The Ladybug’s third stop of the virtual tour of Messina: the beach

The Ladybug Chronicles Bayside (7)

The third and last stop (for now) of my virtual tour of my hometown Messina couldn’t be another place than the beach. I couldn’t realize how lucky I was to live in a town with a beautiful beach and clean turquoise sea in the city, until I moved to Northern Italy to start University in a city without the sea.

After many years I keep looking for the sea everywhere I go and I still dream of moving to a city close to the sea, which is definitely not the city where I live now!

In Messina, in summer you can go to the beach whenever you have time: lunchtime if you work, at 5pm when you finish work, spend all day there or just a few hours to get a fabulous tan, to swim or any other beach activity that comes to your mind. In winter there is no place more peaceful than the sea, where I go every time that I feel lost and anxious.

This is exactly what I did on that warm day of December: finding my inner peace in front of MY sea, in a little fishermen’s beach not far from where I live (10 minutes by walk!).

The Ladybug Chronicles Bayside (1)

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The Ladybug Chronicles Bayside (2)

I wore my favorite vintage black leather skirt from New Retro Vintage in Bucharest (my favorite vintage find of that trip!) and a Benetton turtle neck mustard sweater (one of my favorite colors lately). Simple outfit but with three accessories that I adore:

         i.            The amazing Bayside 84 vintage leather backpack that I have been looking for ages until I found my perfect match at the airport before flying back home. The leather is the softest ever and I love that you can wear it as a bag or as a backpack (I always use it as a backpack because I was seriously looking for a cute one like this!).

       ii.            The snake-printed clogs from L’Autre Chose: these are the cutest wooden clogs ever with warm wool inside and they are uber comfortable. I loved them since the beginning but I could only afford them during a sample sale in Milan a few months ago! Now we are almost inseparable!

      iii.            The huge handmade brass earrings from Metalica Creazioni: I love everything crafted by the amazing Francesca but those were just fantastic! I truly adore them!

Well, my virtual tour of Messina is over for now but I promise more stops in town when I’ll be back (hopefully soon)!

Watch this space!

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The Ladybug’s second stop of the virtual tour of Messina

The Ladybug Chronicles Messina Lungomare (3)

My second stop of the tour of my hometown Messina couldn’t be anywhere else than here: near the sea.

The pictures were taken at the Messina Fair building, just a few steps from my beautiful turquoise sea; such a shame that you couldn’t see it clearly as it was a cloudy day again but this is one of the most loved places in town, the place where everybody goes for a walk especially at night in summer to enjoy the fresh air and the scent of the sea. Now you see it empty but this is one of the most crowded areas of Messina, also because from here you can enjoy a great view on the Straight, on the other side of Italy and on the famous Statue of Mary built and dedicated to the town after the 1908 earthquake that destroyed the city.

I was walking there with my sister and we decided to take some pictures there even if the weather was not great…but I wore my turquoise wool vintage skirt from Humana Vintage that perfectly matched the sea!

The Ladybug Chronicles Messina Lungomare (1)

The Ladybug Chronicles Messina Lungomare (4)

The Ladybug Chronicles Messina Lungomare (5)

I got this little gem for 5 euros a few months ago and I am totally in love with it! I wore with a simple black jumper (from Benetton) and my new white ankle boots from Miss Selfridge at Asos. I’ve been struggling against my will to buy white ankle boots because I have always hated white shoes but when I found the perfect pair for a bargain price I just couldn’t resist! What do you think of white shoes trend lately? I must confess that even if I hate white shoes in general there are a couple of nice pieces that I definitely like. If I have to be honest the first pair that I saw where a bit too expensive for a pair of white boots that’s why I gave up until I saw those online! I mean, white boots are cool but spending too much money on them was not in my plans!

I added a polka-dot handmade turban from Madame Ilary (it’s my sister’s turban but I just got it for the shooting!) and handmade lovely cactus earring from Monica Pria. I told the story of these earrings on my social networks lately because they were a present of one of my best friends for Christmas. She told me that cactus represents strength and resilience and that’s what she wished me for the upcoming year…such a lovely present! All the jewelry created by Monica has “a purpose” that’s why I love it so much; I also went to see her during one of her markets to meet her and talk to her about her work (and to get a beautiful gratitude ring that I showed on Instagram some time ago!).

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The Ladybug welcomes you to Messina!

The Ladybug Chronicles Ottod'Ame Messina (3)

Most of you following me for a while now know that I am living in Milan since 2012 but I am a proud Southern girl! I was born in Sicily, more precisely in Messina the first town that you meet when you cross the Straight coming from the “boot”.

Every time that I go home I take pictures there, so you may be used to the landscape and beauty of my hometown, but I decided this year to tell you a bit more about my city by taking pictures in the most famous and touristic places, as well as my favorite ones when I am there.

I started with a few places this past Christmas but I hope to show you more during my next visits!

If you are in Messina you must start from the most iconic place in town, also probably one of the most famous: the Cathedral. This beautiful church has a long and complicated history and it represents the real heart of my hometown, with its beautiful place and fountain, it is definitely our favorite place in town.

It is very famous because of its Tower Bell and Astronomical Clock, a very complex system with many allegorical meanings distributed on different levels, it is the only astronomical clock in Italy and the biggest and more complex in the world. Every day at 12 pm for 12 minutes you can admire the emotional (at least for me it is an emotion every time that I see it!) mechanism moving with the sound of the bells and finishing with the lion roar. The whole tower is full of symbols and I am always quite surprised when I realize that many tourists come to visit it and so few fellow citizens are aware of the complex meanings behind this gem.

The Ladybug Chronicles Ottod'Ame Messina (1)

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The Ladybug Chronicles Ottod'Ame Messina (4)

Anyway, as almost every time that I go home I couldn’t help spending  my 12 minutes there at 12 pm (I do that all the time!) and I took some pictures there to show you how it looks like, while also showing you a little outfit!

Although it was a cloudy day, the temperature was quite warm and I didn’t even need a coat with this amazing rust jumper with large sleeves from Ottod’Ame. I saw it in their shop in Florence during my last visit but I decided to wait for the Black Friday sale to get it, also because I was just buying the little round bag that I wear here as a belt bag! I love this tiny bag so much: it can be worn in three different ways (belt bag, hand bag or shoulder bag with its cute golden chain) and it is the most comfortable little bag ever! Perfect for nights out, concerts or wherever you need to bring only a few things without carrying your big bag…one of my best buys ever!

I am pairing my new Ottod’Ame set with a vintage black leather skirt from New Retro Vintage, a lovely vintage shop in Bucharest old town  where I found my perfect midi leather skirt during my last visit in October last year!

My black laced boots are from Ouigal and my handmade brass statement earrings are from Metalica Creazioni.

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The Ladybug and the rainy (but colored) island life


I don’t know what happened this year but since I arrived in Messina (my hometown in Sicily) mid-August, the weather started acting funny: not a single day with sunny weather but always cloudy and very changeable. One hour of rain, two hours of sun and so on for two whole 2 weeks.

We literally chased the sun but I couldn’t get more than two/three hours per day!

The problem is that when it rains and it is August the life on an island is pretty boring: I read a lot, worked on the blog (I made some changes, did you notice?) and on the online shop. I basically prepared my comeback to Milan and planned all the activities for September/October (not fun at all!).



One of these rainy days I was out and about with my sister (ok we went for a Sicilian “granita”!) we passed by this murals and she told me that it was perfect for a shooting as I looked like in the Caribbean! She was right, it was fun and so, here I am, in Sicily but looking like the Caribbean!

I wore my new orange wax skirt handmade by Heka Couture with an African print fabric that I bought in Senegal with my grey tee from Damsels in Distress and a pair of Clarks black gladiator sandals (one of the comfiest pair of shoes ever!).

Afro inspired earrings are from Mango while the Ghanaian mini bolga bag was a great find from Sankofa Beads and Baskets on Etsy.




The Ladybug is a storyteller: the legend of the giants Mata and Grifone

The Ladybug Chronicles Mata & Grifone (1)

A few weeks ago, while walking down the streets of Messina I stopped by the two big statues of the giants Mata and Grifone riding their horses.

The two huge statues are exposed in the central square of Messina (Piazza Unione Europea) in front of the City Hall a couple of weeks a year, usually after mid-August (after parading for a couple of days) until the end of the month, to allow tourists and citizens to take pictures of them and to celebrate the legendary founders of the city.

I have always loved their legend since I was a child because it was the celebration of an interracial and interreligious couple! They still represent to my eyes the symbol of an open town, open to migrants, strangers and whoever approaches our sea. Unfortunately this is not how the things are going lately in my town and in my country in general, that’s why I wanted to remember this story and to tell it to the world: to remind that we all come from “mixed” ancestors, we have no idea of what type of blood runs into our veins, and we should be proud of it.

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The legend says indeed that people from Messina come from this mixed couple: her name was Marta, she was from Camaro, one of the area of the city, beautiful and tall girl, daughter of a local landlord falling in love with a dark skin big pirate during the Saracen invasions of Sicily around 970 AD. The pirate was called Hassas Ibn-Hammar but he had to change his name and religion (he was of course Muslim) to marry Marta. His name then became Grifo (exaggerated to Grifone due to his size) while her name was changed in dialect to Mata. They founded then Messina by populating it with a lot of descendants!

This post and pictures are my tribute to them, to my legendary ancestors representing peace and connection between different cultures, races and religions. This is how proud I am to be from Messina.

For my yearly tribute I wore a vintage floral shirt from Humana Vintage Milano, Topshop denim shorts and Japanese white flats. Ghanaian bolga bag is from Sankofa Beads and Baskets on Etsy, while round sunglasses are from Valentino.

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The Ladybug plays matchy matchy in Sicily

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The “Giardino Corallo” is one of the historical places in town with a long and complicated story: music, theatre, cinema, artistic center, it represents a bit of my hometown history and I really wanted to take some pictures outside this place because I like the “vintage” feeling.

I didn’t know that just around the corner a piece of street art was also waiting to be photographed!

The Ladybug Chronicles Sicily Coordinated (1)

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It was one of hottest winter days of my Sicilian holiday (I didn’t need to wear a coat) and I wore a beautiful handmade coordinated culottes and turban by Heka Couture with a simple turtleneck Zara jumper.

Pointy ankle boots are from Francesco Milano at Merry Go Round in Milan, silver loop earrings are vintage and my new red lipstick is from Wycon Cosmetics!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Sicily Coordinated (3)

The Ladybug’s hardest “goodbye” to Sicily

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Of all the street art in my hometown (Messina in Sicily) this is definitely my second favorite. For this reason I wanted to take some pictures here before leaving Sicily after my winter holidays.

Every time that I go home there is this hardest moment, when I have to say goodbye, knowing that I won’t be back for many months. Even if I try to smile and be happy there’s clear melancholy in my eyes and when I am writing this post I can catch that feeling perfectly. The good news is that now it’s less time compared to January!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Zara maxipull (1)

For my last Sicilian day of winter I wore a Zara maxi sweater (that I bought at the airport in Milan before leaving…since they opened a Zara store there I can’t help buying something before leaving!) with my new AMAZING Levi’s grey denim jeans. I am in love with this high-waist denim, the color and the shape. It looks like a vintage one but I bought it a few weekend before Christmas in Milan and I wear it all the time! One of the greatest buy of 2017!

Pointy black ankle boots are from Francesco Milano at merry Go Round in Milan and sparkling electric blue and golden headband is from Madame Ilary. Golden loop earrings are from Mango.

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The Ladybug and the fierce Messinese poetess

The Ladybug Chronicles Poetessa Messinese (1)

This is for sure my favorite photoshoot ever.

I love it because it represents me so much and all the things that I love and that make me are there.

First of all it was taken in my hometown, Messina, at a tram stop celebrating with a graffiti a Messinese poetess, Maria Costa just in front of the fairground where I used to go when I was a kid. My roots are there.

Then my big passions: vintage, turbans, earrings and Africa.

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When I saw this vintage dress on Instagram with beautiful tribal prints I had to have it, no matter what. It was sold by a beautiful vintage boutique in Australia, Dear Pearl Vintage. We got in contact via email and I bought this dress: when it arrived I was so happy and immediately fell in love with it, definitely one of the vintage dresses that I love the most in my closet!

I wore it with a special turban handmade by Madame Ilary especially for me and that she offered as a birthday gift…I am currently looking for a new basket to put all my turbans as I am totally addicted and I really cannot count how many I have! Honestly I don’t have space for them but I keep buying them!

I added a pair of my favorite vintage earrings: it is a vintage find from a vintage fair in Italy. I can’t remember the name of the seller but when I saw them I was over excited as I had been looking for 80s vintage earrings like these for ages!

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The Ladybug Chronicles Poetessa Messinese (4)

Africa is not only on my dress but also on my body: my tattoo always reminds me of this place where my heart belongs to.

I am also wearing two of my favorite pieces: a Moroccan round straw bag handmade by Maluan Maroquinerie (Etsy find) and my beloved Swedish Hasbeens sandals bought in London a few years ago.

And then the colours, my smile, the summer, Sicily….everything in this shoot says something about me!

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The Ladybug May Not Be L.L. Cool J, But She Still Rocks Da Bells…


As I wrote in my recent post about Sicily, every time I go back home I feel a bit like a tourist and love hanging around to reveal old memories or just discover something new.

On one of those days, I decided to take KNAGUI to one of the prides of my hometown, Messina: the old bell tower of the Cathedral. It’s one of the most ancient in Europe and it seems that its beautiful functioning is one of the most complex in history.



After watching (and filming!) it at high noon, we decided to take some pictures in the beautiful warm Sicilian weather. I’m wearing a vintage coat from the Salvation Army in NYC, a Saint James striped marine top and Met jeans.TLC_6225

I know I should change shoes, but I’m too in love with these Rag & Bone booties! I’m also wearing a vintage ’70s bag from Cavalli & Nastri and my new Kiko red lipstick!

[Photo Credit: KNAGUI]


The Ladybug meets Lilli Pispisa

A few days before starting my blog, although I’ve had it in mind for years!, I was hanging around in Messina (my hometown) with a friend and we were sipping a cold beer. I was telling her about my ideas and my plans for the blog when she suddenly says: “Come with me, I have the perfect place for you. You’ll meet an incredible girl!”
The place she was talking about is Maison Studio, via Garibaldi 95, Messina, a lovely shop with a vintage flare – opened not even a year earlier. Inside is where I met Lilli, the owner, a tiny girl, with big curly hair and sparkling eyes.
Lilli tells me her story or more accurately, her adventure through her studies at the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome, her odd jobs in Bologna but also her encompassing passion for vintage and for tailoring. Her passions can be clearly seen in her shop, where every piece is unique, hand made by Lilli and where amazing vintage objects (found in many different Italian small fairs) can be seen all around.
Lilli is overwhelming with her radiant character and with her mountain of projects and ideas….she shows me her internet site ( and we immediately find a lot of things in common. Fortunately, I had my Nikon in my bag and I had fun taking some pictures in her adorable shop!

TLC: Lilli, how did you have the brave idea of opening this kind of shop in Messina?

Lilli: I started studying fashion by chance whit a one-year training course as a designer, near Palermo. From there I decided to continue on this great experience. I attended the Academy of Costume and Fashion in Rome for four years. My degree required that I produce a fashion show and with that experience, I started working in Bologna, then Rome again. All during this time, I worked as a free-lance designer for a company in Milan.
After many years and a good amount of experience, I felt the need to express my own style without any external constriction. This need became more and more concrete every day, but the only thing that was clear in my mind was the place where I wanted to give space to my little art laboratory. I also thought, already in Rome there are many shops/ateliers, so I decided to bring some novelty and brighten up my hometown!

TLC: Where do you get inspiration for your creations?

Lilli: Inspiration is a strong emotional moment…it can happen when I travel, when I observe interesting people in town or more paradoxically while I stare at a blank page during a sleepless night! Often the right music helps me when I am in an emotional state of mind. There are no rules, it happens without giving notice!

TLC: What is vintage for you?

Lilli: Vintage is History! I am fascinated by its charm, perfume and poetry. It’s like watching a black and white movie and managing to distinguish all the shades of color. Vintage give us the chance to recycle and take from the past- adapting it to our very personal concept of the present.

TLC: In your showroom there are a lot of vintage accessories and pieces, where do you find them?

Lilli: Well, everywhere! Antiques and vintage fairs in Sicily or anywhere else. Sometimes, when I’m lucky, I manage to find some little shops from the ’50s/’60s that are going to close: one day I dangerously and shamelessly climbed to a dusty shelf just to find some old pieces…isn’t that what we call, “passion”?