Tuesday, January 31, 2012

JANUARY 2012



HIGHEST ITALIAN WINE




















01012012 Just north of Naples, green walls appear, some more than 30 feet high, with treetops poking out like pickets at regular intervals. These unusual walls are grapevines, and the wine that is made from them is quite unusual too. It's called Asprinio di Aversa. Because the phylloxera infestation that devastated European vineyards never happened here (the loose, sandy soil makes it impossible for the insects to burrow into the roots), these vines are all ungrafted. Thus, with asprinio, the connection to the distant past -- Greek grape, Etruscan viticulture -- is virtually intact. Bizarre Vines, Old Roots Make Fine Wine | The New York Times
01022012 Aglianico is an important Italian red grape variety, that together with Piedmont's Nebbiolo and Tuscany's Sangiovese, is one of the robust and noble grapes of Italy. In the same way as Nebbiolo is famous for Barolo and Barbaresco, and Sangiovese (in various clones) is famous for Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, Aglianico's DOCG wine is known as Taurasi, which like the former four wines has to be produced under very exacting and strict rules and methods. A Taste of Italy: Campania | Reno Spiteri's Wineopolis
01032012 Aglianico’s high tannins and acidity, and its evident ability to age, have inspired some to call it the “Barolo of the south”. Praise indeed – although Aglianico is generally a much deeper crimson colour than the Nebbiolo grape that is responsible for Barolo. Aglianico is the signature grape of Taurasi in Campania and Aglianico del Vulture, just over the border in the hills of Basilicata. Although it buds early, it ripens very late, and its grapes are so naturally high in acidity that it has traditionally been assumed that the variety simply wouldn’t ripen sufficiently often further north. At higher altitudes in Taurasi it has often been picked well into November. Italy’s Aglianico | FT.com
01042012 The Sorgeto Hot Springs, perhaps the most well-known of Ischias many volcanic attractions, offers a unique view of thermal water gushing into the sea. Small rocks and stones form a variety of pools where the waters meet, providing a range of natural "spas" to choose from. Be careful here, as the temperature is (literally) scalding in some areas, but the warm waters in other pools afford pleasant bathing even in winter months. At Citara Beach in Forio the thermal water mixes with the sea, allowing you to swim in the comfortably-warm salinity while also, if ancient lore is to believed, reaping the health benefits of the thermal water. Thermal Hot Springs on Ischia Island | Traveldudes
01052012 Neapolitans are known for their hedonistic attitude – the still-active volcano, Mount Vesuvius, which buried Pompeii in 79AD and last erupted in 1944, dominates the city skyline, a constant reminder that life is meant to be lived to the full. This devil-may-care attitude is evident in the cuisine (at times, not even pizza escapes the deep fryer), such as creamy mozzarella di bufala and ricotta-rich sweets. Of course, the freshest seasonal fruit, vegetables and frutti di mare is available everywhere, but kiss the diet goodbye when you visit because the golden rule is to embrace excess like the locals. Getting to Naples is a cinch. The high-speed TAV train from Rome takes about 90 minutes and once you arrive, there is a host of upmarket hotels lining the Gulf of Naples to choose from. 48 hours in Naples | Gourmet Traveller
01062012 It’s worth mentioning that the new train company, called Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori (or NTV), is run by the chairman of Ferrari – so the fact that it’s focusing only on high-speed trains shouldn’t be surprising. For now, starting in March 2012, you can ride NTV trains (called “Italo”) all the way to Salerno. Salerno is the big city on the other end of the Amalfi Coast from Sorrento – it’s the end of the region that most people don’t visit, because they come in through Naples and Sorrento and go back out the same way. Salerno, however, makes an equally good base from which to explore the area. What’s more, coming from Salerno, you’re closer to Paestum, which is oftern overlooked entirely by people focused only on Pompeii. Salerno | WhyGo
01072012 In the splendid town of Sorrento, a magical place and an important tourist destination located in the heart of the historical course of Italy and the ancient walls of the city a charming villa: Villa Fiorentino. Chosen as the residence of Mr and Mrs Fiorentino in the thirties and completed by Eng. Almerigo Gargiulo,on 1935-36, in a typical American style, became the hub of commercial activities of the two spouses, one of the finest embroidered handkerchiefs so that, soon became known worldwide as Villa handkerchiefs. On the death of Mrs. Fiorentino the villa, which has three floors and enjoys a wonderful as wonderful garden, was bequeathed to the city because of Sorrento, and is still the case, the garden was a park for recreational children and the house was used for cultural events and museums. Villa Fiorentino | Fondazione Sorrento
01082012 This was our final day in Sorrento, and I think we did it up right. Our driver from Tuesday, Maurizio, picked us up at 9 AM for a tour of the Amalfi coast. We stopped for a photo break before we’d reached the first town to take pictures of the coastline and the Siren Islands. After that quick stop, it was on to Positano. As we drove, Maurizio pointed out gorgeous hotels, famous people’s houses, Byzantine and Norman towers, etc. He told us there were 1600 curves on the road, so it’s understandable that the adults were slightly nauseated the whole day. The kids, remarkably, were fine. Sorrento, Day Four | Food/Fashion/Flight
01092012 Hike along the magnificent Amalfi Coast, Walk in the footsteps of ancient Romans in Pompeii, Hike to the summit of mighty Mount Vesuvius, Be amazed by spectacular 360 degree views atop Capri, Take a dip in the Tyrrhenian Sea, Walk along the impressive 'Path of the Gods'. naples to amalfi | Intrepid Travel
01102012 Go Underground. Go spelunking. Kind of. Naples has a sort of mirror subterranean city. Guided tours are available and last about 60 minutes and cover several kilometers of tunnels, caves, and terrain, all the while discussing the history of the city. Things to Do Naples | Europe a la Carte Blog
01112012 A wonderful place to stay in Sorrento is the Bellevue Syrene. It was built over a Roman villa, and was once a private home, so it has lots of history and an intimate feeling–65 rooms, and each one is different. The hotel’s loggia, draped with wisteria, is extraordinary. The view of Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples from there is one of the best in Italy–my husband and I couldn’t drink in enough of it–we never wanted to leave! After a breakfast there, relax on the hotel’s private sunbathing deck, take a morning swim, or indulge in a spa treatment. Sorrento with Mary Sherman Indelli | Golden Days in Italy
01122012 After lunch, we walked around Sorrento for a while longer, Matt popping into a pastry shop to try out a chocolate filled cannoli. The wind was still ferocious, so we decided to head back to the hotel for a little down time. That evening we decided to drive back to the little town of Piano di Sorrento to do a little shopping. We grabbed a bag of grapes from a market and snacked while we walked. The little town was alive with activity. People were everywhere, drinking at outdoor tables, wandering down the cobbled streets with shopping bags, or buzzing by on scooters. The Amalfi Coast, Italy: Day Three | vicki_h
01132012 Across a busy medieval lane is a far spookier, skull-festooned church, built in the 17th century by a cult called the Souls of Purgatory, which dedicated itself to adopting the bones of the dead to pray over and rescue the souls associated with them from eternal oblivion. Presiding over this in the Church of Santa Maria delle Anime dell Purgatorio is an actual crowned skull called “Lucia” and a sculptural masterpiece of a winged skull. This macabre landmark fronts a fresh vegetable market that resembles a Food & Wine magazine cover, decorated with strings of garlic, peppers and sun-dried tomatoes. Behind it, a huge open-air bazaar dedicated to creating and selling the phallic lucky charms of Naples that look like little red horns, called pulcicorni. Next door is the always mobbed Pizzeria Sorbillo, which serves up Neapolitan pies of legend. A Gothic Tour of Italy | The New York Times
01142012 According to true believers in Naples, pizzas come in only two varieties: the marinara (largely tomato - nothing to do with seafood, as some suppose, but named after a fisherman's wife who made tomato pizzas for her husband's packed lunch) and the margherita (tomato, mozzarella and basil). Giuseppe regrets that too few British travellers have discovered the charms of Naples - he suspects that the city's lawless reputation may have something to do with this. But with new direct flights from the UK to Naples being added next year, he believes the southern Italian city will become a big favourite. These are his reasons for visiting - they start of course with eating out, and the search for the perfect pizza... See Naples and dine! An insider's guide to Pizza City from a man who really knows his margheritas | Daily Mail
01152012 Tucked away up a stepped lane, La Stanza Del Gusto is one of those intense foodie restaurants where what you eat on any given evening depends very much on the latest whims and passions of the host-chef. Mario Avallone is an authority on the cuisine of Campania, the region around Naples, but he likes to give the tradition a creative twist in dishes such as pasta fresca alla genovese di finocchio in which a fennel sauce replaces the orthodox onion version, and squid and octopus baked in aubergine sauce. Guide to Naples | Conde Nast Traveller
01162012 Oasis Sapori Antichi is surely one of the most appropriately named restaurants in Italy. It's in the Irpinia area of Campania, a few kilometers off the A16 (Napoli-Bari), in the middle of nowhere Vallesaccarda ( Avellino), and the flavors are ancient. The restaurant is a family affair, involving the collaboration of over a dozen members of the Fischetti family. Mom Giuseppina and her sister, Vituccella, help Fischetti offspring, daughters in the kitchen, sons in the dining room, along with cousins, spouses, and kids--Nicola, Raffaella, Serena. Carmine, Puccio, and Nicola actively source the greatest local ingredients; Maria, Lina, and Maria Grazia do them justice, cooking with recipes and flavoring with roots, using old-fashioned techniques. In Italy, Food is a Family Affair | The Atlantic
01172012 Yeah, I'm completely fixated on the tile pattern. It mentally took me back to Italy, to my honeymoon (on '06), to an adorable Italian hotel in Sorrento called the Hotel Parco dei Principi, designed by famed Italian architect, GiĆ² Ponti. This place was all about the tile. Flashback – Italy | The Goods design
01182012 In Herculaneum the city was buried by mud flows, and is better preserved as a result. One is struck by how beautiful and civilized the city and its grand villas must have been - walls and ceilings richly decorated, floors covered in intricate mosaics and colourful marble tiles. Floors of Herculaneum | Poul Webb
01192012 The tiny bricks I employed are supposed to recreate the structure of Pompeii's houses and streets and in particular the opus latericium, that is a building technique with a core of opus caementicium (= building technique in which the mortar was made up of a mixture of sand or crushed stones and lime) in which tiles or bricks of different sizes were laid in regular overlapping rows. I must admit it took me quite a long time (and a lot of patience...) to get together the structure of the bricks and make sure the necklace still retained enough elasticity. Requiem for Pompeii Necklace | Irenebrination
01202012 I'd heard and read about how beautiful the Vietri ceramics are. Each shop is selling handmade items, they all have slight differences. While the bowls, plates, mugs, platters are similar shapes, the actual artwork is subtly different. And there are a few stores that have broken from tradition and have very unique, different artwork on their ceramics. Vietri has a ceramics factory which sells a good number of cast-offs, irregulars, and the like. But the best thing is it's Gaudi-esque building containing the showroom. Vietri sul Mare | In Search of Gelato
01212012 I visited the Amalfi Coast, Italy in 2006 with my mom and grandmother. We had such a blast. Just us girls with the time to peruse all of the shops, eat gelato and sample the limoncello! Best of all were the memories I have of that amazing trip. Adventures in Amalfi | Rachael Ray Mag
01222012 Enjoy a half day leisurely tour to Sant’Agata sui Due Golfi, a small village not far from Sorrento, where you will visit a local farmhouse which excels in the production of mozzarella and limoncello, to say nothing of their hand-made pizzas. On arrival you will be met by the owner for coffee and home-made biscuits before taking a stroll through the farmhouse’s beautiful gardens. Then there is a hands-on demonstration of mozzarella making, pizza throwing and limoncello tasting – all three of which are yours to enjoy for lunch. Limoncello and the flavours of Sorrento | Expressions Holidays
01232012 While the sfogliatella is considered a signature Neapolitan pastry, the birthplace of this tasty treat was in Conca dei Marini, a tiny village located in the mountains of the Amalfi Coast. In the 1600s the precursor to today’s sfogliatella was created by nuns at the Monastery of Santa Rosa. You’ll still find this variety of sfogliatella, called santarosa after the monastery, in pasticcerie throughout the region. It differs in that it’s filled with a crema pasticcera instead of ricotta and is topped with a dab of crema di amarene (sour black cherry). Sfogliatella | My Bella Vita
01242012 This area has been made famous by the little village of Taurasi and the great DOCG wine to which the village gives its name. The region is also famous for a variety of other products: chestnuts, nougat, olive oil, and even truffles, but most visitors are interested in the wines. We are staying in a beautiful agriturismo between the villages of Taurasi and Sant’Angelo all’Esca, surrounded by row upon row of vines, the slopes painted with the beautiful colors of fall: dark red aglianico grapes still ripening on the vines and the red, yellow, and orange vine leaves which, when the sun hits them just so, look like they are on fire. The owner of the agriturismo, Milena Pepe, an energetic young woman who grew up in Belgium, but whose parents are originally from this area, moved here several years ago and started making wines from the indigenous grapes. Harvest at Tenuta Cavalier Pepe | Slow Travel
01252012 The pignata, seemingly straight out of Geppetto’s workshop in Pinocchio, is a ceramic pot that comes in various sizes. It has an adorable tubby body with two stout handles attached lopsidedly to the jug. Facing away from the fire, they never get hot even after hours in the red-hot embers… very clever. Many people have fireplaces around here and the pignata continues to be used in the Sannio to this day. Throughout the whole morning, with little more than a stirring and a topping up of liquid, the little pot has sat staunchly in the fire all on its own, bubbling quietly, delicately cooking its contents of beans, celery, garlic and guanciale (pork jowl… like bacon, only better) with absolutely no fuss. Ladled onto hot bruschetta, with a drizzle of olio piccante, this is a meal fit for food afficionados! Pizza, Pane & a Pignata | Savour The Sannio
01262012 Fishing and preserving anchovies is an ancient tradition for centuries and a major source of livelihood for anglers in Cetara, a tiny fishing village overlooking the sea along the Amalfi Coast. Anchovies are preserved in oil or salt or worked to produce various condiments with an anchovy base. “Pull up a chair,” Gina says, “we’ll show you how it’s done.” Pasquale Battista began his family run seafood company in 1950. After 80 years, his son Giuseppe and his wife Gina Ferrigno, and three other sisters accompanied by their husbands, all continue to work together. They continue the success of the business following the same artisanal traditions and techniques as it has in the past, with passion and pride. Nothing has changed. Prized Anchovies from Cetara on the Amalfi Coast | Alta Cucina Inc
01272012 It's an eerie place to visit, with steam billowing out of its moon-like crater top, offering spectacular views around the Bay of Naples and beyond to the islands of Capri and Ischia. And if you needed a reminder of how awesome the power of nature can be, a trip to Pompeii does the job. Our guide for the day showed us around this ancient Roman city -- and it was some city, sprawling on a New York-style grid. He showed us the grooves in the cobblestones made by horse carriages, the old bakery ovens which look as if they'd still bake a mean pizza to this day, and, everyone's highlight -- one of its brothels. Everyone else on the coach hated the place, but not me. Full of passion and idiosyncrasies, with great food and amazing shopping, I adore Naples, warts and all. Capri's beautiful, but not my cup of tea as it's pricey and full of Eurotrash, but the hillside town of Positano is a must-see. Strangely, the highlight of the trip was also the most low key -- an afternoon on a local farm. Sitting surrounded by olive groves, we were treated to freshly baked bread, homemade mozzarella, and plenty of farm wine, like a family from a Dolmio ad. Life is sweet indeed. Cappuccino… | Herald.ie
01282012 She may be a 41-year-old mother-of-three but Claudia Schiffer showed she still has a sultry side at an Italian photo shoot. With smokey eyeshadow, big hair and a leopard print bra the supermodel looked every inch the screen siren in Sorrento yesterday. And proving she still has the perfect bikini body the German model flaunted her washboard stomach and killer legs as she draped herself on a boat. Smoking hot Claudia Schiffer goes Brigitte Bardot on Italian photo shoot | Daily Mail
01292012 Jackie Onassis, Tiberius, Capri pants – the island of Capri is synonymous with glamour, sexual mores and fashion. Small wonder it's packed out with tourists most of the year. But while most of the real fashionistas have disappeared (though there's still plenty of money washing around), and it can get unbearably crowded, there is still plenty of glamour to be found here in the designer shops and swanky restaurants and bars. As for the sex, I can only say that it's the favoured destination of many a honeymooner, thanks to the gorgeous hotels that dot the island. Sex and glamour | Simonseeks
01302012 “Most of the prostitutes in Pompeii were probably the barmaids or the landladies who sometimes slept with customers after closing time, sometimes for money, sometimes on the premises, sometimes not. I doubt many of them really wore togas, thought of themselves as prostitutes or defined their place of work as a brothel.” Rather, sex was everywhere. Erotic murals and images were commonplace in homes. The phallus was a symbol of “power, status and good fortune” and when 19th century excavations uncovered an abundance of objects dating from ancient Rome they were considered so erotic that they were kept in a “secret cabinet” at the National Archeological Museum in Naples and only those who were deemed to be of “mature age and respected morals” were allowed in. The Roman Empire of Sex | Daily Express
01312012 Mario Sorrenti (born 24 October 1971) is a photographer and director best known for his spreads of nude models in the pages of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Sorrenti was born in Naples, Italy, but moved to New York City at the age of ten where he is still based. He is the son of New York based advertiser, Francesca Sorrenti. He has had exhibitions in London (Victoria and Albert Museum), Paris, Monaco and New York (Museum of Modern Art). He has undertaken campaigns and directed commercials for Calvin Klein, and has shot Kate Moss for the Calvin Klein Obsession ads. Sorrenti Mario : photographer | Kroutchev Planet Photo