NUOK Zone: preliminary remarks

Between September 2016 and September 2017 I was lucky enough to contribute regular articles to Nuok.

Yes, ‘But what’s Nuok?’ sounds like a legitimate question to ask. Well, initially Nuok was the personal blog Italian digital strategist Alice Avallone started after she moved to New York in 2009. She wanted to share ‘her own’ New York with Italian readers in a fresh, spontaneous fashion, hence the blog name: ‘Nuok’ is an approximation of how a child pronounces ‘New York’ when s/he learns to talk.

(Also, Alice had lost her own New York paper travel guide through a hole in her suitcase, so she thought at that point she could write her own New York guide herself.)

Within a few months, Nuok grew into an actual online magazine, where Italian urban reporters (aptly renamed ‘Nuokers’) wrote extensively about the city where they lived (i.e. not necessarily their home-city and not necessarily located in Italy).

An international network gradually came to life, which uniquely connected young Italians scattered all over the globe, while also offering privileged insights into the urban landscape of up to a hundred cities in the world.

Nuokers regularly contributed articles about nine common categories:
Urban Safari, ‘urban walks’ with three stops in mind
Coolture, aka anything and everything connected with art and culture
Let’s Eat, i.e. recommended restaurants for lunch and/or dinner
Coffee Time, ideal places for breakfast or an afternoon break
By Night, i.e. where to go at night (pubs, bars, or cool city areas in general)
Go Green, about parks and nature-related spots
Wish Bag, focused on cool markets and shops
Sleep Tight, about recommended ho(s)tels and the like
Kid Zone, or where to go with kids.

There were also the Day Trip and the All Around sections, respectively about, well, day trips and special reportages.

Nuok logo

Nuok quickly grew popular and successful, and its innovative capacity won it the UN World Summit Youth Award and the very first Lovie Award. Dedicated travel guides of Rome, London and (needless to say) New York were also published.

The project eventually came to an end in early autumn 2017. It was, and still is, sad. I could try and use my own words to explain the reasons that led Alice to make such (truly) painful decision. I can do much better than that, though, by borrowing Alice’s own words as she composed them:

Closing the curtain after so many years takes courage, but it’s necessary. Despite the recent changes in the editorial line and the sincere enthusiasm shared by the majority of Nuokers, the truth is that the project was losing momentum. It had gone through its digital life cycle and had reached its natural maturity. Nuok has contributed to new friendships and love stories, has shed light on the beauty that surrounds us every day, and has inspired many travellers.

After all, Nuok has always been about travelling, and travelling is a circular experience, one that means leaving and, especially, going back. It has been a truly extraordinary journey both for us, the authors, and for you, the readers.


Some time later this year the online content of Nuok website is expected to disappear. Before that happens, I thought I’d collect all the pieces I wrote and store them somewhere.

(It’d be amazing to do the same with all articles, but really, I am unable to do so.)

Dedicating a section of Pick a place get lost to my Nuok-related content felt like the most natural thing to do. Plus, because all the articles were originally written only in Italian, and to comply with the basic, non-written rule of my blog, I have made each article bilingual by adding the English version.

As a Nuoker, I contributed articles about two cities:

Forlì, the Italian city where I studied, in the Emilia Romagna region. Here I’ve never written about Forlì itself, but published a couple of posts about the Cervia Salt Pan, not too far from there.

Brno, obviously, which I started writing about a couple of days after I moved to the Czech Republic.

Last, but definitely not least, here’s the link to Nuok website: While it’s still up and running, it’s more than worth checking it out.


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