A Recollection of Sensations and Emotions Experienced During Our Stay in Pantelleria

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.

A Q&A with Claudia and Sofia, creators of Pantelleria & érato.

Pantelleria is an editorial and creative project made by érato (@eratomediterraneo).

A long friendship sealed by a shared passion for discovery and the continuous search for emotions and beauty spiced up by Mediterranean flavours. A repository of photos and ordinary journeys that have given life to extraordinary memories, which have then become thoughts, words, images to be shared.

Between a road trip through the hills of Val d’Orcia, a summer in the capital of Sicilian Baroque and an Apulian sunset in front of sea urchins and sparkling house wine, érato unconsciously came to life in our hearts.

Pantelleria is not a magazine, it is not a travel guide, it is not a photographic book. How would you define it?

Pantelleria is a guide written using our “poetic memory” or, in other words, the recollection of sensations and emotions experienced during our stay on the island. There is not an existing category of travel guides as such (or perhaps there wasn’t until Pantelleria was born). Its style detaches greatly the experience of reading “Pantelleria” from reading a “Lonely Planet” (for instance) based on irrefutable, objective facts.

Inside the book there are addresses and secret tips to draw the perfect itinerary, there are our fondest memories of a trip among friends that marked an unforgettable moment in our lives, and there is the poetry with which we lived those days and cultivated their echoes in the following days, months, years. We like the fluidity of it, we like the fact that it is full of incredible photographic work from young talents, but above all we like the idea that we have brought to life a style that may have always existed and was just waiting to have a name: it is presumptuous and yet very emotional.

Tell us a little about your background and érato, the project behind Pantelleria.

There is not much to say about the two of us: we are two friends who met in a dance studio, started traveling together and have continued over the years. We graduated together in Analytical Marketing and found our beloved current full-time office jobs; through it all, we never stopped taking flights and pressing the accelerator on the streets of Italy looking for hearing new stories and seeing new places, seeking out paths that were perhaps more uncomfortable but for that reason more exciting.

Having accumulated such a large and special baggage of experiences and memories was a privilege for us, and the desire to share it was the reason why we gave birth to èrato. Being born on Instagram, we wanted érato to take shape in paper and bone, so we thought about bringing a special destination, like Pantelleria, outside the digital world.

Where and when was Pantelleria born, what inspired you to start it and where has the journey taken you since?

The idea of writing about Pantelleria was born a few weeks after returning from the island, during the last days of summer. Like many things in our lives, we started it for pure personal pleasure: it came out naturally to jot down our thoughts, sentences and memories of what had struck us most about that magical place. With a few pages in our hands we felt the urgency of  “doing something more with it.” We started with the idea of a digital guidebook but then, as lovers of printed paper and coffee table books, we said “let’s do it” and the rest is (our) story.

Pantelleria or Pante as we call it, introduced us to Silvia Lomi and Sarah Bianchi, our amazing graphic designers, who curated the look and feel of Pante, it also introduced us to our wonderful contributors whose works we personally selected and, most of all, it brought us into the lives and homes of hundreds of people, who only know us through a phone or maybe don’t know us at all, but who read our words, trusted us and our tastes and that is truly amazing. We are happy to have taken them on our journey and to have been even minimally present in theirs.

What’s the philosophy behind Pantelleria and what makes it unique?

Pantelleria is the result of very different artistic styles. Each contributor (mostly photographers, but also illustrators and hotel owners) has enriched the book with his/her own vision of the island through images and tales. This “feature style” aspect has made Pantelleria the meeting place for all the island lovers. It is a work of generosity, talent and creative union; it is young, new and full of suggestions ranging from flavors to smells to music and literature… this island had never been told in these terms and in this innovation lies, perhaps, its uniqueness.

Who would you say the readership is and why do you think Pantelleria resonates with them?

Thanks to its fluidity of style, Pantelleria has succeeded and still succeeds in engaging various types of readers: it is the perfect read for those who are passionate about travel and have this obsidian island among their next desired destinations; for those who love photography, it is a container full of beautiful images that manage to bring out the beauty of this territory with a strong personal and affective imprint from the artist who immortalized them.

In an age where visual impact is as fundamental as word of mouth, the “review” made by someone you trust, but also the possession of an object that we don’t just use but like to go back and leaf through for pleasure, we like to think that Pantelleria will arrive in the homes of all travelers who want a new kind of guide: a guide that speaks to them as if it were a friend, that invites them to experience firsthand the suggestions they read about, that is an object not for consumption, but one to which they can become attached and where they can take refuge.

Can you give us a sneak peek of Pantelleria?

“Dicono che c’è un tempo per seminare e uno più lungo per aspettare, Io dico che c’era un tempo sognato che bisognava sognare”.

This Italian quote means “They say there is a time to sow and a longer time to wait, I say there was a time dreamed in which one must dream.”

It is the prelude to Pantelleria, the first soundtrack that inspired us to open the short story, all the things that sparked this sentence became these pages.

We live in a world where everything moves fast and people’s attention has dropped significantly. A printed publication forces us to slow down and enjoy the moment. What’s your take on it and how do you see the future of paper?

Learning to stop and enjoy moments is definitely one of the pillars that underlie érato and is closest to our hearts as Claudia and Sofia. We are used to always being in a hurry to handle many things, but we realize that it is only when we slow down that we let our emotions settle: taking time to browse instead of scrolling, to underline instead of screenshot, are gestures that we need to reacquaint ourselves with whenever we can, especially when planning a trip or when in front of works of art.

We are not in the industry and would not be able to say what the trends are in the publishing market. We believe, however, that as consumers we all need alternatives, we need to understand the value of things and where the beauty comes from. Thanks to èrato we happily realize every day that we are not the only ones with this way of thinking.

Name the best song or album or movie to go with Pantelleria.

According to us, the best partner to Pantelleria is Ben Ryè. It’s not a song, an album or a movie but it’s a wine, a passito to be specific. We really invite all of you to drink a glass of this amber liquid while floating with your minds among the pages to live one of the best experiences ever. It’s sweet and warm in the mouth and its spicy and exotic extra flavour describes perfectly all the shades of the Island.

Leave us with a motto that érato will always believe in.

“The end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the very first time.”

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