Discover Southern Europe, Issue 7, August 2019

Page 1

I S S U E 7 | A U G U S T 2 019







F R A N C E ,   S PA I N ,   I TA LY   &   P O R T U G A L

Discover Southern Europe  |  Contents



AUG US T 20 1 9


away from home come with everlasting holiday memories.

12 Ten Foodie Things to do in Nice There’s much more to eat in Nice than just their famous Salade Niçoise. We tried the city’s best ‘socca’, ‘farcis’ and ‘pissaladière’.

50 An interview with Itziar Ituño The world’s favourite robbers, the guys from Money Heist, put on their red jumpsuits once more for a new adventure. Itziar Ituño (aka cop-gone-bad Raquel Murillo) grants us a peek behind the scenes of the hit TV sensation.

16 A French Wine Revolution With wine regions galore, France is one of the world’s most diverse and celebrated wine countries. Join us as we visit the nation’s nicest vineyards.

56 Italy’s Unmissable Festivals Shake, sing or immerse yourself into art! These fabulous festivals, you just won’t want to miss out on.

28 A Weekend in Barcelona As a mecca for food, architecture and sunshine, the city of Gaudi is one of those places you should see at least once. We take you on an exciting weekend trip through the heart of Catalonia. 34 A Magical Getaway in France and Spain 48

Why not opt for a different kind of holiday this year? These unique homes


Southern European Style


Design Finds

44 Business 58

Diary Dates


Film & Book

70 Food Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  3

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editor’s note

Dear Reader,

Discover Southern Europe Issue 7, August 2019 Published 08.2019 ISSN 2732-3397 Published by Scan Group Print Uniprint Executive Editor Thomas Winther Creative Director Mads E. Petersen Editor Arne Adriaenssens Copy-editor Karl Batterbee Graphic Designer Audrey Beullier Contributors Anna Bonet Nicola Rachel Colyer Kiki Deere Marina Dora Martino Eddi Fiegel

Steve Flinders Esme Fox Kate Harvey Hannah Krolle Paola Maggiulli Ingrid Opstad Gerard Plana Rose Sgueglia Hannah Jane Thompson Katie Turner Claire Webb Pierre Zahnd Cover Photo Ricardo Gomes Sales & Key Account Managers Katia Sfihi Carlos Borras Mathilde Rineau Nancy Tapia Publisher: Scan Group 15B Bell Yard Mews Bermondsey Street London SE1 3YT United Kingdom

With its balmy temperatures and relaxed atmosphere, Southern Europe is far from done celebrating the summer. Whether you walk underneath ‘el sol’, ‘il sole’ or ‘le soleil’, the Mediterranean vibes will surround you, wherever you go. This month, we immerse ourselves into the bright-coloured culture of Barcelona. Leaving Las Ramblas behind us, we stumble upon wellhidden, picturesque squares and one of the world’s most dazzling hospitals. Our hungry stomachs also drive us to Nice, where we take the edge (and even a little bit more) off our appetite. And what pairs up better with French cuisine than a luscious glass of red, white or rosé? We pay some of France’s greatest vintners a visit, prying for their family secrets. The same amount of prying, we do with Itziar Ituño, better known as Inspector Raquel Murillo from the Netflix sensation Money Heist. Mere weeks after its third season got released to the viewing public, we talk heists, home and hurdles with Madrid’s most notorious cop. And we have plenty more cultural goodies for you to discover: roam the region’s greatest festivals with us and join us on a visit to the pictures to watch Pain and Glory, Pedro Almodovar’s Golden Palm-nominated masterpiece. This magazine is near-exploding with all we love about Southern Europe. So, give in to your nosiness and peruse yourself a way through the continent’s sunniest countries.

Phone: +44 207 407 1937

Arne Adriaenssens Editor

© All rights reserved. Material contained in this publication may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without prior permission of Scan Group – a trading name of Scan Magazine Ltd. This magazine contains advertorials/promotional articles.

4  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style

Shades of sunset


Embrace the heat of high summer with hues reminiscent of the season’s most spectacular sunsets. From bright yellow and bold orange to dusty coral and deep red, this warm colour palette offers a sophisticated take on playful dressing as the sun goes down.

Keep cool in this linen blouse from household name La Redoute, that’s perfect for showing off sun-kissed shoulders. Pair with high-waist shorts, flat minimalist sandals and statement earrings for a look that will take you from dawn to dusk in style. La Redoute linen mix off-the-shoulder blouse, €30

This bright orange, sheer fabric takes on an unexpected elegance when combined with delicate lilac and moody burgundy in the print of this statement dress from luxury Italian fashion house Fendi. The perfect piece for a destination wedding that will work just as well for cocktail hour back home, this is a forever find that will leave you feeling as good as gold. Fendi orange georgette dress, €3,000

6  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

No summer wardrobe is complete without a basket bag (or two) and this orange and magenta offering from Portuguese brand Toino Abel puts a playful spin on the classic accessory. From a small village in the Portuguese countryside, founder Nuno Henriques works with local artisans to create sustainable, fashion conscious designs that inject a new lease of life into the traditional reed baskets. Toino Abel Justine basket bag, from €99

The beautiful deep-red shade of these cat-eye sunglasses from Mango make them an instant highstreet hit. Add the final flourish to a tonal look to tap into summer’s hottest trend, or pair with a white top, denim shorts and a scarf tied in your hair for a vintage-inspired summer outfit. Mango acetate frame sunglasses, €15.99

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style

Get set for sundowners with this bold shirt in a bright watermelon shade from Spanish brand Massimo Dutti. Tuck it into classic chinos and pair with suede loafers for a look that oozes European elegance, or wear unbuttoned over a white T-shirt with navy shorts for casual yet refined style. Massimo Dutti slim fit linen shirt, €39.95

Raising the style stakes with a rich melange of burnt orange-red hues, French heritage brand Saint James combines centuries of traditional craftsmanship with modern trends to create wardrobe staples that are guaranteed to be loved for decades to come. The unisex striped tee adds timeless appeal to a pair of casual shorts in a matching shade but will work equally well to add a subtle pop of colour to neutral separates. Marinière Saint James, €59, San José Bermuda, €119

Even a simple T-shirt makes a statement in a bold colour like this orange style from Spanish high-street brand Bershka. A wardrobe workhorse, it will go with everything from understated beige to classic navy and denim, making it a must-have for on-trend dressing that will take you from beach to bar with ease. Bershka Short sleeve T-shirt, €7.99

French footwear brand Veja has made its mark as the coolest way to finish off a look and this mustard and purple suede design is no exception. Coordinate the rest of your outfit with other sunset shades or add a pop of colour to an otherwise neutral getup: either way, you’ll be putting your best foot forward in these stylish kicks. Veja holiday rec artic trainers, €115

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  7

Discover Southern Europe  |  Southern European Style & Beauty

A glimpse of the Cosmetics 27 range.

Michèle Evrard, founder of Cosmetics 27.

Natural skin manifesto Cosmetics 27, a Paris-based line of cosmeceutics, combines scientific research and alternative medicine in the pursuit of viable, long-term skincare, and is poised to lead the way in the years to come. TEXT: PIERRE ZAHND  |  PHOTOS: COSMETICS 27


n conversation with Michèle Evrard, founder of Cosmetics 27, it is difficult not to remember that the word cosmetics shares the same origin as the word cosmos: a ‘harmonious arrangement’. It is her holistic approach that lies behind the regenerative, balancing effects of her products: a pharmacist by trade and a veteran of cosmetic groups, Michèle’s vision is to combine stateof-the-art research with alternative medicine and a practical attitude to self-care to develop what she describes as “the next generation of natural, clean cosmetics”. Now established as a leading actor in cosmetics, the brand started as a personal project. After a skiing accident, Michèle drew on her pharmaceutical background to treat a scar on her knee. A key ingredient to her formula is the Centella Asiatica, a cornerstone of Chinese and Indian medicine renowned for its regenerative properties. 20 years later, this preparation has become the

8  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Baume 27, the brand’s flagship offering and an industry-leading product for cellular repair. The philosophy behind the brand is the holistic principle of integrative skincare. “Skin is the largest organ of the body, and is primarily a protective surface,” she says. As such, it should be cared for from the inside as well as the outside. Nutrition and hydration remain the fundamentals of skin health to Michèle, who also advocates face yoga, or the regular stimulation of facial muscles. More than great-looking skin, Cosmetics 27 offers an alternative attitude to skin health. As Michèle explains, her formulations are “not about looking younger or wrinkle-free”, adding that “there is no notion of age in the line”. While much of the market gravitates towards the idea of seeming, Cosmetics 27 seeks to reconcile the appearance with the essence. “Skincare should be results-driven, and results should be natural”. Indeed, the line is

entirely produced in France, from 84 to 100 per cent natural ingredients. And when she states that the brand is “ahead of its time”, she means it literally. Her research is particularly concerned with skin health in the context of growing air pollution and environmental change: “The brand must stand for something in the market, and tomorrow’s products must be in line with what the skin will need.” For now, newcomers can discover the brand with the time-tried Baume 27, or with the latest Mist 27: a probiotic lotion released just in time to combat the summer heat.

The Centella Asiatica, the brand’s regenerating secret.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

Design Finds Whether it is natural materials like wood, stone, wool, plants or elements inspired by the outdoors, bringing nature inside is a growing trend in the interior world. We help you add a touch of nature to your living space, through either decor or furniture, to create a harmonic sanctuary. TEXT: INGRID OPSTAD  I  PRESS PHOTOS

Wood adds warmth and a natural feeling to your home. Wewood is a Portuguese joinery that uses wood from sustainable forests and environmentally friendly materials. The Mister sideboard has an elegant design which stands out for its versatility and customisation: it can be completely rearranged according to different needs allowing it to be used as a bar, a desk or simply as a sideboard. Wewood, ‘Mister’ sideboard, €3,690

10  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Design

The Pavé collection from Italian Kreoo begins with inspiration from nature, where water flows over rock, smooths and polishes it, and forms a perfect work of art in nature - the river stone. The beautiful seating system is characterised by the overlap of an oval marble base and a wood or cork seat, and is suitable for both indoor and outdoor environments. Kreoo, ‘Pavé’ stone seating system, from €4,000

We love this fun and striking pendant lamp that resembles a birdcage with lifelike birds in real feathers inside a copper wire lampshade. Designed in France by Mathieu Challières, the Volière is a unique piece of contemporary design that will make an enchanting addition to any space. Mathieu Challières, ‘Volière’ pendant lamp, from €484

Zuzunaga creates timeless, non-gender specific and sustainable home and fashion textiles and accessories. This handwoven throw is handmade from 100 per cent merino wool. The throw is a part of the ‘Integrate: Time and Space’ collection, as a result of a collaboration with socially conscious Spanish company Teixidors, an enterprise that helps provide training, employment and support to people with a range of physical and mental disabilities, by teaching them the art of weaving by hand. Zuzunaga, ‘Quaternio’ green throw, €329

The new Casarialto collection puts us in a vibrant mood reminiscent of a tropical island and its vegetation full of bright green shades and colours. The Kansashi Tropical vase is made in transparent mouth-blown glass. It comes with two green leaves in glass inside, and can either be used on its own or with fresh greenery or flowers added. A tribute to nature, made skilfully by Venitian artisans. Casarialto, ‘Kansashi Tropical’ vase, from €150

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  11

Ten foodie things to do in Nice:

A gastronomical trip to the city of the salad In a country famous for its food, almost every major city lays a claim to exceptional cuisine, but only two French cities can boast a dish named after the city itself. Lyon is one – as in ‘pommes Lyonnaise’, and Nice is the other, with its legendary ‘Salade Niçoise’ included on menus the world over. But food in Nice is not just about salads. You’ll find everything here, from Michelin-starred restaurants, markets brimming with foodie delights, and Italian-influenced Provençal specialities to rustic, idiosyncratic street food. Here are ten of the city’s best foodie experiences. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL

1/ Stroll through the Cours Saleya market This lively market on the edge of the old town looms large on every tourist itinerary but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. Set on one of Nice’s many elongated squares, amidst Italianate townhouses with smart pavement cafés, head past the purples, pinks and reds of the flower 12  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

stalls with their lavender, geraniums and dahlias, to the food section. Here, you’ll find plump olives, local honeys, cheeses and the best Provençal fruit and veg. This is the perfect place for that bit of cheese to go with a baguette and a glass of wine for a picnic.

Cours Saleya Market. Photo: H.Lagarde

Nice. Photo: Kristoffer Trolle

2/ Try socca instead of crêpes Whilst the Bretons have their crêpes and galettes, the Niçoise version of a pancake is made of chickpea flour. It may look like a beautifully browned crêpe with the same slightly crisped texture, but ‘socca’ is cooked in an old-fashioned, pizza-style oven and eaten on its own, traditionally as a street-food snack. Look no further than Chez Thérésa’s stand every morning at the Cours Saleya market, or if you want to sit down with a cool beer, head to their place in the old town and watch it being freshly made in an oven dating back to 1867. Chez Thérésa, 28 Rue Droite.

Salade Niçoise. Photo: Kelagopian

3/ Drink a royal cocktail at the Hotel Negresco With its pink domes defining the skyline along the Promenade des Anglais seafront hotel, the grand Negresco hotel is a city landmark. Drop by the plush, chandeliered and wood-panelled bar for its signature cocktail – the ‘Royal Negresco’. Created in 1936 by the hotel’s head barman, it’s a beautifully subtle if heady concoction, like a glamorous cousin of a champagne cocktail with a unique mix of Kirsch, strawberry syrup, Taittinger Champagne and ‘palettes d’or’: ie tiny flecks of pure gold. Royal Negresco, 37 Promenade des Anglais.

Bar Negresco. Photo: Didier Bouko

4/ Eat ‘the real’ Salade Niçoise As you might expect, you’ll find the city’s most famous dish on virtually every menu in town, but what it actually looks and tastes like can vary hugely from one place to another. It turns out the widely known recipe of green beans, tuna, potatoes, anchovies and hard boiled eggs is not an accepted standard at all in Nice. Depending on where you go, you’re just as likely to find artichokes, radishes, celery and spring onions in there too. Chefs at the city’s higherend, fine-dining establishments likewise tend to enjoy deconstructing the classic dish and creating their own idiosyncratic versions. So where best to try it? There’s no real answer – just trust your nose and if you’ve found somewhere good to eat, chances are the Salade Niçoise will be good too. Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  13

Discover Southern Europe  |  Ten Foodie Things to do in Nice

5/ Visit the ‘Halle Gourmande’ at the Libération Market Housed in the vast steel and glass train shed of what was originally the city’s 19th-century Gare du Sud train station, this new food court, on the edge of the Libération food market, opened earlier this year. There’s a huge choice of different styles, from local seafood including an oyster bar, Niçoise specialities, cheese and charcuterie, to Lebanese, Thai and noodle bars. It’s also blissfully free of international chains. Libération Market, 35 Avenue Malaussena.

6/Try courgette flowers at Alziari Restaurant This is another Niçoise staple which has become all the rage of late. Locally grown, yellow courgette flowers either served crisply battered and deep-fried as beignets or fritters, or alternatively, baked, stuffed with delicately spiced meat. Try Alziari, tucked away down a side street in the old town for some of the best, as well as other top-notch Niçoise specialities. Alziari, 4 Rue François Zanin.

7/ Visit Chocolaterie Henri Auer Whether you like chocolate or not, this artisan chocolatier opposite the Nice opera house is worth a visit just for the ornate, chandelier-filled Art Nouveau interior and Auer’s extraordinary chocolate sculptures and creations. A family-run business since 1820, it’s the perfect place for gifts with beautifully packaged chocolates and macaroons as well as homemade jams and bonbons. Chocolaterie Henri Auer, 7 Rue Saint-François de Paule.

Halle Gourmande. Photo: OTCM IBQ

8/ Sink your teeth into ‘les petits farcis’

Farcis. Photo: Pixabay

14  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

‘Les petits farcis’, or ‘farcis’, are another local speciality featuring vegetables – usually aubergines, tomatoes, onions or peppers – stuffed with ground meat such as veal, beef, garlic and breadcrumbs. They can be served hot or cold either as a light lunch or as a starter, and you’ll find them on the menu at most places serving traditional Niçoise cusine. For some of the best in town, head to Acchiardo, where they’ve been dishing up top local dishes since 1927. Acchiardo, 38 rue Droite.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Ten Foodie Things to do in Nice

Saleya Market. Photo: H.Lagarde

9/ Grab a ‘pan bagnat’ on the go Yet another classic Niçoise street food snack, ‘pan bagnats’ are perfect for picnicking and you’ll find them in bakeries throughout the city. Essentially a ‘salade niçoise’ in a bun, it’s served in a roll made of the local wholemeal ‘pain de campagne’ filled with raw vegetables, hard boiled eggs, tuna or anchovies and olive oil. The story goes that it was originally a way of using up slightly stale bread, but you’re unlikely to find your bread stale these days. Try, once more, Chez Thérésa in the Old Town or the stands at the Hall Gourmande.

10/ Taste the difference between pizza and ‘pissaladière’ Something else you’ll see on most menus is this tart which, to all intents and purposes, looks very much like a pizza, but is in fact a savoury tart topped with caramel-

ised onions, olives and anchovies. Grab a slice, pizza-style, on the go from a bakery, or sit down and try it as a starter in any of the traditional Niçoise restaurants around town.

Getting there Easyjet flies to Nice from Belfast, Bristol, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, Manchester and Newcastle, with fares starting from €25 per person.

Where to stay The three-star Villa Rivoli (10 Rue de Rivoli), housed in a converted 19thcentury villa, has double rooms from €89. Alternatively, the contemporary, four-star Deck Hotel (2 Rue Maccarani) near the old town has doubles from €95 including breakfast.

Pissaladière. Photo: Merle ja Joonas

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  15


16  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  A French Wine Revolution


A French Wine Revolution Wine runs through the Frenchmen’s veins. As the second-biggest wine producer in the world, the country puts a cork in eight billion bottles a year, or 120 per capita. Nonetheless, a real ‘vinophile’ will never refer to ‘French wine’ as such. As the country counts at least 14 unique wine regions, they bottle an interesting variety of red, white and rosé. Guided by our nose and our palette, we roam the French countryside on the lookout for the finest wines and best vineyards. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS | PHOTOS: ATOUT FRANCE - PEXELS

Alsace Although it is common knowledge that good grapes require lots of sunlight, two of the best French wine regions can be found in the north of the country. In the northeast corner, just a stone’s throw away from Germany, you enter the Alsace, a white wine paradise packed between the Rhine and the Vosges. In your local wine store, wines from the Alsace stand out immedi-

ately with their elegant, slim bottles. Inside, you find some of France’s best grapes, like the Riesling, Gewurztraminer, Muscat and Pinot Blanc.

Champagne If you prefer your daily glass to be bubbly, you might want to travel a bit more westwards. In the legendary Champagne region, you can witness how the finest Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  17

Discover Southern Europe  |  A French Wine Revolution

sparkling wines in the world get their spectacular taste. It was the 17th-century monk Dom Pérignon who taught the local vintners how to get those elegant bubbles in their bottles. Not long after, the region’s wines became legendary. Nowadays, they sell Champagne in all corners of the world, but trust us: you have never drunk a glass of Champagne until you drink one while gazing at the region’s magnificent vineyards.

Rhône Valley


18  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

600 kilometres lower on the map, in the Rhône Valley, you will discover a very different way of winemaking. In the region of Avignon, the Mont Ventoux and the wine Walhalla of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the vintners are legendary for their blends of several grapes. By mixing and matching, they create new, exciting flavours. Yet, that doesn’t mean that they don’t know their way around varietal wines, as well. With the delicious Syrah grape growing in their midst, the valley is a natural factory of ex-

quisite red wines with tones of blackberry, mint and black pepper.

Bordeaux The world’s most famous producer of red wines can be found on France’s west coast, in the breeze of the wild Atlantic Ocean. In the region around the city of Bordeaux ‘le pain et le vin’ have become a true religion. Superior grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc feel well at ease in this region, which is, with its 120,000 hectares, the largest wine region in all of France. Bike through the countryside and take your pick from the numerous ‘chateaux’ and their adjoining vineyards to have a little pitstop with a glass of wine and a crispy piece of bread. France’s wine culture is almost too big to explore in just one lifetime, but you can always give it a try! We give you a head start by introducing you to the country’s best vintners.

As both producers of wine and now luxury-hotel owners, the family-run Vignobles Bonfils are truly putting the much-deserved spotlight on the wine region of the Languedoc.

For the love of the Languedoc To drink a glass of wine from the Vignobles Bonfils is to drink from centuries of French history – and even taste a hint of the future. Originally founded in Algeria in 1870 – when the country was still a colony of France – the family business began with Honorine, the wife of Joseph Bonfils, who planted the first vines of the Bonfils line. In 1962, when the ‘pieds-noirs’ – as the French of Algerian origin would come to be known – ‘returned’ to France, the family was forced, quite literally, to grow roots from scratch. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: LES VIGNOBLES BONFILS


he Languedoc – an abundant region between Perpignan, Narbonne, Carcassonne and Montpellier – became the family’s adopted home, as JeanMichel Bonfils began working for a family who owned the Domaine de Lirou. When the family decided to leave to travel the world, they left their property to Jean-Michel. And so the Vignobles Bonfils adventure began, and the family’s love for the region runs deep. 20  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

“My grandfather Jean-Michel, my father Laurent, my uncles Jérôme and Olivier, and my brothers Thomas and Alexandre, and myself: we all respect the regional heritage,” explains Agathe Bonfils. “We are all passionate about the Languedoc.”

“The jewel of the vineyard” Now with 17 properties – 16 in the Languedoc and one in the Bordeaux region

– the Vignobles Bonfils produce a huge array of varieties, from ranges of ‘table wine’ to high-end Grand Cru. Standout properties include Château Capitoul, Château Vaugelas, Château L'Esparrou and Château Villerambert, across appellations including La Clape, Languedoc, Corbières, Côtes du Roussillon and Minervois. Each property is truly representative of its earth, and it is testament to their own past that the family so respects and enhances the terroir

Discover Southern Europe  |  A French Wine Revolution

of each new acquisition. “It is part of our family values,” explains Agathe. “As Laurent Bonfils likes to say, ‘the château is the jewel of the vineyard’.” As well as historical properties, the family now owns a modern winery, Le Domaine de la Motte, near Narbonne. Open since 2007, it enables the family to match client and partner demand for wines distributed across 42 countries; leaving the châteaux cellars to house the higher-end casks.

680 medals But modern techniques do not impact the quality of wine for this family, whose range consistently wins medals in every relevant national and international category. In the past eight years, the company has brought home more than 330 golds and 350 silvers at home and internationally, including both the Decanter World Wine Awards, and for Robert Parker Wine Advocate. This success demonstrates the deep respect that the family has for all of its terroirs. “We respect the land and the terroir,” explains Agathe. “People think less expensive wine is of a lesser quality, and that is untrue. We have great wine for five euros to ten euros a bottle, as well as 35 euros plus.” This success is also a sign of the Bonfils’ constant innovation. Since 2011, the current generation has experimented with new techniques and vinification tools, and is tirelessly

working to improve the image and quality of the Languedoc. “We have improved the irrigation; changed our barrels; brought in specialist oenologists; focused on the expertise of the earth,” explains Agathe. “We dared to take risks.” This pioneering approach also translates to respect for the environment. At the next grape harvest, the majority of the estates will achieve Level 3 Certification in the HVE (Haute Valeur Environnementale; High Environmental Value) scheme. This constant improvement has turned the global spotlight on the Languedoc, which is increasingly seen with greater respect by the wider drinking public. Overall sales of Languedoc wine are rising year-on-year, and are already up seven per cent in 2019 so far.

Swimming in the vineyard It therefore comes as no surprise that the Vignobles Bonfils are now establishing themselves as key players in the Languedoc ‘art de vivre’. Two Vignobles Bonfils châteaux are now luxury wine tourism hotels, with plans for a third underway. The 100-bed Château Les Carrasses opened in 2014, while the 200-bed Château St Pierre de Serjac – with a spa – opened in 2016. By 2021, the flagship Château Capitoul will launch, with an impressive 220 beds: plus a spa, a brasserie, and a terrace with panoramic views over the sea, Pyrenees mountains and La Clape vines. A gastronomic restaurant aiming for Michelin-stars will also feature, along with a 30-metre infinity pool. “When you’re swimming you will feel like you’re in the vines,” says Agathe. “We are lucky to have some of the most beautiful winemaking châteaux. Clients can now discover the properties directly: a real Languedoc ‘art de vivre’.” Enabling the public to relax at the heart of the very vines that produced their glass of wine makes perfect sense for this family, whose entire ‘raison d’être’ is to showcase the land that itself welcomed them so warmly, all those years ago. As Laurent Bonfils always says: “Developing wine tourism is all about being ambassadors for the Languedoc.” Facebook: bonfilswines Instagram: @bonfilswines Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  21

Discover Southern Europe  |  A French Wine Revolution

Forward-thinking in fine wines Vineyards, like great wines, often get better with age. But they need to move with the times. At the Cave de Tain, a cooperative winery in Tain l’Hermitage, Terres de Syrah invites the public into its vineyard. “The northern Rhône Valley is an important part of French wine history, but we want to bring wine-making to the wider public in a way that’s up-to-date,” says Terres de Syrah events manager Paola Pano. “I know visiting a winery can sometimes be intimidating, it’s often seen as very ‘exclusive’. It really shouldn’t be!” TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: CAVE DE TAIN


ust an hour south of the city of Lyon, you can take a Segway tour of the Cave de Tain, drive your own buggy across the stunning terraces, or take a tasting tour on a boat down the river Rhône. In the summer, there are also cultural events on the site. If you really want to take it up a level, you can take a number of courses about Northern Rhône wines and take exams: for example, via the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). As a cooperative winery, Cave de Tain is owned by 260 vintners who consider themselves a part of an extended family and produce Crozes-Hermitage, SaintJoseph or Hermitage wines, to name a few. The winery’s tourism department, Terres

22  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

de Syrah, is run by Marie-Josée Faure, a WSET educator and second-year Master of Wine student who aims to become the second French woman to receive this title. Alongside her, three more women work to organise the visits and tastings at the Cave de Tain. “It’s pretty unusual, I suppose, as the business does tend to be maledominated: but it’s moving forward, and we want to be a part of that.” “We come from different areas. Some of us grew up with winemaking, others didn’t. Yet, we all share one big passion: wine,” Pano explains. “Kids in this part of France are allowed to drink wine before they’re allowed to drink coffee!” Terres de Syrah has a vision for the events on the estate: “We want guests to feel they’ve spent a few hours with us in a bubble suspended in time. We can pretty much offer anything they can dream up.” Facebook: TerresdeSyrah Instagram: @terresdesyrah

Discover Southern Europe  |  A French Wine Revolution

The success of the Vignobles Aubert is built on the three key pillars of family, tradition and open-mindedness.

Bordeaux beyond borders Bordeaux has a history of quintessential, bold vintages of terroir and tradition, and the Vignobles Aubert is no exception. From Daniel, who first owned a wine château before the French Revolution, right down to current owner-managers, cousins Héloise, Vanessa and Yohann, Aubert DNA has run through this land for nine generations. Indeed, they are now the owners of seven properties across six appellations – the Lalande de Pomerol, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, Montagne Saint-Emilion, Côtes de Castillon, Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: VIGNOBLES AUBERT


et, alongside such pedigree, the family is today totally committed to an outward-facing, welcoming approach. “It is vital that our doors are open,” explains Yohann. “That is an integral part of our family’s new generation; to host visitors, and to be on-site to welcome them.”

This sense of giving and receiving is key The main visitor hub at the Château Couspaude – just 300 metres from the heart of the UNESCO World Heritage village of Saint-Emilion – goes far beyond traditional wine tasting, and can accommodate business meetings and tasting events for up to 100 people. There are also regular artist and sculptor exhibitions. It is a majestic centre that recognises and appreciates its place in an ever-growing, global world. For example, the family’s resident Chinese intern even welcomes the ever-increasing numbers of Chinese tourists in their own language.

next round of Bordeaux classifications. “It is about perpetual research to arrive at excellence,” he says. “We may have years of expertise behind us, but our work is never done. That is the strength of the Famille Aubert.” Facebook: Aubert.Vignobles Twitter: @VignoblesAubert

Resting on strong foundations of family and tradition, this open-minded, international attitude extends throughout the business. In fact, Yohann previously worked on some of the world’s most prestigious vineyards: from Vancouver to Argentina, as well as in Napa Valley in the United States. “It was like training,” he says. “So important for me to learn, before joining the family business.” Today, the cousins’ open-mindedness ensures that their wine remains as relevant and high-quality as ever, with many of the vintages having recently won gold, silver and bronze medals at competitions in France and beyond. “We win because we work really hard,” says Yohann. “The quality of the fruit, the excellence of the work...we treat our vineyards like our own back gardens.” But Yohann still insists on constant improvement, and is pushing for La Couspaude Saint-Emilion to be classified as Premier Grand Cru Classé B in the

Yohann Aubert.

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  23

Discover Southern Europe  |  A French Wine Revolution

We are family Bordeaux is well-known for robust reds – but the sisters of the Vignobles Famille Courselle are just as happy to be known for the region’s dynamic whites, rosés, clairets and crémants, too. Based at Château Thieuley – just 30 kilometres outside Bordeaux – the group also includes Clos Sainte Anne and the exportonly Château Saint Genès, and is run by sisters Sylvie and Marie, who consider themselves as ambassadors for the region’s small, welcoming châteaux. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: CHÂTEAU THIEULEY, VIGNOBLES COURSELLE

As the girls grew – playing in the vineyards originally bought by their grandfather André, in 1950 – the business did too. “We had an extraordinary playground,” explains coowner Sylvie Courselle. “We always knew what we wanted to do. It’s in our DNA.” But they also aimed to move beyond Bordeaux reds, and build on Thieuley’s reputation for other options, including high-quality whites. “There are fewer places worldwide where you can produce very good whites,” says Sylvie. “We really believe in our terroir.” That terroir includes Clos Saint Anne, in the Côtes de Bordeaux, whose hotter, gravelly soil produces a spicier, “more feminine” wine.

Château Thieuley itself sits on clay-limestone, and the name ‘Thieuley’ means ‘tiles’ in old French, harking back to a time when a working clay-tile factory sat here. Indeed, the sisters’ modern, open-minded approach is built on strong foundations, and it is this sense of history – and their father

“They’re long gone, but Jean’s grandparents still speak to him at night, reminding him of what to do,” laughs Anna Myers Fernandez, who manages all sales and admin at Château Gabachot outside Bordeaux. “And he’s a real perfectionist. The estate is immaculate — you could eat off the floor in the cellar. Which is amazing, because it means we’re always ready for visitors!”

24  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019 Sylvie and Marie Courselle.

Fantastic wines, family-style

Anna’s husband Jean inherited the property, and the wine-making gene, from both grandfathers. “I always think I fell in love with his wines before falling in love with him,” she says. “And he made both so easy.” The Franco-American couple grows, makes and sells red, white and rosé, which doesn’t allow for much downtime. “Some people think we sit around all day sipping wine, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. When we look out of the window, we just see everything that still needs to be done,” says Anna. “We have a permanent team of four, including us, so we are all very good at multitasking.” She also travels the world promoting Château Gabachot. “I’m extremely proud of our wine, and would put it on a table next

Francis’ dedication to keeping the sites welcoming and accessible – that they bring to public tastings at the château. With a certification from sustainable winemaker association Terra Vitis, Château Thieuley’s methods are also eco-friendly, and ensure that production will continue without overbearing industrialisation, and find the perfect mix of history and innovation. “We constantly seek balance,” explains Sylvie. “We are mothers... and managers. That is our quest – to find balance, and be the generation that is showing the dynamic face of Bordeaux.”


Photo: Anna Myers Fernandez/Château Gabachot

to any of the big names from this region. We keep it affordable, and our great quality means we always get returning customers.” The Fernandez family recently welcomed a baby boy, and after the next harvest, Jean will be creating a ‘cuvée’ (blend) just for him. So, would Anna like the kids to work in the wine business? “When you are raised on a vineyard, in an area as rich in winemaking history as Bordeaux, everyone feels a connection to it, but I want them to make their own decision,” she says. But the estate may well have another generation of winemakers waiting in the wings. Facebook: chateaugabachot Instagram: @chateaugabachot

Photo: Petite Souris Photographie

Discover Southern Europe  |  A French Wine Revolution

The future’s bright


The world of French wine has a fresh new taste, and none more so than in the vivid, modern branding and discerning drinkability of the medal-winning Maison Castel range. Part of Castel Frères – a family-run company with more than 70 years of expertise – the eponymous label represents quality winemaker knowledge and care from vine to glass. “Maison Castel carries the family name, and is truly representative of good French wine,” explains international product manager Manon Berthelot. “Our mission is to share our know-how, and the taste of things done well.” With a wide range of varieties (such as Merlot, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Crémants), and an AOC range across prestigious appellations (Bordeaux, Languedoc, Côtes du Rhône and Côtes de Provence), this focus on national expertise strongly underpins the brand’s vibrant, youthful and elegant image. “Our mission is to make quality accessible,” says Berthelot. “Each wine highlights the quality of each terroir, which allow us to guarantee the best French flavours, and to offer the best know-how from Castel Frères.”

26  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Describing its target market as "young and trendy", its bold advertising and modern social media designs mark a considered departure from the wider industry’s usual, old-fashioned style. “We use real ‘pop’ colours to differentiate ourselves and stand out,” explains Berthelot. Not only is this proving a hit with consumers, but Maison Castel also brings home hauls of industry medals, in France and internationally, yearin, year-out. Recent wins include silver in the 2019 International Rosé Championship, and golds at the 2019 Concours National des Vins IGP. Now present in 84 countries, it’s clear: this brand may be rooted in historical viticultural know-how, but its future is as bright as the bubbliest crémant. Facebook: MaisonCastelOfficiel Instagram:

Bright, bold and colourful — both in taste and design.


Photo: Natalia Salvatore

Italian and French cuisines meet in Monaco Lying off Monte Carlo’s Place du Casino, Rampoldi has been serving Italian cuisine with a French twist since 1946. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTOS: RAMPOLDI


he menu reflects the principality’s history and its connection with both Italy and France. I like to define our cuisine as ‘monagesque’,” explains executive chef Antonio Salvatore. Born and raised in Italy’s Basilicata region, which forms the instep of the peninsula’s ‘boot’, Chef Salvatore grew up surrounded by accomplished home cooks, namely his mother and grandmother. “The sweet aroma of bubbling ragù wafting up the stairwell from our grandmother’s flat, the smell of wine along the streets, women hard at work making fruit or tomato conserve…” reminisces Salvatore, as he fondly recalls childhood memories about food. Chef Salvatore’s cuisine is an ode to traditional Italian food. He carefully selects simple, top-quality ingredients sourced from the French Riviera and nearby Italy, which lies less than half an hour’s drive away. Mozzarella is sourced from a small artisan farm in Campania, fish and seafood are from Italy’s Ligurian coast as well as

France’s Côte d’Azur, while chicken is exclusively ‘poulet de Bresse’, a prized breed of white chickens from France that have ‘appellation d’origine contrôlée’ status. The extensive menu, which features over 60 dishes, has been designed to satisfy the most discerning palates while also providing plenty of choice to patrons, many of whom are repeat customers who dine here a few times a week. The menu features the likes of royal crayfish salad with avocado tartare and citrus; foie gras terrine with red onions, fig jam and homemade bread; and homemade tagliatelle with slow-braised beef-cheek ragù. Desserts and pastries are all made in-house, while coffee is imported from a micro-roastery in Naples.

warm, welcoming feel, while an open-air terrace provides the perfect setting for an al fresco meal. The intimate ambiance continues in the basement, where a cigar lounge equipped with personal safes allows customers to unwind and safely store cigars; an adjacent lounge area can be rented out for private events. Customers wishing to take home a taste of Rampoldi can stock up on Italian produce, including olive oil and pasta, sold in pretty packaging that makes for the perfect gift for friends back home. Facebook: Rampoldi Instagram: @rampoldimonaco @antoniosalvatorechef Chef Salvatore.

“My aim is to create simple, tasty cuisine that customers can enjoy in a refined yet laidback setting,” explains Salvatore. With red mirrored walls adorned with portraits of celebrities that once frequented Monaco’s casino, the interiors exude a Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  27

La Pedrera. Photo: Pixabay

28  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Barcelona

A weekend in Barcelona:

From medieval to modern in the Catalan capital As one of Europe’s most popular travel destinations, sunny Barcelona is mainly known for its spoon-fed entertainment and tourist traps. Yet, behind the obnoxious hop-on-hop-off-buses and the street vendors at Las Ramblas, an authentic and unique Catalan town stretches out. Nested in between Mount Tibidabo and the soothing Mediterranean Sea lies a universe of charming bodegas, exquisite architecture and world-class cuisine. TEXT: ARNE ADRIAENSSENS


lthough Barcelona’s rich history takes us back 24 centuries, it was mainly during the last 150 years that the metropole received its unique character. To cope with its exponentially growing population, the city created Eixample, a humongous neighbourhood of identical, octagonal buildings. In mere decades, the puzzle of cubes stretched out from the old centre

and deep into the valley. Attracted by its modern lifestyle, wealthy industrialists wanted to settle in Eixample as well. With Catalan modernism being all the rage back then, visionary architects like Antoni Gaudí were asked to design their extravagant palaces. On the elegant Passeig de Gràcia avenue, bombastic buildings like Casa Batlló and La Pedrera are tangible memories of their peacocking. Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  29

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Barcelona

Plaça de Sant Felip Neri. Photo: Wikipedia

Saturday: the old town and the best panorama The best way to soak up Barcelona is on foot. As a metropole in pocket size, you can easily get from one hotspot to the next without having to hit the subway. Kick off your journey at Plaça de Catalunya, the city’s biggest square and the gate to Las Ramblas, Passeig de Gràcia and the magnificent old town. In contrast to the geometric pattern of Eixample, Ciutat Vella (Catalan for ‘old city’) is a labyrinth of alleys packed full of secrets. Leave your map in your backpack and let your intuition guide you from the cosy shops to the picturesque squares and fragrant coffee bars. Try to pass Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, as well. The walls of this well-hidden square in the heart of Barcelona are Tainted by bullet holes, a dark souvenir from the Spanish Civil War. Once the clock strikes 2pm, most Spanish stomachs start to rumble. If yours does too, try to resist the attraction of big international 30  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

chains and faux-Catalan ‘classics’ like paella and sangria. Instead, try a fideuà, a traditional dish of vermicelli and seafood. For lunch, most restaurants also offer lunch menus for anything from 11 to 20 euros. For that, they serve you a nice three-course meal, bread and a drink. Having digested your potential meal (with or without a traditional siesta), it is time to go upwards. The tops of both Montjuïc and Mount Tibidabo are great spots for gazing out across the city. Yet, the absolute prime spot for watching the sun set is Bunkers del Carmel. The remains of this military bunker from the Civil War attract plenty of people to admire the city with a drink and a tapa. To get there, you will have to hike a bit. The best option is to take Metro L5 to Sant Pau / Dos de Maig and walk to the nearby Carrer del Telègraf, where a series of escalators and elevators will take you halfway up.

Bunkers del Carmel. Photo: Wikipedia

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Barcelona

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  31

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Barcelona

Photo: Hospital de Sant Pau

Sunday: modernism galore

Photo: Hospital de Sant Pau

Photo: Hospital de Sant Pau

32  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Once you’ve explored Barcelona’s oldest streets, get acquainted with the city’s modern icons. And where better to start than at the world-famous Sagrada Família? The extravagant church by Gaudí will only be finished by 2026, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of Europe’s most visited and photographed buildings. The main tower, which has yet to be added, will count 172.5 metres, making the Sagrada Família the tallest church in the world. To enter, you must conquer its long queues, which will cost you hours of precious time. If you really want to see a modernist masterpiece from the inside, you might want to pay Hospital de Sant Pau a visit instead (15 euros, or free admission on the first Sunday of the month).

Covering an area of nine times that of the Sagrada Família, this century-old poor men’s hospital is the biggest modernist complex in the world. Although it lies just a kilometre away from Gaudí’s legendary church, most tourist guides fail to mention this magnificent building. With Hospital de Sant Pau, architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner created a healing environment like no other. Vivid colours, plenty of greenery and an impressive net of tunnels show how far ahead of his time he was. The multilingual video guide (three euros) explains the story of the complex and its architect in a very appealing way. The tour takes about an hour and a half, but you will surely want to pass some time in the hospital’s marvellous garden as well.

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Weekend in Barcelona

Photo: Pexels

Getting there Catching a flight to Barcelona is easy. From London, British Airways, Vueling, EasyJet and Ryanair offer over a dozen direct flights to Barcelona-El Prat Airport a day. From most other British airports, you’ll be able to hop on a plane to the Catalan capital just as easily. Once there, the cheapest way to travel to the centre is by train (€2.30 for a one-way ticket), which takes you to Passeig de Gràcia. From here, you walk to Plaça de Catalunya in just five minutes. Another option is to go by Aerobus (€5.90), which brings you straight from the arrival hall to the city centre.

Getting around The city itself is equipped with a fantastic public transport network. 11 metro lines, four trams, numerous busses and a cable car bring you anywhere in a heartbeat. With a T-10 pass (€10.20), you can make ten trips throughout the city with whatever means of public transport you prefer. More active tourists might want to explore the city on foot, instead.

A great night’s rest Pretty much all major hotel chains are represented in Barcelona. Finding a decent bed to sleep in is, therefore, no problem at all. If you crave a room with ocean view, Hotel Arts and W Barcelona (both from €350 per night) are the places to go. Not only do these lush paradises offer exquisite service and plenty of facilities, but they are major landmarks of the city’s skyline as well. Nonetheless, you can travel to Barcelona on a shoestring just as easily. In every corner of the city, you will find numerous hostels, guest houses and tiny hotels where you can stay at a more affordable price.

Barceloneta with W Barcelona. Photo: Pexels

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  33


A magical getaway Spending a night away from home, whether it’s in an exotic country or mere kilometres away from your doorstep, always feels like being on a holiday. Yet, offering a decent bed and a tasty breakfast is no longer the hospitality sector’s sole aim. Today, we expect a unique experience and plenty of everlasting memories in the making, every time we check in for the night. This month, we introduce you to the most unique places to spend a night in France and Spain. So, pack your bags for a night in a tree house, a cabin in the woods or a more-than-modern urban retreat.

34  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Magical Getaway

Madrid's skyline from Aloft Madrid Gran Vía's rooftop.

Domaine de Saint Jean.

Domaine Les Cabines Insolites Les Landines.

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  35

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Magical Getaway in France

Wake up high in the treetops of the Loire Valley No matter your age, the magic of a treehouse is undeniable. The Domaine de Saint-Jean, a lodging located deep in the forest of the Anjou region in France, offers guests the chance to stay in one of their rustic treehouse cabins perched high above the ground.

also just an hour’s drive away, and is one of France’s best-kept secrets. Alternatively, there’s the option of golf, horse riding, swimming, tennis or canoeing: making it a wonderful choice for an active retreat.



n arboreal dream brought to life, the Domaine de Saint-Jean brings guests closer to nature by plunging them deep into the woods of the Loire Valley. Built between six and 12 metres above the forest floor, a night in one of the huts is a therapeutic trip back to childhood. Each of the treehouses has its own unique feature, and depending on which one guests choose, they can accommodate between two to five people. There’s the Lov’Nid, a spherical love nest for two; a peaceful breakfast terrace in La Rêveuse; a skylight in the AstroLab to wake up to the sun creeping in; ancient woodland views from L’Impériale; and a towering spiral staircase in L’Aventureuse. 36  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

A night here provides an ambient break for those that relish simple pleasures. “The huts are without water and without electricity, but that’s all part of their charm. We lend our guests lanterns to guide them after dusk, and there are dry toilets, a water point, and showers in a separate building,” explains Aude de Quatrebarbes, owner of the domaine. The majesty of the Loire region has captured the hearts of many. This off-grid getaway allows guests to soak up the surrounding countryside, whether it’s discovering local winemakers, or strolling around the châteaux of Brissac, Angers and Serrant. The historical theme park of Puy du Fou is

“The estate had been dormant for over 50 years, and I wanted to revive it with something entirely new. Our treehouses bring people from all walks of life to experience the tranquillity of this region,” Aude explains. Guests can enjoy quality time with loved ones in the refuge of the forest: “A gift certificate is an original way to surprise that special someone. We offer extras such as a welcome aperitif, a picnic basket dinner, or thrown petals.” Email to find out availability for 2019.

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Magical Getaway in France

Set among the treetops in the Gironde countryside, these cabins offer a totally secluded, yet luxury escape for couples seeking to reconnect with their childlike wonder.

The panoramic glass and wooden huts Many kids dream of playing in a treehouse, and Domaine Les Cabanes Insolites Les Landines in France offers a chic, grown-up version of this nostalgic escapism. With panoramic views through floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors, these three very private forest cabins offer a secluded hideaway for visitors looking to spend a night among the treetops, just 45 minutes’ drive south of Bordeaux. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: DOMAINE LES CABINES INSOLITES LES LANDINES


ach cabin has its own name, and together, they tell their own story. ‘Reminiscence’, a luxury cabin with a dark wood structure and calming white drapes, harks back to that playful desire to climb; to explore the magic of a proper treehouse. As owner and designer Karine Karine explains: “‘Reminiscence’ means something that reminds us of being a child. The breeze in the trees, the birdsong. Stirring memories that we maybe didn't know we had. That is the point. To share this feeling.” This childlike approach is no coincidence. As the daughter of a doctor of tropical illnesses, Karine grew up

in Africa, and remembers staying in beautiful safari lodges on the savannah. When she realised that guests were asking for a higher-end experience, she took inspiration from her own adventurous childhood to create another cabin – the luxurious ‘Lodge’. “It is really an African-inspired ‘lodge’,” she explains. “For me, there wasn’t any other possible name. People sleep completely immersed in nature.” Therein lies the final piece; the third cabin. ‘L'O2’ is a simpler affair, with wood and natural fabrics, and an open terrace. “It is my breath of fresh oxygen in the

middle of the Landes de Gascogne pinewood forest,” says Karine. Remote does not mean rustic: each cabin has electricity, a Nespresso coffee machine, a fridge and a stylish lounging area – and the higher-end rooms even have luxuries such as their own private Jacuzzis. Guests can order massages, and also request baskets of local food and drink, including pâté, foie gras, and Sauternes wine. A hand-delivered breakfast is also included. All produce is sourced from a nearby village, and the wine is made by a couple who were former cabin guests – a nod to Karine’s commitment to the region, and making connections with her visitors. “The relationship with people is so important,” she says. “To share the area, so that guests have a good memory of the place.” Mixing memory with luxury, it’s clear: Les Landines is a unique escape for big kids that are all grown up. Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  37

Discover Southern Europe  |  A Magical Getaway in Spain

Design, music and innovation combine at Madrid’s newest hotel Marriott International has opened its first Aloft hotel in Spain – the Aloft Madrid Gran Via, an urban lifestyle hotel with a focus on design, music and innovation. Avant-garde style and live music performance spaces come together to create a unique new space at which to stay in the city. Situated between bustling Gran Via and the Plaza del Callao, the hotel is located right in the heart of the lively centre, within walking distance to an array of shops, restaurants and theatres. “We’re also located close to popular neighbourhoods such as the historic and authentic Malasaña and the fashionable Chueca,” says the hotel's general manager Gonzalo Maggi.

Aloft Madrid Gran Vía is housed in a converted office block and puts design and innovation at its forefront, combining the concept of a software glitch, as seen in the range of colourful pixels, and urban style, reflected in the images of the city decorating the rooms. A hotel for music lovers and creatives, Aloft Madrid Gran Vía supports local emerging artists with its Live @ Aloft Hotels


concept, hosting intimate acoustic performances throughout the public spaces. Besides the music, the hotel places itself at the forefront of innovation, enabling guests to unlock rooms via their smartphones or Apple Watches. It’s a social hotel, where guests can relax in the Re:Mix lounge or head up to the roof terrace, mixing and mingling with the locals here for after work drinks. “My favourite part of the hotel is the WXYZ Bar, up on the roof,” says Gonzalo Maggi. “It offers privileged views over the city rooftops, the Royal Place, the Teatro Real and the Casa de Campo, as well as an attractive cocktail menu, created by our own mixologist.” A rooftop with a signature Splash Pool, the Re:Charge gym and the Re:Fuel Grab & Go area make up the rest of the great facilities you can make the most of during your stay.

38  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019


A Provençal country home to make memories for a lifetime Framing an 18th-century house in the south of France is the Domaine la Garenne, a set of luxurious apartments that have been brought to life to suit a variety of occasions. Protected either side by the lush Saint Victoire mountain range, the Domaine is now a space for guests to come together and share precious moments at the very heart of the Provençal region. TEXT: KATE HARVEY  |  PHOTOS: LA GARENNE


ucked among the landscapes that once inspired 19th-century artist Paul Cézanne and the Picasso family, the Domaine is located just a few minutes from the Cours Mirabeau – the main thoroughfare through the centre of nearby Aix-en-Provence. The Provençal farmhouse welcomes international guests in an elabo40  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

and sunrises from the landscaped outdoor area. “We aimed to create a space that feels human and liveable, but we also wanted to respect the tranquillity of the surrounding landscape,” comments Olivier Lepizzera, owner of Domaine la Garenne.

High-quality fittings throughout rate setting which prioritises both luxury and comfort, privacy and sharing. This property superbly captures the essence of Provençal living. The apartments enjoy unparalleled brightness from the Mediterranean sunshine, and are positioned for guests to enjoy balmy evenings

Guests can capture the French ‘art-devivre’ for themselves during their stay in one of the four apartments, which are decorated to the highest standard. Each one is equipped with high-quality fittings and can be adapted for each of its guests accordingly. With furnishings from Murano’s greatest glassmakers and the biggest names

Discover Southern Europe  |  Hotel of the Month

in interior design, each living space in the Domaine has been spectacularly finished down to the smallest of details. The apartments have been designed specifically for the comfort, privacy and wellbeing of its guests: with Wi-Fi available throughout the Domaine la Garenne, along with an inbuilt music system to suit the mood of every experience. Each one has its own kitchen and dining area, and between one and two bedrooms, according to the requirements of each visitor.

A place for all occasions The beauty of Domaine La Garenne is its versatility; welcoming guests to host their most special events. As an individual, professional or as a family or group, this 18th-century country house is the ideal location for a wedding reception, baptism, professional meeting, seminar and wellness or relaxation retreat. A selection of French wines will also be available for tasting sessions, and for a delectable conclusion to a beautiful evening.

Proximity to incredible landmarks The property is surrounded by some of France’s most breathtaking scenery: the cliffs of the Calanques, the Alps, and the dramatic Verdon Gorge to name but a few. Visitors can also easily attend the Bol d’Or motorcycle race on the magical Castellet circuit, or the historic Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco. Just a short distance away, visitors can discover the honey-tinted city of Aix-enProvence with its diverse monuments and festivals, the old port city of Marseille, and

Aubagne: a sleepy town with an artisanal pottery tradition. A leisurely drive throughout the region will bring you to the town of artist-inspiring Avignon, Nice and its long promenade, and Arles with its Roman amphitheatre. From the Domaine, the possibilities for exploring further afield are endless.

and provides guests with total independence. They will also have direct access to the Provençal patio to relax and unwind. It is made up of two opulent bedrooms with a separate dining area, and can accommodate between four and five people.

The region of the Mediterranean Provence is also a wonderful choice for both novice and seasoned hikers. Alongside the nearby Saint Victoire mountain range, there is also the mountain ridge of Saint-Baume and its mystic history, the shady orchards and hilltop villages of Luberon, the wild vastness of the Frioul islands or even the natural region of the Camargue – a great spot for admiring vivid wildlife such as flamingos and horses.

This apartment is a soft cocoon on the edge of the Saint Victoire mountain range, allowing its occupants exclusive access to the Provençal patio of the Domaine. From the garden, guests will be plunged into the fragrant aromas of the Provençal natural landscape. It is made up of one master bedroom and can fit between two and three people.

The ‘Provence’ apartment

This apartment occupies a headland position at the edge of the Saint Victoire mountains, overlooking the nearby château of SaintMarc-Jaumegarde. The elevation of this apartment means that guests can gaze over the entire property, alongside the hills and garrigue of Provence. The landscaped areas of the Domaine are also accessible to wander at leisure. This apartment has one comfortable and luxurious bedroom, which can easily accommodate two to three people.

Adjoining the main building of the farmhouse, this apartment is lined with a terrace

The ‘Patio’ apartment

The ‘St. Marc’ apartment

Whether guests are travelling by plane, train, car, motorcycle or horse – the Domaine will do everything they can to accommodate their requirements. Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  41


Golf Guia de Isora.

Luxury living on Tenerife’s Atlantic Coast When it comes to choosing a luxury property to buy, either for your own use, or as an investment, these days it’s no longer just about location. “Yes, the old ‘location location location’ adage is important of course,” says Elodie Casola, director of marketing and communications for the Abama Resort on Tenerife’s southwest coast, “but nowadays, a truly luxury property is just as much about providing unforgettable experiences and a luxury lifestyle. That’s what we pride ourselves on at Abama. We also happen to have the best climate in Europe, with year-round sunshine, and we’re only a few hours’ flight from most European cities.”

The properties themselves, meanwhile, have all been designed with the idea of providing a haven of tranquillity – the ultimate in contemporary style, comfort and luxury. Prospective buyers can choose from a range of different options, including villas and apartments.


The exclusive Las Atalayas group of ten detached, contemporary villas feature spectacular sea views across to the island of La Gomera and have been designed to ensure both privacy and ease of access. Each of the two- and three-bedroom villas features a minimalist, streamlined aesthetic with floor-to-ceiling windows and open-plan kitchens and living spaces allowing daylight to fill the spaces.


ith lifestyle in mind, the sprawling 400-acre Abama complex, set amidst spectacular countryside between Tenerife’s lush hills and the Atlantic Ocean, comprises not only luxury contemporary homes but also Michelin-starred fine dining, a world-class golf course, a five-star hotel and other top-level facilities. These range from an 18-hole golf course designed by legendary golfer and golf 42  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

course designer Dave Thomas, (for which Abama was named ‘Best Resort in Continental Europe’ by Golf Digest), a luxurious spa and no less than 12 restaurants. Three of these are led by superstar Basque chef Martín Berasategui and include his two Michelin-starred M.B restaurant, and there is also the one Michelin-star Japanese-fusion restaurant Kabuki. In addition, there’s a Beach Club, Kids’ Camp, professional-class tennis and padel courts and a ‘Tennis Academy’.

Las Atalayas

The villas are built on private plots of between 356 and 445 square metres and all include both a private pool and parking.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Real Estate Profile of the Month


Las Atalayas.

Owners and guests also have access to the tennis complex, golf course and beach.

Bellevue The six award-winning, detached and semi-detached Bellevue homes overlook the Atlantic, the hills of Tenerife and the golf-course, with architecture inspired by the legendary mid-century Modernist villas built for Hollywood stars in California. The homes, which span between 185 and 260 square metres, were awarded the ‘Best New-Build Homes of the Decade’ prize by the Tenerife Architectural Association and feature private outdoor infinity pools with sea and golf course views and parking.

Mixed Use Residences For those who want to purchase a luxury residence but also like the idea of renting it out when it’s not in use, Abama also offers a range of properties and programmes designed to make the process as simple as possible. The Las Terrazas luxury furnished apartments, the Los Jardines de Abama apartments and the Villas del Tenis (12 detached

villas), can all be easily rented out, making them the perfect investment choice. Owners of the Jardines de Abama villas are also eligible for an exchange programme which allows owners to exchange their property at no extra charge during the first two years.

Owners’ Prestige Club All owners of properties at Abama receive automatic membership of the Owner’s Prestige Club which organises cultural outings as well as annual golf and tennis championships for owners and their friends including a prize-giving dinner and a guided, night-time stargazing walk.

A five-star hotel, world-class facilities and a breathtaking beach Abama is also home to the five-star The Ritz-Carlton, Abama Hotel and spa, designed by the same team as the renowned Sanctuary Spa in London and Chiva Som in Thailand. When relaxing or entertaining at home, property owners can also enjoy private catering from the team at Martin Berasategui’s Melvin restaurant. Otherwise, in addition to the golf course, tennis and padel fans can enjoy profession-

Custom Villa.

Los jardines de Abama.

al standard courts with breathtaking views, and Abama’s tennis academy offers classes for players of all levels, including individually tailored programmes. There is also the natural splendour of the beach itself. With the sheer volcanic rock of the landscape providing a natural source of shelter and privacy, the golden sand beach at Abama (one of the few sandy beaches in Tenerife) is the perfect haven to relax, whether you want to laze on a lounger or enjoy sailing, snorkelling, diving or other water sports. Children, meanwhile, can enjoy the Kids’ Camp, with a flexible schedule available seven days a week for four to 14-year-olds, including art, science, sport and cultural activities. “Our aim,” explains Casola, “is to provide world-class facilities in the comfort of your own home”. Facebook: abamatenerife Instagram: @abamatenerife

Los jardines de Abama.

Villas del Tenis.

Custom Villa.

Las Atalayas.

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  43

Photo: Pexels


Please talk to me I was wondering what happened to the nasty kids at my old school – the bully, the lout, the sadist. Are they managers now, submitting their staff to the same pain they once inflicted on smaller boys? TEXT & PHOTO: STEVE FLINDERS

This musing followed my recent audit of the internal communications of an SME. The HR manager had asked for some training, but the budget was limited so I suggested a consultation exercise instead. 36 middle managers and supervisors attended one of six 90-minute meetings to discuss their communication challenges. I then presented a report to the owners. Confidentiality and anonymity were guaranteed throughout. The same issues came up in every meeting – lack of information downward and across the organisation, and a feeling of not being listened to. It emerged that the management committee no longer met because of a breakdown in relationships. This was attributed by many to one particular manager, who opted out of the exercise. 44  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

One toxic manager can disrupt an entire organisation and sour its communication culture. Mr X was said to be a racist, and a micro-megalomaniac who insisted that all communication to his team went through him. He stayed in place, it was said, because he had personal leverage over one of the owners.

people what to do, and how much time asking? Is the balance right? 2. Do you always give a reason when you tell or ask someone to do something? You should. 3. How much time do you actually spend talking to your people? 50 per cent is a good figure, according to a German consultant I know and trust. Try it. It is possible.

So in this business, a crucial conduit – channelling communication up, down and across the organisation – did not exist. Departments had become silos; senior management seemed remote and its decisions incomprehensible. The exercise reminded of some basic questions all managers can ask themselves about their communication: 1. How much time do you spend telling

Steve Flinders is a freelance trainer, writer and coach, based in Malta, who helps people develop their communication and leadership skills for working internationally:

Discover Southern Europe  |  Business



Goldschmidt Conference.

Business Calendar Goldschmidt Conference 18 – 23 August, Barcelona, Spain Have you ever wondered which chemical processes have shaped Earth’s evolution over time? Goldschmidt Conference might be a place to find answers. This year, the foremost international conference on geochemistry takes place in Barcelona and delves into the interconnections between life and the physical world, the search for new resources, and the environmental challenges facing today's world.

International Conference on Electrical Engineering and Electronics 21 – 23 August, Lisbon, Portugal How can we use electricity in an environmentally conducive way? At the Conference on Electrical Engineering and Electronics, scholars from all over the world assemble to present what’s happening in their field today. Go to listen, network and participate in this year’s workshop on the challenges of the information, communication and technology sector connected to machine learning and big data. 46  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

5-Continent-Congress 29 August – 1 September, Barcelona, Spain The 5CC gathers the most renowned dermatologists, plastic and cosmetic surgeons, and aesthetic physicians together to offer topical expertise in aesthetics, lasers and medicines for skin. Tapan Patel’s signature masterclass on ‘Full Face Filler Techniques’ and an expert panel dedicated to medical business, practice management and digital marketing are just two examples of the 200 speakers from all over the world participating.

Building Simulation 2 – 4 September, Rome, Italy Every day, we use light, turn on music and ventilate our rooms. Mostly, without thinking about it. The Building Simulation in Rome is the first international event to share knowledge about simulation tools that improve the performance characteristics of a building: energy storage, acoustics, lightning and solar systems are part of the programme, as well as digital building solutions. Whether as an expert, student or practitioner in the field – this is an excep-


tional occasion to expand your skills.

Summit for Satellite Financing 9 – 11 September, Paris, France The Summit for Satellite Financing is the must-attend conference for the global satellite communications and connectivity sector. With over 130 senior executive speakers representing the whole spectrum of the aviation and aerospace industry, the summit is the French counterpart of the World Satellite Business Week and creates a unique opportunity to network and to strike business deals with the key decision makers shaping the connected world. Goldschmidt Conference.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Business

A boutique firm offering cross-border legal support in international business Based in the town of Baronissi in Southern Italy, Studio Legale Scafuro offers a range of services to support international organisations and individuals who wish to operate and invest in Italy, as well as Italian businesses seeking to develop their business internationally. The firm is listed on the UK’s Foreign & Commonwealth Office website alongside other firms that support British and Italian citizens seeking legal advice in Italy. TEXT: KIKI DEERE  |  PHOTO: STUDIO LEGALE SCAFURO

“We establish a clear understanding of our clients’ business and goals, helping them capitalise on new opportunities as challenges in the industry continue to grow,” explains lawyer and founder Alfonso Scafuro. The firm has a varied client base, working with organisations across the world, from the United Kingdom and the United States to China and Japan. Scafuro set up Studio Legale Scafuro in 2007, after working for a number of years at international organisations and law firms where he gained extensive experience in

international law. As a small boutique firm, it is able to provide personal, client-focused services. “We take a traditional, innovative approach by providing holistic services to clients, implementing practical solutions that deliver results,” Scafuro continues. The firm advises companies at all stages in the corporate life cycle, from company formation to advising on contract creation and reviewing and drafting partnership agreements. “We aim to find solutions to complex legal problems, with preventative legal ser-

vices aimed at minimising risks and protecting clients’ business interests,” explains Scafuro. “Our team offers advice in a variety of areas, including tax advisory practice and legal translation to ensure compliance both in Italy and abroad.” The firm also prides itself on protecting clients’ personal data. “We seek to build strong relationships with our clients. Compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to safeguard privacy is of utmost priority.”

Alfonso Scafuro.

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  47

A ground-breaking vision for the high-rise of the future Erupting onto the Paris skyline in 2022 is the Hekla Tower: the aim of the build, to balance out the current line-up of high-rises in the La Defense business district. Named after an Icelandic volcano and with a design featuring twisting shards of glass and metal over the top floors, it brings drama and innovation to the site. “We are changing how this incredible city looks and so the building has to be iconic,” says Patrick Bosque, the head of development at Hines in France. “No half-measures.” TEXT: KATIE TURNER  |  PHOTOS: L'AUTRE IMAGE


esigned by one of France’s leading architects, Jean Nouvel, the tower, at 220 metres tall, will have room for 5,800 people working in environmentally sound workspaces. It is located mere moments from the area’s public transport infrastructure, and on foot you’ll be able to reach it via a converted road interchange, soon to be transformed into a leafy walkway inspired by New York’s High Line. “We were very keen to work with Jean Nouvel’s practice: we couldn’t really believe this French architectural giant hadn’t already made his mark here. The first time we sat 48  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

down to discuss the vision for the building, we were in a cafe in the centre of Paris. The Hekla Tower is more or less as it was sketched at that very first meeting. That’s mindblowing for such a massive project. But then it is a superb design,” smiles Bosque.

High-rise of the future Behind the bold development is Hines, one of the world’s leading property investors, which already has ventures in 214 cities across 14 countries. In Europe, these stretch from Ireland in the west as far as Greece in the east, with sustainability a key driver of the company’s success. Their partner on the Hekla

Tower project is AG Real Estate, one of France’s leading commercial real-estate promotion and investment firms, who knows the complex local market inside out. After 23 years with Hines, Bosque has lost none of the enthusiasm which brought him to a career in development in the first place, “What’s really amazing about what I do is that the sites we develop, and the buildings that go up, will be there for generations. We still recognise and talk about Haussmann as the man who developed Paris. That’s my vision for the Hekla Tower: that it’ll be talked about years from now. One thing is for sure: it will long outlive either you or I.”

Discover Southern Europe  |  Business

Patrick Bosque. Photo: Thomas Raffoux

For the project, Hines and AG Real Estate brought on board six young entrepreneurs known as ‘The Creatives’. This group worked alongside Jean Nouvel’s team to reimagine working in the high-rise of the future. The brief? To work their specialist areas: accessibility; food; AI; design; philosophy and sport. They’ve thought in-depth about how people will move, eat and work in the decades to come. “What’s vital is that we shape and influence, not just the Hekla Tower itself, but the lives of those inside and outside the building over the long term,” says Bosque.

Welness centre and roof garden Of the tower’s 48 floors, 39 will be given over to office space. The rest will feature an auditorium, an expansive lobby leading onto a square at ground level, and another leading onto the external walkway. The health and well-being of those working inside is given top priority, with both a fitness and a wellness

centre at the heart of the design concept. If you need fresh air and a breathtaking view, you’ll hit the sweet spot in the roof garden, and on most floors you’ll be able to make the most of the outdoors with covered balconies and terraces all the way up. All this while striving for the very highest standards in environmental design and certification. No wonder the property is already aquired by Amundi and Primonial. The La Defense district of Paris has always been synonymous with a modern vision of France and will need new architecture to take it into the future, though it’s already a hub for hundreds of French and international businesses.

“Setting yourself a challenge” So how did Hines and AG Real Estate settle on a location on such a crowded site? “This is what’s known as a ‘pure development’ pro-

ject. We identified the site and put forward a proposal based on what we’d seen. Finding space was tough and we’ll even be rerouting a road here, plus we’re on a tight deadline for 2022. But that’s what’s called setting yourself a challenge,” explains Bosque. There’s no doubting his commitment: “I’m absolutely passionate about what I do, it’s a huge responsibility. There’s a lot of professional heartache, because not every plan comes to fruition. But when you get the go-ahead for something as ambitious as the Hekla Tower, you feel it’s all been worth it.” Instagram: @tourhekla Twitter: @heklatour LinkedIn: tour-hekla

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  49

50  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Interview: Itziar Ituño

Itziar Ituño “Money Heist is an echo of what’s happening in the world right now” Every once in a while, a TV drama comes along that grips the public imagination. Over the last few years, it has been the likes of ‘Scandi Noir’ series like The Killing, The Bridge and Follow The Money, and most recently a slate of Spanish dramas has followed, most notably the runaway success La Casa de Papel (or Money Heist as it’s titled in English). As the third series of Money Heist debuts on Netflix, the show’s star Itziar Ituño – aka Inspectora Raquel Murillo – talks about why the series resonates so strongly with audiences and why at first she wasn’t interested in the part at all. TEXT: EDDI FIEGEL  |  PHOTOS: RICARDO GOMES


hen they first sent me for the casting of the part of Raquel, I wasn’t that keen at all,” Ituño tells me on the phone from Madrid. “I thought ‘Ay! Not another policewoman.” Ituño had previously spent more than ten years playing the part of a police inspector in the daily Basque TV drama Goenkale in her native Basque country, and so was consequently loath to take on another similar role. But as it turned out, any similarities were purely superficial. “Once I started

reading the script, I saw that it was a very different story,” she explains. “It wasn’t a classic police detective scenario at all.” Indeed it isn’t. Without giving too much away to anyone who hasn’t yet seen the first two series, a group of, for the most part, rather attractive criminals stage an elaborate heist on the Spanish Royal Mint. It’s a long drawn out affair which involves holding some of the Mint’s employees hostage and gradually various dramas unfold

thanks to the interpersonal tensions and relationships between both the gang themselves and their hostages.

Sexism and rivalry Each character has their own individual motivations, not least the mastermind behind the heist – Salva – who with his beard and spectacles is very much the drama’s low key but highly charismatic, Robin Hood-style anti-hero. At the drama’s heart, however, is Inspector Murillo, who also has her own personal challenges, including an abusive ex-husband who happens to be a colleague in the police force, a mother who is trying to hide the onset of dementia and a young daughter still shaken by the separation of her parents. As if that wasn’t enough to be dealing with, she also has to face sexism and professional rivalry at work. But she’s an intelligent woman who deals with the challenges as Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  51

Discover Southern Europe  |  Interview: Itziar Ituño

Money Heist. Photo: Netflix

52  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Interview: Itziar Ituño

best she can and this was something which immediately elevated the role for Ituño from your average run-of-the-mill police drama. “It’s great when you get a part like that,” she says, “because she’s a very real character. With us women, just by virtue of being women, we’re scrutinised more, especially in the workplace, and we’re not listened to as much. Society does that to women in lots of different ways, so the idea of someone who tries to fight for her own authority and her place in the workplace interested me a lot.” “She’s also put in this very extreme situation [dealing with the heist and trying to negotiate the release of the hostages],” she continues, “and also has to deal with an attraction which takes her by surprise but at the same time she doesn’t want to be a victim of that attraction.”

Improvisation The complex nature of victimhood is pertinent to Murillo and was something else which particularly interested Ituño. “You get women who appear very strong, but end up in a situation like that," she says, referring to Murillo’s earlier relationship with her exhusband, “being mistreated – sometimes physically, sometimes emotionally – so she’s a very real character in that way too.” The three-dimensional nature of the various characters, the strength of the script and the unexpected twists and turns of the plot are what makes the series so compelling and some of that, it emerges, was due to a method of filming which has more in common with American drama series written almost on the hoof, than traditional feature films. “They were writing the chapters as we went along,” explains Ituño, “so there were some surprises in there for me, too. We didn’t know how it was going to end and we were kept wondering until almost the very end! They gave us a framework of the plot outline but without defining it in too much detail, and they gave us quite a lot of space for improvisation, so it was a bit openended. It wasn’t like in a film where you film everything in a certain sequence.” So, how did the improvisational aspect of it work, I ask? “They gave you, for example, Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  53

Discover Southern Europe  |  Interview: Itziar Ituño

Money Heist. Photo: Netflix

episode five and it’s completely written but if something occurs to you that you wanted to add, you could suggest it, as long as it didn’t change the plot line. So you could say ‘Well actually I think Raquel would say this in a different way’ and sometimes the director and scriptwriters would agree and sometimes they wouldn’t.”

Good and bad Inevitably, with this kind of improvisational approach, each actor will bring their own life experiences and world view to their vision of their character. In Ituño’s case, she had originally studied sociology at university in the Basque country, which she says also helped her tackle the role. “Sociology helped me a lot when it came to seeing how Raquel fits into her social world, in the different roles that she plays whether she’s in police mode, mother mode, daughter mode, or as a woman who’s in love with Salva. We’re not isolated individuals so the part you play in society defines you in lots of different ways and you understand all of that better with the background of sociology.” The wider political viewpoint of the series is also something Ituño sees as key to the series’ success. There’s an ambiguity to the plot throughout whereby your sympathies are often with the instigators of the heist, 54  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

rather than their supposed victims and that, says Ituño, was very much intentional. “Each of the characters has different motivations and is neither good nor bad, and that was intentional, but there was also the idea of showing the injustices of society,” she explains. “Some people have a lot of money and some people struggle to reach the end of the month and so it was a way of showing that and that’s also why you have more sympathy for the robbers because they haven’t got money and when they need more they just do what the bank does – they just print some more,” she laughs. “The good characters aren’t very good and the bad ones aren’t very bad – just like life! There’s definitely an echo of what’s happening in the world right now and I think that’s one of the reasons the series has been so successful. It’s saying ‘We want to live well but let’s all live well, not just some of us’.”

Third and fourth series Ituño is currently filming a fourth series of Money Heist, which she says is “really interesting”, but in the meantime, as far as the third series goes, she says there are some very compelling new characters and that there’s “another challenge – a bit like at the Royal Mint but this time it’s a much bigger situation. Basically the gang reforms for an-

other job but I can’t say any more than that.” Beyond Money Heist, she has no other plans at the moment. When she’s not filming, she continues to live in her home town of Basauri in the Basque country, the town some 20 minutes’ southeast of Bilbao which she describes as “neither very big nor very small. It’s not a tiny village where everybody knows each other and each other’s business, but you go out and you run into the neighbours. It’s a good place to live. When we’re filming, I rent a small place in Madrid, but when we’re finished, I’m off! Back to my house at home. Everyone has a place where you need to get back to, that’s your place, no?” As far as the future goes, I wonder whether she ever thinks of crossing the Atlantic like her Spanish predecessors Penélope Cruz and Antonio Banderas? “I’d need to learn English properly first! My English is terrible!” she laughs. “I was in England last year but I didn’t have time and now we’re filming again so I’ve had to leave it again but you never know in life. You never know where you’ll end up!”

Season 3 of Money Heist aka La Casa de Papel is available on Netflix now.

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  55


The true buskers of Ferrara Once a year, the dormant medieval town of Ferrara in Emilia Romagna wakes up to the Buskers Festival: ten days of music and love for the street. TEXT: MARINA DORA MARTINO  |  PHOTOS: LUISA VERONESI

“To play on the streets, you need to be brave,” says Rebecca Bottoni, president of the Ferrara Buskers Festival, now in its 32nd edition. “There is no barrier between the musicians and the audience. True buskers know what that means.” The ‘buskers’, from the Spanish word ‘buscar’, ‘to seek’, are musicians who choose the street as their stage and lead their lives shifting from place to place, a concept that was unknown to Italians at the time when the Festival was started by Rebecca’s father, Stefano Bottoni. One day in 1987, Stefano, a blacksmith with a passion for folk, read in a local newspaper that two ‘musicisti di strada’, (street musicians) had been caught playing in Ferrara and were fined by the police. “My father started dreaming of a Ferrara in which music could be played

freely at every corner, like he saw happening in New York, London and Dublin.” At the time, playing on the streets was forbidden, and even today, Italy’s laws on the subject are still stricter than in the rest of Europe. During the Buskers Festival, however, the city turns on its head. “The atmosphere is electrified and full of energy. People discover new instruAmbramarie plays in front of Castello Estense.

ments, new kinds of music and get to know the artists personally.” There is no stage, no ticket and artists are not assured a monetary cachet. The only money they get is what they can collect in their hats. Relive the Ferrara Buskers Festival, wherever you are, with its open Spotify playlist. Just search under the name of the festival.

A band plays in the Castello Estense.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Unmissable Festivals in Italy

Bolzano’s number one festival of culture and innovation


Hosted in the beautiful Italian region of Alto Adige, and with Bolzano as its pulsating heart, Transart is one of the most important multidisciplinary festivals for contemporary culture. Experimental and innovative, Transart takes the audience on a fascinating journey which explores the most interesting projects when it comes to the arts and the international contemporary culture panorama. Often taking place in just as experimental and unusual locations, including both abandoned and functioning factories, mountain huts and universities, Transart focuses on exploring different forms of art and culture, with these being classical music, electronic music, performance, theatre, exhibitions, films and new technologies. “Transart is the unheard, the unexpected and the unpredictable,” says artistic director Peter Paul Kainrath. “Energy is certainly one of the most incredible things in the Transart festival. Often, it is the artists who

interpret the energy of a particular place (taking first the time to understand its story and personality) and then turn this same energy into a powerful artistic project which is both original and contemporary.” “The public knows that when it comes to Transart performances, you can expect everything. When attending one of our festival events, they might find themselves John Luther Adams, Become Ocean.

walking to the highest mountain just to listen to the sound of nature, or play a part in a particular performance. Or, why not, even find themselves alone with the performer to reflect on the meaning of life.” Boasting great names including Marina Abramović, Nils Frahm, Laurie Anderson, Blixa Bargeld and Omar Souleyman, Transart has quickly built a strong reputation all over Europe and is now one of the most anticipated events of the autumn. Roman Signer, A concert with trouble.

Discover Southern Europe  |  Editorial Feature

Rock en Seine. Photo: Christophe Crénel

Diary Dates


Horse races, firework festivals, tomato fights, folkloristic feasts… They are all happening right here, in Southern Europe. Don’t miss out on these fabulous events in France, Spain, Italy and Portugal this month. Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient 2 – 11 August, Lorient, France As the most important Celtic region on the European mainland, Brittany hosts one of the most popular Celtic festivals around. For ten days, thousands of guests from the United Kingdom, Northern Spain and the Isle of Man come to celebrate their roots with traditional arts, music, theatre, sports and gastronomy. 58  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Aste Nagusia 10 – 17 August, San Sebastián, Spain During the Aste Nagusia (Basque for ‘the big week’), the coastal metropole of San Sebastian becomes a giant festival ground. During daytime hours, you can participate in the pirate fest ‘Al Abordaje’, or gaze at the parade of the giants. Every night, a firework show from a world-renowned artist amazes the masses. At the end of the fes-

Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient. Photo: Gwen Lenormand

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Il Palio di Siena. Photo: Pxhere

tival, the best pyrotechnician receives the festival’s prestigious award.

Festa Major de Gràcia 15 – 21 August, Barcelona, Spain Just like any other Catalan village or neighbourhood, Barcelona’s district of Gràcia hosts a Festa Major (main festival) once a year. Besides the traditional concerts, cultural activities and ‘correfocs’ (fire parades), the Festa Major de Gràcia is famous for its decorated streets. All year long, each street’s

committee creates the most spectacular decorations to spruce up the roads with. Stroll from one world into the next during Barcelona’s most atmospheric event.

They don’t have much time to impress, though: because as soon as one circles the big square three times, a new champion is found.

Il Palio di Siena 16 August, Siena, Italy In the Tuscan city of Siena, horse racing is of vital importance. Twice each summer, ten of the city’s 17 neighbourhoods can send a jockey to the Piazza del Campo to defend the honour of the neighbourhood.

Rock en Seine 23 – 25 August, Paris, France Rock en Seine, one of France’s biggest music festivals, is a true celebration of ‘liberté’, ‘égalité’ and ‘fraternité’. Just a stone’s throw away from the Eiffel Tower, the festival is the perfect place to relax in the grass with friends while enjoying the tunes of modern legends like The Cure, Major Lazer and Royal Blood.

Venice International FIlm Festival, Jury (2018). Photo: ASAC

Madeira Wine Festival 25 August – 8 September, Madeira, Portugal During the grape harvest, the island of Madeira celebrates the drink that has made it famous. With a myriad of traditional parades, winemaking demonstrations and – of course – tastings, the islanders fill two weeks with authentic, surprising and delicious activities. Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  59

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Madeira Wine Festival. Photo: Madeira

La Tomatina 28 August, Buñol, Spain Few events are as brilliant in their simplicity as La Tomatina: 40,000 people attack each other with 145,000 kilogrammes of tomatoes for one hour straight. The tradition first saw the light of day in 1945, when a handful of youngsters disturbed the town’s traditional parade by throwing tomatoes at it. Today, the deep-red festival attracts participants from all corners of the world.

La Tomatina. Photo: Wikipedia

International Chimney Sweeps Gathering. Photo: Patricia M

Asta Nagusia. Photo: Sara Santos

Venice International Film Festival 28 August – 7 September, Venice, Italy Venice’s film festival is the oldest in the world and (alongside the ones in Berlin and Cannes) the most prestigious one around. Many world-famous film stars and directors travel to Italy during the festival to promote their pictures on the red carpet or to compete for that much-desired Golden Lion. Legends like Guillermo del Toro and Sophia Coppola already have such a statue on their mantle.

International Chimney Sweeps Gathering 30 August – 2 September, Santa Maria Maggiore, Italy Annually, the world’s last remaining chimney sweeps fraternise in the beautiful Santa 60  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Diary Dates

Maria Maggiore. Through music, art and an international parade in traditional clothing, they tell the world about their dangerous profession and the mass migration which it has caused.

Nuits de Sologne 7 September, Nouan-le-Fuzelier, France Once a year, the hamlet of Nouan-le-Fuzelier becomes a colourful inferno when fireworks and music brighten up its sky. With fire and colour as its media, Nuits de Sologne will, this year, tell the story of King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table. To top it off, you can sample the finest local specialities and drinks at the many stalls.

Nuits de Solonge. Photo: Joy Tek

Festa Major de Gràcia. Photo: Joan Brebo

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  61

Fire, festivity and faith Paterna, a town in the outskirts of Valencia, celebrates the end of summer with fire and gunpowder. During its annual celebration – or, Fiestas de Paterna – its citizens ignite one of the biggest pyrotechnic shows in Spain: the legendary La Cordà. TEXT: GERARD PLANA  |  PHOTOS: PATERNA


ince ancient times, mankind has always had a special connection with fire. Its mystical attraction, far greater than magnetism, has always made us come together; gazing at the hypnotic, dancing flames. Once we learned how to control it, our relationship with it changed drastically, up to the point where it became a vital element of our daily lives and a welcome guest at many a festival. Yet, few communities celebrate amongst the flames like they do in Paterna, a notso-small village near Valencia. When August comes to an end, its locals get ready for the Fiestas de Paterna and the famous spectacle of La Cordà: a pyrotechnic parade through the Main Street during

62  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

which tens of thousands of fireworks get lit in less than 30 minutes.

Smoke and sparkles The tradition of La Cordà dates long back. Centuries ago, when Paterna was just a small town, it had a strong link with gunpowder and pyrotechnics. Like in many places in Valencia, groups of friends would gather on the streets every year to celebrate the town’s patron saints – Christo de la Fe and Saint Vincente Ferrer – with fireworks and smoke. The streets filled themselves with loud bangs and got illuminated by millions of colourful sparkles. Throughout the years, this impromptu tradition became well-known throughout the region and attracted many spectators every year. Therefore, Paterna’s government decided to celebrate it as an official festival, every year on the last Sunday of August. Today, La Cordà is one of the most visited events in all the region of Valencia. In 2017, the Spanish government even granted the

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture

parade with the title Festivity of National Tourist Interest. During La Corda, the main credo is ‘safety first’. Since they light more than 70,000 fireworks in 30 minutes and use three times more gunpowder than an ordinary Valencian mascletà does, Paterna goes above and beyond to guarantee the safety of the fire parade’s participants, the city itself and the spectators. They can take shelter in the cohetòdrom, an elevated viewpoint from where they can watch the show safely. Although fire is the protagonist at the Fiestas de Paterna, there is plenty more to discover, away from the cosy inferno. ‘Fire, Festivity and Faith’ is the slogan of the Fiestas de Paterna and those three elements are the main pillars on which the party is built. While La Cordà takes care of the fire, local people give colour to the festivity and the region’s religious cofradías (or, confraternities) add faith into the mix. Nonetheless, all three are interrelated and collide within the celebrations.

Heaven and hell When the mythical night arrives, the socalled tiradores (or, shooters) gather at the Calle Mayor, where La Cordà kicks off. All dressed in a traditional leather suit to protect them from burns, they patiently await the starting shot. Meanwhile, the streets fill up with locals and tourists galore. Nobody in Paterna wants to miss out on the mesmerising show which is about to pass the history-packed streets. Soon, they will be covered with dense smoke and the characteristic smell of gunpowder, a smell that every native of Paterna will directly associate with this magical night. When the coheter major (the fireworks master) finally gives the starting shot, all the tiradores hurry to light their wicks. The party has officially started. The smoke rapidly makes a blur of the streets. You can only see the sparks of the thousands of fireworks being lit at the same time, you can hear them whistle, detonate and burn while your eyes tear up from the smoke. For 30 minutes, the Calle Mayor becomes a hell

on earth. Although, for the many tiradores and the loyal spectators, it feels like heaven. Once they have lit their last fireworks, they can’t do anything but smile and start dreaming about next year’s festival. The summer is coming to an end, but for them, it couldn’t end better.

A trip to Paterna Home to the famous Spanish actor Antonio Ferrandis, Paterna is an appealing village near Valencia, full of beautiful spots, historical buildings and rich gastronomy. Don't miss the Moorish Tower, the caves of Paterna or the Teatro Antonio Ferrandis. Enjoy its Mediterranean gastronomy and taste the catxaps, sweet pastries filled with a smooth custard. Film fans might want to hunt for famous filming locations as well, as Pain and Glory, Almodovar’s latest, was partially shot in this atmospheric town.

The Fiestas de Paterna run from 15 August until 25 August. La Cordà takes place on 25 August. For more info, visit

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  63

64  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture

Nature without borders First established as a regional showcase in 1996, the International Wildlife and Nature Festival of Montier is now considered as the Cannes of nature photography. With former contributors such as Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Laurent Ballesta and Jim Brandenburg, the four-day festival features between 80 and 100 passionate international artists each year. Passion, in fact, seems to be the centre of the festival's sustained appeal. "Visitors take note of next year's dates before they leave the festival, and photography professionals always ask each other: ‘Are you going to Montier this year?’,” says communication manager Émilie Gallois. In fact, a condition for having one's work displayed is to attend the whole four days. This encourages a dialogue between audience and artist and gives a strong sense of presence and involvement to the festival. This year, the event focuses on Asia and on the worldwide ecosystem of forests and how they adapt to a changing climate. "Our photographers are witnesses to this global problem and they document what is happening on an environmental level." Alongside

top-tier photo exhibitions, the event offers various talks, conferences and outdoors excursions. The nearby Village of Trades, a singular, 1,000-square-metre marketplace for photography and observation equipment, also hosts showcases and experiments. With up to 40,000 visitors, Montier isn’t a closedoff affair for connoisseurs only, but a commuPhoto: Baptiste Gerbet


nity of people gathered over a shared love for nature and beautiful images. And the location itself could hardly be more suited to such a gathering: set in the woody Haute-Marne department, Montier lies near the Lac du Der, a wide and picturesque lake known as a natural habitat for the ash-coloured cranes. Every year, the festival takes place around the third weekend of November during their Autumn migration, giving visitors the chance to watch them taking flight at sunrise. Photo: Laurent Geslin

Paintings through time To visit the cave at Pech Merle is almost akin to a visit to another world while travelling through time. Located in the picturesque Lot Valley in France (just over half an hour’s drive from Cahors, or two hours’ from Toulouse), the Centre de Préhistoire du Pech Merle is one of only a few in the old province of Quercy to offer visitors the chance to get up close and personal with prehistoric paintings from tens of thousands of years ago. TEXT: HANNAH JANE THOMPSON  |  PHOTOS: P. CABROL - CENTRE DE PRÉHISTOIRE DU PECH MERLE


lthough less than 100 kilometres from the super-famous Lascaux caves, this site offers an even more authentic experience: because these Paleolithic paintings are not copies, they are the real thing. This is what is so unique about Pech Merle, and adds an extra, thrilling dimension to a visit here. Guided tours last around 45 minutes, with translations available in 12 languages. “Visitors say that it is very moving,” explains Bertrand Defois, director of cultural and tourist development at the centre. “Here, you can stand a few 66  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

dozen centimetres away from artwork that was first created 29,000 years ago.”

Amedée Lemozi The visit is set up to emphasise this rare experience, with visitors encouraged to immerse themselves in the otherworldly feeling of the cave. “You feel like you are in another universe,” says Defois. “There are strange noises and shapes – stalactites, stalagmites – and it’s dark. You lose all of your reference points. It's like being in a time machine.”

Discovered in 1922, the site would become the project of local priest and prehistorian, Amedée Lemozi. Having come to the nearby village of Cabrerets after the First World War to teach, he encouraged his students not only in religious education, but also in his love of prehistoric treasures. Energised by his lessons, three teenagers aged 13 to 16 were exploring nearby when they came across the artwork, and their teacher became the first person to study the paintings. Inspired, Lemozi decided to open the cave to the public in 1926, realising that the paintings were in such good condition that they could be viewed in their original, authentic form. There are 800 drawings in total (of which not all are accessible to the public), with the most famous work being The Punctuated Horses: a horse head next to symbolic dots, which has become the centre’s logo. Equally as astonishing is an

Discover Southern Europe  |  Culture

actual footprint in the dirt – a real-life remnant of the European early modern humans who walked in that exact spot. The Pech Merle cave, as it came to be known – taking on the Occitan name of the hill above it – would later become today’s visitor centre.

80,000 visitors Now, the Amedée Lemozi Museum allows guests to understand the history in even more detail, including the screening of a 25-minute documentary film created by a researcher; and the site explores the prehistory of the entire area, placing Pech Merle in context of the region’s wider, prehistoric gems. While the centre itself admits that it “cannot compete” with Lascaux – on visitor numbers or on the level of international fame – it does now attract more than 80,000 visitors per year, and is always fully booked in the summer months of July and August. Guests planning a trip are strongly advised to book their visit in advance, Defois says, to ensure they will be included as one of the limited number of daily guests. Entrances are capped at 700 people per day, to protect the paintings. There are also plans to modernise the centre soon, and add even more English-language guides to the existing daily tours.

Revolutionary drawings

Indeed, the area is popular with tourists, and visitors often pair their trip to Pech Merle with a visit to the nearby medieval village of Saint-Cirq Lapopie. Perched perilously-yet-beautifully on a mountainside

This is a region offering near-unparalleled access to the history of France through the ages, from the cave paintings, to the medieval churches, villages and cathedrals of the Middle Ages – not to mention the stunning natural scenery. And in today’s world

overlooking the picturesque Lot Valley, it is a favourite among painters and writers, and has been named as one of the official Plus Beaux Villages de France. As one might expect, a veritable industry has also popped up closer to Pech Merle itself, with many recommended hotels and restaurants bearing its name.

– so full of images, design, photos and distractions – it is worth remembering how incredible this early art must have seemed to the people who created it, and consider how powerfully somewhere like Pech Merle can remind us of our own place in humans’ journey through millennia. “Today, in our society, there are images everywhere,” explains Defois. “But these are some of the first drawings that were ever made by our species of humanity. They must have been completely revolutionary.” Facebook: Pech-Merle

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  67

Discover Southern Europe  |  Film


Pain & Glory

Almodóvar’s bittersweet eulogy Veteran Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar is back with a subtle and deeply moving film about a once successful director, played by his longtime collaborator Antonio Banderas. This resoundingly personal drama, which premiered in Cannes, is one of Almodóvar’s greatest in years — and certainly one on the awards watch lists. TEXT: ANNA BONET  I  PRESS PHOTOS


lmodóvar has always been a master in intertextuality, and Pain and Glory (Dolor y Gloria) is decidedly meta. It’s a film about film-making, both centered around and directed by a gay, ageing director. You’d be forgiven for drawing similarities between our protagonist Salvador Mallo (Banderas) and Almodóvar himself. Salvador's apartment is even Almodóvar’s real-life home, but despite such details, the director has explicitly said similarities end there and this is indeed fiction. And what a profound piece of fiction it is. Salvador is a director in physical and emotional decline. He hasn’t made a film in years, which, as we’re told in voiceover, he blames

Antonio Banderas.

68  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

on his ailing health - joint pains, tinnitus and depression being just some of his problems. When he is invited to do a Q&A after a theatre puts on a screening of his old drama Sabor (Taste), he decides to reconnect with the lead actor (Etxeandia) who he fell out with at the time over his addiction to heroin. This time around, Salvador asks for a hit of the drug himself and, sure enough, keeps going back for more. During atmospheric flashbacks to his childhood in Valencia in the ‘60s, we meet Salavador’s mother, played beautifully by Penélope Cruz. And as his past unfolds, his present becomes ever-clearer. In that way, Pain and Glory really is a meditative, self-

Penélope Cruz.

reflective film. It’s a character study brimming with nostalgia. And Banderas does a sensational job in the role. While Pain and Glory comes face-to-face with death, everything about the film is incredibly alive. The colours, the composition and the tapestry-like plot make for an enormously enjoyable two hours. This brilliant drama joins the likes of Volver and All About My Mother in the Almodóvar hall of classics. It’s a true masterpiece.

Director: Pedro Almodóvar Lead cast: Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Asier Etxeandia UK release date: 23 August 2019

Discover Southern Europe  |  Book

Nicky Pellegrino.


A Dream of Italy

Small town charm renaissance Have you ever daydreamed about buying a house abroad? In Nicky Pellegrino’s enticing summer read, four people get the chance to do just that when an Italian mayor decides to sell off his town’s tumbledown houses for less than the price of a cup of coffee. TEXT: CLAIRE WEBB  I  PRESS PHOTOS


Dream of Italy is set in a fictional town nestled in the rugged peaks of the south. “From a distance, Montenello appeared to have been hewn from the rock it stood on,” observes one character. “The town looked like a fortress, all tightly packed houses and tall spires clinging to the high sides of a mountain.” Montenello has a crumbling castle, a bar and a trattoria, and that’s about it. Over the years, many of its residents have moved away in search of jobs and better lives, leaving half its old stone houses empty. The town’s energetic mayor and his elderly assistant hatch a plan: they will entice new blood by flogging Montenello’s old

abandoned houses to foreigners for just one euro. When their advert goes viral, they’re inundated with applications including emails from a middle-aged divorcee, a gay couple and a young, broke couple. They all have different reasons for yearning for a change of scene: lonely Mimi wants to start afresh after her divorce, Edward is bored of his pleasant but predictable life with Gino, Elise is desperate to get on the property ladder. Predictably, their sun-soaked fantasies soon dissolve into bad dreams. Elise’s boyfriend bottles out, Gino is less than impressed with Edward’s grand plan, Mimi discovers that the town is cursed, and their bargain new homes are virtually ruins. The

mayor has problems of his own: his wily assistant is acting very oddly. Liverpool-born Pellegrino is half-Italian and lives in Auckland with her husband. She says her escapist novels are inspired by childhood holidays in Southern Italy, and they’re always peppered with gorgeous scenery and delicious meals washed down with wine. In this one, the foreigners are soon seduced by picturesque Montenello and its charming locals, and Elise is especially taken with the handsome mayor. A Dream of Italy is guaranteed to rekindle that fantasy about buying a house abroad. You may even find yourself scrolling through Italian property websites, looking for a bargain ruin in a tranquil hilltop town.

Publisher: Orion Publishing Price: €15 UK release date: 8 August 2019

Issue 7  |  August 2019  |  69

Discover Southern Europe  |  Food

Neapolitan pizza.

Parmesan cheese.

Ligurian basil pesto.


There is no such thing as Italian food The funny thing about Italian food is that it doesn't really exist. Instead, its culinary reputation is built on a mountain of dishes from 20 individual regions: each with a collection of unique recipes, ingredients and local produce. Funnily enough, they also all claim to be the best at representing its nation's cuisine. There is such immense diversity, especially between the north and the south. So, if you think only pizza and pasta are on offer, then you are hugely mistaken.

So, next time you travel to Italy, why not try a local recipe rather than sticking to what you know. It will definitely enrich your Italian foodie experience.



he fact is, Italy has only been unified for about 150 years. For centuries before, different groups from across the globe came and conquered specific parts of the country. During their occupation, they left their mark, including their culinary influences. The Arabs introduced many spices, vegetables and fruits to the southern hemisphere; the Spanish introduced the tomato to Naples; the Etruscans and Greeks had a hand in inventing dry pasta; and the Normans, Germans and Austrians heavily influenced the north. The list goes on! 70  |  Issue 7  |  August 2019

Now, let's bring it back to the 21st century, and Italy owns a wealth of delicious regional dishes. So much so, it would be difficult to enjoy them all in one lifetime. I've been trying, and I know I've only scratched the surface. However, to understand its full culinary diversity, here are the key differences. • The north lends to richer cookery, better known for creamy sauces, meat dishes and tending to favour risotto over pasta. Popular dishes include Milanese risotto, Bolognese ragu and Ligurian basil pesto. • Southern cooking is dominated by fresh organic vegetables, olive oil and seafood. Popular dishes include seafood linguine, Neapolitan pizza and aubergine parmigiana.

Paola Maggiulli, a British foodie and passionate cook with Italian roots, has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to all Italian food; pasta, pizza, gelato, you name it. On her blog, The Tiny Italian, she shares her delicious recipes with the world.