I dial 1399, but the doorway doesn’t open. I try again, pushing the buttons with more energy. Here it is, green light, the old doorway gets open and now it’s only a matter of strength, because it’s terribly heavy.

Moyka river

No, this is not the beginning of a science fiction movie (Brazil! Have you ever seen it?), I’m just trying to describe how one can enter the hotel residence in St. Petersburg. This rummy combination between technology and nineteenth- century architecture proposes itself once again when we arrive to the third floor.

Near the entrance door ( this one so heavy as the other, of course), a small cylindrical hole invites you to insert a discoid magnetic key. Now a red light: the door is open but nothing helps you to understand it, not even an unobtrusive “click”. Several attempts are needed before we get it: you just have to push energetically and you’ll find yourself into the hall/kitchen/ corridor of the hotel. I left out talking about the lift, because it alone would deserve a few dozen pages.

As at every Pipe Show, I met some new interesting people and among them Sébastien Beaud, a distinct indefatigable French young man who, after having worked for Genod and having learned the art of making pipes from the Saint Claude Masters, decided to take the Genod company in 2006. His museum-workshop provides tours guided by himself. Among other  things, he is a perfect dancer.


I listened with pleasure to Massimiliano Rimmesi’s story, the founder of Duca Pipe, a man who built a by now consolidated handicraft reality.

I appreciated Anne Julie’s kindness while accepting my business card, to know at least with whom she had been sharing breakfast for three days.

Annie e Mimmo

Ah! Take my advice: if Tao decides to greet you shaking hands, take extra care. He almost broke a phalanx of my right little finger. One wonders how he can measure the power in his hands to make such graceful pipes.

I had some meals with Mr. Hiroshi Mitsui, that eccentric Japanese gentleman  tirelessly taking the Tsuge across the world. A pleasant company Mr. Hiroshi; we talked about this and that in our improbable English managing to understand each other in some way.

A pranzo

I hugged once again with great pleasure my “old” Italian friends Gabriele Dal Fiume, Claudio Albieri and Tommaso Ascorti. Together with my Venerable Master Mimmo Romeo we became all devoted customers of the “Biblioteka”, comfortable and eclectic local on Nevskij Prospect, where we spent really good evenings, sometimes also with Mr. Hiroshi. Vodka, Borsch and hot sandwiches brightened our conversation on the world of pipes and its various difficulties.

A cena 2


Sauro Gabriele Romeo

Well, St. Petersburg was the occasion to meet dear friends, snoop into the Russian world of pipes, meet other pipe makers and breathe the air in Pushkin, Dostoevsky and Nabokov’s town – without forgetting Gogol who wrote a collection of short stories on it.

And the Pipe Show? Organizers really made their best.

Its greatest limit has been failing in what a real international fair must be: an open square for all pipe lovers and a meeting opportunity for craftsmen, collectors and dealers from all over the world.

For more pictures click here.

For video clips click here. here and here.