Sunday, October 4, 2015

Picture Perfect Puglia

Last week I went to Puglia, one of the few italian regions that I hadn’t been to before. Some call it the “New Tuscany” but I think that’s a little too easy! By the way, it doesn’t do either of the regions any justice. Puglia is hot, that’s for sure. It offers the best of both the seaside and the countryside, citylife, art & culture, old traditions and
-like any italian region- a great cuisine.

In the next few weeks more in-depth articles about Puglia will follow, but for now I just want to show you the diversity of this great holiday destination. I visited some of the hotspots: Trani, Alberobello, Ostuni, Polignano a Mare and Bari. But there are many other places to be discovered!

Trani is a lovely old harbour town, with a lively fishmarket and a vibrant nightlife. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the amount of bars and restaurants in the marina! But Trani is actually famous for it’s ancient cathedral, dating back to the 12th century. It’s breathtakingly beautiful.

Alberobello is famous for it’s coneshaped houses, called “Trulli”. This incredible little town consists of over 1500 trulli and is jokingly called Trulliland(ia). It’s very touristy, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. Alberobello is just unique! Walk up the hill to see the trulli church,  Chiesa di Sant'Antonio and have some iceceam afterwards at Arte Fredda (Largo Martellotta, 47).

Beautiful Ostuni is nicknamed “la Città Bianca” (the white town) because of the whitewashed houses in the historical centre. Ostuni is picture perfect and should not be missed! I would advise you to go early in the morning, in order to avoid the big number of tourists that arrive later during the day. Oh and do have a coffee at Borgo Antico, right across the cathedral… perfect for people-watching!

Polignano a Mare is yet another picturesque town in Puglia. Birthplace of the famous italian singer Domenico Modugno (you all know his song “Nel blu dipinto di blu” a.k.a. “Volare”), Polignano nowadays hosts the Red Bull Cliff Diving World Series.

One of the highlights of my trip to Puglia, was a visit to “Masseria Il Frantoio”, a 500 years old farm turned hotel close to Ostuni. Me and my travel companions enjoyed a six course lunch that was just unforgettable!! (More about this place later on my blog)

Oh and before I forget, I ended my trip in Bari, where I took a guided tour of the historical centre in a rickshaw. A rickshaw? Yes… I know, it sounds really cheesy, but it was actually a very fun way to discover the city. Especially since we stopped for fresh focaccia, beer, wine, pasta and icecream on the way. Puglia has a lot to offer and I will definitely be back!

For more photos and inspiration check out my social media accounts:
@tarasdolcevita on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For more information please visit:

Many thanks to Regione Puglia & USP Marketing PR.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Urban Jungle... Amsterdam


My regular followers know that I'm a fan of street art. Just take a look at my previous articles "Antwerp City of Art", "Urban Jungle Milan" and "Urban Jungle Havana"! After Antwerp, Milan and Havana, now it's Amsterdam's turn to shine.

Usually I love to discover a city by myself, this time however I went on a guided tour by Trip4Real. Our guide Alex lead us through the urban jungle of Amsterdam, telling us all about the history of street art. He actually wrote his college thesis about the "artification of street art". So he knows what he's doing!

While walking through the historical centre of Amsterdam, we learned all the right terms for the various art forms, such as stencil graffiti, sticker art, throw-ups etc., gaining some street cred at the same time.

It was great to see some of the vintage street art that has been there for ages! I must admit I hate to see historical buildings (for example from the Dutch Golden Age) being destroyed by paint and grafitti, but street art can be fun and respectful to the environment as well.

Alex pointed out some hidden gems, like the little alien mosaic by Space Invader. I also loved the lonely kid in "walking alone" by Iranian artists Icy and Sot. Another great piece of art by Icy and Sot is "rebellion", showing Iranian women protesting against oppression. They really make you think!

But when is something considered art? That's of course a very difficult and complicated question. What many people nowadays might consider a simple grafitti or even vandalism, might be considered "real art" in twenty or hundred years from now. Who knows, one of these street artists might be considered the next Leonardo da Vinci!

For more information about the street art tour, please visit:

My previous articles about / including street art:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Catch of the Day... Red Hat

My Catch of the Day is a beautiful red hat, or actually... it's not just red, it's "bordeaux" with a black and white houndstooth embellishment. Perfect for Fall/Winter, don't you think?
My motto: new season, new hat!
The hat is handmade by Dutch brand Eudia.

For more information, please visit:

Or read one of my previous blogs about Eudia:

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Footprint, the tracks of shoes in fashion

Following the extremely succesful exhibition “Inspirations” by Dries Van Noten, another stunning expo opened last week at MoMu Antwerp. This time it’s not about fashionable clothes, but about shoes…. loads of shoes!

The exhibition, called FOOTPRINT, takes you on a journey through the history of shoes in fashion, showing all types of trends, as well as the masterpieces of the most important shoe designers of the 20th and 21st century.

However, it’s not an attempt to show the complete or chronological history of shoes, rather a display of “those fashion and shoe designers that used their skills and artistic vision to leave an imprint on the fashion image of their age”.¹

Many different themes and subthemes can be distinguished in the exhibition: Surrealism, Pop culture, Space age, Architecture, Baroque, Glamour, Fetish, Ballet, Ballroom dancing, Street dance, Hollywood, Mexico, Decadence, Nature, Folklore, Sabotage, Rebellion and Utopia. (The only subtheme I missed was Argentinian Tango shoes, but that’s probably because I’m such a big fan!)

Besides showing all these different themes, the curators want to guide you through the history of innovations in shoe design. One of the most innovative shoe designers was Salvatore Ferragamo, who actually held over 350 patents “some of which have been used and some of which are waiting to be used when the world becomes conscious of the beauty of the styles”.²

Dutch shoe designer Jan Jansen also invented many new shoe styles, but sadly enough he didn’t request any patents. As a result Jan Jansen filed a lawsuit against Prada in 2005, for copying his bamboo shoes created in 1973. Prada settled by the way. You’ll find Jansen’s original bamboo shoes in the Tribal section, in front of a very cool “Delftblue” tile composition. (How appropriate!)

The most (in)famous lawsuit in the shoe business, is without a doubt the one Christian Louboutin filed against Yves Saint Laurent for stealing his idea of using red soles. However, the Footprint exhibition in Antwerp shows that red soles are not an invention of Louboutin after all, or so it seems when you see the extremely decadent shoes by Parisian designer Hellstern… from the 1920’s! The predecessor of the current status symbol can be found in the Decadence section. I’m sure Louboutin lovers will be interested in seeing this piece of art!

Besides red soles, Footprint shows all kinds of heels: high, low, stillettos, slingbacks, wedges, platforms, heels made out of cork, in the form of a cone, comma, chunky, etcetera. Furthermore, there are clogs, functional work shoes, military boots, tribal shoes and… the most impractical shoes ever, only to be worn in the bedroom according to the curators!

Some of you might come to Footprint to see the works of specific shoe or fashion designers; well, you will not be disappointed, as almost every famous designer is present. To name just a few: Manolo Blahnik, Salvatore Ferragamo, Roger Vivier, Nicholas Kirkwood, Patrick Cox and André Perugia for Elsa Schiapparelli.

Being located in Antwerp, the exhibition includes of course many Flemmish designers, such as Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkenbergs, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck (all part of the famous “Antwerp Six”), AF Vandevorst and Maison Martin Margiela.

My favourite room in the exhibition is the one dedicated to Salvatore Ferragamo and to his famous customer Marilyn Monroe! To see Marilyn’s shoe last, next to Ferragamo’s sketches, the actual shoes and the movies in which she wore them (shown on various screens)… just took my breath away!

Younger shoelovers might be more intrigued by Lady Gaga and her favourite shoes from the last collection of Alexander McQueen, or the lasercuts shoes by Iris van Herpen, either way… Footprint holds something for every taste and age.

For more information please visit:

1. Source: Website MoMu.
2. Source: Shoemaker of Dreams. The Autobiography of Salvatore Ferragamo, London 1957, Italian edition 1971.

In the last photo you see the curators of the exhibition Geert Bruloot and Karen van Godtsenhoven, the scenographer Dodi Espinosa and museum director Kaat Debo.

Special thanks to Toerisme Vlaanderen (Tourist Office for Flanders) and MoMu.