• #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: FIRENZE

    There are only 9 absolute musts, but thousands of other reasons to Florence ONE: The view from San Miniato al Monte Let everybody else stop at Piazzale Michelangelo for the view over the city. While a very good spot for the pics, it is basically an over-crowded parking. Go uphill, Via delle Porte Sante, to San Miniato al Monte. This is the church with the most beautiful view in the world. TWO: THE ROOFTOPS OF FLORENCE Flirence has a magical skyline to dream on to. The miraculous dome of the Duomo, the unmistakable tower of the Signoria, the tiled rooftops, the marbled facades and the Rennaissance palazzi  create an immersive…

  • fantastic journeys,  Uncategorized

    A ROADTRIP 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 around the SR222. One itinerary we love is this. We started from our beloved Monteriggioni and went up through Castellina in Chianti to Panzano and Greve in Chianti. Another one is right from Castellina towards Radda and Volpaia, then round direction Gaiole towards San…

  • fantastic journeys,  Uncategorized

    BUT FIRST WE FLORENCE IN STYLE

    It is that time of the year. Grape harvest season means iT’S#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…

  • 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,  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

    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…

  • #SINEQUANON

    SINE QUA NON: TOSCANA

    Take two weeks for it. You will want it to last forever anyway. There are places you can fast forward, and there are places you can resist the temptations that come along the way. Toscana is not one of them. You have to take it in, breath it, live it, not just visit it. You have to have the time to: ONE: Rent a car and discover the countryside. Toscana has the most beautiful medieval castles and villages in the world, and the most wonderful country roads. If you don’t have the freedom to move between vineyards and take in the iconic cypress tree lined landscape, don’t even say you’ve…