Acqua di Parma is celebrating its centenary with an original and invaluable publication: “Essere Parma”, a unique work published in collaboration with Mondadori Electa. The brand is dedicating this prestigious double publication to Parma, the city of its birth, and to its incalculable wealth of art, culture and elegance.
This ambitious publishing initiative consists of two volumes encased in a beautiful sleeve which, together, offer new captivating insights into this fascinating city and its most secret aspects. A book of photographs by Giovanni Gastel and a novel by Antonella Boralevi, two Italian artists with extraordinary sensibilities who, each from their own perspective yet in synergy with one another, reveal the true soul of Parma and its protagonists. Two volumes that reflect one another’s themes, tracing surprising routes through the city’s past and present.

Together, the photographs taken by Giovanni Gastel and the novel written by Antonella Boralevi constitute a highly original work and form the backdrop for a unique open air display under the porticoes of the Palazzo del Comune (the city’s Town Hall), in the enchanting Portici del Grano, from 26 May until the end of June.
“Essere Parma” is a new, prestigious episode in the publishing ventures of Acqua di Parma who, since 2007, has published the elegant volumes “Essenza di Parma”, “Il Giardino Nobile” and “La nobiltà del Fare”. Each of these offers a new perspective on Italian savoir-vivre and on the values of craftsmanship, nobility and beauty that the brand, in one hundred years of history, continues to nurture and disseminate.
The new publication provides important confirmation of Acqua di Parma’s commitment in its role as patron of Italy’s incalculable artistic and cultural heritage.



The acclaimed international photographer Giovanni Gastel has taken a series of shots that play on the idea of dualism. Characters, architecture, works of art: examples of excellence past and present displayed alongside one another at will. A visual journey in which analogies between great tradition and dynamic modernity come to light. Images that invite us to guess at the common themes and shared values underpinning the different eras.



Antonella Boralevi, eclectic, learned writer, a lover of words and their power to open new doors and meanings, winds the plot of her novel, written specially for this occasion, through the city of Parma, offering tantalizing glimpses of its architecture and ambience. Here is a book that vibrates with emotions, conveying to the reader the light and peacefulness of the city and of those who understand the ways to experience it and love it.
Gastel is one of the most internationally famous names in Italian photography. For better than two decades he has collaborated with the major publications in the world of fashion and played a leading role in advertising. He lives and works in Milan and Paris, when not called elsewhere by professional duties. He mainly worked with large format Polaroid and 20x25 optical bench.
Devoted to experimentation, he has introduced the “old mix” technique, those involving hybrids, pictorial re-e- laboration and the ironic still life to contemporary fashion photography. Gastel’s formal investigation now utilises digital technology,just as it is natural for someone who nurtures experimentation and pictorial re-elaboration.As heir to the aristocratic, sophisticated style characteristic of the old Milan noblesse (he is a nephew of Luchino Visconti), his style reflects culture, elegance and charm. At times rarefied, oneiric and symbolic, at others surreal and debunking, his images attest to an unceasing creative journey; viewed in retrospect, his work mirrors the evolution in customs of the past twenty-five years.
His artistic consecration took place in 1997, when the Triennale di Milano dedicated to him a solo exhibition entitled La fotografia velata (Veiled photography), curated by the contemporary art historian Germano Celant. While working on important advertising campaigns and literally hundreds of editorial services, the author pur- sues a personal quest in the field of art photography. The last exhibition,Giovanni Gastel.Masks and Gosths,ho- sted at Palazzo della Ragione di Milano on September 2009 and curated by Germano Celant, represents Gastel’s current research:forty images,forty shots,forty never-before-seen female figures in wich the photographer’s lens documents the ephemeral and abyssal aspect of beauty, the effects of time that passes, in a constant intermingling of attraction and repulsion, elegance and decadence.
His major publications: Gastel per Donna (Edimoda, Milan, 1991), I gioielli della Fantasia (Edizioni Idea Books, Milan, 1991), the Gastel catalogue ( Edizioni Idea Books, Milan, 1997) on the occasion of his a solo exhibition at the Triennale di Milano and Giovanni Gastel. Masks and Ghosts ( Skira Editore, Milan, 2009) edited by Germano Celant, Piero Lissoni Recent Architecture (Hatje Canz 2010), Cose Viste (Silvana Editore 2011) on the occasion of his a solo exhibition at the Galleria Giangaleazzo Visconti in Milan , Poltrona Frau, L’intelligenza delle mani (Rizzoli Editore 2012), Look Beyond (Skira 2013) and La nobiltà del Fare (Electa 2013).
On September 2015 Mondadori published his autobiography: Un Eterno Istante.
Passionate about words and their power to open things up, to act as a way to access feelings and the human soul, Antonella Boralevi is a versatile and highly-educated woman, who loves to see the world as a great story. She graduated in language philosophy and developed an outstanding career as a researcher with Accademia della Crusca and the Normale University in Pisa.
In addition to writing novels, essays, and screenplays, Antonella Boralevi is a journalist and author of issues in the main national publications, a blogger and an anchor woman on radio and TV, an opinion leader on society and cultural issues in the most successful TV shows and publications; she has also created formats and cultural TV and radio shows.
But Antonella Boralevi is first and foremost the author of novels, essays and stories.What she wants and enjoys doing is telling stories.
She has so far published 15 books, including the best-sellers “Prima che il vento”, “Il lato luminoso”, “Una vita in più” and “I baci di una notte”. Her latest novel, published by Bompiani, is “Gli uomini e l’amore”.
Passionate about words,Antonella Boralevi is also passionate about art and beauty, as she thinks that the works that make up the priceless Italian cultural artistic heritage can tell wonderful stories. Her commitment towards culture is expressed through high-prestige assignments on an institutional level. Since 2013 she has been a special advisor to the president of ICE (the Agency for promotion of foreign trade).
She was an ambassador for the EXPO (2014-2015) and an advisor to the Undersecretary of State in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet (2012-2013) for the Information and Communication Department. She was appointed diplo- matic advisor for Communication of Italy’s Culture and Image (2010-2012) with the task of ensuring coordina- tion between the Embassy, the Italian Cultural Institute and the General Consulate for the purpose of cultural promotion of Italy in France.