• 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…

  • 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,  Uncategorized

    What to do once in a blue moon

    The blue moon is rare, that’s a fact. But the expression <once in a blue moon> stays with us to remind us of things rare, mysterious, out-of-ordinary and – well, blue. What to do once in a blue moon? 1. Go for your prreciouss: put a finger on a thing that you covet and go for it. An expensive treat, a collectible or even a person; whatever makes you feel you hold the keys to the universe’s secret. Something like seeing Tosca in the Teatro Antico di Taormina, with a view of the sea and of Etna in the backdrop (possibly with incandescent lava on top). 2. Venture into the mystery:…

  • everydaymagic,  THE TREASURE MAP

    Supernatural

    Rich, old and full of charm. Toscana is where legends are at a standstill. Time is slow, it simply flows right into history. The most perfect landscape rolls into the richest vineyards and the noblest cities of art in the whole wide world. Honestly now: if you were a supernatural being, where would you live? Father of Chianti Classico, reveal your presence! Ricasoli is the oldest winery in Italy. Winemakers since 1141 when the family acquired the magnificent Brolio Castle and the surrounding vineyards, the Ricasolis had the nose and the palate for creating good wines.  Talent and erudition run in the family, culminating with the one and only Bettino…

  • 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

    I wake up in an aura of light, immersed in lazy serenity and completely brainwashed of everything past. The wooden sun-blinds allow luminous paths on the fresh white linens, fairy dust dances in the light and a delicate rustle sings through the slightly open window. It is the silent music of cypresses and old olive trees, when you wake up at 9 past, at your Tuscan farm. Our home is secretly nestled on the hills near Monteriggioni, far from the world and deep into wonderland. It has views over the hills of Chianti Classico, Castellina and Greve at day and the starriest sky over at night.

  • 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. 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 farm or agriturismo along the way will do the trick. The Chiantigiana cures the blues of Florence’s graceful rooftops as it lulls you sweetly over the lazy countryside. Before you can…