Just by uttering the word, “Italy” exudes of particular arts of living and good food. It also brings back memories from old movies in which characters have a way of talking loud, doing big gestures and calling one another on the street. Italy is a country that also conveys images of a warming sun over endless vineyards, from Lombardy and Tuscany's Chianti region to Sicily. For anyone who set foot in the boot, there is no way around these facts. We offer you to (re)discover Italy, this time without leaving Paris.
Lunch under Italian frescoes in the 8th arrondissement
Prepare yourself to be taken right back to Italy, just by glancing at Oliva's walls, covered with sketches of Renaissance frescoes, the most glorious details of which are being brought out by the use of empty frames.
Maria's restaurant menu changes on a daily basis to accommodate fresh shipments and new seasons. In the kitchen, chef Riccardo Venturini prepares colourful plates inspired by Northern Italy, and the fresh pasta is homemade. You'll go crazy over lobster cappelletti and classic ricotta-spinach tortelli with parmesan. If you want to discover new dishes, the breaded veal escalope is perfectly cooked. As for desserts, do not miss the famous coffee tirami su. The menu also offers a large selection of Italian wines – Chianti, Langhe or Prosecco – as well as the unmissable Spritz to whet your appetite.
16, rue des Saussaies
+33 (0)1 42 65 39 72
Italy within easy grasp at Rap grocery
At Rap's, Alessandra Pierini offers a large selection of wine, cheese, pasta and cold cuts, all imported straight from Italy and carefully lined up on the store's high shelves. With various kinds of olive oils from Tuscany or Puglia, traditional pastries like panettone and even risotto rice, you're likely to find most anything to cook Italian meals at home.
Alessandra Pierini also puts together cooking and baking lessons in the shop. A perfect opportunity to get acquainted with traditional skills. Finally, wine tastings are organised and allow you to discover Italian vintage bottles with great advice from local wine-grower coming for the occasion.
4, rue Fléchier
+ 33 (0)1 42 80 09 91
A feast for your eyes, in Italian galleries
Founded by Alessandro Pron, this exhibition area, which is only a stone's throw away from the Louvre, took on its name from the famous museum's Italian gallery. It sheds a light on Italian artists in a way that builds bridges between contemporary and ancient arts, as well as design. There, you'll admire the work of artists such as Pietro Ruffo, Anna Vivante, Alessandro Sciaraffa and Gino Marotta.
If you happen to love ancient paintings, then head over to the Canesso Gallery, founded in 1994 by Maurizio Canesso. Paintings from the Renaissance to the Baroque periods are exhibited, from Italian artists (or painters having spent time in the country) like Caroselli, Beinaschi, Travi and Faccini.
15, rue du Louvre
+33 (0)9 84 43 87 34
26, rue Laffitte
+33 (0)1 40 22 61 71
Italian literature in the heart of Paris
Are you keen on reading? If so, you'll find heaven at La Libreria. This small bookshop located on Faubourg-Poissonnière was opened in 2006 by Andrea de Ritis and Florence Raut. It offers hundreds of books over two floors, from Dante to Sciascia, either translated or in original Italian language. You'll also find international books translated in Italian (from Hemingway to Beigbeder or Austen). You are sure to find something to your liking at La Libreria. Note that you can also order books directly from Italy.
If you prefer images over words, the shop also has a film section, dedicated to both classics and new releases from Italy. Once a week, debates are organised with authors to discuss specific themes and enjoy the warm atmosphere that reigns at La Libreria a little longer into the night.
89, rue du Faubourg-Poissonnière
+33 (0)1 40 22 06 94
Coronelli globes, the big sky
The story has it that, after having seen two globes – terrestrial and celestial – at the Duke of Parma's, the Cardinal d'Estrées thought to offer some even bigger ones to the Sun King Louis XIV, in celebration of his glory.
They were ordered to Vincenzo Coronelli, who had built the first two globes, and delivered them in 1683. These 4-metre diameter spheres represent Earth and Heaven in a very impressive manner!
On the Earth globe, geographical maps are adorned with drawings and comments, detailing the specifics of faraway and not-yet known lands.
The celestial one identifies constellations, such as the Great Bear and Centaurus ones. They are complemented by beautifully illustrated animals.
Hall des Globes
Site François-Mitterrand de la Bibliothèque nationale de France
+33 (0)1 53 79 59 59