Apr 28, 2017

Naples and Amalfi Coast travel tips

The urban sprawl of Naples can feel tattered, anarchic and forsaken. But look beyond the grime and graffiti and you’ll see a city of breathtaking beauty, chock with dramatic skies, panoramas and art. You’ll discover its elegance, engage in spontaneous conversations with locals and be surprised at the city’s profound humanity.


The Amalfi Coast and Sorrento Peninsula is one of Italy's most sought-after destinations. Famous writers have long waxed poetic about the curvy coastline that runs from Sorrento to Salerno. Swedish doctor and author Axel Munthe built a villa on Capri. Henrik Ibsen moved from Norway to Sorrento, where he wrote his renowned play Ghosts. Italy-lover Goethe called this sliver of southern Italy the "magic land of endless sun where lemons bloom." In the early Fifties American novelist John Steinbeck fell in love with Positano and begged people to keep the secret.


We've singled out our best advice and travel tips for traveling to Naples and the Amalfi Coast in 2017.

Continue reading our top 12 travel tips for 2017 ➔

Mar 27, 2017

Places in Rome for fine food and free wifi

Working in Rome as an entrepreneur without an office space requires two things: finding balance and discipline at home, and a handful of reliable spots with good wifi around town. 

I avoid frequent coffee breaks and fridge sweeps while pounding the keys of my computer in a corner of my living room, but it tests my self control and demands a well regimented routine. Finding a comfortable place to plug in my laptop to work in a relatively peaceful public environment presents an equally big challenge.


Your best options are places that offer a free password-protected connection that doesn’t require a registration with an email account or a local cell number. If on top of that you're looking for well-brewed caffeinated beverages, fine food and courteous staff, the selection narrows even further.

Continue Reading ➔ public spaces in Rome with reliable wifi, where it's possible to work while sipping espresso or munching on tasty food.

Mar 23, 2017

48 hours in Santo Stefano di Sessanio


The region of Abruzzo is one of Italy's best kept secrets. The Medieval hilltop village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio, in the L'Aquila province, sits on the edge of the Campo Imperatore plain in the Apennine Mountains, within the breathtakingly beautiful Gran Sasso e Monti della Laga National Park.

 

Santo Stefano di Sessanio has ancient origins (paleolithic!) and a Medieval imprint, but it flourished under the Medicis in the late 1500s with agriculture contributing to the area’s economy mostly thanks to transhumance. This is the ages-old moving of herds of sheep from the valleys to high altitude mountain pastures in summer. Unfortunately in the mid-19th century the area suffered from extreme poverty leading to mass emigration. S. Stefano di Sessanio fell into abandonment.


The conservation efforts introduced here since 2004 spearheaded by Italo-Swede philanthropist Daniele Kihlgren to preserve the area’s cultural heritage, restored dignity to the pastoral culture that once inhabited these remote rural areas. Kihlgren purchased a portion of the village and maintained the smoke-blackened walls and original buildings intact. With a team of enlightened historians, architects and anthropologists, he re-purposed native materials and reconditioned ancient arte povera furnishings for his unique project: Kihlgern urged local authorities to leave Santo Stefano in its original condition.


In 2007 Daniele Kihlgren's "embargo" on building new houses turned into a legislative ban on the use of concrete. This has led to a complete turnaround: with a permanent population in the very low hundreds, today S. Stefano di Sessanio is a delightful vacation getaway for lovers of nature, fine dining and R&R. By encouraging investment in the traditional trades and crafts of the region, the village now boasts many shops that sell locally produced handicrafts like lace, woven fabrics, beeswax candles and artisanal soap. Others sell honey and jam, cured meats, olive oil, grains and cereals, local cheese, as well as the region's famous lentils.




Continue Reading ➔ my tips for spending 48 hours in Santo Stefano di Sessanio.

Mar 20, 2017

Anti-blues comfort food


Yes, it's the first day of spring.

But the grey blanket shrouding the sky, and the scarf wrapped around my neck as I type this suggests otherwise. This weather plays tricks on my mood.

When – despite what the calendar says – I need something warm to comfort me, I can always rely on these anti-blues winter recipes.

There are dishes that perform miracles, triggering memories. We ritually feed on tried and tested recipes that work as a Linus blanket. Others simply heal. Chunky soups, velvety pureed creams, court bouillon-based fish stews, consomm├ęs...

I have my own set of comfort food classics. They warm and pacify, and help me ward off the melancholy that nightfall brings on.

I once nursed a broken heart on a strict diet of passatelli in brodo, a cheesy-eggy dough that's forced through a ricer and then simmered in chicken broth. It worked wonders.

Continue Reading ➔

Feb 20, 2017

Quick market run and carciofi {video}

The morning was blustery and I needed a macchiato before hitting the market.

Never with a shopping list in mind, rather letting the goods for sale inspire the menu, I decided to make Carciofi alla Romana.

The wonderful globe artichokes have finally hit Rome markets, and braising them with garlic, olive oil and mentuccia is my favorite way to usher carciofo season.



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