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Castiglione del Bosco

Posted by: Laurena | February 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

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Situated in the Val d’Orcia, Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is a place of quintessential Tuscan landscape has inspired a treasure trove of masterpieces created by country folk, architects and artists. The property stands alongside the ancient Via Francigena, a route traveled by merchants and pilgrims on their way from Canterbury to Rome around 725 A.D.

As part of the UNESCO-listed Val d’Orcia in the Brunello di Montalcino wine-making region, Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco is a 5,000 acre country estate founded by Massimo and Chiara Ferragamo. The Italian resort celebrates the natural beauty and rich gastronomic heritage of Tuscany. The 800-year-old estate comprises the ancient castle ruins, a medieval church and the Borgo, a historic village that now forms the heart of the resort.

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Castiglion del Bosco features a leading Brunello di Montalcino winery, two restaurants, an organic vegetable garden and a cooking school. Designed by Tom Weiskopf, the estate’s 18-hole golf course offers an unparalleled playing experience at Italy’s only private golf club. Housed in the buildings of the Borgo itself, the 23 suites exude harmony with antique furniture, genuine textiles and artisanal pieces. Exposed wooden beams and cozy corners feature alongside modern comforts and the latest technology. The terraces, pergolas and, picturesque views are alive with greenery. Created from restored 17th- and 18th-century farmhouses, ten luxury villas capture the changing moods of the landscape. The three- to six-bedroom villas all feature private heated pools and some offer a pool house, home theater or private tennis court.

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Contact information:
Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco
Località Castiglion del Bosco, 53024 Montalcino (Siena), Italy
T: +39 0577 1913001
F: +39 0577 808621
E: cdelbosco@rosewoodhotels.com
W: www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/castiglion-del-bosco

Some of Rome’s Overlooked Palazzi

Posted by: Claudia | February 5th, 2016 | No Comments »

Palazzo Doria Pamphilij

Palazzo Doria Pamphilij

From Italy Magazine:
“Rome’s countless attractions draw millions of tourists each year, but hiding in plain view are a number of sites, the glorious palazzi still owned by the princely families who once ruled the city, that might not make it onto the usual visitor’s itinerary. Yet for anyone wanting to fully experience the incomparable richness of the Eternal City, these palaces and villas are must stops.

Here are three worth touring…

Palazzo Colonna

Palazzo Colonna

> Palazzo Colonna.
Lavishly illustrating the splendor of Roman Baroque style, the Palazzo Colonna, one of Europe’s most spectacular private residences, spans a city block (its facades front the Piazza SS Apostoli and the Via della Pilotta). Home to Prince Prospero Colonna, who with his children, represent the 33rd and 34th generations of a family that have been among Rome’s most influential for nearly a thousand years, the palazzo opens two sections–the Galleria Colonna and Princess Isabelle Apartments–to the public one day a week. The Galleria, which can claim Bernini as one of its architects, contains the Great Hall, a marvel of celebratory exuberance with such lavish frescoes, gleaming marbles and gilded moldings, you don’t know where to look first.

IF YOU GO:
Palazzo Colonna
W:www.Galleriacolonna.com:
Hours: Open Saturdays from 9 AM to 1:15 PM. Entrance: Via della Pilotta 17. All other days, including Saturday afternoons are by private appointment.
Tel #: 39 06 6784350.
E: info@galleriacolonna.it

> Palazzo Doria Pamphilij.
Like the Colonnas, the Doria Pamphilij are among a small group of Roman nobles who retain enormous palaces and art collections. This palazzo, because of its size (it has more rooms than Buckingham Palace, about 1000 to Buck House’s 775) and the vastness of its holdings, provides an exceptionally immersive experience–you time-transport back to the 18th century when you enter the building on Via del Corso.Here you’ll find a collection that includes a staggering amount of Old Masters–works by Raffaelo, Bronzino, Tiziano, Caravaggio, Tintoretto, and Velazquez’s famous portrait of the family’s Pope Innocent X. The Gallery of Mirrors, in haute rococco style by Gabriele Valvassori, holds its own against the Galerie des Glaces in Versailles. In the private apartments, you can explore nine ornate rooms, many themed by color (like the White House only with lots more ormolu), a throne room (de rigueur if there was a Pope in the family) and a ballroom whose design is of more recent vintage (19th century).

IF YOU GO:
W: www.doriapamphilj.it/roma/en/
Hours: Open every day from 7 AM to 7 PM, certain holidays excluded.
A: Via del Corso, 305.
Tel#: +39 06 6797323

Villa Albani Torlonia

Villa Albani Torlonia

> Villa Albani Torlonia.
Built in 1758 at the request of Cardinal Alessandro Albani, a noted antiquarian, the villa became a magnet for English aristocrats Grand Touring their way through the continent. Its repository of priceless ancient Roman artifacts is believed to be the largest collection after the Vatican’s.The style of the villa, designed to serve more as a museum than private dwelling, mixes Baroque and neo-classical styles. Former Rome mayor Walter Veltroni led an initiative to buy the property for the city when in office (Silvio Berulsconi was rumored to be interested as well), but the current owner, Prince Torlonia, didn’t budge.

IF YOU GO:
Requests for a visit must be made to: amministrazione@srdps.191.it
Tel.: 39 06 6861044
Fax: 39 06 68199934.
A: The villa is located at Via Salaria 92.

Travel Planning Resources + Italy Itineraries

Posted by: Giovanna | January 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

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Thanks to Indie travel site ‘Bootsnall’, here are a few resources to help you plan an itinerary through Italy, whether it’s a first-time visit or a return trip.

> The Perfect Two-Week Itinerary in Italy
This is tailored toward the first-time visitor to Italy who wants to see the “greatest hits” and a few other gems besides.

> How to Plan the Perfect Italy Itinerary
For those of you who want the tools to plan a trip that’s reasonable without being told exactly where to go, these tips will be helpful.

> Italy Holidays & Festivals
There’s always some kind of festival going on somewhere in Italy, and it’s good to know when the big holidays are (they can make getting around difficult, and can raise the prices on hotel rooms).

> Fodor’s Suggested Itinerary
www.fodors.com This is also geared toward first-time visitors to Italy who aren’t sure where to start, and covers many of the country’s highlights in just over a week long trip.

> Frommer’s Suggested Itineraries
www.frommers.com There are four suggested Italy itineraries linked on the left-hand column of this page, for trips of 1-2 weeks, with a cultural emphasis, or for families.

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> Rick Steves’ Favorite Italy Itinerary
www.ricksteves.com Rick’s favorite itinerary is 22 days long, so you may have to cut a few things out if you only have two weeks.

> Italy Magazine:
www.italymagazine.com/plan-your-trip

> About.com Itinerary Suggestions
www.goitaly.about.com
There are a few articles linked here with suggestions for Italy itineraries, some very localized and others covering larger parts of the country.

Source: Bootsnall website: www.bootsnall.com

‘Covert’ Calabria: “the Caribbean of Europe”

Posted by: Giovanna | January 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

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Calabria is a region in Southern Italy. It’s considered the Caribbean of Europe thanks to its pristine beaches, stunning landscape, and rustic charms. Hillside towns, ancient Greek temples and Byzantine churches dot the countryside of Italy’s best kept secret.

The region’s climate is mild in the winter, with hot, dry summers. The region is surrounded on three sides by the Mediterranean Sea: the Ionian Sea is to the east, the Tyhrrenean to the west and the Strait of Messina to the south. As such, the sea is a big part of the region’s culture and cuisine.

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Q.Where is this in Italy?

Posted by: Anna | January 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

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This coastal town is a municipality located within the province of Vibo Valentia, in Calabria (southern Italy). The town is a famous bathing place, situated on a reef, in the gulf of St. Euphemia connected with the mainland by a narrow strip in the Tyrrhenian Sea, toward the south with respect to Vibo Valentia and northward with respect to Ricadi and Capo Vaticano. The history of this place begins in Roman times, when along its coast, Sextus Pompey defeated Octavius. In the south of the town, the Romans had built a commercial port, in the locality of Formicoli (from the name Forum of Hercules), mentioned by Pliny and Strabo.
The legend says that it was Hercules who, returning from Spain (Pillars of Hercules) stood on the Coast of Gods and made it one of his ports. This photo shows its most famous site: the Monastery of Santa Maria dell’Isola.

Answer: Tropea.

Overlooked Tuscany: Day Trips from Firenze

Posted by: Laurena | January 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

Val D'orcia

Val D'orcia

Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano, Chianti, Cinque Terre are the most well-known day trips from Firenze. Here are five day trips from Italy Magazine that are often uncrowded, just as charming and also worth a visit.

1. Lucca
Neither too big or small, this charming town just an hour and some change from Florence (if that) is one of our favorite getaways. Rent a bike and ride around the city’s intact walls before indulging in a cozy trattoria serving up local cuisine such as potato-filled tortelli with wild boar ragu.

2. Bagno Vignoni & Val d’Orcia
One of the favorite valleys in Tuscany is also the most picturesque, just two hours shy from Florence. Val d’Orcia is a splendidly beautiful area of Tuscany containing numerous hamlets worth visiting along with some of the best wine in Italy. Bagno Vignoni is well-known for its ancient hot springs and charming atmosphere, you can base here while exploring Pienza, Montalcino and Montepulciano.

Anghiari

Anghiari

3. Anghiari
One of the most beautiful towns embracing a slow pace of life in Italy, an easy hour and a half trip from Florence by car. You might have heard of it from a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci depicting the Battle of Anghiari (1440). Walking along its jumble of medieval streets is like stepping back in time. Climb to the top, where the fortress is located, for a splendid view of the Valtiberina valley.

4. Arezzo
People often skip the town of Arezzo in favor of Siena, but it really shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s small size and proximity to Florence (only one hour) make it easy to visit, and there is a spectacular antiques fair (biggest in Italy) taking over the historical center, the first weekend of every month.

Certaldo

Certaldo

5. Certaldo
Known as the birthplace of the famous Italian poet Boccaccio (1313), it takes less than an hour to visit from Florence and located in the heart of the Valdelsa. This red-brick town is an ideal base for discovering nearby popular attractions such as the Chianti wine region (Greve in Chianti etc), San Gimignano, and Monteriggioni.

Source: Italy Magazine.

Riviera del Brenta, Overlooked in the Veneto

Posted by: Giovanna | January 26th, 2016 | No Comments »

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Riviera del Brenta is an area of high historical-scenic interest along the Naviglio del Brenta, a branch of Brenta river between the town of Stra and the Brenta outfall in Fusina location.
Since XVI century, the richest venetian families began to clean up and organize this vast area by investing in farms. In order to accommodate these wealthy landlords, villas built up with classical style, placed side by side to “barchessa”, the rural building service. Over time, the Villa became the holiday residence, enriched with splendid frescoes and spectacular gardens.

There is a rhythm to life along the Brenta Canal that is distinctly Venetian. Part of a system of waterways known poetically as the Riviera del Brenta, it is still very much of and for the people of the northern Italian province of Veneto, despite it being almost surreally picturesque in places and historically important indeed.

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In Italy, that usually equals hordes of international tourists. But it is local comings and goings that dictate the tempo along the Brenta. Crops are grown. Fish are caught and sold. There is industry along its waters and small towns cling to the banks, centres of everyday Italian life. There are no expensive attractions here; the churches are not galleries but still places of worship for communities. There are genuine Italian trattorias and cafes, mostly for working families. There are also trendy boutiques and flashier restaurants and bars. The Brenta population runs the gamut from working class to upper class and is a thriving community.

The Brenta’s importance to the region goes back to Roman times but it was in the 16th century that the river was turned into a 36-kilometre-long canal from Padua to the Adriatic Sea, bypassing the Venetian lagoon. It quickly became an important channel of transport, in addition to the area being fertile crop-farming land. Venice’s noble families bought land, established estates and built extraordinary villas along it, using great architects, such as Palladio and Preti. The houses became the summer escapes for the patricians, who left their regular residences in barges called burchielli, pushed by oarsmen across the lagoon from Venice and then pulled by horses along the canal. In the summer, the Riviera del Brenta became one long place of revelry, with gatherings in villas complemented by the parties on the boats, gliding between the villas, which carried minstrels to entertain the crowds. Famous residents included Galileo, Napoleon, Casanova and various royalty. It was written about by Byron, Goethe and Goldoni, all residents at one point or another, and painted by masters such as Tiepolo and Canaletto.

Today, pleasure boats carrying tourists do the trip, crossing the five locks that negotiate a 10-metre-high water slope from Padua to the Venetian lagoon. They pass through nine swing bridges along the way. The visitors come to admire the remains of the villas – the famous Palladio-designed examples such as Foscari and Pisani – but also the hundreds of less famous but still spectacular mansions, many of which today house Venetian families. Others have been divided into apartments and still others stand empty, boarded up and in disrepair.

The fact is, relatively few tourists ever make their way out of Piazza San Marco and into the delights of the Riviera del Brenta. Even if they do manage to squeeze in a boat trip, there is much to the Brenta that glimpses from the main waterway simply don’t do justice to. Passing through by car also fails to capture the scene. You can be mistaken for thinking there’s not much to see. The road between Venice and Padua is a busy one and the villages are strung out along the banks, so you don’t get that sudden conglomeration of activity and beauty as you do in other places.

Italians from other parts of the country, as well as some German, French and a few savvy American tourists, have realized the flat, scenic stretches of road through the area are wonderful for cycling; this is how you see the hidden pockets of unique charm.Locals themselves are big fans of the bike – the “Hollander” style, no-gears, step-through treadly of old, with a basket on the front, a rack on the back and the freedom to glide along the side of the canals with a minimum of fuss or effort.

You’ll see septuagenarian-plus women as well as teenagers going about their business with groceries in the basket and flowers on the rack over the back wheel. While the serious cyclists don helmets, put their heads down and take advantage of the smooth stretches and fresh air, others opt for the local option: the slow, scenic ride, stopping for coffee or a sandwich, a photo opportunity or a picnic.

It’s easy to get lost but because the landscape is so flat, church bell towers are excellent landmarks to get one back on course. The Palladio villas are undoubtedly the star attraction here. But the Brenta is also about the allure of faded grandeur, crumbling ruins and peeling shutters as much as it is about the villas that have been renovated or preserved. It’s also about riverbanks festooned with wildflowers, willows draping indolently into the gently moving water, stone walls spilling with blousy roses and honeysuckle and surprising vistas around every bend. And it’s about that local life.

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IF YOU GO:
The Brenta offers something authentic and, if you want to stay a while, it also offers luxury and boutique charm. The Dal Corso family has been running two hotels and a restaurant at Mira Porte on the Brenta Riviera for generations. In typically Venetian fashion – they are savvy, hard workers in these parts – young brothers Alessandro and Dario not only work behind the scenes to ensure the successful business their parents have built keeps going, you will also find them waiting tables and attending reception in their hotels, where the likes of George Clooney have stayed.

Their flagship, Villa Franceschi, is a five-star example of the gracious villa life of the past and their second property, Villa Margherita, is a less grand, smaller property on the main road but still a historic Venetian villa surrounded by lovely gardens and enormous poplar trees. There are fresh flowers and fruit in the rooms, some of which have balconies and rugs scattered over wooden floors as well as antiques and rich fabrics, fireplaces and plush sofas throughout the salons. Both properties are on the bus routes that operate between Padua and Venice right along the main canal and there are bus tickets for sale at the front desk of each. At €6 ($3.70) a day, the ticket enables you to jump on and off the buses at the villas or anywhere else that takes your fancy along the way.

There are great dining options nearby, with a couple of cheap, good trattorias in Mira Porte proving much better value for money than anything you will find in Venice. There is also a supermarket and facilities such as a laundromat in the village. At Dolo, just a couple of villages up from Mira, is a restaurant named I Molini di Dolo, in a 16th-century mill that sits across one section of the canal, with the old wheels still going while fishermen take advantage of the moving water conditions, which attract certain fish.

GETTING THERE
Travelling by train is the easiest way to reach the Riviera del Brenta from Milan.
The super-quick Eurostar service is one of several rail options that will take you to Mestre, the best station for villas Franceschi and Margherita.

STAYING THERE
Villa Franceschi
A: Via Don Minzoni 28, Mira Porte
T#: +39 041 426 6531;
W: www.villafranceschi.com (Rooms from €125 for single ($202.50), €175 for double including breakfast.)

Villa Margherita
A: Via Nazionale 416, Mira Porte
T#: +39 041 426 5800
W:www.villa-margherita.com (Rooms from €110 for single, €155 for double including breakfast.)

BIKING THE CANAL

> Center Bike di Bartolomiello
A: Via Mocenigo 3, Mira
T#: +39 041 420 110.

> Riviera del Brenta Bike
A: Via Riviera San Pietro, 129/1 – Oriago di Mira (VE)
T#: 320 3289569 P.IVA:
E: : info@rivieradelbrentabike.it

Antico Arco: The best restaurant in Rome’s Gianicolo…

Posted by: Giovanna | January 24th, 2016 | No Comments »

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The best restaurant in Rome’s Gianicolo…

> Antico Arco
A: Piazzale Aurelio 7; T#: +39065815274; E: info@anticoarco.it
W: www.anticoarco.it. CLOSED Sundays.

Michelin gives this restaurant 1 star. “The chef at this modern, bright and fashionable restaurant selects the best Italian ingredients to create innovative dishes based on traditional specialities.

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Fodor’s review:
“Founded by three friends with a passion for wine and fine food (the team leader is Patrizia Mattei), Antico Arco attracts foodies from Rome and beyond with its refined culinary inventiveness. The location on top of the Janiculum hill provides a charming setting, and recent renovations updated the dining rooms into plush, modern spaces: whitewashed brick walls, dark floors, and black velvet chairs. The seasonal menu offers delights such as amberjack tartare with lime, ginger, and a salad of chicory stems; classic pasta alla carbonara enriched with black truffle; and a duck with artichokes and foie gras. The molten chocolate cake is justly famous among chocoholics the city over.

CN Traveler review:
“Few of the creative Roman restaurants that opened in the 1990s have proved as consistently popular as Antico Arco. On the Ginicolo hill, next to the town gate that gives the ‘Old Arch’ its name, the restaurant has no view and no outside tables, but what’s inside more than makes up for that. Recently refurbished, with its cream-painted brick walls, subtle lighting and sober, high-backed chairs, Antico Arco is as warmly intimate and unshowily contemporary as Patrizia Mattei’s cuisine, which offers a slow-food tour of Italy based on obsessively sourced raw materials. So the spaghetti all’amatriciana – a classic Roman staple – is ennobled by using special guanciale bacon from the Conero peninsula in Le Marche, while one of her signature dishes – the risotto al Castelmagno con riduzione di Nebbiolo – doffs a cap to Piedmont in its pairing of Castelmagno cheese and Nebbiolo wine. The secondi include light and original meat, fish and game dishes, and the desserts (such as the white-chocolate tiramisu) are, alas, irresistible even if you couldn’t possibly. Wine is the restaurant’s other forte: sommelier Domenico Calió is constantly on the lookout for little-known gems. Book at least three or four days ahead.

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Here is a list of their dessert offerings…
APPLES Tatin
Apple, hazelnut pastry, ice cream and calvados apple gel

ALCHEMY
Yoghurt mousse, cookie cornflakes pistachios and chocolate caramel, raspberry sorbet and pea shoots

BROWSE WARM
Marsala sabayon and caramelised strawberries

TRIP TO EAST
Biscuit tonka bean, spicy chocolate blond, marinated pineapple and ginger ice cream

Ciocorì ‘
Puffed rice, hazelnut mousse, passion fruit and coffee sauce

CREAMY
Sponge and ice cream with walnuts, creamy mascarpone, chocolate and white crystallized tangerine coulis

PATTY FROM SOFT HEART
Valrhona chocolate and hazelnut biscuit

ICED MOJITO
Lime, mint, brown sugar and rum

Where The Locals Eat Breakfast, Lunch And Dinner In Milan

Posted by: Laurena | January 24th, 2016 | No Comments »

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“The Milanese go there, those who live in the area (or work there) and so know the neighborhood and choose the best (after they have tried everything else). In the morning, for breakfast, you find busy ladies experiencing the cappuccino life at the bar like one of the events of the day (they meet friends, children, colleagues and talk, talk, talk), while at lunch, in downtown restaurants, there are the regulars who come alone and position themselves, for years, at the usual table; in the evening, for dinner, out of nostalgia or rebellion against the domination of sushi, they try the flavours of the past, perhaps revised by new generations.

Marotin

Marotin

> Marotin
A: Via Archimede, 59, T#:: +39 02 7395 7790.
A small coffee shop with pastries, ideal for breakfast, but also for an afternoon tea. The pastel-colored walls and a small loft welcome customers, which are numerous especially in the morning; the place is small and therefore, in summer, they decided to equip the steps in front of the windows too with long tailored cushions and small tables that look like those of a dollhouse. There’s the choice of many croissants (also to be filled at the moment), but the plain one is the cappuccino’s best friend.

Trattoria Milanese

Trattoria Milanese

>Trattoria Milanese
A: Via Santa Marta, 11; T#: + 39 02 8645 1991.
At lunch, you go to the city center. Those who work there, stay there; those who have to meet a client take them to a quiet corner to conclude a deal, with the complicity of a risotto. The Trattoria Milanese hasn’t changed for 50 years; it’s busy, visited by regulars (old men in loden, equipped with Corriere della Sera), but also financial managers (the Stock Exchange Lunch at Trattoria Milanese, in the heart of the city. is not far away). It can happen you sit so close together that it’s impossible not to “hear” the conversation (Italians speak with the body, so you can follow even if you do not know the language). The choice of menu (very dense) is varied, but the waiter can make recommendations; for lunch, a single course, like a risotto Milanese with ossobuco, is recommended. Rice is a classic, it is therefore always on the stove (they prepare it quickly); if you ask for wine, the glass is not one used for tasting, and accompanies every meal. Coffee comes with pleasant biscuits. Prices are not moderate, but traveling in time is never cheap. Via Santa Marta very much reflects old Milan. Walking, you can come across doors that let you see the courtyards and gardens of a heroic beauty, and some shops less overrated than those in the center.

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> Trippa
A: Via Giorgio Vasari 3, T#: + 39 02 36741134. (Dinner only!)
If you have to choose an area of the town for the evening, Porta Romana (the Roman gate) can offer many places for an aperitif and dinner. Recent, but tied to tradition, is Trattoria Trippa (Tripe restaurant). Simple surroundings like the cooking, with tasty food and – last but not least in the city – affordable prices. Among the proposals a la carte: vinegar, black pepper and silene (a herb used in common cooking) risotto; spaghetti with tuna, coffee and lemon, grass pea and nettle soup. The clientele is varied, from fashionistas to gourmand, because the chef (Diego Rossi) has had a lot of experience in star rated restaurants and this is his first own restaurant.

Source: Silvia Paoli/ La Dolce Vita, Huffington Post, 01/19/2016

A Weekend on the Italian Riviera

Posted by: Laurena | January 24th, 2016 | No Comments »

Camogli

Camogli

Italian Riviera – An Introduction

Nestled between the south of France and the Tuscan border lies the region of Liguria, with verdant and lush mountains to the north and east, and the sapphire blue Mediterranean to the south and west. In between is a land of lush vegetation, medieval hilltop hamlets, panoramic vistas, colorful seaside villages, and pristine beaches.

There is plenty to do—from hiking and biking, to water sports and fishing, to eating (very) well—and plenty to see, including some of Italy’s most aesthetically pleasing architecture to just enjoying la dolce vita along its coast, better known as the Italian Riviera.

“The Italian Riviera oozes charm and irresistible allure, with many seaside resort towns and colorful villages that stake intermittent claim to the rocky shores of the Ligurian Sea and seem like the long-lost cousins of newer seaside paradises found elsewhere. It has been a haven for artists, writers, celebrities, and royalty since the 1800s, and continues to fascinate visitors throughout the year due to its mild climate. Here the grandest palazzi share space with frescoed, angular terratettos (tall, skinny houses). The rustic and elegant, the provincial and chic, the small-town and cosmopolitan all collide here in a sun-drenched blend that defines the Italian side of the Riviera. There are chic resort towns such as San Remo and Portofino, the unique beauty and outdoor adventures of the Cinque Terre, numerous quaint seaside and hilltop villages to explore, plus the history and architectural charm of Genoa. Mellowed by the balmy breezes blowing off the sea, travelers bask in the sun, explore the picturesque fishing villages, and pamper themselves at the resorts that dot this ruggedly beautiful landscape.

A&B Travel Notes:
Just 2 hrs from Milano…Spend a few days visiting three quiant towns on the Italian Riviera:

Camogli…Santa Margherita …Rapallo

Camogli
At the edge of the large promontory and nature reserve known as the Portofino Peninsula, has always been a town of sailors. Today multicolor houses, remarkably deceptive trompe-l’oeil frescoes, and a massive 17th-century seawall mark this appealing harbor community… One of the most pleasant surprises on the Italian Riviera is this small fishing village tucked away between Portofino Mountain and the Ligurian Sea. Camogli (pronounced kuh-moh’-lee) has a double meaning in Italian. The first translation, “houses close together,” is apparent when you stroll through the town’s narrow streets, which are lined by tall columns of pastel-colored homes. The second meaning, “houses of wives,” is not so obvious; it refers to the fishermen’s wives, who traditionally spent their time at home while their husbands were out at sea.

But Camogli is more than just a fishing village. Although it may not reel in scores of international celebrities and luxury yachts like its more famous neighbor, Portofino, Camogli is an increasingly popular tourist destination. In the summer, the town’s population of 7,000 almost doubles, as tourists and Italians who own vacation homes in Camogli arrive.

Camogli’s biggest tourist attraction is its annual fish-fry and festival during the second weekend of May. Saturday’s “blessing of the fish” festivities include bonfires and a spectacular display of fireworks. On Sunday the town pulls out what is said to be the largest skillet in the world (about four meters — more than 12 feet — in diameter) and fries up a huge helping of fish donated by the local fish cooperative. Camogli is also home to the C. Colombo nautical institute (named for Christopher Columbus, one of Italy’s most famous sons), which produces many of Italy’s merchant marines.

Where to Stay
> Hotel Cenobio dei Dogi – Camogli
W: www.cenobio.it

> Villa Rosmarino
W: www.villarosmarino.com

Santa Margherita Ligure

Santa Margherita Ligure

Santa Margherita Ligure
A beautiful old resort town favored by well-to-do Italians, Santa Margherita Ligure has everything a Riviera playground should have—plenty of palm trees and attractive hotels, cafés, and a marina packed with yachts. A truly quiant seaside town, Santa Margherita Ligure has all the appeal of Portofino without the crowds and prices. Its palm-lined harbor fringes the waterfront while the pastel-painted houses crawl up the hill behind. Lush green forests and olive groves cover the terrain, while sailboats and fishing craft bob in the colorful marina. Santa Margherita Ligure boasts the allures of other Riviera towns with its picturesque setting, colorful buildings, palm trees, and seafront promenade. It is a friendly and vibrant place with a sunny disposition, pebbly beaches and a laid-back atmosphere. There are plenty of restaurants and cafes to enjoy and shops to peruse. Narrow medieval streets meander along with interesting architecture thrown in. The primary piazza for gathering is Piazza Martiri della Liberta’ with its sidewalk cafes and casual eateries. Piazza Caprera is dominated by the Basilica of Santa Margherita of Antioch, a Baroque beauty with statues, stained glass, and gilding lit by crystal chandeliers. The charming church was built in 1658 and is a must-see when you’re in town.

Where to Stay
Miramare: Hotel:
W: www.grandhotelmiramare.it

Rapallo

Rapallo

Rapallo
WB Yeats, Max Beerbohm and Ezra Pound all garnered inspiration in Rapallo and it’s not difficult to see why. With its bright-blue changing cabins, palm-fringed beach and diminutive 16th-century castle perched above the sea, the town has a poetic and nostalgic air. It’s at its busiest on Thursdays, when market stalls fill central Piazza Cile.

Rapallo is the largest Italian Riviera seaside resort town. There’s a picturesque castle in the sea, a small harbor and seaside promenade, pedestrian shopping streets in the historical center, and good seafood restaurants. Don’t miss the funicular ride up the hill to Montallegro.

Where to Stay
Hotel Riviera
W: www.hotelrivierarapallo.com