“When you’ve got no: chairs, tables, plates, knives, spoons, couches, rugs, drawers, mirrors, lamps, shower stalls, cupboards, hooks, pictures, cabinets, music, internet, phone … only one pair of shoes, six socks, two pairs of underpants (one for on, one for off) … simple pleasures crystallize into epiphanies. Santa Maria Novella toothpaste, from the outpost in San Marco with the boozy Auntie tottering through a nimbus of melograno. It’s twelve bucks, But unless you ice your toothbrush like a gâteau, lasts a month. Winnie and Dusty won’t use it; it’s all cloves and iris and brown like anchovy paste. So it’s mine, twice a day with a sneaky third to scare away the taste of coffee and fear. No lurid branding in fat fonts promising teeth like a Narnian winter (more likely to give you the graveyard smile of a Florentine nun). No plastic tubes the size of burritos. Two skinny ounces of pressed amalgam that might have pleased Caravaggio. It’s an effete pleasure, like a wristwatch or San Marzano tomato. But when you’re living the monk life, tiny oases of beauty become the beads of your rosary.â€

The incomparable and magnificent Julian Richards on his recent move to Venice, Italy from NYC and what it feels like to be in both a new country and a new (and thus nearly empty) home.