Without the darkness, the country might be as bland as Sweden. A Walk on the Dark Side. The luxurious, nine-room Palazzo Papaleo overlooks the cathedral. Via Rondachi, 1; ; hotelpalazzopapaleo. There is ambrosial food at Peccato del Vino ; eccatodivino. For local favorites try La Pignata Via Garibaldi, 7; Francesco Calignano Francesco. Chiaja Hotel de Charme, in a former bordello, is found through a walled courtyard and up an arched staircase.
This small hotel offers the bare minimum — clean, small rooms with bathrooms — but is well situated, just off the main Via Toledo strip, walking distance to the medieval quarter, the Farnese Collection, shopping and food. Via Chiaia, ; ; from 50 euros. Hosteria Toledo run by the Preziosa family. On Sunday afternoons, anyone can walk in without reservations and grab a table alongside jolly family groups sharing a leisurely and delicious meal of fresh seafood and pasta.
Try the dry local wine called Greco di Tufo. Vico Giardinetto a Toledo, 9; ; hosteriatoledo. Via dei Tribunali, 38; ; sorbillo. Via Toledo, 47; Via Toledo is home to excellent shops, and also to sidewalk offerings of excellent fake designer purses that are bundled up every time a police car goes past.
The shop called Old Star supposedly has a secret stash upstairs that customers in the know must ask to see. Locanda Carmel , in Trastevere, which I like as a base of operations, is a block from the tram that runs over the river to Piazza Argentina, from which there is easy walking or a bus to all the main Roman sites.
Via Goffredo Mameli, 11; ; hotelcarmel. Hotel Aldrovandi , near the Villa Borghese, is high-end and has a beautiful pool — a requirement in summertime. Via Ulisse Aldrovandi, 15; aldrovandi. Ai Spagheteria offers basic pasta and pizza in Trastevere, moderately priced.
Piazza di San Cosimato, ; ; aispaghettari. Otello alla Concordia serves fantastic food, with outdoor and indoor seating tucked in an alley near the Spanish Steps. I have never had a bad meal here. Via della Croce, 81; ; otello-alla-concordia. The cover article on Oct. It was not the first vampire story in English. He was her uncle, not her father. He believed he was her father but later learned the real connection. Tell us what you think. Please upgrade your browser.
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An error has occurred. Please try again later. You are already subscribed to this email. Correction: November 20, The cover article on Oct. Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco, Montalcino The 5,acre country estate founded by Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo centers around a medieval borgo and a Brunello di Montalcino winery.
As a kid in Emilia-Romagna, future film iconoclast Federico Fellini would loiter by the gates of the Grand Hotel Rimini and dream big it was canonized in his Amarcord. For more, see page Breakfast is amazing— a million pastries and 10 kinds of mozzarella from Naples. Have the lobster spaghetti by the pool for lunch. At the beach, ask for Giorgio: I always tip him in advance, and he saves the best chairs for me.
And because Ischia is so close to Naples, the pizza is almost as good as those made by the Neapolitans. Il Pizzicotto is the place to go here. From there you can easily hop a water taxi to one of the other ports for dinner. Ischia also has better wines than you probably think. A few local estates give tours. The Best and Only Place to Have a Great Breakfast in Italy Is at Your Hotel Fifteen years ago, when Maria Grazia Di Lauro Tommasino bought a 16th-century masseria, or stone-walled farmhouse, in Salento, she envisioned a retreat where she and her husband could spend their retirement relaxing with friends in the pergola-shaded courtyard a few miles from the Ionian coast.
Rent something that can handle narrow streets, like a Mini Cooper or Volkswagen Polo. Automatics are now common, so no need to book way in advance. So I stretch the trip into a four-day journey in order to sit for three courses at year-old restaurants, and also to wander around the volcanoes and Bourbon palaces that make this part of Italy unique.
I try to leave Rome around noon to make it to the hilltop town of Tivoli, around 20 miles northeast on the ancient Via Tiburtina, by lunch.
Sibilla, founded in on Roman ruins, serves an ample antipasti spread of cured ham, fried dough, and croquettes. In the morning, I follow the medieval Via Casilina to Ciociaria, a region of southern Lazio known for its cucina povera or humble cuisine , tiny population, and otherwordly mountainous terrain. Park outside the walls at Porta Santa Maria to explore its narrow, palace-lined streets and impressive cathedral. Deeper into the Ciociaria, I like to meander along the SR between villages linked by sweeping vistas of olive groves. A great dinner stop along this route is Agriturismo Cerere, a trattoria and organic farm in the woods above Alvito, with local pecorino, simmered legumes, and handmade pasta.
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Pressing on to the very south of Lazio, a switchback road leads to the Abbey of Montecassino. This restored Benedictine monastery was destroyed in WWII; today, its ornate basilica attracts crowds of pilgrims. Its crumbling walls and bombed-out roof eerily preserve the aftermath of destruction, like a modern-day Pompeii. This rueful feeling falls away just 45 minutes south on the A1, at the Reggia di Caserta, built by the Bourbons in the 18th century.
Then grab a table at Pepe in Grani, hands down the most celebrated pizzeria in Italy, where you might catch master pizzaiolo Franco Pepe in the kitchen stretching his hand-mixed dough. There are a few simple rooms upstairs; otherwise try Aquapetra, a resort and spa a half hour away in dense pine forest. Most villages have lots outside the town walls. Better to park there, since pedestrian-only streets with few curbside spots are the norm inside. Hit La Bottega di San Donato in Collina for bagged hazelnuts and grissini breadsticks to eat between stops.
For years, the only reason anyone came to Matera was for the caves: This ancient, rather out-of-theway hillside town a three-hour drive east of Naples is home to distinctive sassi, stone dwellings that were carved into the limestone centuries ago. While architecture geeks were fascinated by them, few others made the trip. That is to say, not in a once forlorn village in Basilicata. Much of the spark is thanks to Daniele Kihlgren, a half-Swedish, half-Italian hotelier who put the place on the map in with the opening of Sextantio Le Grotte della Civita, a charmer of a hotel set inside a series of those sassi.
It seems that if you rebuild it, they will come. Here, during the course of a week, I watch our hostess and cook, Princess Emanuela Notarbartolo Di Sciara, command a staff in aprons over black dresses that reveal the odd tattoo, who deliver almond sponge cakes at teatime on monogrammed plates. My sister, a garden designer, lives out her dreams in the forest of agapanthus and orange groves. My brother-in-law reads for days, while all the cousins lark around in the pool. Sleeps Across the street is the Monastero di Santa Chiara, where I like to stop in for its calming courtyard with orange trees.
The building is slightly derelict but. You must come here to see it. Travelers killing time before the ferry to Capri can do it all in an afternoon. Growing grapes on Mount Etna is both a blessing and a curse. The ashy volcanic soil, Mediterranean sun, and dramatic temperature changes all make for more dynamic, vibrant wines.
However, the altitude of this wine region—3, feet—ranks it as the highest in the world, and one of the most challenging around. Then came natural winemaker Frank Cornelissen and his Magma Rosso. And last year, Piedmont heavyweight Angelo Gaja sprang for 51 acres with Alberto Graci of the famous Sicilian wine family to produce an herbal white carricante. Chianti this is not. Tastings are limited, and most vineyards request email reservations in advance travel specialist Gary Portuesi at Authentic Italy can help.
This town has been famous for ceramics since the s. You can still see caves where the artisans would fire their clay. Pick up a pigna, the pine cone that is now a symbol of Puglia, though modern artists like Nicola Fasano sell paintspeckled plates at their workshops. A day trip is all it takes to explore the paleolithic cave paintings and to throw back espressos at the boat dock with locals. Tremiti Islands, Puglia Bronzed Italians have vacationed on these Adriatic islands off north Puglia for decades, but somehow the sandy beaches and secret coves on San Domino have yet to reach the international-traveler set.
La Maddalena, Sardinia Powdery sands and barely an English speaker in earshot are part of the appeal of this archipelago off the Costa Smeralda. Best of all, the local goat cheeses, vermentino whites, and legs of prosciutto make it feel like a microcosm of old Italy. A village I had never heard of, nor planned to visit. I had expected to be seated, at precisely that hour, at my favorite restaurant, some miles away in Turin. I had expected my favorite white jacket, Andrea, to greet us with his usual warmth, and other white jackets to bring me a Negroni and my wife her favorite cocktail, a mix of red wine, vermouth, and something else.
But the white jackets in the emergency room cut off her clothes and served no drinks at all. All of this because on our way to Venice from Bordeaux our Land Rover had taken an unfortunate tumble in a tunnel. I booked a hotel for the night my wife was not keen on sleeping in that blue room, even facing a plausible back injury , and though the website promised a restaurant, the voice on the phone declared it closed. Could they prepare a plate of cheese and ham perhaps? My wife gave me a smile that meant she agreed, and then a look that suggested we were probably crazy.
And so we emptied our beloved Defender, which had carried us countless times across the Alps or down the coast from France to Italy, and headed to Venice by train. We were alive! After all these years, all these trips to Italy, why had we never been? Too crowded? Maybe you need to be half-dead to truly appreciate life. Left: The village of Ugovizza in the Canal Valley. I The quiet man driving the black Mercedes for hire greets us as we step off the boat at Piazzale Roma.
Northern Friuli is an Italy far removed from the fantasia of a swarthy, handsome man in a Neapolitan-cut suit riding a Vespa, pausing in one gloriously faded piazza or another for a quick espresso and cigarette. I order more or less everything on the menu— because I am on assignment, and also because it all sounds delicious. It seems that everyone in the village of Malborghetto is related. Soon the doors will open.
He believes in his region—the Julian Alps—as do his daughters, who have resisted the lurid charm and promises of more fashionable towns such as Milan. From left: Leonardo, a local businessman, having lunch at the historic Buffet da Pepi in Trieste; polenta with cinnamon and butter at Malga Priu in the Julian Alps. Children are welcome.
So are huge dogs. My wife thinks our son Lucian might be a nuisance, so she asks if they can eat outside at one of the little tables in front of the restaurant, where guests sip their aperitivi. I remain inside to take pictures. Every single wine I try, from the ribolla gialla to the malvasia to the chardonnay, is wonderful or almost wonderful. The staff think nothing of it and serve them with grace and style.
All the guests are nice, and some invite me to their home. Every now and then a gorgeous young man steps out of a Botticelli time machine and quietly cuts. For the latter part of the meal, I join my family outside, where the crisp air is beautiful as only the last days of summer can be. There are two ways to travel: having a plan, or having none.
When you have none, you can go by instinct, clues, and chance. Chance is having an important food editor visit your house on the eve of a trip. Clues are the good wines in your glass. Instinct is knowing which winemaker you want to visit. And luck is that the resident sommelier knows him and has the clout to set up a rendezvous later that afternoon. Lorenzo Mocchiutti is standing in the doorway of his winery, Vignai da Duline, in the San Giovanni al Natisone district appellation: Colli Orientali del Friuli , but springs forward to greet us when our black Mercedes rolls through the gates.
He still looks a little bit like the rocker he had planned to be—ponytail, beard, youthful gait. Famed wine importer Kermit Lynch is a fan; the wines are found on the wine lists of restaurants such as Per Se. In the wine world, Mocchiutti is the rock star he hoped to be. After a little chat and a tasting, marked by his gentle manner and modest pride, we walk over to his oldest wines.
He grabs a bottle of the malvasia I had fallen in love with at lunch—for the photos, and also because he likes to drink his own wine. Mocchiutti likes to sit in his vineyards and drink his wine. That is his luxury and probably explains why his vintages are so good year after year. In Friuli, they are emphatic about it. Family businesses dedicated to quality and tradition thrive all over Italy, but here the dedication runs deeper, is more primal—as if it were a question of survival, rather than just making something good.
She was referring to the Barcolana, the international sailing regatta that blows into Trieste every October. We had planned to stay overnight in the pleasant but unremarkable seaside town of Grado, on the other side of the Gulf of Trieste and popular with Austrians, who have no beach to call their own, but in the morning we hurry an hour to Trieste to make this event.
Pasticceria La Bomboniera closes early on Sundays, and while watching thousands of sailboats is beautiful, cakes, chocolates, and pastries are hard to beat. Trieste has changed hands many times in history, and many a ruler fancied this strategic port and its perks enough to occupy it, including the usual list of European warlords and megalomaniacs, from Caesar and Charlemagne to Napoleon. It has played some part in almost every regional embroilment for centuries, even the Cold War, when it was a crossing point for spies.
With its dark wooden interiors, lace curtains, and large crystal chandelier, Pasticceria La Bomboniera would make a perfect setting for an earlyth-century spy novel: A chubby man with a Franz Joseph—style mustache and worn but well-tailored clothes enters this gorgeous pastry shop, crosses the glistening black-and-white tiles, and tries his best to blend in with the plump ladies and their silly poodles. At the counter he receives two parcels. He tries to put it all in his mouth, but some gets caught in his enormous mustache.
This is the best moment of his life. These days Pasticceria La Bomboniera is headed by a Sicilian, Gaetano La Porta, who started working here as a young man, alongside the previous owner. Originally founded by a Hungarian family in , it has belonged to several distinguished families, each one carrying on the tradition. And they may be the best in the world.
I state that as a fact, not a compliment. The front of house is, in true Italian fashion, managed by his wife and daughter—charming, hard-working, and devoted. I can see them in their dour, colorless trench coats, taking off their hats at the door, scanning the rooms for hostiles, sitting down for a drink. It houses an enormous bookstore, and the food—a modernish take on Italian cuisine with a few Austro-Hungarian touches—is much better than I expected. In a far corner, against a backdrop of books, a cute, smart-looking kid is playing chess with his Slovenian father.
Openminded and looking for something. I order a Campari.go site
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I can see the mustached man at the next table reading La Gazzetta dello Sport. A few tables away a dark-haired, olive-skinned man is kissing his beautiful girlfriend. They seem to be drinking Aperol spritzes. Opposite: Sailboats from the annual Barcolana competition in the Trieste harbor. To navigate the geography of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, it helps to divide it into four regions. Venice is your gateway; rent a car from one of the many agencies at the airport. Or take it easy and hire a car and driver from Paolo de Monte paolodemonte.
The Mountains The northeastern corner of Friuli, about two hours from Venice, is known for its Julian Alp peaks, clear lakes, vast pine forests, and villages that draw skiers and hikers. The picturesque hamlet of Monte Lussari is accessible by cable car from Tarvisio; Malborghetto, where we stayed, is a few minutes farther.
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The regional menu at the storybook chalet Casa Oberrichter is excellent, the service warm and inviting. Next summer, the longawaited Hotel Hammerack will open in the same village. Dreamed up by a local, this luxury hotel in a year-old building will have 21 modern-rustic suites, two restaurants, and a wellness center. Twenty minutes up the mountain is Malga Priu in Ugovizza, run by a branch of the same family.
This farmhouse with two guest rooms and two newish tree houses open daily July—August and weekends May— October is popular with hikers who come to feast on traditional fare like goulash and polenta. The Wineries A couple of hours back downhill, the agricultural areas southeast of Udine make up the greenest part of Friuli.
The wineries here. We visited Vignai da Duline, a small cult winery run by a husbandand-wife team producing organic bottles.
There are two great places to eat around here. The other is La Subida, a family establishment outside Cormons— a hotel with beautiful, country-style rooms and two excellent restaurants. We have Grado! It lacks the Baroque beauty of many other Italian cities, but with its impressive waterfront and 18th-century buildings lining the harbor, its imperial grandeur is undeniable. We stayed at the pompously named Savoia Excelsior Palace, right on the water, with fantastic service and comfortable rooms, if a little corporate. Three places in Trieste are absolute musts.
First, Pasticceria La Bomboniera, for cakes and chocolate. Finally,thereisthecrazyfabulous Buffet da Pepi, a beloved institution serving Central European— style pork and sauerkraut, in addition to pickles, hams, and sausages. I If I were even a little superstitious, I might have taken the cancellation of the A. The seas were rough, but delays, I assured my boys, were part of the adventure. Water views on this speck of an island, the largest in the Pontine Archipelago—a cluster of former prison islands in the Tyrrhenian Sea west of Lazio that were colonized by the Romans in B. While I might have endured one night at the hotel to avoid a noisy public parade back through the lobby, my husband, Chris, scooped up our bags without a word and brought them to the entrance, leaving me to argue in Italian for a refund.
By the time I returned from picking up snacks. We sent our son downstairs to the hotel kitchen for a bucket of ice. From this moment on, we felt about Ponza—a summer destination popular as much for its proximity to Rome one and a half hours southwest of the city, plus the ferry as for its elemental beauty—just as the Romans themselves do. Which is to say we were immediately at home, if inexplicably so, considering that we encountered no other English speakers, let alone Americans, during our stay.
An even bigger relief was the absence of any global luxury retail. Few destinations can afford to assert their cultural identity so unselfconsciously these days. However, there are some places whose fundamental nonchalance unlocks your own. So when my friend Liana told us that the best way to experience Ponza is by boat, we walked three minutes from our hotel to one of the handful of boat-rental kiosks I could see from our window. I had been consumed with the idea of making it to a distant island for lunch, but we decided to wait for better conditions.
We rented the boat anyway, packed a small picnic, and stayed closer to the main port, on the lee side of the island. Despite plenty of other boats on the water, there was no shortage of quiet coves in which to drop anchor, among jutting limestone rock formations in impossibly clear waters that ranged from emerald and cerulean to azure, sometimes all at once. We swam, read, ate, then ended the day at the popular Spiaggia di Frontone, which is also accessible by water shuttle from the main port. Though the beach at the center of the cove literally thumps with day-trippers and dance-party music, we anchored by the quieter northern promontory and spent the rest of the afternoon lounging on rented chairs, splashing in the natural tide pools, eating gelato, and jumping off rocks until it was time to return the boat.
It looked much older than the rest, but the boat master assured us it was reliable. In the jaunty illustration, a string of volcanic crags, which had looked so tiny against the vast blue of the sea and mainland Lazio on my phone screen, appeared almost swimmably close. Admittedly, we. The waves were breaking onshore, so we had to drop anchor behind the break and swim in, I with my cover-up tied to my head and clutching my wallet above the water.
Before dessert arrived, we watched our and year-olds chase each other on the beach,. We have to swim to the boat! The two of them sprinted into the water. I watched my son, whippet thin and tiny muscles rippling, spring into action as he climbed into the boat and pulled up the anchor. Though we reduced our speed considerably, we ran through the second tank just as we pulled up to the dock. Where to Stay Hotel Chiaia di Luna, named for the dramatic curved cove on which it sits, is the only real high-end hotel of any scale here.
Where to Eat Acqua Pazza, set back from the main port, is a white-tablecloth restaurant with outdoor tables serving slightly elevated riffs on seafood and pasta classics. Il Rifugio dei Naviganti, on the water in the center of Porto, is one of those restaurants that seems too on the nose to be good but in fact is just what you want—pizzas, grilled octopus served on slate platters an ill-conceived nod to modernity , and seafood pastas.
A Casa di Assunta, with a view of the port in the Giancos neighborhood, does a good job of not trying to fancy up its. You could also take a short ride to the beautiful main beach, Spiaggia di Frontone, spend the day swimming and sitting in the sun, and not get bored.
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From left: A confessional at Santuario della Madonna del Carmine church; a bar in the historic center. Daniele is a philosophy grad student I met while wandering around the University of Catania, part of which is housed in a late-Baroque monastery on the site of the ancient acropolis. Near a church we run into the bishop of Catania, in a gold-trimmed miter, leading a procession for the feast of San Giovanni.
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