger and noisier, the better.

With Andrea’s excavator it has been love at first sight...


Friday, November 22, 2013

In vacanza con papà

Come l'anno scorso, e come, speriamo, l’anno prossimo anche con Tommy in quella che possa diventare una piacevole tradizione, anche quest’anno ho passato una settimana in vacanza da solo con Leo.

E come l’anno scorso, anche quest’anno siamo finiti sulle riviere romagnole: Lido degli Estensi: spiaggia immensa, mare basso, pineta, piadine, e, soprattutto, per me una difficile da descrivere sensazione di… ritorno a casa.

Una vacanza di mare, piscina, bicicletta, fumetti, e rutto libero. Una vacanza da uomini!

E dopo un anno di viaggi, passare una settimana solo noi due è stato un po’ come… andare per la prima volta in vacanza con un amico: una persona che conosci, con cui vai d'accordo, ma che non puoi dire di conoscere appieno fino a che non passi per una settimana ventiquattro ore al giorno insieme culo e camicia...

Monday, November 18, 2013

Skype from Badabad

Travelling to the countries I am responsible for, visiting the projects we finance, discuss with our counterparts and beneficiaries has always been the most interesting part of my job. But have to confess that since Leo and Tommy were born, every trip, every day spent away from my little family has become tougher and tougher to bear. 

Luckily there is Skype.  

Skype from Islamabad, or, as Leonardo says, from ‘Badabad’…

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

In three on a tricycle...

... and with no helmet!!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Alla festa di Paolo (At Paolo’s party)

First year of childcare, and first good friends. Paolo is one of them. 

Happy birthday Paolo! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Leo, fai ridere Tommy (Leo, make Tommy laugh)

In time, Leo and Tommy have been interacting more and more together.

To tell the truth, Leo has been very cute with Tommy from the very beginning. He kisses him spontaneously, he provides us with detailed reportages on Tommy’s activities (‘Tommy cries’, ‘Tommy sleeps’, ‘Tommy laughs’…), and - at times - he interprets the role of the eldest brother: ‘Tommy, non si fa’ (‘Tommy, you should not do it’), tells him severely when Tommy does something he is not supposed to do.

Tommy, on the other hand, holds Leo in reverential admiration. Whenever Leo is in the same room, Tommy does not stop staring at him.

The new game is ‘to make Tommy laughing’. When Tommy looks seriously at Leo, we whisper in Leo’s ears ‘Leo, do make Tommy laugh’. And Leo starts tickling Tommy under his chin, and both start laughing as crazy.

And for us there is no greater joy than observing them growing together...

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bottom up!

Tommy, June 2013 

Brothers are like snowflakes: there are never two alike. 

And this is true for Leo and Tommy as well, and we are discovering it day after day. 

Let leave the physical aspect aside: blond with blue eyes Leo, dark hair and dark eyes Tommy. Or bald until the age of one Leo, hairy since birth Tommy. Leo and Tommy are showing different tastes and different personalities as well. 

Leo can’t sleep without his pacifier, Tommy never wanted it. Leo was smiling and laughing from the very beginning, Tommy seems more reserved and observer. 

But the biggest difference we noticed is that Tommy, differently from Leo at his age, does not like to lie on his back, and as soon as we lay him down, released as a spring, he immediately turns on his belly.  

Bottom up!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Let's try again

If June and July have been rather tough months, September and October have been even worst.  

And the Blog has suffered. No posts for more than two months. 

Our followers must have got worried. Or simply must have lost interest, and cancelled Les M&M’s from their favourites. 

And we failed to record the memories of the last months, with the risk of losing them forever - the Blog has more and more become our diary and photograph album.

So, let me try again to recap the events of the last few months and update the Blog, and be indulgent if sometime you won’t find new posts for a while…

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dieci di questi giorni!

Without almost noticing it, ten years have passed since that 7 November in London.

And ten years, six countries, and two children later, we are still together. Thinking of the next ten years, the next country, and the next child.

We could have been in Istanbul, Moscow or Munich celebrating today. Instead, Matteo is in Lahore to rescue the relationships between IFAD and the Pakistan Government, and Mathilde is in Rome to hold the two beasts at bay.

Strange? Sad? Perhaps just normal if we think this is just one among the thirty-six thousand and five-hundred days we will spend together.

And so, I wish us ten more of these days!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pizza in Rome

Plastic tables on the sidewalk, paper place mat and napkins, a loud waiter, an arancino or a supplì as a starter, Italian beer or coke as a drink. No dessert, you get an icecream to take away in the gelateria around the corner later on.

And then a very very thin pizza, that almost melts in your mouth. 

This is the true pizza experience in Rome…

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

27 June

For our fourth wedding anniversary, we treated ourselves to a baby-sitter (and a romantic dinner on the Tiber river).

Happy anniversary to us!

Monday, August 26, 2013

A future Miró or a new street artist?

Childcare’s end of the year party

It seems yesterday that Leo crossed the threshold of the childcare, and, almost without realizing it, we are already celebrating the end of his first year at the Nido. With hindsight, we could not be more happy about this choice.

It’s true, between October and April he has been sick almost every other week. But, apart from the fact that - as they say - this contributed strengthening his immune-system (or we hope so!), he became more independent (he started eating by himself from the first day he was at the Nido), more disciplined, and, if not more sociable, certainly more used to stay with other children. He had opportunities to test himself with a multitude of activities and develop his skills (apparently he is good with music), and to relate himself with other kids and other adults. 

And next year we would need to start thinking to the 'materna' (the nursery school) !

Sunday, August 25, 2013


While everybody agrees on the fact that Leo resembles Mathilde, they also say that Tommy looks like me.

What do you think?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

As in an Almodovar movie...

The highlight of the night has been a typical Andalusian dance which involves a flamenco dancer and a rider on a horse.

Thrilling, touching, sensual. I felt as the main character of Hable con Ella listening to Caetano Veloso singing Cucurrucucu Paloma... 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tommy at Patty and Andrés' wedding

Smart and elegant, as it is suited to these occasions...

Tommy, only child for a week-end

Hard life that of the secondborns. From the moment they are born, and for the rest of their lives, they are and remain… secondborn. Simply, they have a brother or a sister with whom to share mum and dad. Dot. They may (or may not) have the bad luck of having an additional brother or sister (or more than one) with whom further sharing the parents later on, but they will never experience the thrill of having mum and dad just for them.

Against this irrefutable truth, Tommy had the unique chance of being only child for a week-end. Concerned by the logistics involved in bringing a twenty-two month-old child to a wedding 3,000 km far from home, we in fact decided to leave Leo to the trusty Claudia for the week-end, and leave with Tommy only. 

And as much Tommy may have enjoyed being only child for a week-end, we enjoyed being only parents of a three-month old child for a week-end. Not only Tommy slept during the two-hours-and-half flight to/from Seville, during the wedding ceremony, during the dinner, during the party, and until noon the following day - allowing us a freedom to which we were not used anymore, but, in the absence of his yelling brother, we had more time and space to observe and focus on him.  

And in fact we came back from Seville with the impression of having got to know him a bit better…

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Les M&M’s in Seville - a few more pics

Les M&M’s in Seville

There are several reasons why we decided to move to Rome instead of going to Fiji. Getting closer to our families (certainly). Moving back to Europe after having spent many years overseas (surely). But - at least as far as I am concerned - the three main reasons why moving back to Italy did not seem too bad as compared to discovering the exotic beaches of Fiji and of the other Pacific Islands were: 

(1)    To purchase a motorbike and spend our week-ends visiting the medieval villages of Tuscany, Umbria, and Marche; 
(2)    To go on a ‘settimana bianca’ (skiing holiday week) every year; and 
(3)    To visit a European city every month. 

The arrival of Leonardo obliged us (me) to suddenly change our (my) plans.  

Let me state it clearly: no regrets at all. But the motorbike of my dreams has been substituted by a less pretentious scooter, and I now spend my week-ends in the park below rather than zigzagging on the provincial roads towards Siena, Orvieto, or Urbino with Mathilde behind. Instead of going on skiing holiday weeks in the Dolomites, I content myself with sporadic, midweek one-day trip to the near Abruzzo. And except for our trip to London on the occasion of our eighth anniversary two years ago, we did not travel much outside Italy. 

Perhaps for these reasons, particularly the latter, our week-end in Seville has been as if we were brought by a time machine three years back. And for a week-end, it has been nice to be three years younger…