Sunday, November 30, 2014


Camping, hostel, bed & breakfast… since we discovered Airbnb, we became great subletting lodgings' supporters.

We love Airbnb!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

I miei primi quarant’anni (My first forty years)

The 5 main achievements of my first 40 years (or the 5 things I am more proud of):

1. Two beautiful children (Leo 2011 and Tommy 2013), and a wonderful wife (Mathilde 2009)
2. Saved someone's life (from drowning, Awash National Park 2002)
3. Reached the roof of Africa (Kilimanjaro 2002)
4. Run a marathon (Milan 2012)
5. Swum with the whale-sharks (Yucatan 2007)

And the 5 things I wanted to do during my first 40 years, but didn’t manage (and that I wish I could achieve in my next 40 years…)

1. Writing a book
2. Climbing a 6,000 m
3. Climbing the Aguglia di Cala Goloritzè with Federico
Visiting Antarctica
5. Encountering the Wild Mountain Gorillas in Uganda

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

15 February in Ischia

It should have been something unusual, exceptional: a trip somewhere in an exotic place (Zanzibar?). Then, for practical considerations, it was converted into a trip somewhere in a still exotic but not too far place (Tunisia?). Then, it was turned into something more significant: a skiing week-end with my 1974-born friends (Courmayeur?). It eventually became a long-week-end with my little family in the near Ischia.

Could not think of a better way to celebrate my fortieth birthday…

Monday, November 24, 2014

La storia della fontana triste

Have you ever found yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having to face one of your two-year-old child’s ‘why’ questions?

One day Leo saw a fountain that didn’t work, and asked me: ‘Why is that fountain sad?’

After a moment of hesitation, this is the answer I gave. This is the story of the sad fountain…

Quella fontana un tempo sprizzava acqua da tutti i pori. E un uccellino che abitava su quell’albero lì vicino andava ad abbeverarsi tutti i giorni dalle sue vasche.

Quel rituale aveva fatto diventare i due buoni amici, e la fontana era felice.

Ma un brutto giorno un signore catturò l’uccellino e lo mise in una gabbia. E da quel giorno l’uccellino non poté più andare ad abbeverarsi alla fontana.

La fontana lo aspettò, lo aspettò, lo aspettò -- giorno dopo giorno, settimana dopo settimana -- ma non vedendolo arrivare divenne sempre più triste, fino a quando smise di zampillare.

Solo se un giorno il signore libererà l’uccellino, o se un nuovo uccellino andrà a posarsi su una delle sue vasche, la fontana ritornerà ad essere felice e a spruzzar nuovamente acqua…

(I know, it's a sad story, with a sad ending. If you have a better ending, please send it to me, and we will update the story!)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Che orecchie grandi che ho

Che orecchie grandi che ho (What a big ears I have) is a music performance organized by the Rome Auditorium specifically addressed to 0 to 2 year old children to introduce them to music.

Children and parents are invited to sit on a big red carpet, in the middle of the orchestra, surrounded by several musical instruments: the piano, the violin, the flute, the drums...

As soon as the concert starts, the murmuring suddenly stops, and children fall mesmerized by the sound of the different instruments. But then, after a few minutes, they start interacting with the music, each in a very different and personal way: there are those that gently roll in the arms of their parents at the rhythm of the music, those that that softly hum, and those that stand and give the hint of a dance...

Beautiful, moving, difficult to describe. Perhaps this video can give an idea of the whole experience.

What a chance to have big ears!

Tommy - February 2014

Tommy occhietti neri...

Friday, November 21, 2014

Alla mostra di Nomachi (To Nomachi’s exhibition)

Kazuoshi Nomachi. Japanese photographer whose work focuses on portraying people who live in the most remote and harsh lands.

We didn’t know him, but his was one of the best photography exhibitions we have been to.

Highly recommended!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Dialoghi di Leo (Leo’s Dialogues)

- Papà, guarda, un aereo! Torna!
- Da dove?
- Dal Pakistan…

- Leo, dove sei stato ieri?
- Alle Terme di Calin-Calin*

(*) In francese, calin significa ‘coccola’

- Papà, dove andiamo?
- Al parco
- Perché andiamo al parco?
- Perché è una bella giornata
- Non voglio andare al parco!

- E dove vuoi andare?
- In ufficio…

- Daddy, look, an airplane! It comes back!
- From where?
- From Pakistan…

- Leo, where have you been yesterday?
- To the Baths of Calin-Calin**

(**) Calin means cuddle in French

- Daddy, where do we go?
- To the park
- Why do we go to the park?
- Because it’s a beautiful day
- I don’t want to go to the park!
- And where do you want to go?
- To the office…

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

From Geneva to Kabul - 16 years later

But the most remarkable encounter was that with Henrik in Kabul in February.

Henrik was one of my best mates in Geneva, long time ago, in 1998, when we were both young interns at our first working experience.

After Geneva, we met once in Milan - when he (a great Inter supporter) came to watch an Inter match in San Siro, the Inter’ stadium.

Then we took different paths, and - despite email, facebook, linkedin, etc. - we progressively lost track of each other.

Until when, a few months ago, I accidentally found a message from him in the Spam folder of an email account that I don’t use anymore. He was telling a long list of people that he had moved to Afghanistan. That was right before my last mission to Afghanistan in February.

And so, 16 years later, we found each other chit-chatting in front of a coffee as if time hadn’t passed at all; as if we just had had a coffee the evening before. Knowing that probably there won’t be many opportunities to meet again in the future, but with the feeling that if one day we ended up living in the same place, we would certainly be ‘best mates’ again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

As a seaman (?)

Almost as a seaman who can boast a lover in each harbour in which he docks, it seems I can boast a friend in almost every town in which I land…

My last trips had several encounters with many old friends in store: Juan Carlos in Kabul in September, Martin in Lahore in November, Bruno in Islamabad in December (and then again in January), and Alejandro in Beijing in April.

And the pleasant feeling to be somehow at home wherever I am…

Monday, November 17, 2014

At Views on News

In my own little way, I also enjoyed my moment of celebrity during my last mission to Pakistan, before being reassigned to China.

For a couple of days I have been on all main Pakistan newspapers, and had a 45 minute live interview at Views on the News, a talk show on the Pakistan English Channel.


(Ps: tie: courtesy of sorella Chiara).

Sunday, November 16, 2014

If food wastage was a country...

“If food wastage was a country, Food Wastage would have the surface of China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan together”.

“If Food Wastage was ranked among the most greenhouse gases polluting countries, then it would be the third most polluting country after China and the US”…

With these and other images, Mathilde was able to attract the attention of the general public on the problem of the impact of food waste on natural resources, gaining for a few days the limelight of media and blogs worldwide. She was even broadcasted on Radio Vaticana!

Did you have any doubt about Mathilde excelling when she started her job at FAO a couple of years ago?

Good job Mathilde!