Bellissimo, a tourist user guide is dedicated to glorifying the understated. It looks for style and character in places that are often ignored, exploring the beach of Rome in Ostia in its first issue; a place no one but a Roman would choose to go on holiday. With a distinctively fun and refreshing tone of voice, the brainchild of Paolo Zerbini and Ivan Ruberto takes us on a tour of places that are not commonly known; but unique nonetheless.
Guest art directed by Li von Euler, the London-based photographers embarked on this annual project as a way to explore a specific destination and its inhabitants. The publication immerses the reader into lesser-known communities namely through highly stylised documentary photography, a wholly unself-conscious design, witty articles, not to mention the insight of a local guest expert who offers up their knowledge of the area in great detail.
But without further ado, here’s Bellissimo to tell us more about this sunny debut publication.
It’s Nice That: How did the idea for Bellissimo come about?
Bellissimo: Hi and thank you for your interest in Bellissimo. That’s nice of you. See what we did there? A classic Bellissimo dad’s joke. If you don’t mind Bellissimo itself will answer these questions as all our operators are busy at the moment.
Bellissimo is a thing of its own, an entity not an enterprise, a collision not a fusion, generally a chemical reaction that grows hair. The idea for Bellissimo came during a stormy night, no one really remembers it, but the lives of many have not been the same since. Both its creators are now unbearably famous and totally broke.
INT: How did you two come to work on the project together?
Bellissimo: The magazine comes from an urge, an uncontrollable desire to publish work that has unexpected yet beautiful realities at its core. It wants to explore accessible and underestimated situations away from the glam and the power to influence. It’s fun and doesn’t want to be cool.
INT: What was the best bit about putting together this new publication?
Bellissimo: We are an expedition, an adventure and most importantly it’s not a magazine. Its creators, Paolo and Ivan, venture into the deep of apparently tedious places to extract pure and spontaneous human emotions from it. The project, sums up all of the encounters, the places and ideas that have surfaced from this process and logs them into a book.
Volume One looks like a cheap beach magazine with crosswords and horoscopes. Shooting and writing all of the above was surely the best bit with no exceptions. The worst bit was probably getting the bill from the printer. Bellissimo looks cheap from the outside but is juicy and accurately executed in the inside. It’s run by total maniacs by the way.
INT: Please can you tell us about the creative process for putting together Bellissimo?
Bellissimo: Campari spritzers played a very strong part in its creation (please drink responsibly) and not a single picture was taken while sober. As this is totally inaccurate, it also can be trusted as the truth. Did you know that two opposite statements can be true at the same time thanks to new achievements in quantum physics? Let’s break this down.
The parents of Bellissimo, Ivan and Paolo, would start with a seemingly harmless aperitivo while they discuss marginal details about the project, these are called Pre Production Meetings. They would discuss which of the Kardashians will be on the next cover or if to print Bellissimo on actual paper or on biodegradable lemon peel, that’s just an example. Then the conversations start to get meaty: how to guide our readers through a place that they will never visit and pour our hearts into making them understand that “a place really doesn’t have to be amazing for someone to have a good time?”
INT: Where can we buy it?
Bellissimo: Bellissimo will be available in all the best pet stores and DIY suppliers across the country, gardening centres and local drug stores. Also, you can buy your copy simply emailing firstname.lastname@example.org — Enjoy!
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor. Feel free to drop Jyni a note if you have an exciting story for the site.