Urban Italy is my own per­sonal, highly sub­jec­tive, totally un-democratic website-cum-blog. After ten years of trav­el­ling off the beaten track around Italy, fol­low­ing my pas­sions for archi­tec­ture, foodmar­ket­ing and patho­log­i­cal mod­ernist fur­ni­ture–col­lect­ing, I have a whole her­itage of secret addresses and insider infor­ma­tion. Reg­u­larly updated. A sort of 2.0 ver­sion of my Mole­sk­ines, places to go to and things to do, the kind of stuff I wish some­one had shared with me ages ago.

I mean, there are thou­sands, tens of thou­sands of archin­auts and design junkies who couldn’t care less where the Hard Rock Café is. Peo­ple like me who are con­stantly on the look­out for inspi­ra­tion, be it in the form of cut­ting edge inte­ri­ors, the lat­est design dis­tricts, sec­ond hand Saari­nen fur­ni­ture at flea mar­kets or the best Droog design deals. And that’s not stuff that you’re going to find in a guide book off the shelf.

Italy is not just any boot. It’s a hand-crafted made-to-fit calf-skin boot with spe­cial trimmings.

Mikaela Ban­dini

I use my spare time on long-haul flights and in badly-decorated air­port lounges around the world to put this stuff down in e-ink. And I’ve made up a list of friends and friends-of-friends, a cast of archi­tects, design­ers, jour­nal­ists, and gen­er­ally creative-minded souls to work on the project, so read on and you’ll dis­cover where urban trav­ellers like us choose to go, eat, shop, sleep and just hang out in Italy.

From the hand­made trim­mings on top to the gen­uine leather sole down south.

So if you’re plan­ning a design shop­ping spree to fur­nish your new apart­ment at a frac­tion of the price, a tour tak­ing in mod­ernist mas­ter­pieces and con­tem­po­rary food design, or a hol­i­day to just chill out in one of the most breath­tak­ing set­tings in Europe, check out our behind-the-scenes ideas on Ital­ian lifestyle and design. Wher­ever you like to sleep, be it the lat­est, cutting-edge design hotel or the three-room bou­tique B&B run by an interior-designer friend of mine, Urban Italy shows you the way. 
Like the restau­rants, hotspots, events and peo­ple you’re going to get to know with us, they’re all selected to show­case the best of made-in-Italy.

Oh, and Urban Italy is obvi­ously i-friendly, with graph­ics and set­tings opti­mized for your i-phone and i-pad.

On my list of all-time Italian design favourites, the deck of Neapoli­tan cards is cer­tainly way up there in the top ten. With the retro colour scheme and For­nasetti style print on the rear, for me they remain one of the cult items in Ital­ian design, on my list some­where between the Bialetti espresso maker and Sottsass’s red Valen­tine type­writer. They are intrin­sic sym­bols of Ital­ian style that have been there ever since I can remem­ber, trav­el­ling around the coun­try as a kid with my par­ents. I decided on the Ace of Clubs for the logo: it’s vin­tage, decid­edly kitch and speaks Eng­lish with a thick Ital­ian accent. I just love the idea that my two cents’ worth can be the ace up your sleeve when trav­el­ling around Italy.

A huge thank you to Judith Edge for mak­ing sense of it all!