• #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: ROME

    Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it’s not to visit in a day. Follow #vacanzeromane to see how endless and timeless Rome really is, but if you have but a weekend or a few days for the città eterna, this is what to absolutely do and the “grazie, però no”. 1. The Spanish Steps and Trinita dei Monti Piazza di Spagna is high on the must list, but what you are really looking for is the scalinata (the Spanish steps) in fiore, and the classic climb up to Trinita dei Monti. Take your time in the Piazza della Trinita dei Monti and then some more time to visit the…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: VENEZIA

    1. Off-season Venice: by all means, travel outside summer season or Carnival week (unless you have tickets to one of the official balls, then you simply have to throw it all in). Venice is so full of tourists that you can hardly call any time of the year “off season”, but I discovered that La Serenissima is only serene in winter, and maybe some blissful days in early spring or late autumn. Check this out for Venice in winter. 2. A room with a view: definitely look for that when you book your accommodation. Don’t ever make Venice an economy trip. Don’t fly to Treviso and do not stay on…

  • everydaymagic

    Fall escape: Vendemmia in Toscana

    September is here, so we are slowly getting ready for one of our favorite escapes, the vendemmia in Toscana. And while we’re at it, we save the dates in the calendar – well, the usual wonders: the winetastings, the community harvest and the exploration of the cantine, the local fairs honoring Baccus, the mystery tours and the pranzoni – all the incredible food of the season. This year, due to hot weather and climate particularities, the vendemmia takes place sooner than usual. Forecast says historical low harvest but some extraordinary grapes to be expected in very limited quantities. Heat waves and extreme weather grew smaller, atypical grapes, and quality variations…

  • everydaymagic

    Eating my way through Bologna

    When it comes to food, Bologna has looots of things to say to the foodie. But if so happens that you only have one day to spend on roaming the city streets, there are two food hubs that you need to pin on google map: Via delle Pescherie Vecchie – right in the city center near Piazza Maggiore, and Via Pratello, near San Francesco Church, known almost exclusively to locals.

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Opera itineraries for thehappyfew

    If you’re a classical music enthusiast or an opera lover, you must have been to the Covent Garden or Scala once or twice. But I discovered something that beats even the gilded interiors of Opera Garnier: the exterior. Dream big: ancient theatre with view of the volcano, a huge lake stage or a musical terrace where you can see the sun rising 315 m over the sea. Set in breathtaking outdoor locations, here are my favorite concert halls: 1 .Teatro Greco di Taormina. Classical music but also rock concerts are taking place in the ancient theatre of Taormina, Sicily. A large crack in the original arena wall offers a magnificent…

  • 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,…

  • 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,…

  • everydaymagic

    Acqua alta in Venice

    One miraculous December, I went to Venezia to… well, to celebrate my birthday with a splash. Venice is a great place to do this, especially if you go off season and avoid the crowds at San Marco or Rialto. But when the acqua alta comes, San Marco is exactly the place to be: a gigantic, surreal mirror revealing the magical counterpart of everything. yourself included. Some facts, wikipedia style: Acqua alta  is the term used in Veneto for the exceptional tide peaks that occur periodically in the northern Adriatic Sea The peaks reach their maximum in the Venetian Lagoon. The phenomenon occurs mainly between autumn and spring, when the astronomical tides are reinforced by the…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Val d’Orcia and the ideal city

    One fine day, the Architect looked out of the window to see the future; he saw a utopian landscape of pale green fields and pure skies, rolling into forever. Then he took a brush and four colors and started painting: pale yellowish green for the fields, dark green for the cypresses, blue azzuro for the skies and warm brown for the roads and the farms. You think I’m being rather corny, poetic with a touch of mysticism. I can be all that, but today I’m merely factual. The Val d’Orcia, another world favorite of the happy few, is a region of perfect landscape south of Siena, included in the UNESCO…