Magazine-world veterans Luigi Tadini and Nicky Balestrieri founded Brooklyn-based creative agency The Gathery after meeting at Paper magazine; since, they have been helping the world’s biggest brands tell their stories. Here, the globe-traversing pair, who say they live for the “experience”, tell us where to find the very best, from a beach like no other to the ultimate Italian road trip.

How did you fulfill your wanderlust while in lockdown?

Nicky Balestrieri: A little less than a year before lockdown, I bought my first home and built a library to house all the art books I have collected over the years. Travel has been a source of inspiration for as long as I have been practicing my craft, and the books are mostly resource material from previous projects. Each day during lockdown, I visited a book for an hour. It was like a mini vacation and a trip down memory lane all in one.

Where is next on your bucket list once we can all travel more freely?

NB: Luigi and I had ambitions to go to Japan at the end of the year. I’m fascinated with the otherworldliness of it all and often seek inspiration from their public art, product design and of course, unique sense of style. It seems only appropriate that I will make that journey to another world once we figure out how to right the one we currently live in.

What hotel are you looking forward to returning to, and what makes it special?

Luigi Tadini: I tend to like small hotels, particularly those still tended by the original owners. Two recent hotels which I absolutely loved were Santa Clara 1728 in the Alfama neighborhood in Lisbon and Le Grotte della Civita, a hotel completely carved into the caves of the hillside town of Matera, Italy. These couldn’t be more different, but both have very distinct propositions and impeccable service.

NB: I rarely stay at the same hotel because staying in hotels is always market research for our work at The Gathery!

Describe the best meal you’ve had on holiday...

LT: The simplicity and deliciousness of the cucina povera in Puglia is perhaps my favorite cuisine style. [It’s] super simple food relying on just a handful of local ingredients in true Italian tradition. Olive oil, some protein, fresh pasta and tomatoes e basta.

NB: In Marrakech, I went to a place called Al Fassia, which is one of the few exclusively women-owned businesses in the city. The cuisine is pitch-perfect traditional. During lockdown I made one meal a week with my ‘quaranteam”. The best was a Moroccan meal inspired by Al Fassia of chicken tagine with apricots, carrot hummus, and cauliflower couscous.

What’s your favourite beach in the world?

NB: Herring Cove [in Provincetown], which requires you to take a 20-minute meditative walk through a sandy marshland to reach a perfectly pristine and unattended beach at the literal end of America. And the people-watching is a show so good I feel guilty not paying admission.

LT: Herring Cove too, and the deserted beaches in the Rovinj archipelago in Croatia…

What’s in your beach bag?

NB: My beach bag is a Linus wax tote which clips conveniently to the rear of my bike. I have a precise list of contents for the perfect beach day: one-litre Corksicle canteen filled with a dry French rosé, a completely frozen litre bottle of water – it melts through the course of the day without having to bring a cooler – a beach sandwich – I like the Vermonter from Gale Force in P-Town – a book which I rarely get to reading, a Jambox to hook up to my phone to play bossa nova or jazz, one plush towel for laying down, and Lancaster sunscreen. Lately I’ve added a large hat as my years have progressed and this face ought not!

Was there ever a time when the journey was actually better than the destination?

LT: The destination is always the main star but driving down Italy from Lazio to Puglia through Amalfi is always quite a sight. A must-have is a well curated playlist – no matter what. Sometimes getting lost and exploring uncharted routes lead you to unexpected little gems along the way.

What’s your go-to flying outfit?

LT: Something cosy and layered. Airplanes are always freezing, so a cashmere hoodie comes in handy.

NB: I always travel with my Acne Studios white sneakers which are a must wherever I go. When you have big feet, packing multiple pairs of shoes is a waste of space so it’s usually just those and some espadrilles in summer, or boots in winter.

Who is your favourite travel companion and why?

NB: Luigi. He travels like I do – which makes sense; he’s my creative partner. We always do ‘market edits’ wherever we go, making a list of interesting and new things to seek inspiration from. Cool bistros, independent hotels, art galleries, museums and local boutiques are often sources for us – not to mention drinking through them together is always fun.

LT: Nicky! My best friend and business partner. We say we operate under the same ‘beach speed’ which makes for very long afternoons lounging under the sun with a chilled bottle or two of rosé!

Luigi & Nicky's List


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