• #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.

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON VERONA

    The city of Romeo and Juliet can become a love story, and not necessarily a tragic one.  Of all the things to love here, the house of Giulietta and the famed balcony are the least lovable, while the tons of heart and Cupid and flashy red souvenirs are maybe the only real tragedy  that happened to this place.  So forget about that story, and bear in mind that Shakespeare wrote two more Verona-related plays: Two Gentlemen of Verona and the wonderful Taming of the Shrew.  I very much  wanted to see the house where Katherina was tamed, but no reference to that, I’m afraid. There is still the house of…

  • 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…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: FIRENZE

    There are only 9 absolute musts, but thousands of other reasons to Florence The view from San Miniato al Monte. Let everybody stop at the otherwise wonderful Piazzale Michelangelo for the view over the city. While good for the pictures, it is so over-crowded it loses aura. Go uphill, Via delle Porte Sante, at San Miniato Monastery. You’ll see the aura there. This is the church with the most beautiful view in the world.  Take your time to enjoy the rooftops, it is a magical skyline to dream on to. Ask for a room at a superior floor or a penthouse. Have a late breakast on the roof.  Catch the colors…

  • 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

    Romantic, but different

    Since thehappyfew truly love celebrations yet are horrorstruck by what has become of Valentine’s Day, here are some heartfelt ideas to be romantic, after all. Love is three quarters curiosity. Casanova said it, and no great poet coined it better after that. Step into a different character, give into the temptation, celebrate as an impostor. No wonder the wearing of masks at the carnival was invented to let us indulge in the greatest misbehavior.  You can dress up  for the opera and waltz carelessly in Saint Germain at midnight. Celebrate on the 13th to break the badluck, and do absolutely nothing on the 14th. Or you can simply do absolutely nothing, paired with a…