Hamburg, Germany, Why go there and where to stay, what to eat

I started my Hamburg experience with an avalanche of photos and selfies on board of the Stadtrundfahrt double-decker bus, providing earphones in all languages. In a couple of hours you’ll know the city, get off when you want, visit and get the next one. An indispensable tour, also in a mini-cruise version with Harbor Cruise You will enjoy the aquatic view of the city, of the immense port and of the colossal cargo ships with gigantic containers.
Hamburg means bricks, red bricks, so my next stop was Speicherstadt.

 

Almost a kilometer of old warehouses with typical red bricks, used as storage for incoming goods: oriental carpets, tea, raw coffee, cocoa, tobacco, spices. Among the attractions: a kaffeerösterei, an old coffee roaster, where you can also enjoy decadent cakes with strawberries and cream.

 

 

 

Chocoversum,  a true chocolate triumph,
Manufactumtrendy shop and the Spice Museum  where you will find and taste everything: European spices, Asian and Indian flavors, exotic perfumes, 50 varieties of pepper, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, mustard seeds and the most expensive ones: orchid vanilla and saffron.

 

Miniatur Wunderland Models of trains and landscapes in miniature? I was doubtful …well, I was amazed. Two huge floors where landscapes and cities of all the world have been meticulously reconstructed with airports, motorways, railways in great turmoil and crowded by a thousand minuscule people, including a team while washing Pope Francis car…

 

 

 

Travel and read.
130 bookshops stocked with second hand books! Passengers are allowed not only to read them during their journey ,but also to take them home.

 

Elbphilharmonie
Extraordinary glass structure, with windows that look like eyes. With its perfect acoustic, hosts concerts and shows. You get there with a spectacular 82 meter escalator that runs through The Plaza, from which you can enjoy a great view.
Perfect location for a drink or a snack at the Beer & Dine and a little shopping in the well-stocked book, music and souvenir store. Tickets can be booked 18 weeks in advance and children up to three years do not pay.
Hamburg and its museums. I chose two. Kunsthalle, 700 years of art, from the great masters of the Renaissance until 1800 with Manet, Caspar David Friedrich, up to the German expressionism (which I adore) and the contemporary avant-garde .
MKG  Great museum with unusual exhibits: famous deco posters, precious vintage pianos, sketches and 30s dresses, a space dedicated to design furniture, photo galleries avant – garde and much more.
It is true that the hamburger was born in Hamburg?
The most famous meatball in the world is ‘made in the USA’ or ‘made in Hamburg’?
The name would leave no doubt, but the Americans boast its paternity.
The Germans claim that it was cooked in the houses of Hamburg and then it was exported to the USA, while for the Americans it would be born in the port of Hamburg, a municipality located in the state of New York and the inventors would have been the Menches brothers who in 1885 would propose the first sandwich stuffed with meat during the country festival Erie County Fair.
Legends aside, here you will find space burgers. The best from Burger Lounge, Jim Block Jungfernstieg, Dulf’s Burger , Otto’s Burger Grindelhof and Schanze .

WHERE TO STAY
I tried two hotels, both experiences were great!

Novotel Hamburg City Alster Hotel
4-star hotel in the modern rooms and suites with a desk and free WIFI
Central location and U-Bahn station on our doorstep make the Novotel Hamburg City Alster hotel the ideal base in Hamburg. 5-minutes away from Alster-Schwimmhalle and within 20 minutes of English Theatre Of Hamburg. Highlights at this hotel include in-room free WiFi, free high-speed Internet, and LCD TVs. All 210 soundproofed rooms feature sofa beds, satellite TV, and separate bathtubs and showers. You’ll find nice touches like soaking tubs and free toiletries to enhance your stay. Coffee/tea makers, free newspapers, and safes are also available. Enjoy the fitness centre, Turkish bath/hammam, and sauna. Business amenities include a meeting room and a business centre. Added amenities include free WiFi in public areas and laundry facilities. Each morning excellent buffet breakfast is served between 6:30 AM and 10:30 AM. Sights within a 20-minute walk of this 4-star Hamburg-Nord hotel include Museum of Arts and Crafts Hamburg and Mundsburg Center. Enjoy the comfort of the sauna and the video games area. Rooms are spacious and bright, Super comfy bed…I slept like a baby!
Dining in is an option with room service, and minibars provide refreshments. I had a great lunch at the hotel stylish restaurant Novo2, and a nice chat with the executive Chef, who told me that his menu focuses on seasonal products and evergreen tasty meat. and suggested a juicy and tender La Maracho Rump Steak with sauteed vegetables  and … a silver swan (just for decoration…) Novo2 is an innovative combination of a bar lounge , that offers delicious seasonal dishes and light snacks are served from 6.30am to 9.30pm. A cool spot where where you can have a nice glass of wine, like i did!
INFO

 

 

Luebecker Strasse 3

22087 HAMBURG

Germany

HafenCity. It is the new futuristic district of Hamburg, area of ​​creatives and artists,
To get there they have specially built the metropolitan U4 line. in 3 stops from the center you have already arrived. Here you can breathe fresh air, the spaces are open and many Hamburgers get away from work to go for a drink or a snack.

 

I stayed at the brand new 25 Hours HafenCity Hotel where I had a great time. I felt like a sailor, the rooms look like a ship’s cabins, with prosperous painted models on the bathroom walls.

 

Here atmosphere is easy and relaxed , The motto says  COME AS YOU ARE! There is also free access to a spectacular spa in stones and wood. In the morning a rich buffet breakfast is set up, there you can find everything, including rote gruetze, my beloved raspberry, blueberry and cherry sauce served on lean yogurt. Yummy!

 

 

 

What does a real Hamburger drink?
Beer, of course! It has been produced in Hamburg for over a millennium and has become an icon of German culture. Here some popular ones.
Ratsherrn, one of the city’s most famous artisan breweries From pilsner to light beers. Galopper des Jahres, popular and animated. The members of the staff are true fan of craft beer, so be sure to ask for their recommendations: they know what to suggest for every taste and palate. Blockbräu, a terrace with a wonderful view.
My favorite? Altes Mädchen An incredible variety of excellent local and around 70 international beers, also combined with tasty German specialties.Remember, the real Hamburger does not drink Coca Cola!

The preferred alternative is fritz-kola, rich in caffeine and lemon. It was born in 2002, invented almost for fun by young friends Lorenz and Mirco and produced with a really amateur process. Imagine: the labels were photocopies and they were glued by hand on the bottle …
Today it is the national soft drink.

 

 

Red lights …
night and day!

The St. Pauli district was once a bad area full of noisy pubs, frequented by criminals, sailors and prostitutes. Today the taverns have become artistic skyscrapers, like the Dancing Towers, which seem to really dance, while the smoky haunts of the past have become fashionable places.

But the raunchy survived: sex shops, theaters, striptease, burlesque and the inevitable bouncers who invite you to enter. In addition to the ‘sensory’ attractions, the neighborhood is full of super-trendy shops, new boutiques, hip clubs and bars

Keep walking around the St.Pauli district,
head towards Markstrasse and the surroundings of KarolinenvIertel.

There You will find small bars, self-managed restaurants, flowers, perfumes, mini boutiques and lots of vintage. If you are ‘bio’ dive into the Rider Markt Halle, and a relaxing drink from Zoe the bar of the different sofas. For more chic and exclusive products, head to Hole Bleichen.

 

 

 

Then it comes the time for…
beauty and relaxation.

After a long walk, it is right to take a relaxing break in Jungfernstieg, in the heart of Hamburg with a fantastic view of the Alster river. Here Nivea Haus awaits for you, this is the official store of the famous face cream, born in Hamburg in 1929. Here you can find classic or brand new creams for face and body, cosmetics, revitalizing treatments, relaxing massages, as well as manicures and pedicures.

 

Plus a really cute souvenir: your ‘Nivea’. You ‘ll be photographed and in a second …you’re on the cover of the famous blue box. I couldn’t resist …

 

 

So, what do you think?
Am I fine for a cream cover?

 

 

 

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MATERA, Italy. The city, the Sassi and the best Lucanian dishes


Matera is one of the oldest cities in the world. By day the sunlight enhances its white. At night, it looks like an immense nativity set up under the starry sky.
Its quarter I Sassi, ancient dwellings dug into the tufo, where the roofs serve as a base for the houses that have developed on higher levels. These were dug entirely into the rock and represent one of the most striking examples of exploitation of natural resources to obtain suitable conditions for the life of a large community. In the caves often lived more families and despite the lack of space, almost all daily activities took place in the cavities of cave-houses: from handicrafts to weaving, from food storage to animal care (dogs, chicken, pigs, horses and donkeys were living with the family as primitive source of heating). The temperature was constant and guaranteed by the characteristics of the sea tufo , so the inhabitants did not suffer too much from the cold in winter and found a shelter from summer heat. This way of life for years has been seen as a sign of backwardness and incivility. The inhabitants of the Sassi were often considered as primitives living like animals. In 1952 Sassi was considered “the Italian national shame”and abandoned in the late ’50s, Sassi was able to be redeemed until they became Unesco World Heritage in and will be the 2019 European Capital of Culture. Its amazing scenario has been used s a set for Mel Gibson “The Passion” Pier Paolo Pasolini “The Gospel According to Matthew “King David”, Christ The Lord: Out of Egypt “, and the remake of “Ben-Hur “.

I took the Gran Tour of Sassi,
an intense 3 hours guided tour and I learn so much about the history of this amazing city. The tour begins in front of the Cathedral, in the upper part of the City, and then goes deeper into the tangle of narrow alleys, caves, cellars, churches, small gardens, tiny squares and districts. I was able to discover in detail these unusual dwellings partly carved out of the limestone. It s a long walk, so wear comfy shoes.

Matera is also well now for its cooking tradition, a classic example of Italian peasant cuisine, using free ingredients combined with a fair amount of labor and know-how to  turn an odd edible food into a delectable dish.
Here my choices:
 ll Terrazzino  
View, ambience, real food, rich menu, moderate prices and …did I mentioned the view? Welcome to Il Terrazzino, one of the oldest deck restaurant in Sassi Eustachio Persia welcomed me with a dish of local cold cuts, including my fav lampascioni, bulbs of a common wildflower in southern Italy, then I ordered lamb, and…surprise! iIt came wrapped in yellow strawpaper.
This place used to be a cantina, told me Eustachio, just wine, no food.So people used to cook it at home and take it here, all wrapped up in paper tto keep it warm, then tear the bag and eat it paired with a nice glass of wine.Then came the crapiata a soup of different legumes, cereals and potatoes typical of the Basilicata cuisine of rural tradition, prepared in great quantity every year on the first day of August in the district La Martella, close to the cultivated fields and served to the inhabitants. Eustachio took me downstairs, to the 17 century cellar, which incorporates the typical architecture of the Sassi and was refurbished to retrace moments of daily life of the peasant life,

Baccus
Simple yet elegant restaurant Located in the Sassi area, Baccus is well know for its Chef Carlo Pozzuoli who likes to reinterpretate typical local dishes and flavors of the past  in a modern way.

 

 

Starting with super crunchy chips of red peppers, followed by fagots of ziti with cream of yellow and red peppers, bundled in a slice of sweet scamorza cheese topped by goat ricotta curlS.

 

 

A soupy Dish with tagliolini pasta with black and white chickpeas, considered ideal fro pregnant women, since it contains a lot of iron.
The menu dedicates an attentive search of local herbs, like the cicoriella, the sivone and other fresh leaves variously used in cooking: in salads, minestrone, simply boiled with oil and lemon, or as a filling of ravioli and pansotti or excellent omelettes.

 

 

 

Carlo and his wife Mariella were wonderful hosts. Not only keeping me company at the table but also surprising me with a taste of a sweet heart shaped Sporcamuso, (begrime the face) a dessert so full of cream that I inevitably ended up with hot pastry cream all over my face.

 


Da Mario
‘We represent the tradition. My family managed this restaurant since the 50’s’ told me Anna, owner of the popular Ristorante Pizzeria Da MarioSince then we are always been loved by the people from Matera and from all over the world. Many celebrities have eaten here: Richard Gere, Mel Gibson just to mention few’                                         

 

 

I went there for lunch and followed Anna’s suggestions, starting with a tasty orecchiette alle rape with anchovies and toasted breadcrumbs, then I tried home made strascinati pasta with cardoncelli mushrooms and garnished with the typical crunchy peperone crusco, fried red pepper. Da Mario is know for its pizza. I tried a baby Margherita, perfectly cooked. ‘I love my town, peaceful and quiet, I run the restaurant a cosy BnB called Sassi Belvedere although sometimes I need some noise… some that’s why I have a place in Milan, where I go , like an escape little vacation, but then I am happy to be back in my Lucania ( the ancient name of Basilicata) Sorry I still call it Lucania.. perhaps it’s because I like the old things…
I don’t blame her..
Where I stayed.
Residence San Gennaro, located in the inner courtyard of the old “neighborhood”, once the fulcrum of the days of the inhabitants
Super friendly host Francesco delighted me with anecdotes about the city, gave me tips took me to the prehistoric hypogeous cave below the residence, embellished with a precious Nativity and prepared a great breakfast that included fresh local products. I stayed in Guerricchio suite, that has a kitchenette, a delightful double bedroom, a private bathroom and a cute little balcony to enjoy the view on the enchanting Sassi of Matera. It is At the entrance an artistic work of great value welcomed me. “Girasoli di Guerricchio”, a Lucanian artist to whom the suite is dedicated.

I also loved

Casa Noha
An amazing gateway” to the city, charting its history thanks to an innovative communication project, where the walls, the ceilings and the floors will take to an extraordinary journey through the history of Matera from its origins to the present day.
MUSMA
(Museum of Contemporary Sculpture Matera)
This unique museum provides the perfect environment for the symbiosis of sculpture and the characteristic carved sites in the Sassi; the exhibition galleries, in fact, consist not only of the rooms of the Palazzo, but also the vast hypogea, where the works of art are revitalized by the strength and beauty of the surrounding rock hewn spaces

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discovering ALIANO, Basilicata.


My dear friend Stanislao De Marsanich, President of Parchi Letterari Italiani (Italian Literary Parks) invited me to a unprecedent destination in the Basilicata Region: Aliano. Why did I said unprecedent?
Aliano is probably the less populated village in the Southern Italy I have ever visited. 600 inhabitants, mostly older men and older women still wearing the traditional black long dress , with their hair wrapped in a black scarf, two small bars, few stores , that close in the afternoon for a long siesta, the amazing nature around , populated by calanch wich are deforested, sandy soiled, rocky hills, a church, two restaurants (Locanda con gli occhi and Sisina Contadina). Aliano is a little village n the province of Matera, located in one of the most unusual, scenic, magical and spiritual places of Basilicata. The surrounding clay landscape is characterised by naturally eroded gullies and ravines, typical of this part of the region. This is the rough, moon-like landscape of Calanch.
I walked along those ridges of breathtaking cliffs, In the silence of the badlands and I hear nothing but the sound of my own footsteps.Loliness, abandon, misery, poverty and the lunar scenario were crucial source of literary inspiration for Christ Stopped at Eboli”, Carlo Levi’s 1944 memoir about his long exile in the area. Carlo Levi was born in 1902 in Turin, Piedmont, to wealthy parents. His father was Jewish and a doctor and his mother was the sister of Claudio Treves who was an important socialist leader in Italy. After attending to the University, young Carlo pursued is passion: painting. In 1929, Levi co-founded an anti-fascist organisation called Giustizia e Libertà for which he was arrested in 1935 and exiled to Aliano, a timeless place where ancestral customs reign: witchcraft, love potions, charlatanerie, He lived the for nearly a year, painting, working as a doctor and observing the daily hardship of the villagers that he would later narrate about in his book, ‘Christ Stopped at Eboli On those days, the malaria was decimating the population, already living in dire poverty and Levi tells what he lives, what he sees, the life of its inhabitants, their customs, painting a region abandoned to his sad fate and writing beautiful pages about their hunger, heir fear ad their beliefs. When Carlo Levi arrived in Gagliano , supposed to stay there for three years under house arrest, he said he had “the impression of having fallen from the sky like a stone in a pond”. The book tells the story of suffering and injustices, where the peasants have more confidence in their tribe, and in their family, and have very little respect for institutions that do not bring them any security or well-being. The toddlers mortality was enormous, nearly 50% died simply because their parents could not afford medical assistance.Dispate all the negative things, Levi fell in love with Aliano where he asked to be buried. In Aliano.The Literary Park s dedicated to him as well as a museum that offers personal letters, documents and drawings related to the period during which Levi lived in Aliano. I Walked around the city center, where venues and places his book relive in plates reporting extracts from. In the silence of the badlands, I hear nothing but the sound of my own footsteps.

 

 

Let me tell about Aliano’s houses…

 

They have facades somehow mysterious , sinister or curious, they look magical with some sort of exoteric message.The most famous is La casa con gli occhi (the House with the Eyes) which the small windows create a gloomy wing, beyond which the gash due to the roof’s falling down allowed the pale sun to enter.Aliano has its own dialect, “Alianese”, and the population keep many old traditions. One particular example is that, during Carnevale (a catholic festival that takes place a few weeks before Easter) village men, dressed in paper mache masks, hats covered with streamers, wearing long underwear and cow bells, march down the town’s main street, throwing flour at gathered crowds and making grunting noiss.Very interesting the Museum housed in the old oil mill under Carlo’s confiscation house, with the original millstones still present, and all the home furnishings, work tools and much more. Aliano recently opened a Museum dedicated to American artist Paul Russotto whose parents were originally from Aliano. He is known for his paintings and drawings that examine the subject of time and the vacillations between the abstract and the figurative. His subtle over painting creates dense textures which often seem to be clearly aware of the historical range of abstraction and the way it brushed up against figurations, from the cave paintings through contemporary figures. I stayed at La Casa De’’Americano a cozy two bedroom family managed bed & breakfast, and had my meals at their restaurant called La Locanda con gli Occhi. Dishes are simple and respect the alianese cooking tradition, from yasty cold cuts to hearty fresh vegetable soups, to lamb,

 

to ferrizzuoli pasta with fried breadcrumbs topped with the typical peperone crusco,
the local sweet red pepper, served dried
and crunchy.

For more info

ITALY: NEXT HEALTHY DESTINATION? ABANO TERME: BEST SPA, BEST HOTELS.

Abano Terme is a spa resort in the Veneto region of north-east Italy, close to Padua, on the eastern slope of the Colli Euganei; it is 10 kilometres (6 mi) southwest by rail from Padua. The town’s hot springs and mud baths are an important economic resource.[3] The waters have a temperature of about 80 °C (176 °F).
Abano  is located on a plain close to a range of low green hills, the Colli Euganei (Euganean Hills). The ‘Terme’ part of the name means ‘spa’ – previously the town was also known as Abano Bagni, which means much the same. Abano is pronounced with the stress on the first syllable; both ‘e’s of Terme are pronounced.
A sign at the entrance to Abano Terme greets visitors: ‘Welcome. Please avoid disturbing noises’. This sums up the atmosphere of the leafy town. Abano is dedicated to rest and relaxation, and does its best to avoid anything which might disturb the languid pottering of its visitors.
The heart of town is a peaceful modern pedestrian zone dotted with shops and cafes, sculptures and plenty of water features to show off the town’s great asset (you may be disappointed if you dip your hand in to test the temperature, though). In this amiable area you’ll find the elegant Grand Hotel Orologio – one of Abano’s few interesting historical buildings, but sadly closed-up when we visited. Opposite is another hotel with historic significance, the Hotel Trieste & Vittoria, which served as headquarters for the Italian military command in 1918.
A short walk along Viale delle Terme is the historic centre of town. Abano’s cathedral, the Duomo di San Lorenzo, was originally founded in the tenth century, and it still retains its fourteenth-century belltower. Alongside is a rather odd modern development (from the 1990s though already tired-looking) of housing and shops, with a giant sundial in the centre. The rest of town is fairly uniform and featureless; mostly composed of avenues lined with hotels.
One interesting sight is the little hilly park of Montirone. The history of this area goes back to the times of those inveterate bathers, the Romans. Later, in the nineteenth century, the park was a showplace for the spa waters. It still has a grand colonnaded entrance (see our photo top right) but the waters have long dried up and the park is rather forlorn. The town’s art gallery, the Pinacoteca, lies just inside the colonnades. It consists of a small collection of mildly interesting works, with free admission.


Many guests are content to enjoy spa sessions and absorb the therapeutic qualities of a lazy afternoon. A short wander through the pedestrian heart of town passes shopfronts and cafes for whiling away more time. In the evenings there are opportunities for old-style dancing. Children may enjoy the little ‘train’ which runs along the road between Abano and its neighbour Montegrotto Terme.
Thermal springs and treatments
The baths were known to the Romans as Aponi fons or Aquae Patavinae. A description of them is given in a letter to Theodoric, the king of the Ostrogoths, from Cassiodorus. Some remains of the ancient baths have been discovered (S. Mandruzzato, Trattato dei Bagni d’Abano, Padua, 1789). An oracle of Geryon lay near, and the so-called sortes Praenestinae (C.I.L. i., Berlin, 1863; 1438–1454), small bronze cylinders inscribed, and used as oracles, were perhaps found here in the 16th century.[3]
The baths were destroyed by the Lombards in the 6th century, but they were rebuilt and enlarged when Abano became an autonomous comune in the 12th century and, again, in the late 14th century. The city was under the Republic of Venice from 1405 to 1797.
Hotels in Abano Terme offer a range of spa and mud treatments, with their own thermal pools. It’s their main attraction for visitors, so when you’re choosing a hotel it’s worth comparing what facilities and treatments they offer, and reading the reviews of past guests. You may pay extra to use the hotels’ facilities.
Abano Terme isn’t really a busy sightseeing town; it’s more a place to wander, to chat, to stop for a drink and watch other holidaymakers stroll by. A good place to start is the town’s central tourist information office, which stocks town plans and information about the surrounding area.See hotels and SPA treatments here
https://www.abano.it/en/

VENICE. THE HANDS OF THE SPLENDID CA’ SAGREDO

                                                                               Buongiorno Cesare, sorry I literally have 5 minutes, i got to run to Mestre to sign the extension of showing ‘Support’.

They accepted our proposal, therefore Lorenzo’s sculpture is going to stay, It’s a victory!”

 

 

I am in Venice and I am meeting the flamboyant Lorenza Lain, general Manager of Hotel Ca’Sagredo,
The sculpture she is referring to is the amazing (and controversial) ‘Support’  an artwork by Lorenzo Quinn, an Artist known to sculpture body parts, and especially hands. as these two giant hands rising from the waters of the Grand Canal ideally aiming to protect the façade of Ca’ Sagredo, one of Venice’s most beautiful and iconic buildings that risks sinking due to a changing climate. At the same time, however, they could destroy it and let the city sink at any moment, because “A hand could hold so much power, said Quin, the power to love, to hate, to create, to destroy. “Venice is a city of floating art that has inspired cultures for centuries, said Quinn, but in order to continue to be like this, it needs the support of our generation and the future ones, because it is threatened by climate change and the decay caused by time”.Inaugurated on May, the sculpture was supposed to remain there until November., but thanks to the combative pressure of Lorenza and her team, it is still standing and it will stay longer.
The sculpture created a controversy: are the hands symbolically saving Venice from the threats linked to climate change or may be interpreted as instruments capable of destroying the city ? I walked on the small streets of the city and asked few locals (wasn’t easy to find some real ones, they were mostly tourists…) I got different answers:
The younger guys see the art as a positive message:.”Sure  those hands are protecting our city” “Can’t you see? Venice is sinking, needs a support, I wish the hands would stay forever and I hope to see more of them to protect other buildings” Someone, more cynically  went like “Nah, to me is the symbol of the invasion of too many tourist getting their hands on Venice and trying to steal its beauty”  Finally an older lady told me ” C’mon the hands are innocent! those are baby’s hands!
I guess she is right, the hands are the ones of a boy, as the model was Lorenzo’s son Anthony who is eleven years old.
Ca’ Sagreto benefitted of a huge amount of pics, videos and selfies, stimulating the curiosity to visit and stay in the hotel . I did, I spend a great night in one of the room , facing the canal. I was happy right from my arrival, welcomed by an
enchanting lobby and a high-level reception where you can find all the information you need to be guided to discover the magic of Venice. My room was charming, with Venetian glass lamps, white marble bathroom, comfy bed, a private little terrace and a complimentary tempting selection of chocolates and truffles.

In the morning I took a tour of the venue, excited to discovered the magnificent palazzo, which is the only Museum-Hotel of the City. The venue is a meticulously renovated 15th-century palace, with its lavish pink façade, between Ca’ d’Oro and the Rialto Bridge on the spectacular Grand Canal. I took me time to discover the extraordinary artworks throughout the palazzo.It is a real gem, half hotel, half museum with important works of art by 17th and 18th-century artists Sebastiano Ricci, Niccolò Bambini, Pietro Longhi and a beautiful Giambattista Tiepolo‘s canvas dated circa 1740. From every room and Suite you can admire the beauty of the lagoon city, the passage of Venetian gondolas and the roofs of romantic Venice. All accommodations have the most modern comforts from A/C to Wi-Fi. The rooms and suites are ideal both for a romantic visit to Venice and for a family to discover the Arts and Cultures of Venice.

 

 

 

 

 

The breakfast was essential, but made with fresh and quality food, and served in the amazing Sala del Doge, where the ceiling holds a painting by Nicolò Bambini, depicting a glorious god Apollo from which the other characters try to find shelter.Unfortunately I had no time Ca’ Sagredo’s restaurant  L’Alcova with its splendid panoramic terrace on the Canal Grande, featuring Chef Damiano Bassano who has worked in Paris, Strasbourg, Spain, USA and Spain in the three-star Michelin-starred restaurant Ferran Adrià, in Catalonia.
Damiano’s kitchen is a laboratory of traditional Italian flavors combined with unique touches are the distinctive elements of its cuisine, such as “Marsala scented tuna medallions” and t”Carnaroli risotto with prawns, burrata and almonds
I will definitely go back to Ca’ Sagredo and try his dishes,
and please…keep those ‘hands’ on!                           Ca’ Sagredo
is one of the  Small Luxury Hotels on the World.

 

WORLD BEST HOTELS

THE HISTORY
The hotel was established by the Sarkies Brothers, in 1887 and named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. The property, which had only ten bungalow rooms, built immediately its reputation for high standards in services and accommodations becoming the most fabled hotel in the Far East and a must destination for royalties, celebrities and wealthy clientele, all pictures in an impressive hall of fame. Legends as Charlie Chaplin, Maurice Chevalier, Jean Harlow, Noel Coward. Hollywood royalties as Ava Gardner and Elizabeth Taylor.

 HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
in 2012 the Duke and Duchesse of Cambridge, just to mention few.                There is no lack of anecdotes: Somerset Maugham, who visited several times and worked all mornings under a frangipani tree in the Palm Court, apparently wrote the gossip and scandal he overheard at Raffles dinner parties into his short stories.

 

 

 

 

 

For more than a  century, Raffles Singapore has offered luxurious all-suite accommodations, where the original style is perfectly preserved, giving a mesmerizing blend of luxury, history and classic colonial design. Within its walls are more than a hundred expansive suites, framed by polished teak verandas and white marble colonnades, clustered around lush tropical gardens. Each is serviced by the legendary Raffles Butlers and offers every modern convenience necessary.
MY STAY
The enchantment started from the very beginning, right when I approached the entrance and I was welcomed by the smiling doorman elegantly dressed with an immaculate 

crisp white Gieves and Hawkes military uniform decorated with a black satin sash and gold braid, I could clearly imagine reliving the era of sovereign hospitality in the early days.

My Butler Jeff, was waiting for me in the Suite 117, one of the historical bungalow-room. It felt like a furnished apartment with high ceilings that I had already lived in, not a room that I was staying for the first time. I stepped through the door into a small ante-room, decorated with botanical prints.

To the right was a round breakfast table with an orchid and a welcome fruit bowl on it, not to mention the delicious kaya truffles.

A Nespresso machine was on the counter next to a selection of alcoholic drinks including the iconic 1915 Raffles Gin. Giant yellow tied-back curtains partitioned the ante-room from the huge bedroom with its two-post bed, chaise long, suit stand, writers table and giant armoire wardrobe. And beyond there was the timeless green marbled bathroom with two rooms; one with basin and Raffles amenities. the other with toilet, shower, giant bath tub and ceramic elephant pot holders

In the morning, I enjoyed a sumptuous breakfast that included very traditional recipes such as prata (fried flatbread cooked over a flat grill. served with a vegetable and meat-based curry), nasi lemak (fragrant rice dish cooked in coconut milk and pandan leaf) and chicken fluffy char sue pau, the most famous classic Cantonese dim sum..

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In the afternoon I took a tour of the venue. There were signature restaurants and bars since the 1900s, Long Bar, where visitors and guests will be welcomed to continue the tradition of throwing peanuts on the floor as they sip on a chilled glass of hand-shaken Singapore Sling. Then I stopped by at the Tiffin Room, A part of Raffles’ history since 1892, and serving up delectable North Indian cuisine. This beautiful space is also known for its signature High Tea, served with a tempting selection of cakes filled with banana, strawberry and carrot compote, and delicious cherry madeleines (I loved them…)
The tea is open to public, upon reservation.THE NEW RAFFLES
Raffles is now going under a careful and sensitive renovation supported by award-winning interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud. The reopening is scheduled for the second half of 2018. The restoration will update its distinctive suites with new amenities and technology while maintaining the sense of space and colonial ambience. Raffles Singapore will have 115 suites, some named after local cinemas during the early to mid-1900s, as the famous Alhambra, Diamond Marlborough, Odeon and Theatre Royal. The venue will boast new events spaces, including a majestic 300-guest ballroom, named Jubilee Ballroom as a tribute to the Jubilee Theatre, originally a cinema in the 1930s at the same location. Elegantly sophisticated in hues of cream and gold, complimented with an air-conditioned pre-event foyer, the new space will be the ideal venue for weddings and social galas. Once reopened, the Raffles Arcade will showcase social spaces and a variety of lifestyle experiences. This includes a refreshed Raffles Gift Shop that will house a History Gallery to illustrate the heritage of Raffles Singapore. The Arcade will also be home to a brand-new Raffles Spa, a holistic sanctuary for hotel residents and the community to escape the bustle of the city. Writers Bar will be expanded to a full bar and be the place for bespoke cocktails, discreet elegance and intimate conversations. All event spaces will also have striking lighting elements and the latest audio-visual technology, to be relevant for today’s social galas and events.
A TRIBUTE TO THE GRAND DAMES
One new Promenade Suite will be named after Lady Mountbatten Countess of Burma  and wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten who was the Earl of Burma, last Viceroy of India and also Southeast Asia’s Supreme Allied Commander during the Second World War. In September 1945, Lord Mountbatten was in Singapore to witness the surrender of the Japanese Forces.The other will be dedicated to Lady Sophia, wife of Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Modern Singapore, and for whom Raffles Hotel Singapore is named after.

 

 

For more info Raffles Singapore

HUA HIN THAILAND, GOOD WINE IN THE TROPICS???

HUA HIN HILLS VINEYARD PROVES IT’S NOT A JOKE…AND WORTH A VISIT!
by Philip Sinsheimer
Photo: Cesare Zucca, Philip Sinsheimer

It’s harvest season and 2017 appears as a challenging vintage in Europe (“a catastrophy” in Italy according to our host Cesare Zucca). Climate has always been a nail-biting stress factor in wine production and the recent warming observations are not helping… Well, not helping everybody! If some predict the growing production of wines in small Northern players such as the UK, Southern European big producers are feeling the heat and are worried. Wine geography has seen many changes with the emergence of “New World” wines of North America, as well as Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa in the Southern hemisphere. But wines of decent quality in tropical countries had never come to my attention… Until the discovery of Mansoon Valley wines in Thailand! During our one month trip in Southeast Asia at the beginning of the year, I had conditioned myself to limited opportunity of interesting wine discoveries. I was ready to enjoy the beers of the various countries visited and an occasional bottle of rather generic imported wine. But, our initial stay in Bangkok at the Centara Grand Central World already gave us a taste of how serious the wine lists were at its various restaurants.
When we visited their sister property Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin , around 3 hours South of Bangkok in the historic royal beach town of Hua Hin.                The Centara Hua Hin  is a magnificent venue designed to evoke the spirit of the 1920s. Colonial influences meet modern-day comforts and soothing views are to be had of the swimming pools or the magic gardens, populated by grass elephants and other animals.

 

The hotel opened at a time when the new railway line to Malaysia was transforming the sleepy fishing village of Hua Hin into Thailand’s first beach resort.

Sensitively extended and renovated, Centara Grand Beach Resort & Villas Hua Hin retains its air of that bygone age of elegance. I had an even greater surprise during our meal at the elegant, yet relaxed Suan Bua restaurant: a local white wine was offered to go along the traditional Thaï dishes, from shrimp with mango salad to roasted duck in red curry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            I have  to say I was skeptical, but all preconceptions disappeared after a few sips of this Mansoon Valley colombard, both crisp and delicate, with exotic fruit and citrus aromas, along with floral notes. Wow! Perfect pairing with the lemongrass used in the dishes and perfectly cooling to counterbalance the heat of the chilies.I was very curious about it all and the adorable staff of the hotel arranged a visit to the vineyard located less than an hour away. The drive was a beautiful occasion to see a bit of the country side with many fields, mainly pineapple plantations. What a surprise to see in the background of one of the most iconic tropical fruit a well manicured vineyard of over 100 hectars. The surprise does not stop there, as I had the opportunity to tour the property on the back of an elephant (if you’ve never done this, just be prepared, it’s a beautiful, but rather rocky ride). The large and elegant tasting room dominates the valley and one can appreciate the key position of the vineyard that benefits from a cooler micro climate with breezes coming from the hills. This is essential to the production of wines that do not taste “cooked”. It’s also the occasion of learning about who is behind this incredible business operation: a man whose name you may not know, but whose fortunate was made by a beverage you definitely have heard about. No, not wine… Red Bull! Chalerm Yoovidhya is among the richest man in Thailand with a fortune approaching 10 billion US dollars according to Forbes this year. Upon returning from his studies abroad where his taste for wine was developed, Chalerm took up the challenge of growing grapes in his native Thailand and show the world that great wines can be crafted even at the 13th latitude of the northern hemisphere. New World wines are old, new latitude wines are in! Hua Hin Vineyards is actually one of three vineyards he owns, but it serves as the flagship of the Mansoon Valley brand. The winemaker is German born Kathrin Puff, who worked in several wineries in Italy and New Zealand before meeting this tropical challenge with brio. I had the chance to sample a few of the large collection of wines available at the vineyard and all showcased a serious winemaking expertise. A brut blanc de blancs, showacses the delicate a floral notes of chenin blanc, colombard and viognier grapes that compose this traditional champenoise method sparkling. Besides the colombard white, I tried the medium sweet chenin blanc, which was not cloying at all and promised a nice pairing with spicy meats dishes and seafood salads. Among the two high-end “Cuvée de Siam” bottles, made with the best grapes of chosen parcels, I was really impressed with the red, made with the oldest vines of shiraz and sangiovese, aged in French oak barrels and bottled unfiltered. The result: a spicy wine combining medium tanin and long finish (which earned 84 points by Robert Parker). The white was a serious wine, but lacked a bit of the freshness so pleasant in the other more simple whites. To finish on a sweet note, the chenin blanc late harvest with a nice balancing acidity invites to be enjoyed along with seared foie gras, aged gorgonzola or a more local mango, sticky rice and coconut dessert.                                             Yes,!
Good tropical wine is a possibility and Hua Hin is the place to go to check it for yourself!

Munich. The Flushing Meadows. Surprise!

Text and Photos © Cesare Zucca
While in Munich, I had the pleasure to stay in the ‘one and only’ Design Hotel The FLUSHING MEADOWS, Fraunhoferstraße 32. The pleasant surprises started with the Glockenbachviertel district where the venue is located, which is not only home to Munich’s gay and lesbian scene, but a destination for a hip young crowd of all backgrounds. The area offers fashionable bars, snug bistros, trendy stores and supercool shops, all nested in one of Munich’s most picturesque boroughs.

 

 

At your arrival, downstairs on the street, your are welcomed by a small bar serving fresh juices, including their popular Super Danke, a green multivitamin shake.

 

 

 

 

Let’s get in. By a metallic elevator I reached the reception on the 4th floor, where Ramon and lovely Aglaia escorted me to a definitely surprising room on the 3rd floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me tell you that all the 16 rooms are different and each of them is dedicated to local celebrities who designed them, including Michi Beck , member of the well-known German hip hop group Die Fantastischen Vier , while the 4th floor rooms has been designed by the owners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My room 305 was styled by the local techno musician, DJ Hell. Black was the inspirational color, including a metal skeleton band stand in an alcove and a vinyl record player ready for action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually it couldn’t be more appropriate, since myself I have been spinning records for many years, back in the ’80 Milan disco scene.
Totally different atmosphere for the other room I experimented, the 306,that offered a combo of high-tech furniture, sound proved walls and 2 pretty romantic feathers ceiling lamps, ballerina style.

 

 

 

Other additions include a Nespresso machine, coffee capsules, complimentary bottles of mineral water, and a pile of trendy magazines to flick through.

 

 

 

 

The bathrooms are a sleek combination of white tiling and copper details on the  powerful showers.                           Super comfy mattresses, private access to the rooms, free WiFi.

Guten Morgen!
A rich and healthy breakfast is served till noon (or even later) in the nice roof top bar with its little terrace overlooking the City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Be cool’ is staff’s password.
Original and unconventional, Flushing Meadows is undoubtedly the coolest place to stay in Munich.
I ‘ll go back …After all, I ‘ve got 14 more rooms to discover and …more surprises waiting…

for more info
The Flushing Meadows Hotel & Bar”
Fraunhoferstraße 32, 80469 München, Germany

Phone:
+49 89 55279170

 

 

My gospel article published in ‘Onda d’Urso’


Dear Barbara,
nel tuo prossimo viaggio a NY, non perderti una domenica-gospel a Harlem, meta delle comunità afro-americane e di visitatori provenienti da tutto il mondo.

Articolo di Cesare “Pumpkin” Zucca

Le messe iniziano alle 11. Riprese video e foto vietate. Sconsigliabile (e irriverente) fare i furbi. Per chi ama viaggiare in gruppo, esistono tour organizzati, tra cui harlemspirituals.com. Per chi, come te, preferisce viaggiare indipendente, basterà zigzagare per le strade e lasciarsi attirare dalla musica, sia provenga da una grande cattedrale, sia da piccoli edifici, dove le funzioni sono meno coreografiche, ma spesso più intime e coinvolgenti. Ecco le più famose.

Gospel e cibo dell'anima: una domenica ad Harlem
Gospel e cibo dell'anima: una domenica ad Harlem

New Mount Zion Baptist Church (171 W 140 St). Il suo coro gospel è considerato tra i migliori  di Harlem. Mount Neboh Baptist Church (1883 A. Clayton Powell Av) Oltre agli inni sacri, ascolterai canzoni popolari come ‘Oh Happy Day’, Abyssinian Baptist Church (132 Odell Clark Pl/W 138 St) gioiello architettonico, ma turistica e quindi lunga fila per entrare, Metropolitan Baptist Church (151 W 128 St) ospita illustri cori provenienti da altre congregazioni. La mia preferita è Greater Refuge Temple (2081 A. Clayton Powell Av). Energia alle stelle, musica trascinante, accompagnata dai tamburelli delle black ladies dagli incredibili cappellini.

Gospel e cibo dell'anima: una domenica ad Harlem

Gospel e cibo dell'anima: una domenica ad Harlem

E dopo questa full immersion di fede e musica, ti meriti un lunch soul food, la cucina afro-americana originaria del Sud degli USA. Da provare: fried chicken croccante pollo fritto, collards e turnip greens erbe amare e verdure saltate con salsa all’ aceto, black eye beans fagioli neri, cornbread, pane caldo di mais, candied yams patate dolci, grits semolino di mais tritato e pecan pie, fantastica crostata alle noci.

Gospel e cibo dell'anima: una domenica ad Harlem

Gospel e cibo dell'anima: una domenica ad Harlem

 Da accanito turista-non- turista, sconsiglio il popolarissimo Sylvia’s Restaurant (328 Malcolm X) con musica dal vivo. Meglio Amy Ruth‘s (113 West 116 St), famoso per il pollo fritto. Spoonbread (547 Lenox, 366 W 110 Street) Due locali creati dalla leggendaria Norma Arden, una delle prime modelle nere nella storia della moda. Popolarissimi (e consigliabili) i self service con ricco buffet e atmosfera locale. Tra questi Londel’s (2620 Frederick Douglas Blvd), due Jacob’s (2695 F. Douglass Blvd, 373 Lenox Ave) e quattro Manna’s (486 Malcolm X Blvd, 2353 F.Douglass Blvd, 54 E 125 St, 70 W 125 St) Prezzi popolari. Ci si serve da soli e si paga a peso. E’ lì che va la gente nera di Harlem.

Big kiss from Pumpkin

Fotografie di Cesare ‘Pumpkin’ Zucca

Munich: Anna Hotel, grandma (and myself) are satisfied!

Anna hotel, is one of Munich’s first design hotels, is located at the heart of the city, right by the Karlsplatz / Stachus, close to the central railway station.
At my arrival I had warm welcome with several pleasant touches in my room .

 

 

 

 

From a nice of the city,
to a beautiful perfumed bag of lavander, to  a rich local fruits plate,to a smart couple of condoms hidden in a anna hotel box.

 

 

 

 

 

Nice thoughts, I though…. I felt a blend of contemporary design, elegance, warm colors and a mattress for a 5 star comfort…including the possibility to use free of charge the sauna, steam bath, whirlpool, fitness room and rest area can be used in the next door Hotel Königshof.
I started the morning with a rich breakfast buffet
and topped up your energy levels over the day from a
wide selection juices, bread, cold cuts, cheeses, salmon, fruits, delicious desserts,
including a seductive apricot tarte…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ordered a poached egg ,unexpecatcly  served with a kinda of a sweet n sour sauce.
Then I met with loveley  Silva Caldera, Sales & Marketing Manager . She is from Italy and yes, we spoke italian…She was so nice to give me few tips on the City, where to go, what to do…and my curiosity was satisfied when I knew that the name Anna comes from  the grandmother of the first owner, then we took a tour of the hotel.
Anna that boasts of 75 rooms, including 11 teak deck rooms with glass shower and coloured LED lighting , 5 tower rooms with view over Karlsplatz, among other rooms with terraces and a spectacular tower suite with great view.
Again, service, comfort, accuracy and a warm smile targeted anna hotel exactly like grand ma would have loved…

 

 

 

 

 

For your info
https://www.annahotel.de
Schützenstr. 1 | 80335 Munich

 

THE “GENTLE GIANT” IS WAITING…with a ‘secret’ phone number…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The river Po, called the “gentle giant”, is the longest river in Italy. With its 650 km (about 400 miles), it runs through the Po Plain and flows into the Adriatic Sea, forming a delta and one of the largest wetlands in Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea. The Po Delta Park is a wonderful land, where blue sky and clouds get reflected on the water, like a magical palette of hundreds of shades. It should be experienced by bike, by boat, by canoe, or on foot, by walking slowly across, discovering the gentleness of its landscape, the warm and rough welcome of the fishing lodges, the emotion of the boat bridges, the wide horizons, the activity in the fishing lagoons and in the vegetable gardens. From equipped beaches of Rosolina mare, Boccasette and Porto Barricata to some isolated sandbars strips of land that are formed at low tide and where there are numerous colonies of wading birds: gulls, terns etc..making the area a wonderful bird-watching attraction. I discovered Scano Boa island, where the fishermen used to live in straw houses and recently retrieved to allow visitors to experience the life of these lands. You must get a boat to get there , ask locally and yes I have their ‘secret’ mobile number)

There I had a succulent lunch thanks to Signora Chef…….. who generously prepared yummy clams with tomatoes and garlic, fried mussels and fried fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get there , you must ask locally how to call a boat , to reserve a great meal … well you got t have Lady’s number ….which I do !!!!  Check below..)

 

 

 

From September 18th to 23rd 2017 Po Delta and its jewel Venetian Botanical Garden, will host the World Youth Forum MAB UNESCO 2017.Hundreds of young people aged 18 to 35 coming from 120 countries around the world will gather in the heart its Biosphere Reserve.

                                              The Forum is conceived as an event that will provide young people with a unique opportunity to meet, debate and share their vision and commitment to sustainable development. It aims to become a place where strategies and action proposals can be discussed and implemented in order to achieve,

 

 

 

 

Since the area produces the excellent Riso del Delta del Po,  all the partecipants will be challenging in a cooking competition where that rice that will be the main ingredient of tipical dishes from different countries.
I am crazy for risotto and rice…I soooo wish to be in the jury …

 

 

 

 

 

Delta people just love their land.
“The Po Delta is a territory where development can start from the pursuit of happiness.” says Marco Gottardi, Po Delta Park’s director, while expert guide Sandro Vidali like narrate about the last 400 years when the Venetians diverted the course of the Po. Isabella Finotti guided me through the fascinating botanical garden, which is a unique habitat for many species of animals and plants. Alessio Greguoldo has experimented with a new oyster farming system in the Po Delta. Today, more than 1,500 Delta people are members of the fisheries Consortium of Scardovari. Numbers are huge! About 80,000 quintals of clams and 50,000 of mussels!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where to stay
Ca’ Zen, a 17th-century Venetian villa, nestled in a garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Agriturismo Monte Scala, clean and cozy.

 

 

 

 

                         Where to eat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Osteria del pesce  Via San Gaetano, 78 Cà Pisani Porto Viro (Rovigo)
Trattoria alla Rosa (my favorite) Via Treponti, 8/A, 45011 Bellombra (Rovigo)
Il Bilancione, Via Bacucco, 17, Ariano Nel Polesine ( Rovigo)
Scanno Boa (ask locally how to get there by boat, and yes….
I do have their cell number +39 345 92 34483

 

info@parcodeltapo.org
www.parcodeltapo.org

Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas. Kick back away from the crowds in luxury

by Phlilip Sinsheimer
Photo:Cesare Zucca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thailand.
After a few days in Hua Hin city,
I checked in for 2 nights at the Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas about 30 minute drive south in a super quiet locality called Pranburi.

 

 

Even though unlucky with unexpected rain, the stay was just fantastic.

The villas are super spacious, comfortable and private.
Didn’t use the private pool to cool off from the sun, but after a long relaxing hot bath in the outdoor tub.

The food was awsome: just loved the breakfast buffet with various both Thaï and Western treats. Not the widest variety ever, but no one should be frustrated and everything was top notch. Who needs 90 items if half of them are disappointing.The à la carte menu of the restaurant with ocean view had me have the best Thaï food so far: true flavors with excellent ingredient sourcing. Loved the local Pranburi squid, partially sun dried for a great flavor and texture.

Killing time inside the villa, reading, watching TV, catching up with email left no time to boredom. The staff just couldn’t be nicer and professional.

Stepped out the resort to have a long walk along the ocean. The beach has been washed out on large portions, but discovered abot 7km South a beautiful beach.
Just outside the resort I had my favorite foot massage ever at Mali massage for a mere 300 Bahts. In the village great moment on a terrace with a Leo Beer and snacks.
Everyone in town seems relaxed and someone offered a free ride back to the hotel.
Loved that place.

Italy: welcome to ROMAGNA, where people love to host …

Unsinkable promoter Roy Berardi and Fausto Faggioli, organized an educational press tour featuring Italian and international press members such as Australian Desmond O’Grady, Alabama’s Pauline Fitzgerald, Chef/Author Philip Sinsheimer from Los Angeles, Silvia Donnini from Milan and me, from…everywhere in the world!
Our base was Fattorie Faggioli  at Borgo Basino, on the heights of Cusercoli,
There we were welcomed and pampered by the Faggioli family with the proverbial warmth and empathy of Romagna
. For a Non Touristy Tourist like me, this place was heaven, far from noise, cars, immersed in a peaceful green valley. I was feeling the quality of life, in s natural environment that contributed to the health of its spirit and body.
Mountain trips are provided, among herb gathering, hay baths,
healthy sauna with herbs and mud bath.
Here rooms are cozy, there is a nice swimming pool.
The spectacular food are made by fresh products cultivated on the premises, totally
home-made, healthy and delicious with prices definitely affordable
In addition to that  the Faggiolis organize an internship for workers and future experts.
Our group was taken around to visit local borghi (little historical villages) and to acknowledge the identification of identity and biodiversity, of a territory that is now actively engaged in the tourism development of the new “Destination Romagna”. that I consider the most genuine, deep and sincere Region in Italy, where nature, history, wine and food and wine relate to roots, memories and traditions.
We started visiting Ravenna discovering of the quirky “Hospitality Shops” of the historic center and participating to a Happy Bio  meeting by the sea hosted by the Regional Advisor To agriculture
delightful Mrs. Simona Caselli.
On the second day, Alberto Zattini, took us to the grandiose Piazza Saffi in Forli,
then we moved In Bertinoro, where we met Tourism Concil Mirko Capuano,
Lunch  (with a spectacular view)  at Osteria Cà de Bè
 
I loved their hand made fresh pastas. especially the passatelli in brodo,
followed by tastings of  delicious rabbit with vegetables and roasted pig, 
to end with the famous latteruolo
a signature dessert
created by iconic 19th century chef
Pellegrino Artusi
                                                                                                                                           In Predappio, Mussolini’s birth place, we were welcomed by Mayor Giorgio Frassineti, we ended the day at the vineyards of the Poderi da Nespoli and the visit to the wine cellar. Quite a journey …so Roy decided to give us a relaxing morning at the  Emi and Gianmarco Rossi‘s Terme di Fratta, a luxury hotel with an equipped spa that blends wellness, beauty and health.
The next day we moved to the Ridracoli Dam, taking a suggestive sailing around the lake at the edge of the great National Park forest. In the hamlet of Santa Sofia, then, walk with the councilor Ilaria Marianini to discover the the  River Bidente outdoor sculpture park, curated by Renato Barilli and Claudio Spadoni. Gran finale In Pianetto di Galeata with a succulent dinner at Osteria La Campanara
authentic testimonial of the Romagna gastronomy.
I finally had the traditional tripe with tomatoes, among pastas and excellent Sangiovese and Albana the masters of local winery.

 

 
For the next two days, Philip and I went to the close Forlimpopoli the city that every year pays a tribute to its most illustrious citizen Pellegrino Artusi, the acknowledged father of  modern Italian cookery, Pellegrino was born in 1820 in Forlimpopoli. He was a succesful businessman, became a wealthy man and, at age 45, was able to concentrate full time on his passion: the home cuisine. He loved to search, ponder recipes and have someone else cook his experiments. After long research, he narrowed his findings to 790 favorite recipes that he collected in a manual called “La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene” (“The Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well”).
The city celebrates Pellegrino hosting the Festa Artusiana, a tempting feast where  from now till June 2th,  from 7 p.m. to midnight, the historical city center changes into a “town to be tasted.” The big castle dominates the borgo, where courts, alleys, streets and squares have names of recipes from Artusi’s book.
All the best restaurants and the street vendors in the area are invited to participate and include in their menus several of Artusi’s specialties.
For nine evenings, Forlimpopoli becomes the capital city of “Eating Well,” thanks to the partnership with Casa Artusi, the first Italian gastronomic center devoted entirely to traditional home cookery. Casa boasts a library, a museum and a school that teaches practical courses both for food lovers and professionals wanting to learn how to improve their skills.
We had a wonderful Artusi dinner in the Casa’s restaurant. tarting with a  traditional welcome small carrot soup,
then the famous tortelli , stuffed with ricotta cheese and fine spices,followed by paccheri pasta with duck ragu and beef with cloves and white beans, to end with an almond chocolate dessert with zabaione cream.
Yummy!!
To welcome Philip, Laila Tentoni, Casa Artusi Director set up a fresh pasta making class , coached by Carla Brigliadori  head teacher of the Artusi cooking school…not only … but
also accurately supervised by a local Marietta ( the name is from Artusi,s assistant) and the attentive eye of Alberto Capatti, considered the top connoisseur of the Artusi cuisine.
So, if you want to feel welcome…put Romagna in your next vacation agenda.
              A region where people love to host, eat, drink and love tobe merry …

Caserta Region, Italy: a beautiful journey to the Villa

 

 

 

To celebrate their wines, Villa Matilde owners Maria Ida and Salvatore Avallone, invited distributors, buyers, bloggers to spend a wonderful time in Cellole, in the Caserta Region,

 

 

The location boasts a wonderful vineyard, a restaurant, a swimming pool, several bedrooms and, of course, good wines and delicious specialties from a traditional or revisited cucina napoletana.

 

We were all invited and the Villa looked really festive.

 

 

 

 

 

Actually the celebrations started the night before, indulging in a luscious dinner in the terrace of the five-star, overlooking the beautiful bay, unexpectedly lighten up by fireworks.

 

 

 


There I met Mr. Avallone. and his team among other journalists and several wine distributors from all over Europe. During the all event, guests were invited to try the wines.
I loved the golden and soft Falanghina Roccamonfina 

a  sophisticated fruity white that brings hints of pineapple, banana, yellow peach to rose and sage a great glass to star you meal , served with appetizer , light dishes, fish and white meat.

Then the Mata Rosé, elegant sparkling wine obtained from one of the oldest and noble native Carnation vines, the Alleanic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


My
special applause goes to Terre Cerase Rosè, (I have to confess:I had 4 glasses) with a floral the bouquet of morello cherries, black and red wild berries, plus delicate hints of spices, ideal with fish, poultry, veal and making an outstanding paired with bufala mozzarella.

 

 

 

 

Last but not the list the reason why we all were there. We were graciously invited to Celebrate the king of the Villa, His Magesty Falerno del Massico, a red wine famous in literature and history is a blend of aglianico and piedirosso; the clusters are carefully quality-selected from the hillside vineyards on the San Castrese estate growing on the slopes of the extinct Roccamonfina volcano, in the province of Caserta. Showing a deep red, its intense, rich bouquet is brimming with fragrant sweet violets, cherries, blackberries, and raspberries, finely balanced in all teir components. The “Falerno Party” started with the Exclusive Ceremony of opening and tasting Falerno del Massico aging in Amphora:
What an entertaining show! Fabio Gennarelli (Wine Making Director) opened one of the “Phitos” the traditional clay Amphora used exclusively by Villa Matilde, followed by an a unique sensing experience: the Vertical tasting of Falerno del Massico Vigna Camarato spanning from 1995 to 2010.  A parade of eight glasses where every “millesime” was telling his own story.

 

 

 

 

The outdoor lunch featured delicious seafood bites(I had to video some) and the one and only pizza fritta, freshly fried and stuffed by the expert hands of the Chef from “La Masardona”.

 

 

 

 

Not to mention the final dinner stuck between tradition and  innovation, created by the chefs of
Taverna del Falerno
and the “Grand Hotel Parker’s 5 Stars Restaurant”  pairing their dishes with the new Villa Matilde baby born:

sparkling Spumante Mata Falanghina, with its warm golden reflections and a fine and elegant perlage, thanks to the long stay on yeasts. Just put your nose to the glass to feel delicate scents of ripe fruit mixed with hints of yeast and crust of bread. The taste is fresh, elegant and harmonious, with acidic and intense fruity notes typical of the Falanghina, which are accompanied by pleasing sensations.
A dinner that brought
the culture of food of Napoli and Campania.ending with a nice souvenir that anyone who is a little superstitious would have love it . A little red corn, mounted on a Villa Matilde cork, a traditional “Good Luck”
for the Neapolitan people.