• fantastic journeys,  Uncategorized

    Driving through Chianti Classico

      Follow La Strada del Chianti and stop along the way to your heart’s desire. Etruscans were first here, then Romans drove their carts on these roads. A land of tremendous beauty and forever radiating serenity, the wine road witnessed the obsessive conflicts between Florence and Siena, undisturbed by battles and time. Looking at the map, the villages, vineyards and castles of Chianti Classico can be found along the SR222. We started from our beloved Monteriggioni and went up through Castellina to Greve in Chianti, then round towards Castelnuovo Berardenga in our search for Brolio Castle.  In Castellina, we walked the Via delle Volte and visited the Rocca Comunale, the…

  • fantastic journeys,  Uncategorized

    But first we Florence in style

    It is that time of the year. Grape harvest season means #Toscanaforthehappyfew. Two weeks of the slow, artful, almost timeless happiness in the Tuscan countryside. But first we Florence in style. When Stendhal visited Florence for the first time, he experienced a one-time feeling: a mixture of amazement, and beatitude and exhilaration that proved literally overwhelming. He was dizzy and confused and sick with emotion, while phisically incapable of leaving the city. I felt it too, my first time in Firenze: the allure, the wonder, the perfect beauty and the unconceivable happiness of just being there. You know that special tension you feel when you’re desperately in love, a perpetuum of excitement,…

  • fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Peniche

    One more stop he said. We were chasing daring lighthouses, pure beaches and wild coastline, as usual. It had been a very hot day in August, the kind of day that makes everything quiet and brings out the light in everything, white houses and white sands surrounded by a shimmering halo, people scarce and wrinkled by sun and dry winds. Coming down from Nazare along the coast, we had taken a scourging trip inland to see Fatima and Batalha, and were heading to Obidos for the night. Tired with heat and long drive, I was looking forward to the cool walls, green ivy and refreshing chatter of the Obidos fortress at night.…

  • THE TREASURE MAP

    RONDA

    Andalusia is one of thehappyfew’ s favorite realms, a true kingdom of Moorish adventures, of wonderful and often dramatic findings and hot temper. It is a country and a culture in itself, and its thrills are downright endless. And still, if I was to pick one place on the map, for a one-time escape, I would pick Ronda.

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys

    300 years of Chianti Classico

      On Sept. 24, 1716, the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’ Medici officially delineated the borders of the Chianti wine region. Which basically makes him a personal favorite and a hero. Him and Barone Ricasoli, of course. Cosimo had quality control teams patrolling the vineyards in the area and made sure that no other wine outside this blessed realm could be called Chianti, ever again. A predecessor to what would become the modern Denominazione d’Origine Controllata (DOC) and DOCG wine labeling system, the Grand Duke’s act was the first of its kind in Europe. Genius. 300 years later, thehappyfew couldn’t have missed the celebrations. On September 24, 2016,…

  • THE TREASURE MAP

    Portugal: beaches for thehappyfew

    The treasure map for thehappyfew discovering the coastline Costa de Prata (between Porto and Lisbon): from Porto / Vila Nova de Gaia – Dunas Sao Jacinto – Nazare – Obidos – Baleal – Peniche, Praia da Mexilhoeira – Foz do Sizandro – Sao Juliao – Magoito,  to Aguda, Adraga and down to Guincho. Infinite white beaches for surfers and lovers of the immense blue, and secret coves that are hard to find and even harder to leave. Algarve: mainly the Lagos – Sagres  – Cabo Sao Vicente area.  Probably the most beautiful beaches in the world, an incredible scenery created by the famous red rocks that take fantastic shapes and hide…

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Outside Valencia: PENISCOLA

    Who was first? The Knights Templar or the dragons? The must escape is yet to come, and, as any proper magic, it should last three days. You simply must go to Peniscola. Take Costa del Azahar north from Valencia towards Barcelona on either the highway or the national road, if you want to make some stops along the way.

  • fantastic journeys

    Outside Valencia: 3 escapes

    AZAHAR means “citrus blossom”, and the word has a ring to it and stays with you forever once you’ve seen the orange trees in bloom. Valencia has it all for a truly captivating holiday; the sea and the oranges and the food and the urban surprises, and even some happy escapes that you can try if you’re feeling adventurous. As I said, driving in Valencia is completely stress-free, and outside Valencia you have the usual Spanish quality roads, so there is absolutely no reason to not venture beyond.