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envy italy Luxury

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Vol 01 Issue 03 | Summer 2019

Complimentary Issue

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W ine and Dine in Fabulous Florence Enoteca Pinchiorri Head Chef Interview Contemporary Cocktails in Chianti

Sir Rocco Forte’s Italian Empire Exclusive Island Escapes Elite Retreats and VIP Villas

The Secrets of Sea Silk Enchanting Underwater Italy Sensational Sicilian Road Trip


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Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Winter

Spring

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AUTUMN

envy italy Luxury

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Travel

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Luxury

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Lifestyle

Luxury

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Travel

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E AT

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LOVE

E AT

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LOVE

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Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

SUMMER

Spa

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Luxury

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envy italy

Lifestyle

Luxury

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Travel

|

Lifestyle

E AT

S TAY

LOVE

E AT

S TAY

LOVE

E AT

S TAY

LOVE

Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Soul Food with Massimo Bottura Skye McAlpine’s hidden Venice Truffle Hunting for Italy’s white gold

Super cool ski destinations Magic and mystery in Piedmont Exclusive properties for sale

Andrea Bocelli’s secret to happiness Super-car designer Horatio Pagani Fine Art photography by Michael David Adams

Property

Weddings

Gourmet


Welcome to ENVY ITALY Welcome to the sensational summer issue of Envy Italy magazine. This season we make the most of the glorious weather and head off on an exclusive island-hopping adventure. From Ischia to Capri, Sicily to Sardinia we discover some of the most exclusive boutique boltholes and VIP villas. Soaking up the summer sun, we head to Sicily with our very own tailormade Sicilian road trip. Our city special this season lands us in Florence where we meet up with head chef Riccardo Monco of the threeMichelin-starred restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri, director of luxury hotel Firenze Number Nine, Paul Feakes and author Nardia Plumridge who each share their passion for Florentine life. We are thrilled to visit Sir Rocco Forte’s latest property, Hotel de La Ville in Rome, and share the group’s plans for its Italian expansion in Sicily, Milan, Venice and beyond. Heading beneath the surface of the Mediterranean Sea we discover the very best destinations for diving, and back on dry land we also try out some creative courses and artistic retreats. Last but not least, we head to Chianti to sample some contemporary cocktails created by a new breed of super cool, hipster mixologist. We hope you find some summer inspiration in this issue of Envy Italy magazine and look forward to sharing with you some more authentic Italian experiences in our gourmet issue out in September. Buone vacanze …

Sharon & Rosie


Editorial Team

Contributors

Editor – Rosie Meleady With over 25 years experience in magazine publishing (International Women In Publishing Award 1996), Reuters trained editor Rosie also brings her expertise as a destination wedding specialist to Envy Italy.

Nardia Plumridge Author of recently published lifestyle and travel book Lost in Florence, Nardia is an international journalist with a specialism in Florentine living and Italian food and culture. Nardia regularly writes for Olive magazine, the Lonely Planet Guides and In-flight magazines.

Editor – Sharon Finnigan-Kilby An experienced editor, Sharon has produced over 100 luxury lifestyle magazines for clients worldwide. Based in Tuscany, her specialist areas are property and interior design.

Kevin Pilley British travel writer Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer; however, he became disenchanted with a sport which finishes 0-0 after 150 hours and with no one watching. The former chief staff writer of Punch magazine, he has been published in more than 450 travel and lifestyle titles globally.

Sales – Annamarie Kostura

Gary Kilby Gary is an experienced outdoor pursuits expert, having managed cycling and walking tours in Italy for several years. He now reports on exclusive golf and leisure breaks.

Photographer – Ronan Skelly

CONTACT US For lots more features about Italy visit us online: www.envyitaly.com For any enquiries please email: admin@envyitaly.com Instagram: EnvyItaly

Judith Wade Founder of Grandi Giardini Italiani, Judith shares her inspiring passion for preserving and promoting historic Italian gardens. Author of Italian Gardens, Judith champions horticultural tourism throughout Italy and beyond. Olga Makarova Cover photo

Envy Italy Magazine is a trading title of Envy Publishing Ltd. A registered limited company in the Republic of Ireland. It is a quarterly print magazine distributed internationally to selected 5 star venues, private airport lounges, members clubs, private medical waiting rooms and luxury events. Envy Italy is printed by Litocart srl - Tipolitografia Cartotecnica, Colle di Val d’Elsa (Siena) Italy. Envy Italy is fully protected by copyright and nothing may be reprinted wholly or in part without permission.

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Come stay with us!

Antica Torre di Via Tornabuoni n. 1 Residenza d’Epoca | www.tornabuoni1.com | Tel +39 055 2658161 | info@tornabuoni1.com


in this issue ...

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Fine Flavours of Florence

Florence Focus

Island Escapes

Interview with Riccardo Monco Executive Chef of Enoteca Pinchiorri

Author Nardia Plumridge and hotel director Paul Feakes tell us their favourite places to eat, stay and visit in beautiful Florence

We go island-hopping to seek out Italy’s most luxurious island escapes and breathtaking coastal retreats


ALSO ... EAT 30. Teatime in Italy – Tea revolution hits Italy 61. Cocktails in Chianti – Summer cocktail recipes 68. Italian Experiences – Things to do in Italy with a difference STAY 14. An Italian Empire – Rocco Forte Hotels’ expansion news 58. Sicilian Road Trip – Where to eat, stay and what we love on the east coast of Sicily 72. An Italian Love Affair – Renovating a hotel in Italy 78. Elite Retreats – VIP vacation villas LOVE

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Eco-Yachting

Under Italy

Interview with Barbara Amerio, owner of Permare/Amer Yachts, who talks about their award-winning environmental superyachts

We look at the best dive spots for your first diving trip in Italy

34. Books – Recent releases that bring home a taste of Italy 46. Sea Silk – Secret ancient art of creating silk from the sea 52. Five Star Fairways – Top 10 golf courses in Italy 64. Glorious Gardens – Top 10 historic gardens to visit this summer 74. Le Marche – Own a home overlooking the Adriatic Coast

Vol 01 Issue 03 | Summer 2019 Complimentary Issue

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Eat · Stay · Love Luxurious Linens

Envy Italy invites you to spread your wings and broaden your horizons this summer. Meet inspiring artisans, creative chefs and young designers. Discover boutique boltholes, unique exhibitions and award-winning vineyards and explore Italy’s most exceptional VIP destinations, from coast to coast

Sleep soundly this summer in the company of Frette’s gorgeous medallion embroidery and ornate lace bed linen. Made in Italy, crafted with pure cotton sateen and featuring an intricate arabesque embroidery, the perfect blend of classic styling and contemporary design. www.frette.com

Crisp and cool The subtle colour of an Italian sunset in early summer, Ca del Bosco Cuvée Prestige Rosé is the perfect pre-dinner drink. Best enjoyed on a terrace overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea, this elegant Franciacorta has subtle notes ranging from floral pink peony to rich red berries. www.franciacortawines.it

One to Watch One of Italy’s coolest brand’s Locman has created the Stealth hitech timepiece taking inspiration from from the military aircraft of the same name. Stealth is a classic fusion of curved and straight lines that mould overlapping layers. Designed and constructed on the island of Elba, Locman even boasts a Scuola Italiana di Orologeria, an internal academy dedicated to watchmaking. www.locman.com

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Natural beauty These beautifully handcrafted juniper wood CORO (heart) pendants are created by Armando Sale, an artisan creator from SindĂŹa, Sardinia. Each heart has a unique pattern and a mild scent of natural juniper. The leather ties and setting in gold or silver filigree are made using traditional Sardinian jewellery making techniques. www.herbazar.it

Step into summer These cool and quirky trainers by Etro are perfect for lazy days at the marina. Featuring a vibrant print depicting carnivorous plants they are also adorned with jacquard details and feature vulcanised rubber soles. www.etro.com

Indulge the senses Relax with The Retreat Marine Algae Mineral Bath Salts by Seed to Skin. The properties of raw sicilian sea salt and marine agae are combined to create the perfect detox while nourishing and re-hydrating the skin. www.seedtoskin.com

Immersed in art Rooms of Rome is a brand-new hospitality concept designed by architect Jean Nouvel. Twenty-four unique apartments set within Palazzo Rhinoceros, this extraordinary experience is best described as an immersive, art environment. Here contrasts are celebrated, raw meets opulence, luxury sits in harmony with industrial. It is the perfect destination for art enthusiasts and architectural addicts. www.theroomsofrome.com

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Contemporary cuisine Set in a fairy-tale setting on the Amalfi coast, Torre del Saracino offers diners an experience that is at the cutting edge of modern cuisine. Situated in an ancient watch-tower overlooking the shore, two Michelin-starred chef Gennaro Esposito delivers exquisite cuisine. www.torredelsaracino.it

Evocative perfume Escape to the Italian Riviera with Bottega Veneta’s Knot fragrance. Using notes of clementine, neroli, orange flower, rose and white musk, the perfume transports the wearer to the Italian coast on a summer evening. Uplifting and evocative, this is a wonderful Italian fragrance. www.bottegaveneta.com

Weekend wheels Take to the roads in style this summer with a retro cool Vespa Primavera. This iconic scooter has as much class now as it did when it was first launched over 50 years ago. A timeless classic in every sense, the perfect Roman holiday accessory. www.vespa.com

A room with a view Al Fresco living is Italy’s strong point and the long lazy summer season just begs for a private terrace with a view. Boutique retreat Locanda al Colle in Versilia offers private terraces like no other. With far-reaching views to the sea and the mountains, each artful suite boasts its own exclusive outdoor living space. www.locandaalcolle.com

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LA DOGANA WEDDING VENUE An Italian estate with lake view in Tuscany, delicious catering, 20 apartments that may accomodate up to 70 guests and many different areas for welcome nights, ceremony and reception. For more information go to www.agriturismodogana.it or write directly to weddings@agriturismodogana.it


Risotto al basilico e limone, calamaretti appena scottati e caviale

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Fine Flavours Of Florence One of the top Italian cities for gourmet travellers is, of course, Florence. With a multitude of gastronomic experiences on offer, from simple street food to Michelin-starred dining, it really is a fabulous destination for food and wine lovers

The charming city of Florence proudly celebrates its very own unique culinary culture and is home to some first class and world-famous restaurants. Award-winning Enoteca Pinchiorri boasts no fewer than three Michelin stars and is a member of Relais Chateaux and Les Grandes Tables du Monde. While being one of the most iconic restaurants in Florence, Enoteca Pinchiorri effortlessly achieves the perfect balance between the past, present and future, offering a timeless dining experience that takes contemporary cuisine to another level entirely. Founded by the alchemic partnership of Annie Féolde and Giorgio Pinchiorri, Enoteca offers an enchanting Florentine dining experience. From the sophisticated atmosphere of the interior through to the exemplary and extensive wine list, the sleekest service and the truly epicurean menu it is, quite simply, a gourmet oasis in the heart of Florence. The essential ingredient to Enoteca Pinchiorri’s ongoing and unwavering success lies in the kitchen where Executive Chef Riccardo Monco and his team create his striking and utterly delicious seasonal dishes. This summer, Envy Italy’s co-editor Sharon Kilby caught up with Riccardo to discover how the renaissance city influences his work, both in Italy and beyond. Food is part of life in Italian culture; when did your passion for cooking start and how did it evolve? It really started when I was a child, at my maternal grand-

mother’s house. I am lucky that quality ingredients have always been part of my background. In Italy we are fortunate; we grow up learning how to distinguish good from less good products. Over time, becoming a chef has always been my prerogative. Can you remember the moment you decided to become a chef; what inspired you to make it your career? After attending hotel school, I was lucky enough to start immediately with Michelin-starred restaurants and I never left them; I knew the type of restaurant that fascinated me, where the cook’s work is not just about preparing food but also expressing creativity. Having been at Enoteca Pinchiorri for two decades, how has your style of cooking grown over the years? I have been at Enoteca since 1993. To me, Enoteca represents the restaurant par excellence; Giorgio Pinchiorri and Annie Féolde have been able to build a solid restaurant capable of resisting trends. We are contemporary, and we have embraced changes; perhaps this is what makes us so long-lasting and yet still eager to grow. For many years you have worked alongside the inspiring chef Annie Féolde. Which other mentors and chefs have also influenced you? Everything influences me: the people I meet, the environment that surrounds me, my collaborators. I look at what

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“I create, and taste, with all my senses. The eye also demands its portion.”

happens in the world and I get an idea from it that I try to elaborate and make right for our restaurant. I believe in teamwork and always leave room for each collaborator who wants to make the final result better and more refined. What do you consider to be the key flavours of Enoteca? Enoteca has an identity which is made of the desire to transmit our food and wine culture. From the importance of quality ingredients to the competence of the sommelier in suggesting the right wines. Our commitment is to make each dinner unique for our customers. This is what a top restaurant is all about; these are the key factors which have to always be present. Flavours can and must change to reflect our changing inspirations and desires, but commitment and passion must be consistent always. How do you describe your own personal cooking style? The cuisine of Enoteca is the fruit of a collaboration. Personally, I like the simple, direct, understandable style, which immediately reaches the heart and I believe that the secret is taste; taste is the most important thing, then everything else comes next. Where do you find inspiration for a new dish? Inspiration is always around the corner; it is enough to know how to capture and codify it, at the market, in the kitchen, during a trip, before sleeping. Inspiration is never-ending. How do the seasons influence your menus? We work with the seasons but, above all, we pay close attention to the duration of an ingredient. I’ll give an example: peas are a spring ingredient, but they do not last all spring long, therefore we must be ready to change the dish at a moment’s notice. When you are not cooking, what do you enjoy doing?

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I rest, I spend time with my family and my dogs, who are part of the family. When I can, I love to ride my bike. Can you tell us something about your suppliers, for example, where do you source your meat, vegetables and other ingredients? We are very careful when choosing our suppliers, who are the fulcrum of our success. For example, the Razza Mora Romagnola piglet is bred only for us by the company Ca’ Lumaco. We have our own vegetable garden and several small farmers from whom we choose the vegetables. I understand that you have been involved in other overseas projects such as new restaurant developments; can you tell us about these? We have been in Japan for almost 30 years. We started with an Enoteca Pinchiorri in Tokyo and 11 years ago we moved to Nagoya. For the first time this year, Michelin has released its guide to Nagoya and we have obtained one star. It is demanding work coaching the team there. We visit three times a year, but we can say that we follow them daily. For us it is not so different from the restaurant in Florence: the same effort, the same intensity. What do you love most about Florence and Tuscany? Florence is magical, famous worldwide for its history and is populated by people from everywhere. It is like being at the centre of the universe, where cultures and religions live together for the pleasure of being in this city. Tuscany has everything: hills, mountains, sea – what else could I ask for? What are you working on now and what are your plans for the future? The restaurant Enoteca Pinchiorri is at the centre of our thoughts; this is what counts. But who knows … a future Enoteca Bistro … who can tell?


Annie and Riccardo

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An Italian Empire There is, surely, no name that better exemplifies the luxury hospitality industry than that of the Forte family. This year, the Rocco Forte portfolio is showcasing its expansion across Italy with the opening of two exceptional new hotels, Hotel de la Ville in the heart of Rome and Masseria Torre Maizza in the coastal region of Puglia

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Sir Rocco Forte

After what seemed to be a period of brief uncertainty a decade ago, it is clear now that the Rocco Forte Hotel Group has entered an entirely new episode in its ever-evolving property empire. The collection is expanding, established properties are enjoying a revival and the business is organically embracing other areas. Skincare lines, wellbeing retreats, interior design, restaurants, bars and lifestyle resorts all fall naturally under the Forte family remit.

Masseria Torre Maizza

This spring saw the eagerly awaited opening of Hotel de la Ville. Resting elegantly aloft Trinità dei Monti in the very heart of the eternal city, this 19th-century palace literally oozes Forte finesse and has been masterminded by architect Tommaso Ziffer. Having opened in May this year Hotel de la Ville boasts many of the trademark details of designer Olga Polizzi’s elemental touches. A vibrant, modern-day icon sitting above the Spanish Steps, the hotel is set within an 18th-century palazzo which holds a peerless position in the city. A confluence of classical

Roman romance, understated contemporary cool, sweeping panoramic views and zestful design make this one of the hottest new Italian arrivals. A harmonious design collaboration between Olga Polizzi and Tommaso Ziffer, Hotel de la Ville’s 104 rooms and suites are filled with playful, contemporary furniture and sumptuous fabrics that draw influence from the era of the Grand Tour and the memories that would have been collected during the journey. With traditional wooden floors, elegant marble bathrooms and wonderful views over via Sistina and the rooftops of the Eternal City, each suite is both spacious and architecturally rich in detail. Among the utterly luxurious accommodation is one of the very largest suites in Rome. A private penthouse with its own wraparound terrace, this unique residence can also be seamlessly linked with other suites to create an exclusive six-bedroomed apartment. Featuring parquet floors, leather-clad cabinetry and contemporary art, sculpture and antiques, the penthouse even boasts its old well-stocked library, kitchen and office. Junior suites all share the same sense of

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Hotel de la Ville, Rome

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Masseria Torre Maizza

sumptuous luxury with carefully selected furnishings and eye-catching accessories. Fabrics and rugs embrace monochrome and geometric design details, and black lacquered antiques bring a touch of understated opulence to the interiors. Hotel de la Ville is very much the glamorous sister to Rocco Forte’s Hotel de Russie which is but a stone’s throw away. Both properties share a sense of timeless sophistication where contemporary design elevates and enhances original Italian architecture. There are six different dining experiences at Hotel de la Ville where Michelin-starred chef Fulvio Pierangelini delivers authentic Roman gastronomic experiences with a modern and creative touch. The lavish bistro and bar are opulently furnished in rich velvets and brocades. A VIP lunch pavilion features a lofty domed ceiling, while a courtyard garden provides a restful backdrop for morning coffees. The super-chic roof terrace bar overlooks the city and provides the perfect spot for a romantic sunset aperitivo. Hotel de la Ville’s spa brings a little piece of Sicily to Rome with the floral scent of orange blossom which evocatively perfumes the air along with other nourishing Sicilian botanicals picked from Verdura Resort’s organic farm in Sicily. While Hotel de la Ville’s great reveal this summer is pretty big news in

Italy, it is not the only new hotel to open its doors in 2019. The Rocco Forte Collection is also expanding its offering in other areas of Italy and beyond. Embracing the upsurge of interest in lifestyle and experience-led vacations, an exciting addition to the collection is Masseria Torre Maizza, a luxurious resort in Puglia. Perfectly designed to appeal to a slightly younger generation, Masseria Torre Maizza celebrates laid-back luxury throughout its 40 spacious suites. While two Italian hotel openings in a year might sound extravagant, the Rocco Forte development plan does not end there. In 2020 Villa Igea will open its doors. Set in the confines of bustling Palermo overlooking the harbour, Villa Igea is the city’s most impressive hotel property. A historic building steeped in a rich political heritage, it is a respected landmark in Sicily’s society. Sir Rocco Forte’s great Italian expansion is inspiring, and it is unlikely that there is any organisation better suited to pulling off so many lavish developments in such a small timeframe. With other hotel projects waiting in the wings, the group is now researching opportunities in Venice and Milan. Where next? The word is that Sardinia, Positano and Capri are all on the radar. One thing is for sure, Sir Rocco Forte’s Italian Collection seems to be ever expanding and, in turn, keeping the luxury hospitality business in Italy well and truly on its toes.

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Yoshimi Futamura ceramic sculpture

Annalia Amedeo ceramic sculpture

Tadeusz Niescier fine art photography

Sabine Pagliarulo ceramic sculpture


On The Nature Of Things This summer sees the launch of Kalpa Art Living’s first annual art exhibition at two outstanding contemporary galleries in Tuscany

Kalpa Art Living’s first annual art exhibition is a vibrant collection from international artists exploring the mystery of existence through intuitive, semiotic and formal studies of life forms and phenomena. Tracing the biological, emotional and spiritual connections between plant, animal and human. With the use of various techniques, including painting, etching, photography, ceramics and sculpture, the act of artistic creation is defined as a natural, organic unfolding of life, promoting forms, materials and processes inspired by or found in nature.

The project takes its title from the first-century BC poem penned by the Roman poet and philosopher Lucretius expounding Epicurean philosophy, surprisingly aligning perfectly with today’s philosophical and scientific developments. This dynamic exhibition is hosted in two venues throughout the summer of 2019, the art galleries: Kalpa Art Living, in the historical centre of Volterra and Pignano Art Gallery in the elegant estate and resort of Borgo Pignano, in the breathtaking countryside between San Gimignano and Volterra. Twelve selected artists will communicate with soulfulness new artworks and installations. The spellbinding panoramas of the iconic Tuscan landscape create a perfect backdrop for this season of exhibitions which celebrate and question our relationship with nature.

Artists: Annalia Amedeo

Olga Niescier

Alain Bonnefoit

Tadeusz Niescier

Amara Ferioli

Sabine Pagliarulo

Yoshimi Futamura

Michele Tiberio

Sonia Marcacci

Annette Townsend

Michelle Mckinney

Antonello Viola

For more information: www.kalpa-art.it

Photos courtesy of the artists

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Lost in Florence To celebrate the release of her recent travel guide book Lost in Florence, author Nardia Plumridge shares some secrets of her adopted and much loved city

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My love affair with Florence is long. I first visited Tuscany at age 15 and was immediately mesmerised by Florence’s beauty, its graceful buildings and open piazze which are museum-like, filled with elegant statues and bordered by cafes with locals lounging al fresco sipping cappuccini well into the late morning sunshine. There is a unique spirit the city holds, a certain ‘dolce vita’ that washes over you and there, just like that, you’re hooked. Years on, my passion for the city remains ignited. Notable Neighbourhoods During the city’s Renaissance heyday, Florence was divided into four quartiere – Santa Croce, Santo Spirito, Santa Maria Novella and San Giovanni – which still make up the four teams for the annual Calcio Storico (historic soccer) matches played each June. These central neighbourhoods still retain a village-like charm, all of which are worth exploring. San Giovanni Arguably the centre of Florence with many shopping, dining and wine spots within the city’s three main squares: Piazza della Signoria, Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza del Duomo. The latter houses the city’s most famous landmark, the must-see Cathedral di Santa Maria del Fiore. Its impressive dome, lined with terracotta tiles, designed by Filippo Brunelleschi in the 15th-century, is a beacon for the city. DINE Procacci This truffle haven has been in situ on elegant Via de’ Tornabuoni since 1885 and continues to retain its 19th-century salon feel. Founded by Leopoldo Procacci, a passionate truffle connoisseur, the space was recently refurbished yet retains the original layout with L-shaped bar and wood panelled walls filled with shelves of truffle products infused in butter, salt, olive oil and jams. Choose from finger sandwiches layered in truffle cream, anchovies and truffle butter or truffle with foie gras. Procacci also has a gourmet shop should you be so enamoured by the truffle items that you wish to take them home.

Wine Cantinetta Antinori Across the road, Cantinetta Antinori is tucked within the ground floor of a grand city palace, owned by one of the oldest noble families in Florence – Antinori – who have been winemakers in Tuscany since 1385. In this cosy restaurant, dishes are cooked to traditional recipes as the kitchen follows the rhythm and seasons of Tuscany, offering fresh pastas and game, while in truffle season, buttery pasta with shavings of this prized root is to be savoured. Cantinetta Antinori offers an old-world dining experience with attentive service in true Italian fashion. Fine Boutique Nadine A Narnia-inspired wonderland of new and vintage fashion for men and women, jewellery and homewares with tantalising Italian clothing including vintage Roberta di Camerino and Emilio Pucci, French houses of Chanel, Dior, Hermes and YSL and emerging fashion designers sourced by owners Irene Zarrilli and Matteo Querini on their travels throughout Europe. The boutique also includes their own labels: feminine flair with dresses by label Odette, while Vigliano focuses on men’s cotton and linen shirts and wool jackets inspired by life at Matteo’s Tuscan country retreat. Santa Maria Novella To the Duomo’s west, the Piazza of Santa Maria Novella is lined with elegant hotels and eateries offering al fresco dining, their seats looking towards the marble facade of the church. Streets like Via del Moro and Via dei Fossi shine and are ideal for window shopping antiques and fashion or finding a classic Tuscan trattoria to indulge in local fare.

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Wine Sei Divino Tucked into the ground floor of a 14th-century pile, Sei Divino is run by a young and enthusiastic sommelier, Neri Vignozzi, offering quality wines with over 200 labels and 100 styles to taste by the glass. Proudly sharing its passion for Tuscan wine and food produce, its food menu changes daily, offering dishes it calls Aperigourmet. Quality is key with cheeses and cold cuts sourced from local Tuscan farms while Neri pairs all plates to a wine and will even customise a tasting just for you. Dine Trattoria Sostanza A handwritten menu, a limited number of seats and regular clientele offer a glimpse into Sostanza’s charm, a cosy trattoria near the river Arno. Typically Tuscan in the truest sense with pastas, antipasti and mains changing daily, while its famed sizzling butter chicken is available all year round. When in season try the fluffy egg omelette with artichokes. Fine Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella Florence’s famous perfume house was originally a monastery where monks created tinctures for health, and remains an elegant atelier dedicated to apothecary with over 400 years of history. Under the grandeur of the Great Sales Hall, with frescoes painted by Paolino Sarti, you can try before you buy, from hand cream to perfumes, including its namesake originally commissioned by Caterina de’ Medici. Make sure to visit its ancient Antica Spezieria, the old shop dating from 1612. Santa Croce Its streets are crowded with leather stores, a hark back to the neighbourhood’s original guise, and today Santa Croce remains popular with travellers who venture to its crown jewel, the 13th-century Basilica di Santa Croce in its main piazza housing the tombs of Florence glitterati, including Michelangelo, Galileo and Machiavelli. Author Nardia Plumridge, Lost in Florence

Wine Libreria Brac A tranquil oasis in the heart of old Florence, Liberia Brac fuses cafe, restaurant and bookshop – its modern style is the antitheses of the aging yellow sandstone in the streets outside. The front bar is bright with walls clad with Polaroid-style pictures of the vegetarian dishes on offer. The inner courtyard is overtaken by an installation of draped mesh fabric floating above head level, armchairs and hidden nooks to nest while reading one of the magazines scattered on tables to enjoy with your coffee or wine of choice.

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Shop interior (Photo credit Olga Makarova)

Dine Arà: è SUD What started as a hole-in-the-wall snack stop near the Galleria dell’Accademia has evolved to a full restaurant led by Chef Carmelo Pannocchietti, a Sicilian native. The menu is a nod to the region’s food heritage with classic dishes like pasta alla Norma in all its intense tomato-and-eggplant-sauce glory (topped with grated salty hard ricotta) using handmade techniques and a regional flour. For dolce, cannoli is done correctly – freshly piped to order with ricotta cream then dressed with finely chopped almonds and pistachios. Fine Florence Factory Dedicated to stylish products by Tuscan or Italian designers and contemporary artisans of fashion, accessories and ceramics, this concept shop showcases emerging talent that represents ‘new’ Florence. This store is filled with lust-worthy items, many created within nearby workshops.

Thirty local designers specialising in handmade crafts are featured, with the buying team focused on authentic regional products. As many pieces are limited, there is no mass production on sale, rather ideal take-home pieces uniquely made in Italy. Santo Spirito With its bohemian feel, Santo Spirito is a lively neighbourhood popular with students and locals alike who congregate on the church steps and in the piazza, drinking wine and eating pizza as the sun sets on another glorious Florence day. Its cultural stops include Palazzo Pitti where a day can easily be lost within its many ornate rooms, and its luscious greenery, Boboli Gardens.

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Wine Pitti Gola e Cantina Wine and Florence go hand in hand and the team here serves up some of the best bottles in the city. This boutique wine bar housed in an old bookstore is incredibly intimate with just five tables tucked beside former bookshelves that display a fine collection of wine labels from Tuscany and Piedmont. The team focus on small, independent Italian wine producers with sommelier Edoardo, along with brother Zeno and business partner Manuele, on hand to share their expertise. Dine Osteria dell’Enoteca Down the road, the Pitti Gola team has recently expanded with a restaurant specialising in bistecca. In the kitchen, Chef Nicola Chiappi creates a menu laced with seasonal local ingredients and four types of bistecca, from a house special to Chianina breed. Starters include creamy cheese zucchini flan, or paté aficionados will devour the local specialty of fegatini (chicken liver) glazed with a sweet Vin Santo wine. The team will happily perfect a pairing to suit your food from their hefty Wine Wall featuring Italian labels from small batches made by boutique wine producers. Fine Tiziana Alemanni Tiziana’s stylish pieces are unsurpassed – from 1950s Audrey Hepburn-inspired dresses to 70s-style wide-legged trousers – all hand-sewn onsite in her Oltrarno bottega in a side street by Palazzo Pitti. A Sicilian transplanted to Florence, Tiziana’s southern warmth is as inviting as her designs, all made with sumptuous textiles rich in the feel of true Italian quality. Inspiration from her home-island – its azure blue seas, bright sun hues and Baroque architectural styles – adds a classic feel to her contemporary pieces. Ready-to-wear items can be bought off the rack while bespoke tailoring is Tiziana’s specialty.

“There is a unique spirit the city holds, a certain ‘dolce vita’ that washes over you and there, just like that, you’re hooked. Years on, my passion for the city remains ignited.” 24.

Lost in Florence: An insider’s guide to the best places to eat, drink and explore by Nardia Plumridge www.lostinflorence.it


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An Englishman in Florence Florence is a veritable mecca for the fashion conscious and design savvy traveller. Earlier this summer, Sharon Finnigan-Kilby met one of the city’s most dapper residents, Hotel Director Paul Feakes, to get his personal insight into hidden Florence

Walking into the lobby at Firenze Number Nine is a little like slipping between the pages of an Agatha Christie novel; the interior of the hotel oozes old school glamour. Here I discovered just how Englishman Paul Feakes, ended up in the pivotal role of Hotel Director in one of Florence’s most desirable boutique hotels. “The very first time I visited Florence was over 23 years ago and I felt an instant and immense sense of coming home. Standing in the middle of the Piazza della Signoria I felt as if the cosmoses were aligning and that I was meant to come back to Firenze and spend time here. “Over the next couple of decades I revisited Italy at least three or four times a year to top up on the culture, meet up with friends, shop, cook, entertain and explore the cities and countryside. I became quite familiar and incredibly comfortable with Florence and my visits became more frequent, often tying in with events and exhibitions such as Pitti Fashion. “In 2008 I was living in Surrey in the UK working in a fairly demanding position in training and development and decided I needed a complete change. The timing was right, and through a friend in Italy I found my first home in Florence.”

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During his time in Florence, Paul has worked with some impressive brands including the Savoy, and he played a key role in the concept development and creation of the glorious Gucci Garden boutique and restaurant. Over the last 11 years Paul has rubbed shoulders with some of Florence’s most demanding and discerning teams in the hospitality trade, but his role at Firenze Number Nine has been the most challenging yet. The hotel boasts a huge and impressively equipped gym and an underground spa alongside its beautifully furnished 70 rooms. “I try and make the time to soak up the atmosphere of the city whenever possible, as I’m asked by guests numerous times a day for recommendations. However, I don’t need an excuse to explore the back streets of Florence – it’s a total pleasure. I really adore the tabernacles on the corners of historic buildings – I’m told there are over a thousand spread across the city. I could spend hours just looking at these enduring artworks. I’ve noticed a little touch of kitsch in some of them which I rather like. I’m also very fond of the impressive statue of Perseus by Cellini which sits in the Loggia dei Lanzi on the corner of Piazza della Signoria – it is incredible. “Of course Florence is full of museums, but I recommend the Museo degli Innocenti. I like to look up and


Paul Feakes is our Man in Florence

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around at the architectural details. While exploring, I encourage visitors to stop for a decadent snack. I like to pop into Procacci and savour a chilled glass of Prosecco and a few truffle-infused gourmet sandwiches. If I’m meeting friends or have a rare evening off, I head to Harry’s Bar for a refreshing glass of Varnelli on the rocks. When asked for suggestions for excellent local wines or wines to ship overseas, I tend to recommend a Tignanello from Antinori or a Benefizio from Frescobaldi. For bubbles, I’d go for a Leonia Rosè also by Frescobaldi.” While absorbing Paul’s infectious passion for his adopted hometown, it’s also pretty hard not to notice his unique flair for fashion and in particular his striking accessories such as his oversized gorgeous Gucci broach, colourful bracelets and eye-catching rings.

beautiful. A guilty pleasure of mine is cashmere scarves – I can’t get enough of them. I adore Faliero Sarti’s store in Via Vittorio Alfieri – I love their unique use of colours. My final little luxury is the wonderful collection of bow ties by Raffaele Stella Brienza.” Paul’s love of Florence and its people is both uplifting and informative and can be noted in the unique experiences and events he has created for the guests of Firenze Number Nine. “I like to combine pleasures and share these with visitors to the hotel. For example, our guided fitness walk around the city is very popular, as you pass by so many ancient monuments and historic landmarks. Another interesting event was our recent Goodnight Spa gathering where guests enjoyed Prosecco and canapés at midnight in

“For jewellery I visit the gold market in Santa Croce where you can have bespoke pieces designed just for you. I have bought certified original Roman coins which have been set into rings, which are both bold and beautiful.”

Firenze Number Nine offers understated luxury in the heart of the city

“I love shopping! Florence is perfect for those who want to indulge in some designer labels and you can also find some lesser known artisans and designers simply by taking the side streets and exploring the smaller boutique stores. I am lucky to have a few nice Gucci items from when I worked there, a wonderful perk of the job. “A beautifully handcrafted leather jacket is a must-buy when in Florence. I am a great fan of Ben Heart, a young designer who makes contemporary pieces from the softest leathers. For jewellery I visit the gold market in Santa Croce where you can have bespoke pieces designed just for you. I have bought certified original Roman coins which have been set into rings, which are both bold and

our subterranean spa. Another idea is our fashion vault personal shopper experience where we take guests to a secret location where they are welcomed into a warehouse stocked with the very best designer label clothing and accessories.” Paul’s message is clear: to really enjoy Florence’s lifestyle and unique culture you must allow yourself the time to wander beyond the main piazzas and meander down the tiny side streets that house the real artisans and creative spirits of the city. Sample some simple street food, embrace aperitivo hour and always remember to look up at the architecture and architraves that surround you as you soak up the soul of the city.

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Teatime In Italy Tea is becoming incredibly popular in Italy today. Not least because you are almost always guaranteed somewhere to sit down and rest in a tea shop. Travel writer Kevin Pilley reports on Italy’s tea revolution

It was two colonial British ladies who decided that what Rome was missing was a tea shop and so introduced tea to the Italians. Isabel Cargill and Anna Maria Babington opened Babington’s Tea Rooms, Italy’s first tea shop, at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Piazza di Spagna, in 1893. Prior to its opening, tea in Italy could only be got from a chemist, as tea was only drunk as a cure for flu – raffreddore. The iconic orange-fronted tea rooms are close to the Casina Rossa, commonly referred to as Keats and Shelley House. The poets reportedly patronised the tea rooms. Although Italians haven’t reached the “Prendiamo un cuppa?” stage yet, coffee grinders, roasters and baristas are being pressurised by tea makers, tea tasters and artisan

tea masters. “Arabica” and “Robusta” coffee beans are facing stiff competition from locally sourced leaves, flowers and herbs. Florence-based La Via del Tè, founded in 1961 by Alfredo Carrai who studied tea rituals and production in China and India, is leading the new Italian tea revolution. Now in his 80s, Alfredo explains how his passion for tea began, “One day I tasted Chinese tea in a market in Livorno. My fascination began. I wanted to open up tea to Italians. Tea is the scent of ancient history. The voyage of Ulysses.” Carrai worked briefly for Lyons, the Irish tea production company. His “blends with a Mediterranean twist” are now exported to 30 countries. The “Via del Tè” range celebrates Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian, British and Italian tea drinking traditions.

La Via del Tè Il segreto dei Medici

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“Tea is the scent of ancient history. The voyage of Ulysses.”

“Tea is a daily pleasure and every cup is a new experience. We have over 120 flavours and sell over 250 tea kinds. Our Earl Grey Imperiale uses the best bergamot oil from Calabria. Our collections are available in top-bracket hotels and resorts, gourmet food shops and delicatessens, starred restaurants and department stores, both in Italy and abroad. We produce 250,000 kilos of tea every year, of which 150,000 is blended in-house in Florence.” La Via del Tè is a family business with Alfredo’s wife, Lalla, and their children all involved as well as the third generation, represented by Amerigo and Maddalena. Daughter Anna, who studied botany and pharmaceutical chemistry, is the tea blender. In 2000, she created Romeo e Giulietta – a green tea enriched with papaya, strawberry pieces and red rose petals. The first and flagship La Via del Tè store opened in 1997 in via San Spirito, in Palazzo Frescobaldi. The company now boasts four other tea shops – in Turin’s Via Carlo Alberto, Rome’s Piazza Fiume and two others in Florence – in Piazza Ghiberti and Via della Condotta. As well as tisanes and infusions, they all sell iced teas, tea ice cream, tea cocktails and teaware – everything made with “the love of details peculiar to the Florentine tradition of craftsmanship”. “La Via del Tè redefines tea as a contemporary experience,” says Regina. “We created Filtrofoglia Colonial, a cotton handsewn tea pouch, available in 20 different flavours, with special attention to the range of caffeine-free infusions and herbal teas.

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“I grew up with tea. My mother’s special tea was Chinese black tea with fresh peach slices. As Italians, we have a natural sensibility for good drinks! Our new Firenze Collection includes Leggenda di Boboli,” explains Anna. According to legend, Cosimo I de’ Medici – the first Grand Duke of Tuscany, erected the Boboli Gardens behind Palazzo Pitti for his much beloved wife Eleonora. In the park grew the Bizzarrìa, a cross between citron and orange whose fragrance we have recreated for this citrusy black tea blend. “Our Santa Maria del Fiore with ripe grapes and red fruits is a tribute to the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, the cathedral of the city. The Il Segreto dei Medici blend honours the hidden passage connecting Palazzo Vecchio to Palazzo Pitti, passing over the river Arno, which was jealously guarded for centuries by the Medici family, as well as their secret recipe of chocolate with jasmine flowers.” Their Il Mistero della Venere tea is dedicated to Sandro Botticelli’s model in the painting The Birth of Venus – Simonetta Cattaneo. The blend is scented with figs and almonds which were popular fruits during the Renaissance. Every tea tells a story, recalling history. “Our Ninna Nanna, an Italian lullaby, is our most popular herbal tea blends, a sweet mixture for natural relaxation. Apple, chamomile, rose hips, verbena, blackcurrant, orange flowers, lime and cornflower.” Explains Regina, “Florence is the city of flowers. So, you should be drinking its flowers. And drinking its tea. Rather than so much coffee!”

Alfredo’s daughter Anna is the master tea blender


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Summer Reads Recent releases to bring home a taste of Italy

Limoncello and Linen Water by Tessa Kiros In Limoncello and Linen Water much-loved author Tessa Kiros celebrates the heritage of Italy, the country she has chosen to call home. This whimsically feminine book is a tribute to the women in our lives – mothers, mothersin-law, grandmothers – and the important lessons we learn from them. With accessible, delicious recipes ranging from robust family dishes to quirky cakes and old-fashioned sauces and preserves, this book is a precious heirloom for today. Key points: after more than 700,000 sales worldwide, this is Tessa’s best book yet, written from the heart and celebrating the best of Italy; beautifully, quirkily styled and designed; more than 100 achievable tried and tested recipes.

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The Italian Table by Elizabeth Minchilli The Italian Table delivers both parts of the fantasy and reality of Italian meals as they would be eaten on location. Combining menus and recipes with visual experience and inspiration – as well as insight into the traditions of the food and celebrations – it serves as a practical resource that gives home cooks and hosts step-by-step guidance on how to re-create these fabulous meals at their own tables. It has a resources section for Italian ingredients, headnotes brimming with interesting history, recipe shortcuts and serving suggestions. It also has menu introductions detailing what to drink, how to set the table, and how to time the preparation and the party itself. This is an essential guide for home cooks and those who love to entertain.

Tortellini at Midnight by Emiko Davies Sometime in the 1950s, Emiko Davies’ nonno-in-law began the tradition of ringing in the new year with tortellini al sugo. He served it along with spumante and a round of tombola, and sparked a trend; for over 20 years, you could find tortellini at midnight on New Year’s Eve in the bars around Fucecchio. This is just one of the heirloom dishes in this collection, for which Emiko Davies has gathered some of her favourite family recipes. They trace generations that span the length of Italy. Tortellini at Midnight is a book rich with nostalgia, with fresh, comforting food and stunning photography. It is a book that is good for the soul.


Italian Island Escapes When we dream of the perfect Italian escape all too often we think about mainland Italy and forget to consider the exceptional experiences offered on the many picturesque islands dotted around Italy’s outstretched boot. Sharon Kilby went island-hopping to seek out Italy’s most luxurious island escapes and breathtaking coastal retreats

Luxury Pool Suite at Gabbiano Azzurro, Sardinia

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Romantic dinner on the beach at Gabbiano Azzurro Sardinia

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There are more than 80 islands within Italy’s confines, each with its own individual history, culture and traditions. From the 17 islands that make up the city of Venice to the rugged Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily, Italy’s islands are as unique in landscape and climate as the nation’s mainland itself. Whether you are looking for an activity-packed adventure or are on the hunt for a romantic retreat, Envy Italy has sought out the coolest hotels, villas, resorts and boltholes for your perfect Italian island escape. Sardinia Su Gologone Su Gologone lies in the heart of Barbagia, a part of the island rich in tradition and history. Ancient olive trees and vineyards cling to the slopes of the mountainous Supramonte area, where the air is fragrant with myrtle and rosemary. The hotel is surrounded by Mediterranean flora, geraniums, hydrangeas, bougainvillea and prickly pears. Every detail of the hotel reflects the character of its location where furnishings and materials, juniper wood, terracotta and inlaid plaster, are all deeply authentic. Guests at Su Gologone are welcomed by Pasqua and her daughter, Giovanna. Giovanna has transformed the hotel into a world-renowned destination, creating interiors which feature the works of major Sardinian artists and furnishings made in Su Gologone’s own Botteghe d’Arte. She also designed al fresco settings such as the Terrazzo dei Sogni, Terrazzo dei Desideri and Magico Tablao bar, and plenty of hidden corners you’ll discover during your stay. The cuisine here expresses a simple approach to life where fresh, seasonal ingredients dictate the menu. Local cheeses, spit-roasted

meats, pane carasau, handmade pasta, olive oil and distinctive wines feature on the menu. Savour maccarrones de busa (handmade bucatini) and culurgiones (ravioli filled with local ricotta), porceddu allo spiedo (spit-roasted suckling piglet) and seadas al miele (honey fritters). Gabbiano Azzurro Hotel and Suites Just 18 kilometres from Olbia, off the Via Dei Gabbiani, Gabbiano Azzurro is a short drive from the pretty mountain-backed town of San Pantaleo, which has a clutch of artisan boutiques, 30 kilometres from Porto Cervo on the Costa Smeralda. This smart and friendly family-run hotel and its collection of luxury suites are situated on the Golfo Aranci archipelago. The hotel has an air of old-school glamour and enjoys glorious sea views across to the islands of Tavolara and Molara. The stylish accommodation is comfortable to the extreme and the new contemporary pool suites have elegant, modern interiors, private terraces and lavish rooftop pools. At the Blu à la carte restaurant chef Daniele Sechi makes the most of local produce, creating traditional Sardinian dishes with a modern twist, such as branzino (sea bass) baked under salt, or black fregola (Sardinian couscous) with prawns and asparagus. Two sea-view terrace bars are perfect for sundowners, aperitivi and lunch.

View from Villa del Golfo Lifestyle Resort Sardinia

Villa del Golfo Lifestyle Resort Villa del Golfo is a village resort that stretches over the hillside above the sea of Gallura, with private suites, spa facilities and two pools. It even has its own yacht, the Bon Aria, for trips to the islands of La Maddalena, Caprera and Corsica. The hotel’s pools and terrace overlook the sea, which is easily reached, and there are daily boat

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Suite Dreams at Capri Palace Capri

trips on the hotel’s private sailing yacht to La Maddalena, Caprera, Corsica and to the North to discover more bays and beaches. Trips can also be arranged to nearby archaeological nuraghic sites, such as the Tomba dei Giganti (Giants’ Tomb). The unique interiors feature breathtaking installations from Sardinian ceramicist Caterina Cossu. From her decorative vases and bowls to grand-scale sculptural installations, her work combines both contemporary and antique design elements. For an authentic Galluran experience the nearby Farmhouse La Colti is a rustic-chic night out with meats cooked on the grill in the courtyard. Ischia Hotel Terme Mareblu With dramatic volcanic landscapes, natural thermal springs, buried necropolises, spectacular beaches and picturesque harbours, Ischia combines luxury with culture and more. Set in a picture-postcard location, the five-star Hotel Terme Mareblu sits directly on the beachfront, opposite the Aragonese Castle and just a few minutes from the bustling streets of Ischia Porto. A five-star beachfront property with its own thermal spa, Hotel Terme Mareblu is the perfect coastal retreat.

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A former aristocratic villa, the hotel has been modernised yet preserves its original opulent atmosphere and timeless charm. The island itself is known for its therapeutic thermal springs and the hotel has two private thermo-mineral swimming pools, a luxury spa and beauty centre. In the magnificent hotel gardens relax in the outdoor thermal pool or soak away any stress in the calming Turkish or Kneipp baths. At Hotel Terme Mareblu the highly skilled and creative chefs serve exceptional regional and Mediterranean cuisine at the on-site restaurant. Mezzatorre Resort and Spa The Mezzatorre Resort and Spa is situated on the border between Forio and Lacco Ameno, with San Montano Bay on one side and Zaro on the other. The hotel sits at the end of a long private road in a secluded wood in what is one of the island’s most famed beauty spots. This five-star hotel offers a beautiful wellness spa with a range of treatments using Ischia’s thermal water, as well as an outdoor swimming pool which is naturally heated, again by the thermal water. Both the area around the outdoor pool and the ‘Chandelier’ restaurant offer stunning panoramic views of the Gulf of Naples, while there is a small bay for swimming and a private jetty for small yachts and boats. The restaurants serve Ischian cuisine with fresh fish dishes a speciality. During the evenings there is live entertainment in the piano bar where you can enjoy pre-dinner cocktails in a sophisticated setting.


San Montano Resort and Spa San Montano Resort and Spa is situated in a commanding position on top of a hill with dramatic 360° panoramic views over Ischia, the sea and the islands beyond. This characterful property boasts two swimming pools, one of which is naturally heated by the thermal water to temperatures between 32° and 37° Celsius all year round, while the other is a sea-water pool. There is also a modern wellness centre on-site with a variety of steam baths, showers and pools, a gym with qualified instructors and a range of treatments available such as massage, mud baths and hydrotherapy. Another unique feature is the natural sauna which is carved out of a cave. The restaurant serves a mixture of Ischian and Italian delicacies including a range of Neapolitan sweets and desserts. Meals are served on the terrace with breathtaking views of the sea, Mount Vesuvius and Sorrento in the distance. Capri Caesar Augustus Perched on a cliff edge 300 metres above sea level on the slopes of Mount Solaro, Capri’s highest terrain, the truly glamorous Caesar Augustus offers gorgeous vistas of the Bay of Naples and the Amalfi Coast. A 15-minute stroll from the hotel is Anacapri, a pleasant little town with artisan workshops, cafés and restaurants. Originally the former residence of Russian Prince Emmanuel Bulhak (who placed the statue of Caesar Augustus on the terrace, to this day the symbol of the hotel), the property was acquired in 1930 by the Signorini family. Interiors are elegant and stylish with heirlooms and artworks that the family have collected over the years. Cuisine at La Terrazza di Lucullo restaurant is prepared using fresh organic ingredients from the kitchen garden. Classic seasonal dishes are presented in a sophisticated and artful way. The casseruola di verdure, a simple regional dish made of stewed vegetables, is simply delicious. J.K. Place One of the most sophisticated hotels on the island, here interiors are effortlessly chic. J.K. Place also has a stunning swimming pool terrace, relaxed wellness spa, awesome sea views

and one of the island’s most celebrated restaurants – JKitchen. Perched on the water’s edge in a quiet spot on the island, the hotel is just a short walk up the road from glamorous Marina Grande and an easy 15 minutes from the stylish designer stores of Capri town. The trademark appearance of J.K. Place was designed by Florentine architect and interior designer Michele Bönan. Elements of traditional architecture and original antique furnishings rub shoulders with crisp black and white geometric materials such as herringbone ceramic floors and houndstooth fabrics. The overall feel is that of luxury yacht meets opulent manor house. The waterfront terrace deck is a magical corner to unwind in with a cooling Sunset Martini (made with fresh watermelon, basil leaves, jasmine syrup and vodka). JKitchen is one of Capri’s most popular high-end eateries where haute cuisine and local, seasonal recipes are seamlessly melded. Sample the Agerolese beef croquettes with Alife onions, then indulge the taste buds with the Pastificio dei Campi pasta, with culatello di Zibello (a cured meat aged for 24 months).

Bonaria Sailing Yacht Hotel Villa Del Golfo Lifestyle Resort

Capri Palace In the centre of Anacapri, you can find the muchpraised Capri Palace, a boutique hotel offering elegant, laid-back luxury which is further enhanced by eye-catching art and sculpture. Perfectly positioned for exploring the island’s many sights such as Mount Solaro (catch the chairlift from outside the hotel), and the Blue Grotto, a coastal cave which is illuminated by an impressive natural blue light. The interiors of Capri Palace are peppered with arches, vaults and striking stone columns that depict a typical historic Neapolitan palazzo. Modern works of art can be found throughout, along with quirky design elements such as oversized bronze helmets and colourful pop art. Capri Palace is lauded for the cuisine served at the Michelin-starred Il Riccio beach club, set alongside the water. Select freshly caught sea urchins, lobsters or octopi at the fish counter and watch the chefs prepare your dish at the open kitchen. There’s a delightful ‘Temptation Room’ filled with traditional Neapolitan baked pies, cakes and pastries, while back at the main villa enjoy classic bistro-style dishes at the twoMichelin-starred L’Olivo.

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Colourful corners at Su Gologone Sardinia

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“There are more than 80 islands within Italy’s confines, each with its own individual history, culture and traditions.”

Sicily

Monaci delle Terre Nere A true island retreat in every sense, this charming villa boasts chic modern luxurious interiors, lush gardens and a cool lava-stone pool. Not only can you expect exceptional service, but the hotel also has its own Etna organic winery on-site. Resting between Taormina and Catania, high up on the eastern slopes of Etna, where vines thrive on the dark volcanic terrain, the villa is a welcome retreat from busy city life. From here you an easily explore the crater of Etna itself or spend lazy days at the beach, both are easily reached by car. Guido Coffa’s gorgeous boutique hotel has been created from an old Sicilian villa and lovingly restored with a respect for traditional materials and techniques. Richly hued flooring is made from either local chestnut or cocciopesto (lime mortar constellated with crushed terracotta). The atmosphere is one of hipster luxury meets rustic country cool. Owner Coffa is also a leading figure in the blossoming Etna wine scene and the estate now has its own 15-acre winery, with bespoke tastings of its own wines and other Sicilian labels. The Convivium Bar is a sleek setting for cocktails where guests can enjoy live jazz sessions thrice weekly.

Paved almost throughout with gleaming chocolate-brown pietra pece (a kind of local limestone naturally pigmented with petroleum), Don Serafino offers two diverse types of luxury Sicilian experience. Choose from classic villa rooms which are opulent and luxurious or the cave stables which are carved directly into the rock and have a contemporary rustic-cool vibe. For romantic honeymoons with a wow factor go for the cave suites which are truly unforgettable. The restaurant retains it’s five-star celebrity status and offers gourmet dining at its most lavish. Carnivores really must indulge in the beef fillet baked in a crisp crust of smoked potato and tobacco, a culinary marvel.

Locanda Don Serafino An enchanting boutique bolthole, Locanda Don Serafino is a magical combination of rather grand palazzi which have been masterfully infused with cave-like underground suites carved from ancient rock. Don Serafino is the perfect location for discovering the joys of Ragusa Ibla and its ancient twisty streets which joyfully have very little traffic. When you arrive a valet service will meet you at your car and retrieve your luggage where you then take a short walk up a steep cobbled street to the hotel entrance. The cool and restful interiors are simple and stylish and feature exposed limestone walls, vaulted ceilings and natural carved rock elements.

Hotel Le Calette The perfect location for enjoying the atmosphere of the town of Cefalù with its uninterrupted views across to the harbour. The latter is frequented by both local fishermen and then in the high season a glamorous gaggle of glitterati appear at the swish bars and gourmet restaurants. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s two beaches, one of which is a natural rocky bay while the other features a purpose-built bathing platform. Views are impressive and include the bold limestone rock of Cefalù which reaches out to the west. From the hotel, it’s just a 25-minute walk into the main town which has a bubbly and welcoming atmosphere. The hotel’s look is simple, clean and stylish, with a striking whitethemed aesthetic. Pops of colour can be found in the form of locally sourced ceramics, modern artworks, sculpture and Sicilian fabrics. Natural materials are also celebrated throughout the property including the installation of a huge block of rock salt taken from one of the still active salt mines in the centre of the island. The atmosphere is laid-back luxury where life centres around the pool, al fresco bar and restaurant where regional dishes include caponata, homemade pasta and fresh seafood. In high summer a lively and very popular DJ set is held a safe distance from the hotel where guests can enjoy some seriously cool island nightlife.

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ECO Yachting From zero emission cruising to golf balls that turn into fish food, zero impact yachting is becoming the way to go in the yachting community. Rosie Meleady talks with Barbara Amerio, owner of Permare/Amer Yachts about their award-winning environmental superyacht designs

The ocean is the most vital ecosystem, yet less than 5% of the ocean is comprehensively monitored, and a staggering 95% remains unexplored. While we have all become more aware of the need to clean up the seas, yacht owners with a serious interest are making choices to make a meaningful impact on marine conservation by helping with research of marine life by water quality monitoring. Yacht builders have also become aware of the importance of being more eco friendly, not just for their clients but also because it is their passion for the seas that brought them into the trade. Amer Yachts based in Sam Remo, Italy was among the forerunners in the International Design Awards for their eco-project motor yacht Amer 94 twin Superleggera. “We are proud of our contribution to developing the new era of eco-yachting,” says Barbara Amerio, owner of Permare/Amer Yachts. “The motor yacht Amer 94 was launched in August of 2018. She was built with the aim of winning a challenge for creating a superyacht able to make a tour of Italy at displacement speed without refuelling. In September 2018 during the Genoa Boat Show the new Amer 94 received the Rina Green Plus Award.” Amer Yachts chose cork for the 94’s exterior decks

rather than hard woods. Barbara explains, “This is sustainable and practical for its lightness and excellent insulation. Cork is 100% waterproof, rot-proof, has high mechanical resistance properties, does not need yearly maintenance and it gives a pleasant sensation when walking barefoot on it, and it also has thermal and acoustic insulation properties.” In addition, the company created a special software for the 94 twin called ‘My Green Pages’ to support whale and dolphin watching and a new system to help crew manage waste water. While their clients in the past have been as diverse as F1 drivers and VIP Italian families, Barbara has seen a shift in the clients they now have. “In the past, only businessmen and companies were the classic potential owners – now is not unusual to have women as owners and young people with a great passion for the sea becoming yacht owners.” Superyacht building is a slow and meticulous process tailored to express the client’s custom design and layout with no two yachts ever being the same. Amer Yachts only deals with three client yacht builds per year with over 100 people involved with each build. “Our company employs seven people fulltime, six of whom are women, who manage the planning of each build, research and innovation, engineering, design and outsourcing. In addition, we have the great experience of

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Barbara Amerio of Amer Yachts

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the founder (my father) Fernando Amerio, who is still working hard with a modern and futuristic vision, as well as my brother Rodolfo and I.” “The adventure starts with the first drawings and goes through to the final launching experience. Each step involves detailed Italian handmade manufacturing skills. We need to work for eight to ten months from the arrival of the hull in the shipyard to its launch into the water. We have created a very flexible organisation, about 100 external workers are employed in the building process. Materials and components are bought directly by our shipyard to guarantee the top quality and great innovation. Our mantra is a no waste campaign where we have created a model concept of sustainability in the superyacht sector.” Barbara identifies a serious problem for those wanting to help clean the seas that needs to be addressed in every port and marina. “While the plastic campaign has created a large platform of people ready to clean the sea, the problem is that after collecting rubbish at sea, we cannot bring the garbage onto land as there are no places to store it for recycling.” Barbara spends a lot of time studying new products, travelling to meet clients and suppliers. As well as time on board for visits and sea trials and talking with collaborators for new projects, she also enjoys writing articles

about yachting and participates in conferences about sustainability. The boat show in Genoa is her first love. “It is where we can meet all our clients and 100,000 people passionate about yachting. My favourite moment is the WOW exclamation of the kids who have never been on board a yacht.” Barbara is excited about the next Permare yacht design project. “It will be amazing and so futuristic that you won’t believe your eyes. The motor yacht Superleggera has been a great result for all of the Amer Yachts team and actually it is my favourite. This very special design will be used for a charter company and so a lot of people will get to experience being on board it.” While running a major yacht building company involves weekend work, Barbara sometimes gets time to enjoy the passion of her family business. “A day cruise for swimming in the deep blue, happy moments and an evening drink on board are easily organised anytime with good friends and my family. In my family there is an old tradition, we spend a weekend on board the vintage boat Ambersea, a 1961 teak sailing vessel, to enjoy a welcome rest from our busy lives.”

Barbara’s favourite places to sail and marinas in Italy: • Portosole Marina in Sanremo is my base and where I feel at home. • Porto Lotti Marina in La Spezia is very cool and with good facilities. • Maglietta in Naples and Pontile da Carmelo Vibo Valencia give you a warm welcome. • Marsala Marina is a wonderful place to find typical Sicilian hospitality. Hidden Gems Barbara’s favourite destination is Sardinia. “Apart from the famous Costa Smeralda, my advice is to discover different destinations. Porto Conte close to Alghero the beautiful Aragon town is a natural bay and has amazing natural scenery. Santa Teresa di Gallura in the north of Sardinia takes me back to the past with the old stories of the coral divers and San Pietro island in the south west of Sardinia where the main speciality is tuna fish. All Mediterranean islands have fascinating historical backgrounds – they are very mysterious and rich in old traditions and have amazing food and wine.”

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The Secrets Of Sea Silk Sea silk may sound like the stuff of myths and legends along with mermaids and sirens, yet actually lustrous sea silk is harvested from a rare species of clam, whose delicate fibres flash gold in the sunlight

Elusive strands of golden sea silk are produced by the Pinna nobilis, otherwise named the pen shell – a giant Mediterranean mollusc that can measure over a metre in length. In order to attach themselves to rocks these large clams secrete proteins that, upon contact with seawater, form into threads called byssus. The byssus of the pen shell makes sea silk, the world’s most sought after and rare golden thread. Up to three times finer than human hair the sea silk has an ethereal golden sheen. It is believed that only one person alive knows how to spin this natural material into golden thread. On a little island near Sardinia, Chiara Vigo who is in her mid-sixties dives up to 17 metres deep, into a complex of secluded submerged caves that the women in her family have kept secret for the past 24 generations. Her moonlight dives take place in the spring where she uses a tiny scalpel to carefully trim the razor-thin fibres growing from the tips of a highly endangered Mediterranean clam. As the Italian Coast Guard survey her from the shore, she may dive multiple times to produce just a handful of fibres. She gently trims away the byssus from each bivalve. Vigo says that her un-intrusive method, is just like giving the clams a haircut and does not harm them in any way. She says a prayer before each dive, and lives by an ancient,

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sacred ‘sea oath’ that prevents the sea silk from being neither bought nor sold. The Latin term ‘byssus’, can be found in many ancient documents, and appears to refer to both fine linen and also sea silk. Researchers have asked if this was in fact a holy material used in church textiles. One beautifully crafted stocking, spun from sea silk and dating from the 17th century, is now on display at the Naturhistorisches Museum in Braunschweig, Germany. In the past, people often thought this subtle thread came from the mythical water sheep. These fictional beasts appear in stories from Chinese silk traders dating back to the second and third centuries. Water sheep, with duck-like webbed feet and golden fleece, were said to live beneath the waves of the Roman Empire and similar stories feature in the records of 13th-century Arab traders. While Chiara goes about her arduous sea silk collection process, she refuses any payments for her lovingly gathered threads, only sometimes she supplies it for use in the embroidery of a child’s christening gown, and only occasionally to grander scale textiles. Sadly, if the decline in sea water quality continues to dive, then alchemic sea silk and its giant hosts may disappear forever, and the art of sea silk weaving may be lost into the dark depths of the history books.


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Under Italy The jewel-encrusted knee-high boot of Italy lends itself to 7,600 km of coastline, four seas and numerous islands dotted right around the coast offering fantastic locations for scuba diving and snorkelling. Envy Italy dives into the best spots for your first diving trip to Italy

Elba Island With a large variety of marine life, set dive trails and a shallow shipwreck (12 metres) with great visibility, Elba offers fantastic dive sites that are great for photography and beginners. On the north coast of the island the protruding rocks above the water mark the location of Formiche della Zanca. Dive down and you descend to an amazing seabed with a maze of set trails for divers to follow. Expect to see sun fish, octopus, amberjack, sponges, red corals, sea fans and seahorse. Sardinia With its famous crystal-clear aquamarine waters and underwater cave for-

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mations Sardinia is a favourite with all levels of diver, particularly on the east side of the island. Beginners and snorkellers can enjoy many shore dives while more advanced divers can enjoy the caves, the most popular being the Grotta del Nereo. There are three entrances to the caves with one 100 metres down, where you can then swim up the chimney to one of the shallower entrances. The marine protected areas of the Maddalena and Marine Park of Lavezzi offer plenty of marine life to swim among. Expect to see lobsters, red coral, nudibranchs and Pinna nobilis fan mussels. The Grouper Reef is home to a colony of territorial groupers weighing 60–90 lb (30–40 kg). Wrecks include the KT, a long German ship that sank in 1943 in the marine protected areas of the Maddalena and Marine Park of Lavezzi.


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Sicily Visibility is great in the waters of Sicily; however, some dive sites have swift currents so do your research if you are a beginner. At the islands of Aeolian and Aegadian there are shipwrecks and caves to explore. Near Taormina there is a Roman cargo shipwreck and the Grotta Azzurra. At the southernmost point of Sicily you can spot large marine life such as sea turtles, dolphins, some shark species and, if you are lucky, manta rays. In other dive spots expect to see sea fans, sponges, groupers and octopus. Submerged Cities and Statues Portofino on the Italian Riviera offers some great diving opportunities too. Christ of the Abyss is an original cast bronze statue of Jesus Christ by Guido Galletti, submerged between Camogli and Portofino. Underwater Cities Baiae Archaeological Park, in the Campi Flegrei area of Naples, is a diver’s dream. Ruins of ancient no-

ble villas, thermal baths, courtyards, columns, marble statues and roads dating back to ancient Roman times lie just a few metres from the surface and, together with marine life, it creates a unique and unexpected underwater Mediterranean landscape. Once a thriving health resort for nobles of Rome, the area sank into the sea due to volcanic activity and can now be enjoyed by snorkellers and beginner divers as well as the advanced. New mosaics were recently discovered in the seabed and are now included in the park’s diving routes. In this marine protected area expect to see octopus, sea urchins and starfish. Gaiola Another such location is the underwater city of Gaiola, near the Gulf of Naples. Ancient remains of seaside villas, majestic tuff quarries, landing places, nymphaea and fish ponds are today visible along the coast above and just below the surface of the sea.

Photo credits: Page 48 & 51: www.centrosubcampiflegrei.it Page 49: Edoardo Ruspantini of Subaia Campania Divers.

To learn, or experience diving in Italy, a good place to start is one of the diving centres in Naples. The centres can organise diving or snorkelling excursions in the Archaeological Marine Park (the underwater ancient Roman ruins) and wonderful diving sites in the Gulf of Naples. Visit their websites for more information: www.centrosubcampiflegrei.it or www.subaia.com

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Five Star Fairways Europe has always been a leading destination for those that love to combine travel and golf. Now Italy is fighting its way to the top of the rankings by offering some of the finest courses in the Mediterranean. Gary Kilby headed to the fairways to discover Italy’s top ten golf clubs

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MARCO SIMONE GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB Marco Simone Golf Club is located just 30 minutes northeast of Rome and boasts 27 glorious holes. The 2019 Championship Course though only par 68, is more than a test for any standard of golfer. The club will also be the official host of Ryder Cup 2022 becoming only the third course on continental Europe to host arguably golf’s biggest tournament, which really is testament to how good the course is and proves it really is a gem in Italy’s golfing crown. Here guests are treated to magnificent views of the undulating Roman landscape.

GOLF RESORT CASTELFALFI Castelfalfi is located in the heart of rural Tuscany and combines nature, beauty, leisure and sport with more than 9,400 square metres of hillsides and meadows set among olive groves that add character to the 18 hole Mountain Course and the 9 hole Lake Course. The Mountain Course (par 72) is 6,351 metres long with hilly fairways and water hazards, making it one of the exciting layouts and a big attraction to golfers from around the world. The Half-rounds at Castelfalfi conveniently start and finish by the clubhouse, where golfers can sit back and reflect on their day’s play while enjoying a spectacular view of the Tuscan countryside.

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Stunning Senese backdrops at Bagnaia

FRANCIACORTA GOLF CLUB Located in the Province of Brescia, Franciacorta Golf Club lies in the heart of the region’s substantial golf course community. With a three 9 hole layout Brut (par 37, 3,072 metres), Saten (par 36, 3,071 metres) and Rose (par 34, 2,765 metres) combining any two of these will not only test your golf but also your concentration. Surrounded by the beautiful vineyards of Franciacorta, adorned with small ponds and streams, it offers golfers the unique opportunity to immerse themselves in nature. Perfectly conceived and technically demanding, with strategically placed bunkers as well as numerous lakes, these three courses will be a test of your golf as well as your senses. GOLF CLUB BIELLA ‘LE BETULLE’ Founded in 1958, Le Betulle (the birches) has matured and grown into one of Italy’s finest golf courses. Situated just north of Turin this par 73, 6,534 metre course has been voted the best in Italy on 18 occasions, Golf Club Biella is a classic old-school design. Today the course has been extended to 6,497 metres from the back tees with par set at 73, so Biella is a challenge. With almost every non par 3 hole doglegging left or right off the tee, the course is certainly entertaining and varied, none more so than at the par 5 16th, where the view of the rugged Alpine foothills opens up from the raised tee. IS MOLAS GOLF RESORT The Is Molas Golf Course was the very first golf course in Sardinia, built more then 30 years ago, and with its 27 holes is still the biggest on the island. Half an hour’s drive from Cagliari, Is Molas is situated near the small town of Pula on the southern coast of Sardinia. It is a 27 hole golf complex with an 18 hole course (par 72, 6,383 metres) designed in 1975 and an additional 9 hole layout (known as the Yellow course) added by Franco

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Piras of Gary Player Design in more recent times. With views of the nearby tower of Nora standing on the coastal ruins of an ancient Roman city, the course is routed over moderately undulating land with fairways surrounded by Mediterranean scrub. ROYAL GOLF LA BAGNAIA Situated less than a 30-minute drive from the centre of Siena, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 18 hole layout at the Royal Golf La Bagnaia is the first Tuscan, 18 hole course designed by renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Jr. It is a par 71, 6,101 metres long course, covering an area of 1,300 hectares, perfectly in tune with the gentle rolling hills of Siena. The course is enhanced by beautiful lakes and a majestic club house, where you can enjoy a unique view of all 18 holes and the towers of Siena. The course is set out as an ‘inland links’ within a rolling 320-acre estate where fairways are routed around the sparkling waters of five attractive lakes. Indeed, many of the feature holes on both nines are positioned beside these water hazards. With views across nature and the medieval city of Siena this truly is an Italian gem. MODENA GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB The Country Club comprises an 18 hole ‘Bernhard Langer’ Championship Course, par 72, 6,423 metres and a 9 hole Executive Course, par 27, 976 metres. On relatively flat, occasionally mounded terrain, seven holes are dangerously threatened by water. The par 3 6th and 11th holes both require tee-to-green carries across small lakes, while the short but technical par 5 18th needs a carefully judged hop-skip-and-jump to reach the safety of the green; an alternative is to accept Langer’s scary and water-laden challenge of going for the green in two. The good-width fairways generally give you sufficient space from the tee, although Langer’s challenging combination


Verdura’s impressive coastal views

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of water and bunker hazards, combined with often large and undulating greens, will ensure your full repertoire of shots are thoroughly tested. THE PICCIOLO ETNA GOLF RESORT & SPA Il Picciolo is Sicily’s oldest golf course and possibly the most stunning on the island. It is located right on the slopes of Mount Etna in a natural amphitheatre not far from Taormina with fantastic views. Il Picciolo also hosts some international tournaments such as the Ladies’ European Tour events. Lava flows, trees and vineyards make the course relatively challenging. One of the advantages of Il Picciolo is that it is possible to play all year: the ground does not freeze in winter, and in summer the 650 metres of altitude and the proximity of the sea soften the climate. This par 72, 5,870 metre course was built in 1989 on 44 hectares of hilly terrain. The technical obstacles of the terrain were incorporated to great effect, to the extent that the course appears entirely natural. VERDURA GOLF RESORT No expense was spared during the construction of the 5-star Verdura resort on the south west coast of Sicily. The two championship 18 hole layouts, East and West, are the golfing stars of the show at Verdura and are well supported by a 9 hole par 3 course, a driving range and practice area. The East is arranged as two returning circuits of nine holes while the West enjoys a traditional out-and-back routing. A couple of holes on the front nine of the West course skirt an old railway line (the par 3 3rd has a restored station in the background) before the blue waters of the Med are reached at holes 8 and 9. Returning for home, par 5s at holes 11 and 14 help steer the routing towards the final four holes where the round finishes with a flourish along the coast. The remaining shots are played against the backdrop of the azure blue sea. Golf Club Castelfalfi

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ARGENTARIO GOLF RESORT & SPA The exclusive five-star Argentario Golf & Spa Resort is set on the Monte Argentario promontory which was once an island but is now connected to mainland Tuscany by three causeways that in turn form two lagoons. The location is spectacular and views from the resort over the golf course to the Orbetello Lagoon are simply breathtaking. There’s stark contrast between the cork oak wooded holes and those in open country, but many of Argentario’s fairways plunge up and down in dramatic style on their way to relatively small but well-guarded greens. Enjoy the sea and lagoon views on your way round and then brace yourself for the tough closing three holes.


Biella’s striking mountain views

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Path Of The Cyclops Eastern Sicily Road Trip

Sicily’s eastern coast from Catania to Messina is filled with breathtaking views, a bubbling volcano, and culinary and architectural gems, creating the perfect recipe for a comfortable four-day road trip as Rosie Meleady discovers

DAY 1: CATANIA Catania on the East Coast is the second largest city in Sicily and is the perfect place to start soaking up the breathtaking views of the Ionian Sea. You’ll start with a drive along the Cyclops’ Coast, so named as the Ancient Greeks believed the Cyclopes were a race of one-eyed giants that once populated Sicily. The myth developed when ancient Greeks discovered skulls twice the size of a human head with a large hole that they took as an enormous single eye-socket. The hole in the skull was, in fact, the nasal cavity of the extinct dwarf elephant that roamed prehistoric Sicily. In Catania, visit the Fontana dell’Elefante, a fountain built in the Piazza del Duomo in 1736, which includes a dwarf elephant made of lava stone and an Egyptian obelisk. Take a short walk to Castello Ursino, a castle built originally on a cliff overlooking the sea during the 13th century, but due to volcanic eruptions, lava flows and earthquakes the castle has gradually moved a mile inland. Drive from Catania to Aci Trezza for stunning views of the beautiful, rocky coast and a quaint harbour filled with colourful boats.

Where to Stay The five-star Romano Palace, nestled in its own private park just south of Catania. Where to Eat Il Moro de Trezza overlooking the beautiful harbour serves great fish dishes. It’s a good place to stop if you’re in the mood for an elegant dinner or a romantic evening. DAY 2: MOUNT ETNA Mount Etna’s fiery summit looms as the backdrop of many towns along the eastern Sicilian coast. By car, you can reach a variety of nature trails and points of interest depending on which side of the mountain you drive up. Leaving from Catania, it is easiest to drive to the town of Nicolosi and continue up the volcano from there. You could also drive a bit farther north and enter from the town of Zafferana Etnea. Both towns lead you to a roughly 12-mile drive to Sapienza Refuge on the south side of Mount Etna. The Sapienza Refuge is the best place to park your car. From here, you can take a cable car or find a guide to take you on foot to get closer to the volcano’s many craters. There are

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a huge amount of tours available depending on your fitness level and how adventurous you want to be. Where to Stay Airone Wellness Hotel is a fabulous luxury hotel that provides a wellness area complete with sauna, Turkish bath, relaxing shower, Jacuzzi, and ‘hydropool’. The swimming pool is nestled in a park filled with chestnut trees. DAY 3: TAORMINA The next part of your road trip takes you to Taormina, a small yet charming town overlooking the Ionian Sea. Although the town of Taormina itself has scenic views at every turn, for extra wow factor you should drive to the castle ruins in Castelmola. You can park your car in a public car park just a few minutes from the ruins where you have a 360-degree panorama of mountain, sky and sea. Another good place to visit is Isola Bella – a small nature reserve that is accessible by a narrow path from the mainland beach. Where to Stay Baia Taormina Grand Palace clings to a rocky hillside that hangs over the sea. Relax on the hotel’s private rocky beach or at the hotel’s swimming pool. La Plage Resort is located right next to the famous Isola Bella and is comprised of a low-rise building and several bungalows among its pretty

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gardens. Relax on the resort’s private beach or treat yourself in their spa. Belmond Villa Sant’Andrea, a five-star hotel set so close to the water’s edge that you can hear the waves lapping against the rocky beach from your room. Where to Eat Lido La Caravella Club is directly on the beach. After enjoying a seafood meal stroll out to the beach to relax in the club’s lounge chairs. DAY 4: MESSINA Messina is a lively city right on the Ionian Coast; however, swimming is dangerous in the narrow Strait of Messina. Visit the Cathedral of Messina and the Astronomical Clock, which is one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world. The clock marks the time and the phases of the moon, and if you arrive 10 or 15 minutes before noon, you can catch the daily show that includes mechanically animated lions roaring and roosters crowing as they illustrate events from the town’s civil and religious history. Where to Stay La Mia Valle Hotel’s setting is peaceful and relaxing, set in lush green gardens. Where to Eat Check out I Ruggeri where the food is beautifully and innovatively plated.


Cocktails in Chianti No matter what the time of day, morning, noon or night, if you are in Chianti then it’s always cocktail hour

The sun may still be rising over the terracotta rooftops bringing warmth to the sienna-hued buildings beneath, or slowly setting beyond the mountains towards the Mediterranean Sea, but here in Chianti no matter what the hour, from dawn to dusk, there is always time for a refreshing cocktail or two. From mid-morning pick-me-ups to pre-dinner aperitivi the cocktail features throughout the day in Italian life. No more so than in Chianti. While revered for its abundance of award-winning wineries, many towns and villages are also home to some seriously cool mixologists, designer bars and hipster drinkeries. White Dog Tucked away down an unassuming backstreet in the bustling town of Poggibonsi which rests in the Val d’Elsa between the cities of Florence and Siena you will discover the surprisingly chic and beautifully designed bar and restaurant ‘White Dog’. Entering through a small door which could easily be overlooked you find yourself in the comfortable depths of a 1930s-style vintage nirvana where original antiques rub shoulders with retro designer pieces, and smooth jazz gently wafts throughout the vaulted bar, lounge and dining areas. Having opened in the autumn of 2018 White Dog has become a huge hit with both locals and visitors alike. White Dog creates craft cocktails of the very highest calibre and is open until

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2 a.m. making it the perfect après theatre or post cinema venue for latenight drinks. Cocktails are bang on the money for deliciousness and beautifully presented with a distinct Americano/Italiano vibe. White Dog’s kitchen offers simple, contemporary plates which pair perfectly with the cocktails. The name White Dog originates from the very first American distilleries and the moonshine era of the 1930s from which many of the bar’s cocktails are inspired. The beautiful, young and eminently Instagrammable staff may have a revolutionary spirit but are, in fact, serious cocktail wizards and make White Dog one of the most elegant and grown-up drinking dens in Chiantishire.

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White Dog Negroni • 30 ml Campari Bitter • 30 ml Vermouth • 30 ml London Dry Gin • Soda water splash • Garnish: lemon peel Add the spirits to a cocktail shaker and shake well with a handful of cracked ice. Strain into a glass over ice cubes. Add a splash of soda water and garnish with a twist of lemon peel.


Borgo Pignano If you are looking for a five-star cocktail experience, then look no further than the award-winning country estate of Borgo Pignano. Here, sitting in the shadows of the historic town of Volterra, Francesco Rossi the hipster mixologist carefully blends his signature cocktails using hand-picked herbs and flowers from Pignano’s aromatic gardens. With an al fresco bar located on the belvedere near the 18th-century villa, the estate also has two restaurants to choose from. Francesco’s delicate cocktail creations capture the essence of Tuscany both in flavour and perfume. Guests are invited to gather on the terrace to enjoy the captivating beauty of a Tuscan sunset overlooking the silhouette of Volterra’s towers, and, if you are lucky, you might even glimpse a slither of the Tyrrhenian Sea. This really is a once-ina-lifetime experience where cocktails at sunset take on a whole new level of sophistication and romance. Borgo Pignano’s Milan–Turin • 45 ml Vermouth • 45 ml Campari Bitter • Garnish: scorched lemon peel Pour equal measures of Vermouth and Campari into a heavybased crystal tumbler. Stir and garnish with a strip of scorched lemon peel.

Cocktail Chianti Chiosco If you are touring the vineyards of Chianti then why not add another delicious pit stop to your Tuscan road trip. Nestled in the heart of the ancient village of Panzano just 30 minutes’ drive from Florence sits one of the region’s coolest mixology hotspots. An al fresco cocktail corner where maestro of contemporary cocktails Niccolò Camiciotti creates jaw-dropping pieces of art adorned with seasonal fruits. Not only are the cocktails he makes utterly delicious but each is prepared with artist-like flair and served in stunning vessels such as carved olive wood goblets, crystal tumblers, copper tankards and artisan glassware. Cocktail Chianti Chiosco offers a refreshing alternative to yet another long-winded wine tasting. Sit back and enjoy the views spanning the vineyards and olive groves that surround Panzano and cool off with a designer cocktail in true Tuscan style. Teaming up with the world-famous singing butcher Dario Cecchini, Niccolò has recently created a humorous twist on a robust cocktail classic the ‘Bullshot’, although this one is not for the faint hearted or vaguely vegetarian among us, the question is to beef or not to beef. Dario Cecchini Bullshot • Beef Consommé • Vodka • Celery bitter • Tabasco or spicy sauce • Herbed salt • Lemon twist

Pour the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake well. Take a crystal glass or old-fashioned jar and press the dampened rim into the herbed salt. Pour in your Bullshot and top with a bit of freshly ground pepper.

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Italy’s Glorious Gardens Summer is the perfect season to explore Italy’s most beautiful gardens. From isolated island escapes to secluded secret gardens, Italy offers an impressive collection of vibrant and verdant landscapes to explore. Here we unearth some of Italy’s most meticulously manicured gardens and soak up the heady scents of summer. Judith Wade founder of Grandi Giardini Italiani – the country’s largest network of gardens – shares her personal favourites with Envy Italy

Barberini Garden, Castel Gandolfo, near Rome The pope’s summer palace, Castel Gandolfo, has only recently been opened to garden lovers. The gardens are on the south-west shore of Lake Albano and built over the ruins of an ancient Roman villa, Albanum Domitiani. It has a grand belvedere and a perfectly pruned Italian parterre. This is one of the very few gardens you can visit and admire in the pouring rain (a rare event south of Rome), thanks to a Roman cryptoporticus, or covered passageway. There is a magnificent magnolia collection and a model farm that grows produce for the pope’s table. Villa Reale di Marlia, Lucca, Tuscany The Royal Garden of Marlia, whose first owner was Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Princess Elisa Baciocchi, has recently undergone a major restoration. A luxurious green lawn, the teatro di verzura, laid in the 17th-century, rolls from the Renaissance villa down to a picturesque lake. This has been restored, with terracotta statues in their original places. Trees, shrubs, camellias and boxwood hedge walks have been cut back to the original size and shape designed by

Jacques Gréber in 1924. The colourful Spanish garden is particularly impressive, with fountains fed by a network of irrigation channels. Castello Visconti, Grazzano Visconti, Emilia Romagna This majestic 14th-century castle is still home to the Visconti family and is where film director Luchino Visconti spent his childhood. Avenues weave in and out of a wooded area where cypresses, pines and holm oaks have grown into their full splendour. The Italian parterre is colourful and neat, dotted with statues on pedestals. Roses and hydrangeas add colour and variety in summer, and there is a children’s play cottage. The nearby village of Grazzano Visconti was created in neo-medieval style by the duke’s grandfather. Villa della Pergola, Alassio, Liguria Saved from developers by the Ricci family a few years ago, with the help of Italian landscape architect Paolo Pejrone, this garden has been brought back to life. Abandoned for years, it now has a newly planted collection of agapanthus, long pergolas of wisteria and

Ville Pontificie di Castel Gandolfo by Dario Fusaro, Archivio Grandi Giardini Italiani

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cascades of pink banksia roses. (The Ricci family also renovated the Hanbury botanical garden, near the French border.) The villa itself is now a luxury hotel. San Giuliano, near Siracusa, Sicily Halfway between Catania and Siracusa, the 60-hectare grounds of the Marquis of San Giuliano’s estate include four hectares of garden and groves producing a million kilos of oranges; their scent fills the air. In 1990, landscape designer Oliva di Collobiano created a garden of four distinct spaces enclosed by drystone walls. There’s an Arabian garden, with ponds and water lilies; a tropical garden, with palms and monumental cacti; a Mediterranean garden with roses and grapefruit trees; and a scented garden, with frothy helichrysum, liquorice plant, myrtle and citrus. Rachel Lamb, the British head gardener, has added a new area dedicated to varieties of cactus. Villa Reale di Marlia, Archivio Grandi Giardini Italiani

Castello San Pelagio, Padua, Veneto This 300-year-old castle was reopened as Italy’s first privately owned museum of flight in 1980, with displays of flying machines from da Vinci to the Wright Brothers and Charles Lindbergh. The garden is unique in that it also features vintage aircraft: Second World War hospital planes alongside the spectacular rose collection, and, next to the maze, an Italian air force fighter. Aviateur Blériot is a yellow rose named after the French aviator who crossed the English Channel in 1909. There is a rich collection of cypress and ancient lime trees, plus lavender, jasmines and clematis. Island of Garda, Lake Garda Saint Francis of Assisi built a hermitage on this island in Lake Garda in about 1220, and it later became an important ecclesiastical centre. Now one big privately owned garden, it opened to

the public only recently. The perfectly groomed Italian parterre faces the lake, as do the glasshouses. The ticket price includes the return boat trip from several points around the lakeshore and a drink on the terrace of the villa. Il Negombo, Ischia, Naples Built in 1946 by Duke Luigi Silvestro Camerini and his wife, both plant collectors and ecologists, Il Negombo has grown into a spectacular Mediterranean garden with a fine collection of modern art, including sculptures by Arnaldo Pomodoro and Giuseppe Maraniello. The park rises from the semi-circular sandy bay of Montano, with plants from Japan, Brazil, Australia and South Africa, such as orbea variegata, hakea, encephalartos and cycas, around the park’s 12 thermal pools. Palazzo Malingri, Cuneo, Piedmont This garden was remodelled at the beginning of the 19th-century, with winding paths, panoramic viewpoints and shady woods. Owner Aimaro Oreglia d’Isola, a prominent Italian architect, and his wife have added a fine collection of sasanqua camellias and other acidophilus plants, plus anemones, hydrangeas, hostas and a carpet of wild violets in the woods. The garden is surrounded by stone walls, and outside are vineyards and a deer park. Palazzo Patrizi, Bracciano, Lazio Palazzo Patrizi is a 16th-century castle built on the slopes of the Tolfa Mountains near Lake Bracciano. The estate covers miles of countryside, with a hunting lodge. The gardens, including one of the most beautiful rose gardens in Italy, are the work of the current marchesa, Umberta Patrizi Montoro. Hundreds of rambling roses cover both the castle and the walls and also grow in the kitchen garden beside the vegetables.

Isola del Garda by Eric Sander, Archivio Grandi Giardini Italiani

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Italian Experiences Pizza and pasta making classes are common in Italy, but if you want to try something different during your travels then here are some handpicked ideas

Row and Eat Like a Venetian Learn to row traditional Venetian boats just like a gondolier. Then enjoy an assortment of typical cicchetti and accompanying wines. These crostini concoctions are limited only by the imaginations of the proprietors who create them, and none of it will ever taste better than after a late-afternoon lesson, sipping and sampling as the sun sets, in a bella batelina that you rowed yourself. Being accompanied by a Venetian means you might venture to try classics like piovra (octopus), fluffy white bàcala mantecato (cooked codfish whipped with olive oil) on polenta, a savory hot polpetta meatball or tuna croquet, or a speck, robiolo e tartuffo crostino.

Artisan Italian cheesemaking This one week full immersion course begins with the science necessary to produce any type of cheese and quickly moves into the production phase. In addition to making classic regional Italian cheeses, a special section of the course shows participants how to develop personal cheeses to fit any taste and preference. During this intensive and comprehensive programme, participants are taken through each step of cheesemaking, beginning with the planning and development of each recipe, the phases necessary for production, storage and aging options, and optimal serving and accompaniments for each cheese.

www.rowvenice.org

www.italianculinary.it

Family dinners the Sicilian Way If you’re a fan of cooking, then learning to prepare a three-course Sicilian meal at Il Nettuno Restaurant in central Taormina is perfect for you. The five-hour cooking class is led by a professional chef who will not only teach you to prepare classic Sicilian dishes but will also take you to a local market and reveal the secret to selecting the freshest, most flavourful ingredients. This hands-on class is ideal for those visitors looking to learn something they can take home with them and use long after they’ve left Sicily.

Art and Prosecco Located on the outskirts of the ancient hilltop town of Montelparo in Le Marche, Hotel Leone offers guests a chic retreat with far-reaching views of both the mountains and the coast. A boutique townhouse with nine luxurious suites, a private swimming pool, restaurant, bar, lounge and panoramic terraces, Hotel Leone offers guests the chance to indulge in an array of creative activities, artist retreats and special interest breaks which are hosted throughout the spring, summer and autumn. From knitting to writing, painting to yoga, Hotel Leone’s exclusive retreats offer something for everyone.

www.ristorantenettunodasiciliano.it www.hotelleonemarche.com

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Brenda McMahon, Orange sun

From grape to glass Appunti di Vino is the wine course created by Vinity, dedicated to those who truly are passionate and curious about the subject of wine, from the grape growing to the wine making, to the tasting of wines. A complete and dynamic course to discover wine in four intensive lessons, with various wine tasting, where teaching goes hand-inhand with fun and debate. At the end of the course it will be possible to advance to a second level, a course where another four lessons will be entirely dedicated to the wine and food pairing rules, with tastings of both during each lesson. www.vinity.it Ceramic art Learn how to create undulating and dimensional ceramic tile murals during this 14-day hands-on workshop. The programme will teach participants several ways to make tiles and how to create volume, texture and dimensions that you do not generally see on the wall. Brenda McMahon will demonstrate how to create wall sculptures large and small, while sharing how to adhere, frame and hang these art pieces. In addition to tile making, Brenda shares her unusual and liberating glazing method which allows students to use dozens of colours, lightly layered onto the surface of their tile art. Next workshop: 29 September– 12 October 2019 www.lameridiana.fi.it Scuba for beginners This is a course for those who have always wanted to learn scuba diving, experiencing unparalleled adventure and discovering the underwater world. This course is the world’s most popular and widely recognised scuba course. Through it you’ll learn the basic rules of scuba diving, valid for your future scuba diving career and you’ll get a scuba diving certification that will allow you to dive at a maximum depth of 18 m. www.centrosubcampiflegrei.it

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Venice architecture The best architecture studios in Venice will share their insights on local (interior and exterior) projects and together examine innovative solutions for the city that is claimed to be stuck in time. This intense three-day course will introduce you to the magical combination of the new and the old in Venice. You will discover the most recent renovation projects by Rem Koolhaas and Tadao Ando, discussing restoration and conservation challenges as well as sustainable solutions for the city of Venice and beyond. Next course: 9–11 October 2019 www.europeanculturalacademy.com Gladiator for a day The Gladiator School offers short courses of gladiatura with preparation and personal training programmes. At the end of the period of preparation, the aspiring gladiator can continue the learning phase and then become part of the Gladiator School in Rome, the first school ever to teach

this discipline of art that is historic yet still charming. You’ll discover the secrets of Imperial Rome’s gladiator games, get hands-on with ancient Roman history and have the best fun you can imagine. www.gruppostoricoromano.it History of Italian art For those fascinated by the beauty of Italian monuments and are not satisfied with only a basic understanding of them, this History of Italian Art course will allow you to learn in depth about the history and social context in which these masterpieces were designed and executed. You will become acquainted with the most important works of artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo while learning about the most significant historical and social events that accompanied them. www.scuolaleonardo.com

Hotel Leone art course

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An Italian Love Affair Many of us secretly yearn to escape the rat race and escape to warmer climes, but not all of us have the passion or conviction to jump ship and start a new life abroad. It takes guts and determination to forge a new life in a new country and that’s exactly what British couple Tim and Madeline Jones had in spades when they made their great Italian escape

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Leaving behind successful careers in international finance, the Joneses had previously been living a high-pressure corporate lifestyle when they made the dramatic decision to find a renovation project and open a boutique hotel in rural Italy. Madeline explains, “We spent our honeymoon in Italy enjoying a taste of la dolce vita and both felt an instant affinity to this land of good food, fine wine and abundant natural beauty. Our interest in Italy never really went away and over

time the idea became a yearning and our dream became a possibility. During my banking career I travelled extensively, staying in some top hotels which gave me the inspiration for creating our own boutique hotel. However, it was no mean feat to find the perfect property and it took the couple nearly five years to find what they really wanted. Looking all over Italy they viewed hundreds of projects before they saw the palazzo in Montelparo, a medieval village in the region of Le Marche.


History and heritage Madeline and Tim knew they had found the right property the moment they saw Hotel Leone. It had everything they had been looking for: a village location, a historic past and space for a restaurant, pool and dining terraces. The property’s original heritage dates to 1501 where documents refer to it as Palazzo Pellei – the name of a then noble and powerful Italian family. Over the centuries, the fabric of the building had evolved resulting in a mixture of styles and architectural features. Until the 1980s the property was known as Taverna del Leone. The palazzo needed complete renewal, total modernisation and sensitive renovation. Every element of the structure needed careful attention. For example, what is now the wine cellar was hidden behind a wall which had been blocked up. Madeline explains, “After Tim and I studied some old plans of the building we quickly realised it was a false wall and opened it up to see what was behind. After excavating hundreds of years’ worth of silt and mud, a cosy wine cellar was created. The cellar is, in fact, a blocked-off tunnel which would have been an underground route beneath the town. Montelparo is a fortified town and as with many of these historic locations it has its own network of hidden passageways beneath the buildings, allowing residents to move secretly from one side of the town to the other.” A labour of love The transformation process and the restoration journey were intensive but fuelled by Tim and Madeline’s unshakeable passion for their new project. The interiors of the hotel were designed, and all materials selected by Madeline herself. Where possible, architectural features were saved and further complemented by original antiques and more modern design-led furnishings. Lighting was sourced from an artisan manufacturer based near Montelparo and Tim’s passion for art deco is beautifully de-

picted in the reception and bar areas, where a sense of timeless glamour has been masterfully recreated. The lion’s share of the restoration work was physically carried out by Tim and Madeline. The acres of tiling, decorating and fitting were undertaken personally by them, the structure of the building along with the repointing of the old stone walls handled by local builders. Throughout this vast project Tim and Madeline used environmentally friendly techniques and materials where possible, and Hotel Leone utilises solar power energy and has its own rainwater collection system for watering the plants on the terrace. Today, Hotel Leone is Le Marche’s leading boutique hotel with guests visiting from all around the globe. Madeline effortlessly oversees every minute detail of the hotel’s daily management. From meeting and greeting guests through to managing VIP events, planning authentic excursions and arranging boutique weddings. Her eye for the finer details is impressive to say the least, from the handpicked artisan nibbles in the rooms to her impressive knowledge of Italian wines. As head chef, Tim’s passion for good food can be found woven throughout his seasonal menus which feature local products from Le Marche, which he treats with a contemporary approach. “We offer our guests modern Le Marche dishes that use traditional ingredients prepared with a fresh and creative approach. Our menus are interesting – we push a few boundaries and combine flavours from around the globe. These work well alongside more classic regional flavours.” Madeline and Tim’s story is inspiring to say the least. Not only have they lovingly transformed a crumbling old palace into a luxurious boutique hotel, they have also proved that passion, commitment and hard work can in fact turn dreams into a reality no matter how hard the challenge.

Madeline and Tim Jones - owners of Hotel Leone in Le Marche

“We spent our honeymoon in Italy enjoying a taste of la dolce vita and both felt an instant affinity to this land of good food, fine wine and abundant natural beauty.”

www.hotelleonemarche.com

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Celebrating Life In Le Marche Summer 2019 marks the 10-year anniversary of Appassionata – Italy’s most successful and inspiring holiday property company

Based in one of the most unspoilt regions on the east coast of Italy, Appassionata has been buying, restoring and selling shares in historic homes to owners worldwide for a decade now. A family-run business, Appassionata’s team have a unique eye for detail and an impressive ability to create dream properties in stunning locations that capture the essence of authentic Italy. From townhouses to country estates, Appassionata’s portfolio of fractional ownership opportunities is impressive. Each property is unique, full of character and finished to the very highest standard; not only that, but each is also managed and maintained perfectly throughout the year. By far the smartest and simplest way to buy a holiday home in Italy is to buy into an established fractional ownership concept. Appassionata is Italy’s number one fractional ownership company and offers international owners the opportunity to buy a share in a beautifully presented and perfectly managed Italian home-from-home. With four impressive properties under their wing thus far, the Appassionata team are marking the business’s 10th anniversary with the unveiling of their fifth and most grand-scale property to date: Villa Veneto. A spectacular four-storey townhouse overlooking the Adriatic coast with roof terraces galore and outstanding sea-views, Villa Veneto is full of stunning architectural details and stunning design features.

An elegant and spacious Liberty style home, Villa Veneto is situated in the historic town of Lapedona with far-reaching views of both the sea and the mountains. Envy Italy caught up with Appassionata’s designer and co-owner Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs for a sneak preview of Villa Veneto before its official unveiling which will take place in June 2019. With such a large blank canvass, how are you approaching the redesign and decoration of the villa? The house was in a reasonable condition and had retained many stunning architectural elements which was wonderful. Where possible we are saving original l features or repurposing them and bringing them back to life. The fantastic thing about Villa Veneto is the natural light and high ceilings, the sense of space is amazing, and often hard to find in old Italian houses. The newly opened-out living space flows beautifully now we have knocked down the wall between the kitchen and lounge. I really like the connection between cooking and socialising, for me, a holiday house is a place to spend time with family and friends. So, an open kitchen is essential. Our local marble supplier took away the old stone kitchen work top and magically cut and polished it for the new staircase steps, he is a true artisan. Another feature is a grand marble fireplace which is the focal point in the lounge area, here two marble-topped gold-leaf console tables will sit either side with a large bespoke mirror hanging above. The cosy snug/TV lounge will consist of an elegant contemporary white leather sofa with comfy cushions and two sofa

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“A family-run business, Appassionata’s team have a unique eye for detail and an impressive ability to create dream properties in stunning locations that capture the essence of authentic Italy.”

tables with vintage lamps either side. Wherever possible I am working with local craftspeople and I have also commissioned a local artist to paint a couple of large paintings. I have found some antique rugs will add a touch of colour and softness to the original parquet floors. Sourcing pieces for Villa Veneto has been a real pleasure and I have recently found a beautiful Liberty style dining set, bureau, sideboard and large mirror plus a dining table with an etched glass top, they are perfect for the house. I am presently searching for the ideal fabric to replace the heavy red damask currently sitting at the back of the glass bureau. The bureau even has all the original handmade keys which is incredible as these have normally been lost over the years. One of the most striking spaces of Villa Veneto is its elegant entrance hall which has an incredibly high ceiling and staircase featuring an intricate wrought iron balustrade. This area was crying out for a fabulous chandelier, and, after weeks of searching I found the perfect one from Barovier & Toso, one of the oldest companies in Italy. The original ceramic tiles in the hall will be polished and the two velvet Liberty chairs I bought last month from the Ascoli Piceno Antique Market will also sit perfectly here. The elegant stairway will be lit by four stylish Magazzini crystal and gold leaf wall lights. I have recently bought a beautiful gold console table with a rose quartz marble top, currently at our local marble supplier being polished, which will go on the first landing, leading out to the main terrace. The kitchen which undoubtedly will form the heart of Villa Veneto is being hand built by our local carpenter and the work tops are OKITE. With the aim of using the very best in fittings and finishes we have chosen appliances from ILVE and the kitchen lighting will again feature Appassionata’s trademark Murano chandeliers. Appassionata’s properties all celebrate la dolce vita. Villa Veneto will have its own cellar and games room constructed. This sounds like a great space to chill in. What will it be like? The cellar will contrast the timeless feel of the rest of the house and be quite modern with details such as floor lighting that will complement the rugged stone walls. I have recently purchased a large mirror to hang at the end of the cantina; this will give a nice reflection from the top of the cantina and create a sense of light. We are currently looking for bespoke wine racks for our 10 fractional owners. We are looking for something innovative as the historic cellar will need to house 10 individual wine collections. As you enter the cantina a tall metal chandelier will add an eclectic mix to the LED floor lighting. I also plan to put a couple of old oak wine barrels and some quirky pieces I have recently found on my travels around Le Marche. The games room will also include a full-size pool table, the per-

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fect space for chilling out after a long day at the beach. Each of Appassionata’s properties feature gorgeous fabrics and unique design details. What are your plans for furnishing Villa Veneto? All our properties have their own inherent character and Villa Veneto has a sense of understated glamour. To honour this we will be using floorlength, floaty cream, silk striped curtains. Lighting will be subtle with no centre lights in the bedrooms; I like to keep lighting soft and atmospheric. Instead, we will have antique lamps with handmade lampshades crafted by a local artisan. The bedrooms will have handmade Italian beds with gorgeous gold feet and satin headboards piped with velvet and will be dressed in sumptuous Italian linens. Villa Veneto features several stunning roof terraces. What are your ideas for these? The main terrace will act as al fresco lounge and have a comfy outdoor sofa, dining table, chairs and BBQ. An automatic blind will provide shade when needed and the pergola outside the main bedroom will have a variety of climbing plants to add some dappled shade and perfume. The smaller terrace, overlooking the piazza, will have a bistro table and chairs, with tubs of colourful plants; a third terrace will house a luxurious hot tub. The views from the villa are incredible and the town of Lapedona looks intriguing. What can owners of Villa Veneto expect when spending time here? Lapedona is a small medieval town, dating from the 11th-century and located just a few minutes’ drive from the coast and larger towns. There are cafés, bars and restaurants and one of the most upmarket pizza restaurants in Italy, Didacus. The town is steeped in history and famous for its summer classical music festivals held annually in one of the piazzas. The bread shop in the neighbouring town of Moresco bakes the best bread in Le Marche. Torre de Palme, another nearby town, has three amazing restaurants and a regular antique fair that runs throughout the summer. Porto san Giorgio is a busy seaside town just a five-minute’ drive from Lapedona and perfect for those seeking a little nightlife. Villa Veneto is the perfect base for exploring the coast, mountains and countryside. That said, many of our property owners choose to simply stay at home and enjoy the luxury of living in Italy. Appassionata’s stunning new holiday property Villa Veneto has 10 fractional ownership shares available now. Discovery tours of the property can be arranged by contacting Dawn at Appassionata. www.appassionata.com


Benefits of Fractional Ownership with Appassionata • Stress Free Ownership – clear and simple contracts, no hidden fees, taxes or purchase costs • All-inclusive Service – includes year-round property management and maintenance • Luxury Living – your property is beautifully presented and furnished to the very highest standards • Family and Friends – share your Italian lifestyle with friends and family, make memories and pass on a legacy • Added Value – fractional ownership is cost effective, running costs are minimised yet the property is fully equipped • Design Details – each Appassionata property has been personally created by Interior Designer Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs

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Elite Retreats Summer in Italy never fails to evoke nostalgic images of azure blue seas, delicious al-fresco lunches, lazy afternoons by the pool and sunset cocktails with friends and family. It’s no surprise that this land of fine wine and fantastic food offers such an abundance of luxury holiday properties, and the demand from discerning travellers is forever on the rise


From the shores of the Adriatic to the coastline of the Mediterranean, Italy offers some of the most exclusive VIP retreats in Europe. Whether you are yearning for a hilltop castle with a well-stocked wine cellar or a con-

temporary villa with its own gym and spa, Envy Italy’s selection of handpicked holiday properties will certainly fire the imagination and whet the appetite for valuable time enjoying that elusive ‌ il dolce far niente.

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Villa Infinity – Sardinia Situated near the coast of Punta Sardegna in Sardinia, Villa Infinity is a luxury property with beautiful sea views, perfect for a relaxing break with friends and family. The unique circular building sits amidst impeccably manicured grounds, and features a stunning infinity pool. The heated pool is bordered by a spacious solarium deck with sun loungers, making this villa the ideal retreat to top up a tan, catch up on your reading list, have a relaxing swim or enjoy poolside drinks. With its heating system, the pool is a comfortable temperature even if guests wish to swim under the stars or gaze out across the sea at sunrise. Characterised by marvellous granite rocks across the exterior of the property and a splendid view of the sea and the Archipelago of La Maddalena, the villa has a real emphasis on relaxation. The al fresco living and dining areas are perfect for enjoying balmy evenings in good company or hosting moonlit soirees. On cooler evenings, the indoor dining area with vast windows framing the water, allows guests to have the best of both worlds. The kitchen is fully equipped

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for guests wishing to enjoy a family dinner or host a casual gathering. Styled with a slightly rustic theme, the space features natural wooden accents throughout, giving it a homely atmosphere. The wooden and granite elements continue throughout the property, for a seamless merging of traditional and contemporary design. The bedrooms are decorated in neutral tones, with splashes of colour from pretty throws, and luxurious bedding and soft furnishings. Each room has its own en-suite with all modern conveniences and designs matching the natural dĂŠcor throughout the villa. With plenty of space, excellent amenities and a calm and relaxed ambience, Villa Infinity is an oasis of peace and tranquillity. The property is the ultimate sanctuary for groups of friends or families to enjoy quality time together on the beautiful coast of Sardinia. For more information contact www.myprivatevillas.com. Mention Envy Italy and receive an exclusive offer or privilege discount.


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Villa Tasca – Sicily A noble neoclassical 16th-century palace with a romantic Sicilian garden, Villa Tasca, Palermo’s largest and most private residence, is an architectural masterpiece that is representative of Sicilian luxury and antique artwork. Guests who wish to get a taste of the Italian “la dolce vita” surrounded by pastoral frescoes, collectible antiques and a 20 acre park with Victorian-era romantic gardens should look no further. This historic, noble property immersed in a botanical paradise enticed King Ferdinand IV, Queen Caroline and Jacqueline Kennedy to the villa. Wagner, the composer, even completed the opera Parsifal during his stay at Villa Tasca. The estate has a privileged location, situated on the road between Palermo and Monreale, but guests can still enjoy the tranquillity of a natural oasis. The sumptuous interiors offer guests a living environment that epit-

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omises class, elegance and luxurious comfort. There are plenty of places indoors where they can unwind such as the Piano Nobile room – decorated with magnificent frescoes and vaulted ceilings – the reading room, the private reception room and the billiards room. Guests have a unique experience at Villa Tasca, where cooking, culture and history can be combined. The villa’s team of staff will ensure that all guests feel pampered, with all their needs taken care of. Moreover, the villa’s exquisite open spaces, lush garden and large terraces provide the ideal venue to celebrate special moments such as weddings or other events, small or large. For more information contact www.myprivatevillas.com. Mention Envy Italy and receive an exclusive offer or privilege discount.


Experience 5 star luxury at

VILLA OLIVO Beautifully designed and newly renovated, Villa Olivo is an unrivalled Italian villa overlooking the stunning coastline of the Adriatic Sea. A hilltop retreat offering year-round exceptional luxury, 5* services and authentic experiences in the heart of Le Marche. Set amidst rolling hills, olive groves and ancient vineyards and just 10 minutes from the coast, Villa Olivo has been beautifully crafted to the highest standards, with 6 King-size ensuite bedrooms, its own spa, gym, infinity pool and over 600 square metres of living space. The ultimate Italian escape - experience a unique retreat where luxury meets leisure. Enjoy an exclusive holiday where our concierge team create the perfect home-from-home atmosphere for you and your guests.

w w w.v i l l a o l i vo m a r c h e .c o m


Villa Camelia – Capri This unique property is the only villa on the island with its own private sea access. According to legend, the composer Bizet while vacationing here was so inspired by the sounds of the sea that he composed one of his most famous pieces, Carmen. It is also on this very terrain that Caesar Augustus built his palace by the sea; some of its remains are still visible on parts of the property. Villa Camelia enjoys an incomparable view of the Peninsula of Sorrento, Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples. Capri, with the port of Marina Grande, Villa Lysis and the townhouses of this village can be seen from the gardens. On the opposite side of the property, the view opens up towards the hillside of Monte Solaro and the bright white Fenicia stairs of Villa San Michele, where the village of Anacapri starts. Lush gardens and amazing terraces provide space for al-fresco living; wander through the enchanting garden with stone sculptures, pines, oaks and palm trees. A panoramic path leads from the garden down to the

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sea, passing through a pleasant, wooded area of olive trees and Mediterranean herbs. The path leads to a private sundeck, platform and boat dock. The area is furnished with loungers and umbrellas, while beach towels and cold drinks and snacks can be stocked in the refrigerator and kitchenette located at sea level. Villa Camelia enjoys great common areas where family or friends can gather. All exude elegance and sophistication, from the marble floors, vaulted ceilings, stylish crystal lamps to amazing works of art and antique furniture. On the ground floor, the main hall introduces guests to the ambience with its decorative mosaics and white marble floor. The living room with its fireplace has cosy corners for reading and relaxation and features important works of art, such as the mosaic illustrating the era of Roman Pompeii. For more information contact www.myprivatevillas.com. Mention Envy Italy and receive an exclusive offer or privilege discount.


A Luxury Lifestyle Investment Offering affordable shares in unique properties in the quintessentially Italian region of Le Marche. The smart way to own a luxury home in Italy for a fraction of the cost. For more information on fractional ownership opportunities at Il Riposo or details on Appassionata’s Italian lifestyle brand go to www.appassionata.com or contact Dawn directly dc@appassionata.com


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