In Memoriam, Riccardo Bestetti

Riccardo Bestetti, a premier artisan and a legendary shoemaker passed away earlier this week due to a lung related ailment. He leaves behind a wife and a young son. I am deeply saddened by the news and this loss. As a patron of artisanal shoe making, one gets to know the artists and artisans quite well and as a result the sense of loss is felt deeper. The big companies have brands, but they lack the humanness that only a passionate artisan can bring. Continue reading “In Memoriam, Riccardo Bestetti”


On our drive back from Siena, we decided to take a scenic route through Tuscany’s famous vineyards, driving on what the English call the backroads. The dirt track snaked through little hamlets, olive groves, pocket vineyards and overgrowth. It curled up the hills and slithered down some, over a babbling brook and a dried river bed. SP 102 wasn’t the fastest way to travel, but it turned out to be the prettiest. Somehow, it managed to make a magical place even more magical.

As we were rolling along, just out of nowhere, but close to the town of Radda in the Chianti region, we came across an abandoned house made of stone. From the road you could just see this ruin, shyly peeking out of from beneath the thick brush and a covering forest that had been left to rampage. It made a wonderful sight — striking enough for us to stop, pull out our iPhones, and go snap, snap, snap.

Then, curiosity got the better of us. We climbed up the steep incline to the front door, draped by thick cobwebs that looked to be a decade old. Once free of these webs, we walked in, only to be surprised by the interior. Although from the outside the house looked old, it was quite modern inside.

A large earthen pot, a writing desk covered in an inch think dirt, a single chair with a pretty and colorful scarf. And steel stairs that led to the second floor, and an unfinished bathroom. On the top floor a broken sofa slumped on its side, stark against the crumbling roof. The abandoned house was dark, with reflected light from the outside as our only illumination. There was a door that opened into a backyard overrun with weeds and wildflowers. You could tell the forest was winning this battle of bits.

Soon it was time to go — the place gave me the creeps, and, frankly, I didn’t want to deal with bugs and chance of brushing up against poison ivy.

Now, nearly a year has passed and I still think about the villa. What happened there? Why did someone leave it unfinished? Did they run out of money? Did they run out of patience? Did something sinister happen there? It is rather strange that some place you can’t even find again on the map becomes part of your memory. That abandoned house, I guess, isn’t really abandoned.

The End of Summer

Nobody on the road Nobody on the beachI feel it in the air The summer’s out of reach — Boys of Summer, Don Henley This song, which is less about summer and more a metaphor about aging and the futility of time, will forever acts as a soundtrack for the end of sunny, bright and … Continue reading The End of Summer

Caffè Sospeso

After spending a long, hot day in Florence, I took a taxi back to the little village deep in the heart of Tuscany. During the long journey, I got into a conversation with our driver, Francesco, who was quite a wise man. A well read Florentine, he was articulate about the history of the region … Continue reading Caffè Sospeso

Write stuff

I stepped away from writing and the world for two weeks and here I am writing and writing — and not a word about technology or business — but writing. All sorts of random stuff that is just for my eyes only. I am writing so much that I have finished a notebook Matt Mullenweg … Continue reading Write stuff

The art of equilibrium – Salvatore Ferragamo

Florence is a city of museums and beautiful historical buildings. There is so much to see and so much to savor, but I had just the one place on my agenda  — the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo, a museum that celebrates the life and art of shoe maestro Salvatore Ferragamo.

There are many reasons why I have been fascinated with Ferragamo — both the man and the brand he created. One of the first people in the world to understand brand association with celebrities and stars, Ferragamo was a true pioneer, though you can’t tell that from the current devolution of the brand into a somewhat mass-market-Burberry-esque company. This is perhaps even more surprising because the business is still run by the Ferragamo family.

Continue reading “The art of equilibrium – Salvatore Ferragamo”