No matter when or where – in Bucharest or in vacation – you might meet Ovidiu, he’s always dressed to the nines, as if he would prepare for an important photo shoot. He writes on his blog, The Stories of O., a true source of inspiration for the stylish men. And not just for men – his travel articles are an inspiration for just about everybody. For us, well, he always comes up with the best vacation ideas.
Just this year, you were in Italy for about five times. Why five times in the same country?
For many years I fancied the more exotic destinations, telling myself that I have plenty of time to see Europe. I had visited Rome and Milan, OK, but last year I said to myself that I really had to go to Venice. Mostly for the Art Biennale, where Adrian Ghenie had an exhibition at the Romanian Pavilion, and then to discover all the beauties the city has to offer. Last summer’s vacation opened up my appetite for Italy, an Italy I craved for – let’s say, well, I ended up a few times here since then. It’s a gorgeous country!
Out of all the places you’ve seen in Italy, which did you enjoy the most?
I simply cannot pick a single spot. In the last year only, my soul was, purely, seduced by so many places, places I yearn to return to. The wild beach just north of Lido, Burano at sunset, Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the Gesetto restaurant in Bologna, any square in Cannaregio or Dorsoduro, Venice – or a Sunday afternoon, in Campo dei Miracoli, in Pisa, at night, when there are no more tourists. Or Riomaggiore after the storm.
Any plans before your vacations?
I admit, before, I did some detailed planning for every destination. But now, thanks to technology, it’s easier to get around and find information, even after you’ve reached your destination. Plus, most of the times, I’m asking the locals to guide me and show me the most beautiful places in their cities. I just stopped being a tourist who takes after the guidebooks. And I think this makes my vacations a lot more exciting and charming and, I hope, much more interesting for the readers of my blog, The Stories of O.
Which were the places you would recommend to your friends if they were to plan a trip to Italy?
I think that wherever you would wind up in Italy you’ve got something to see. It’s a country that offers so much, so it’s impossible not to find something you like; whether going in the elegant North of the peninsula, in a village in Tuscany, in the wild Sicily, or in Sardinia – the luxury yacht paradise. And Rome has many stories to tell and so many amazing places that you just can’t help falling in love with it.
…And the places you didn’t like?
I don’t remember a single place I didn’t like in Italy. Yes, OK, maybe, the train station of La Spezia, where I spent a lot of hours hoping that the Italian railway company will be able to send us with a train to Cinque Terre, as we were stuck due to the weather. You must know that not only in Romania we have delayed trains. The Italians have a huge problem complying with the schedules of the public means of transportation. It seems they had even outgrown us in this chapter, they are the most relaxed people I ever met. And it’s quite normal, it’s they who have invented the dolce far niente.
In what place in Italy you were most impressed by the people and why?
In Venice. More precisely on the beach of Lido, where, after an absolutely relaxed and gorgeous day, I noticed that my phone was stolen. It was the most unpleasant experience from Italy, especially since I got some great photos, now lost, along with the phone itself. I was so sad and told myself I would never again come to Venice, as my trip was, somehow, ruined. However, you’ll probably not believe it, but three weeks after my return home, I was contacted by someone who found my phone thrown on the beach somewhere and said that he wanted to return it to me. I was stunned and come to think of it, then, and even now, I never have imagined how lucky I was. I’m forever grateful to the one who found it and decided to made this nice gesture for a complete stranger. Especially as he did his best to send it to me via courier, although I was from another country.
What do you like to eat and drink in Italy?
Anything. Pizza, pasta, prosciutto, gelato, Prosecco, Peroni, Aperol Spritz. But the place where I hopelessly fell in love with pasta is in Bologna, the Gesetto restaurant, where I ate some home-made ravioli with radicchio, Taleggio cheese and nuts. Divine! Brilliant gelato I had in Venice, at Il Doge, and the best seafood I’ve ever tasted was in Sardinia at Il Ghiottone, in La Maddalena.
What did you buy from Italy?
Clothes. Olive oil. Prosecco. A gorgeous engraving at a gallery near the Peggy Guggenheim Museum, in Venice, where I stayed for about half a day talking with the owner, a very old lady. We talked about art, about the Venice of her youth and how tourism turned the city into a crowd of too much kitsch.
Tell us a story about a place you’ve never been able to forget from your Italian vacations.
The Pink Beach in Sardinia. It’s one of the most beautiful places that I’ve been in my life. Placed in a natural reserve, where few people have access, so everything is very wild. Simply wonderful! Moreover, the beach appeared in the first sequences of Antonioni’s movie, Red Desert, and made it famous all over the world.
You have been to Cinque Terre for your last photo shoot clothing collection, created together with Ioana Ciolacu. Why did you choose this place for the shooting?
I was extraordinarily thrilled when she said yes to my proposal to make together this capsule collection – especially as it includes outfits for girls, not just for guys. The idea of the “By The Sea” collection, which I created together with Ioana Ciolacu, had, actually, my vacations as a starting point. And as Cinque Terre was on my list of must-see places for the year, I discussed with Ioana and we decided to go there to photograph the collection. It was a day full of adventures, the weather didn’t really keep with us, but eventually we got some sensational photos, for which I must thank first Ioana, who has agreed to pose together with me, and, of course, to Serban Gheorghiu, my photographer. The collection is available at Molecule F Concept Store in Promenada Mall, but also online on IoanaCiolacu.com and Molecule-f.com.
What did you like the most about Cinque Terre?
The light. The colours of the houses. The sunset over the Ligurian Sea.
If you would pack tomorrow for Florence, what would you put in your luggage? But for Venice? And what about Cinque Terre?
I’d pick for sure some outfits from the By The Sea collection: the Monterosso T-shirt, Capri pants and the Riomaggiore shirt. For Florence I would also add a linen suit, for Venice, some pants in a pastel shade and a straw hat, and for Cinque Terre I would add a pair of shorts for the beach. Of course, I wouldn’t forget my sunglasses.