• 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…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys

    Dolce far’niente

    The Tuscandiary, Day One I wake up in an aura of light, immersed in lazy serenity, as the wooden sunblinds draw golden paths on the fresh white linens. I see fairy dust dancing in the light and I can hear mysterious sings  and a delicate rustle through the half-open window. There’s something about the sound of wind through the cypresses and old olive trees that works like a timeless lullaby. Our home is secretly nestled in the vineyards on the hills near Monteriggioni, far from the world and deep into wonderland. It has views over Chianti Classico, Castellina and Greve at day and the starriest sky over at night. Plus…

  • everydaymagic,  fantastic journeys

    TOSCANA: 12 DAYS OF GRACE

    There’s only one thing I can think of that can make leaving Florence bearable: leaving it for Chianti. Yes, the wine. And the life. So my 12 days of grace recipe starts with 3 days in Florence, followed by 9 more in the countryside, in the heart of the Tuscan vines. I pack my things carelessly, throw everything in the small Fiat or Mini I rented, and head south for the SR222. First timers are warned: go my way, not the highway. What I mean is take the SR222, the “wine” road through the villages and vineyards of Chianti Classico. I always stay at a farmhouse near Monteriggioni, but any…