On tea

Within this international drink is a microcosm of all the movements and ambitions and exchanges of mankind.

The secret life of hemp

What connects a cannabis plant with the French Revolution? The little Italian town of Carmagnola – where the manufacture of cannabis hemp became local myth and an international phenomenon.

Turin’s touch of the divine

Any trip to Turin would be incomplete without a visit to Palazzo Madama, a treasure trove of Renaissance art and mysterious relics.


London’s plaques are testament to its status as a city of exiles.

Resisting the saccage of Paris

Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s push to ‘green’ Paris is turning one of the world’s most beautiful cities into an urban wasteland.

Swedish leaders and a lesson in hubris

Sweden’s social democrats dominated politics for half a century. But continuous power bred arrogance, ideology and eventual economic stagnation.

When merit became myth

Although merit is an age-old idea, the West’s post-60s culture of narcissism reshaped it in novel ways, spurring the rise of smug meritocrats.

This woman’s work

Male-dominated music is no meritocracy. But look beyond chart rankings and sales, and the work of true artists endures.

Apology for a woman writing

Not all women in ancient Greece benefited from the advent of democracy – but exceptions like Aspasia are a source of inspiration today.

Angels among us

Rainer Maria Rilke’s masterpiece extends the dimensions of poetic discourse and offers a fresh view of humanity.

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