La Scarzuola, P&T Knitwear, Ditching Books, Naturalist Notebooks & More: Endnotes 26 April

La Scarzuola, P&T Knitwear, Ditching Books, Naturalist Notebooks & More: Endnotes 26 April

Friday, 26 April, 2024

Every Friday, we celebrate the weekend — and all the reading and relaxing and daydreaming time ahead — with Melissa's favorite book- and travel-related links of the week. Why work when you can read fun stuff?!

This post is part of our Endnotes series.


The combination of garden and art installation above is found in Montegabbione, Italy. It’s La Scarzuola — the Ideal City — designed by Italian architect and designer Tommaso Buzzi. This ‘autobiography in stone’ is a mashup of surrealist, Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance architecture — including grottos, reflecting pools, stairways, and replicas of famous landmarks like the Parthenon, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Temple of Vesta. The original Franciscan monastery was purchased by Buzzi in 1956; he took up residence and built his ‘elusive, surreal, fairytale vision’ between 1958 and 1978. La Scarzuola is a private home, but it is possible to book a tour. Here’s an excellent essay with beautiful photos; there are fantastic pics on Instagram, too — and a video tour. An ad for the fragrance Gucci Bloom was also shot in this ‘garden of dreams.’

  • This interview with the founder of the P&T Knitwear bookshop made me feel good humans. ‘I was born in this country, safe, to a stable family that cared about education, all of the kind of typical Jewish story. Whatever I’ve done is nothing compared to the stories … about my grandfather surviving POW camps and things like that. And so I wanted to kind of honor that legacy. This felt kind of like a cool way to do it.’

  • News you can use: Where to Start With Patricia Highsmith. ‘You can’t go wrong by starting at the beginning. The setup to Highsmith’s first published novel, Strangers on a Train, is well known but irresistible…’

  • I cannot bring myself to throw a book in recycling or a trash bin, even though The Walrus tries to make the case that it’s OK to throw away a book. ‘At the end of the day, a book is just paper and ink and glue. Its soul is something else entirely, less tangible but more enduring than an object on a shelf.’

  • Desperate Literature in Madrid is a special little bookshop.

  • Explore treasures of the world, animals, outdoor adventures, and more with the best travel TV series to watch right now.

  • A 10-day meditation in New York’s Washington Square Park! Groovy and very cool. ‘Jemila MacEwan silently nurtures a seed in the palm of their hand amidst the hustle and bustle of the iconic public park.’

  • An explainer for how the English language took over the world. ‘It is an official language of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Criminal Court, and NATO. Yet just as in Europe, English divides the world population in complex ways and creates cultural strains across the globe.’

  • I recently saw a postcard illustrated by artist Sandra Rummler in Berlin, and I can’t stop thinking about her charming cityscapes.

New Episode of The Library of Lost Time

In each mini-podcast episode, we discuss two books at the top of our TBR, then share a fun book- or travel-related distraction. Get all the episodes and books galore here.

In this episode, we get excited about two books: Shakespeare: The Man Who Pays the Rent by Judi Dench & Brendan O’Hea and The Demon of Unrest: A Saga of Hubris, Heartbreak, and Heroism at the Dawn of the Civil War by Erik Larson. Then Dave recommends a website to find new-to-you music. [transcript]

I have unclasp’d to thee the book even of my secret soul. — Twelfth Night, William Shakespeare

Top image courtesy of DinoPh/Shutterstock.

Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!

keep reading

Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got legendary cookbook editor Judith Jones, a must-read graphic memoir, Detroit's new cultural center, shoes on planes, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got 100 years of A Passage to India, an 80-year-long reading journal, colorful bakery wrappers, Prague defenestration, and more.
Every Friday, we share our favorite book- and travel-related links. This week, we've got 7 places like the Grand Budapest Hotel, the number of bubbles in champagne, a Palestinian poem, a new Brontë play, and more.

sharing is caring!

Can you help us? If you like this article, share it your friends!

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.