Wednesday, October 31, 2012



10012012 My idea of a great escape is… a weekend at Lo Scoglio, a restaurant and hotel on a tourist-free strip of the Amalfi Coast. The food is perfect, the sea is gorgeous, the people are loving. Meet Pavia, the globe-trotting brainchild behind dreamy travel site, Fathom | Kate Spade
10022012 Inside the park, at the end of all the fountains and cascades, there is a botanical garden, called “The English Garden”, designed in the 1780s. Queen Maria Carolina of Austria, Ferdinando IV’s wife and Marie Antoinette’s sister, wanted a garden in the english style and entrusted the task to the German-born botanist, nurseryman, plantsman-designer John Graefer. The english garden was a new way of landscaping which emerged in England in the early 18th century and replaced the more formal, symmetrical italian renaissance garden. Unlike the italian garden, the english one was inspired by Romantic ideas about an idealized view of nature and featured grottoes, temples, tea-houses, belvederes, pavilions, sham ruins, botanical curiosity and flowers. Royal Palace of Caserta, the Park. | Rocaille
10032012 In the north part of the the English Garden is situated one of the most spectacular structures, created by modifying a large unused tank, built by Luigi Vanvitelli many years before the arrival of Graefer. The tank, sustained by solid pylons, was placed on the top of a small wooded hill that was to be used in case of damage to the Carolino water system; it was never used, and during the French era, became the site for the production of honey (hence the name "beekeeping area"). in 1826, during the reign of Francesco II, it was used for the flora, as a green house, for the cultivation of arboreal plants. therefore the statue of flora or cerere, work carried out by Tommaso Solari in 1761, paid for by Luigi Vanvitelli. in this part of the garden is combined wit flowers and divided in five large plots of land, called scolle, for the cultivation of small and large trunk trees. The beekeeping area |
10042012 Yay! It worked. Now, this is how the little American prefers to take in the sights. See you later palace. There are a series of six fountains which are all fed from an aqua duct that spills out of the Briano hillside you will see as we approach the end of the roadway. As the water falls down the hillside it disappears under grassy strips and reappears in fountains and feeds ponds along the way. Caserta Palace Part II...The Gardens | Beaux Mondes Designs
10052012 The monumental sacristy of the Basilica of Saint Domenico Maggiore in Naples contains, in a suspended gateway close to the vault, 38 wooden sarcophagi with the mummies of ten Aragonese kings and other Neapolitan nobles who died in the 15th and 16th centuries. Mary of Aragon (1503—68) is a typical example of a Renaissance noblewoman, whose beauty attracted the admiration of the humanists. She was a member of the literary circle of Ischia, founded by the Renaissance poetess Victoria Colonna, friend of Michelangelo. Her artificial mummy, still wearing precious Renaissance clothing and showing asymmetrical swelling of the lower limbs, due to oedema, revealed a syphilitic gumma of the skin with typical treponemes. Human papillomavirus in a 16th century mummy | The Lancet
10062012 The mountains descend in spurs and slopes towards Nusco, which at an elevation of 914 meters lies above the Apennines dividing the Ofanto and Calore river valleys. We are in the heart of the Irpinia area and in the ancient territory of the wolf (hirpus, in the language of the Samnites). A land of deep-rooted traditions and memories, Nusco is compact and discreet in its architecture, silent and dynamic in the pulsing of its day-to-day life. Nusco Where the Irpinia Region Resembles Switzerland | I borghi più belli d'Italia
10072012 Get off the beaten track in the Italian region of Irpinia, near Naples, for a gourmet tour experiencing local cuisine, cheese and wine production and save $500 a person. A taste of Italy | Herald Sun
10082012 Organiser RCS Sport officially unveiled the 2013 Giro d'Italia today in Milan, a route that starts in Naples, takes in Galibier and returns to Tre Cime. It includes a long time trial, which should please Tour de France champion, Bradley Wiggins (Sky). The Grand Départ in Naples | Cycling Weekly10052012
10092012 Last month, I had the opportunity to attend an amazing Yoga retreat  with  9 other wonderful women on the volcanic island of Ischia. This gorgeous and healing island is located off the coast of Naples. Our fabulous host & yoga instructor, Erin, started our morning with a yoga practice followed by Villa Lina’s healthy, fresh breakfast. The villa is high up top the island with a view so serene. Eat.Pray.Move. - Ischia 2012 | Warm Pears
10102012 The Talented Mr. Ripley filmed the end of the movie (remember the amazing aerial views of colorful Mediterranean houses?) in the historic harbour of Procida (photo above); home of the most amazing bruschetta that I have ever tasted in my life. Destination: Procida | The Anthrotorian
10112012 2,700 years ago, on the sun drenched slopes of Mount Falernus near Campania and Latium in Southern Italy. The Falernian wine made from these ancient Aglianico grapes, from the Faustus vineyard were the world’s first Premier Cru, and were reserved for the extremely wealthy and important members of Roman society. It was a wine of legend and heritage, written about by famous poets, philosophers, scholars, and historians. The grapes were harvested late in the season and had tremendous levels of sugar resulting in a sweet wine with very high alcohol content. The World’s First Premier Cru: Aglianico | 303 Magazine
10122012 Among the many bottles we opened, there was an extraordinary Fiano: Cupo 2008, produced by Sabino Loffredo’s Pietracupa winery. We go down to the cellar and, from the stainless steel vats, we try his 2010 whites: Greco di Tufo and Fiano di Avellino. They are pervaded by extremely attractive and intriguing smoky notes as well as by really well-defined citrus-like sensations, with bags of acidity and salinity, and tremendous length on the finish: this description encapsulates perfectly the great terroir of Montefredane! Sabino Loffredo PIETRACUPA and the Great Terroir of Montefredane | Italian Wine Club
10132012 So you`d like to go on a trip with your friends? And you're looking for a house with a garden and a pool? You want infinite space and privacy as well? You're looking for a house with great flair and authentic atmosphere? You want to walk to a village? The famous Campanian cities such as Naples and the ancient Pompei worth seeing for their history and art should be within easy reach? And, above all, an excursion to the seaside and the scenic Amalfi coast should be possible too? Villa della Marchesa offers you all of this and much more. The imposing villa sits on a fenced property in the centre of the historical village of Lauro. Lauro, 34 km from Naples, is located in an area renowned for its archeological and historic heritage. Villa della Marchesa | Hidden Italy
10142012 The Hotel and Restaurant “La Castagna” is situated at a height of 725m in an enviable position on the steep slopes of the The Partenio Mountain. It is an oasis of calm, the perfect place to relax within the harmony of nature and enjoy the gastronomic delights of traditional Irpinia food. “La Castagna ”,established in 1969, and run very professionally by the Basile family, offers its guests a warm and friendly welcome. To relax between nature and culinary tradition Irpina | La Castagna
10152012 We are driving through the green hills of Caserta. We finally get to Caseificio Il Casolare in Alvignano where we meet master cheese maker, Mimmo La Vecchia [short for Domenico]. Mimmo has one of the best smiles I have ever seen. We meet his family: wife, son and daughter; they all work in the family business. We are just in time. The fresh milk arrived; 100% buffalo milk from nearby farms. I make my way into the creamery where the fresh cheeses are still handmade. In a silent and disciplined manner the cheese makers transform the buffalo milk into ciliegine {cherries} and trecce {braids}. Mozzarella di Bufala‘s by product, sweet whey, is used as raw material for an exquisite Ricotta di Bufala. Mimmo La Vecchia: Master of Mozzarella | The Curious Eater
10162012 The Saraceno Grand Hotel Amalfi is a place to dream, a One Thousand and One Nights-style location, wrapped in a bright and magical atmosphere. The 56 rooms, all overlooking the sea, are equipped with the most modern amenities and are appreciated by a discerning clientele. The bathrooms have been recently restored: in some there are showers with color therapy, ceramics of Vietri sul Mare and mosaics. The use of the Palace of Suleiman as a hotel goes back to the 60s-70s. Restoration and renovation have not altered its original Arabic style. The restaurant Mashreq resembles an Arab tent, with columns covered with damask. The Bar Doge boasts graffiti and portraits of Arabs on total black walls. The beach restaurant El Qusary has tiled floors with handmade arabesques decorations. Saraceno Grand Hotel Amalfi | That's Amalfi
10172012 On our last day on the Amalfi Coast, Dan and I concluded that we  had soaked up all the Italian sun our skin could handle. Thus, we figured we’d do something totally ordinary (not) and hire a driver to take us to Tramonti for a day to visit Tenuta San Francesco’s vineyard. After the tour came the tasting, and we all gathered around a table adorned with a blue and white checked table cloth to indulge in vino, bruschetta, and parmigiano. As Gaetano poured each of us wine, he shared stories about the vineyard’s history and his passion for winemaking. I Love This; This is My Life | Blissful Basil
10182012 We arrived at the winery many hours later after a very long drive. Dorotea greeted us…she’s the daughter of the owners. In 1980, her father Andrea Ferraioli acquired Gran Furor Divini Costiera wine, established in 1942, and gave it to her mother, Marisa Cuomo, as a wedding gift honoring their shared passion for wine. Thus was born what is now the award wining winery of the Amalfi Coast…Cantine di Marisa Cuomo. The family owns 3.5 hectares of the 18 that grow the grapes for their nine wines and two grappa. 41 families own the other hectares of terraced vineyards. The area is a site to be seen…grape vines growing on the pergola system planted into small plots of land that stair step the rocky cliffs with the sea 500 meters below. Harvesting is done by hand with dangerous climbs to be made while carrying the grapes. With no irrigation, the wines must grow on their own. The pergola system also allows the growing of other fruit and vegetables underneath. Due to the rocky soil and sunny conditions, the wines produced are salty and fruity in nose and taste. Amalfi Wine Welcome | Grape Occasions
10192012 If you have a hankering for serious exercise, set aside a day for the region's Path of the Gods. The 12km trek links Positano with the southern village of Praiano, carving through spectacular countryside and limestone cliffs. Much of the walk requires navigating steep, rocky paths. If you're short on time, here's a shortcut. Take the bus from Positano to Nocelle, then walk down the Path of the Gods to Positano and absord the heavenly views on the way. Travel: Sorrento, Italy | Bay of Plenty Times
10202012 A few days earlier, on the Amalfi Coast, my wife and I walked from the doors of the cliff-side Hotel Santa Caterina, taking the endless steps down the rocky cliff face into the ancient town of Amalfi, our legs trembling in penance. “Come,” I whispered to my wife. We disappeared up a darkened passageway no wider than a donkey. It twisted under a window, past a terrace garden filled with lemon trees, up another set of steep stone steps, past wooden doors and washing lines hung with underwear. And then, somewhere in that raked meeting of mountain and town and blue Tyrrhenian Sea, I experienced that moment of peace I craved. There was no one else but us in the world. The lesson was not lost on me: the value in travel – as in investing – is rarely found in the clogged main thorough fares but in quiet side-streets where few travelers care to go. From Italy: Lessons in Value Investing | Penta
10212012 Atrani is a medieval village close to Amalfi which is a 4 minutes stroll along the corniche overlooking the sea. In times gone by Atrani was the residence of the aristocratic families of Amalfi and home of the Republic of Amalfi's nobility. The stone-paved paths between Atrani's houses ascend from the "Piazza" towards Monte Aureo and Monte Civita where the village was built and carve themselves a niche among the two rocky hills, the Dragone river and its quiet beach; much to be preferred to that of overcrowded Amalfi. The Town | That's Atrani
10222012 England was having the coldest and wettest spring in one hundred years, so when my friend Lesley —with whom I was visiting in Devon — suggested we go down to Italy, I was very much in favor of the idea. Our impromptu booking at last moment turned out to be a real money saver. Lesley’s travel agent found us a charter flight going direct from Bristol to Naples with a week at the Jaccarino Hotel in Sorrento plus half board (breakfast and dinner) for just £461 or about $725 a person including airport transfers. A Week in Sorrento |  The Garden Island
10232012 After the Haute Couture and some business meetings in London, I took a little break and went to Capri for 5 days. I hadn’t been there in 10 years, but I remembered it being very charming so I was curious to see it again. This time I stayed at the Capri Palace in Anacapri. It’s not in the main center but it came so highly recommended I thought, “Why not?” I’m glad I took the chance, because it was fabulous. The gardens, pool, restaurant and well-known Beauty Farm spa were out of this world. I really needed some rest and relaxation–and this was perfect. Best of all, the weather was hot, which I adore. My summer holiday in Capri | Susan Tabak LLC
10242012 For scenesters who want to be part of the action, Capri town is the kind of place where the party never stops, at least during the high season. But those who prefer a more laid-back vacation need walk only a few narrow streets from the cluster around the piazzetta (main square) to find quiet, flower-scented paths leading past huge silent villas with overgrown gardens and ceramic signs heralding names—Isabella, Sarah, Tosca—that sound like those of heroines in a novel. Destination: Italy: Capri | Indagare
10252012 Take out Le Sirenuse's own luxury Italian speed boat for a cruise along the scenic coast! The Riva Aquarama Special vintage speedboat, a timeless classic, is perfect for a special day out on the sea to make your time even more unique and fantastic. Zip around the Amalfi Coast in luxury and fall in love with the views of Positano's cliffs from the water! Must Do? | Valerie Wilson Travel
10262012 There are times in history when music becomes part of the world's artistic heritage, and the traditional Neapolitan songs certainly have. "The Neapolitan song collection" offers a systematic overview of Naples' outstanding musical tradition, unique in its kind, in a five part anthology of priceless historical records and songs both famed and forgotten, with the voices of the most well-known Italian singers and rare footage from Istituto Luce and RAI. Just to mention some artists: Roberto Murolo, Mario Merola, Elvis Presley, Totò, Enrico Caruso, Mina, Domenico Modugno e Renato Carosone, and among the many songs performed 'O Sole mio, Torna a Surriento, 'O Sarracino, Malafemmena... Neapolitan Song Collection | Rai Trade
10272012 One of the oldest continuously inhabited cities on earth, the historic centre of Naples follows the grid of the ancient Greek city of Neapolis. Walking around this area today - which is tightly packed with stunning Baroque churches, crumbling 18th-century palaces, cafes, food vendors, street performers and narrow shops selling everything from fresh octupus to handmade paper - brings to mind the rhythm, smells and atmosphere of a north-African city such as Marrakech. The centro storico is dominated by two ruler-straight roads: the Via dei Tribunali and Spaccanapoli - the central axis of the city. There is plenty here to occupy you in the morning: ornate, dusty churches filled with skulls and relics (Neopolitans are superstitious, and obsessed with memento mori), independent shops, and squares echoing to the sound of locals chattering and gesticulating wildly. There's food and drink at every step, from elegant outdoor cafes serving exquisite sfogliatelle pastries, such as Scaturchio in Piazza San Domenico, to tiny, noisy, narrow pitstopsserving the city's famously strong, sweet espresso. My kind of place: Naples | The National
10282012 Greeks landed in Ischia in the 8th century B.C. It was the perfect base for them to reach the mainland. Today it is a huge resort with sandy beaches and more than 50 mineral springs. The thermal springs are generated by the heat from the extinct volcano Monte Epomeo. Mount Epomeo has a summit of 2,585 feet and the summit is the highest point on the island. The volcano has not erupted since the 14th century. Ischia is called the Island of Eternal Youth because it has more than 150 spas and curative thermal springs. Captivating Southern Coast of Italy in Campania | Vino Con Vista
10292012 The Boutique SPA La Serra is a unique location within the Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria’s two acre orange grove. Created in a converted 19th Century greenhouse, adjoining the hotel’s swimming-pool, La Serra is surrounded by olive and orange trees and enjoys natural sunlight for most of the day. The Boutique SPA La Serra offers exclusive rituals and treatments to purify the body and soothe the senses with the most natural products and essential oils of the Organic Pharmacy, Salin de Biosel and Signature brands. La Serra has two separate treatment suites, a single one and a double one for couples. Each suite fully equipped for the ultimate pampering has its own private Jacuzzi bath-tub, a rain shower and according to the season or weather conditions, a private garden for outdoor relaxation, private changing room; a single room for shiatsu massage and treatments with private changing room and an additional room for manicure and pedicure. Very popular is the Honeymoon treatment in the tween suite. Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria Sorrento |
10302012 Campania is famous for producing the best wines of the Roman Empire. The capital city of Campania is Naples, and the region is home to such ancient sites such as Pompeii and Herculaneum. Since 1978, Terredora Di Paolo has played a key role in the rediscovery of ancient grape varieties and uses modern technology to reintroduce them to wine drinkers around the world. Included in these varieties are aglianico, used to make red wine, and falanghina, for white. These grapes are among those that have been part of Campania’s wine renaissance. Wine critic Hugh Johnson describes them as being “excellent native grapes.” Wine Finds: Italian wineries rediscover ancient grapes |
10312012 Citrus groves cling to the slopes below, and far beyond the medieval town of Amalfi appears, framed by limestone cliffs rising from the sea. I’m walking an ancient donkey path toward the sound of rushing water until we come upon its source: a spring waterfall hidden under a thick canopy of trees, part of a natural hydropower system for mills that made the Amalfitan Maritime Republic’s legendary bambagina paper. Not your typical morning stroll. But, as I discover, nothing about the Amalfi Coast is average: Lemons grow to the size of footballs, locals smile warmly and greet you on the street, and the scenery makes for a photo op at every turn. Amalfi Amore | Virtuoso Life