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W E L C O M E T O I TA L I A !

As the ski season draws to a close in Europe, there is still time to enjoy those beautiful snow-clad white peaks before the spring thaw sets in, revealing equally beautiful wildower plains and alpine vistas of the spring I dont know which I enjoy more. If youre a keen hiker, its certainly easier to enjoy the Italian peaks without the snow, but snow trekking is very popular at the moment and reveals its own unique view of the mountain scenery. Read about the winter mountains of Umbria as well as the trufes you can enjoy afterwards in the gourmet walled city of Norcia on page 44. Its also a great time of year to visit Venice, as the low season makes many sights of the city much more accessible. Turn to page 37 to see some of the hidden street sights often overlooked by visitors amid the crowds. Low season is the perfect time to visit to spot them, and get to know La Serenissima more intimately. The annual olive harvest usually takes place in November, and in the New Year those nd their way to shelves in the UK. All of you will have tried the delicious golden-green oil that the sun and soil of Italy produces, but this issue we go beyond the trees to see how the oils are extracted as we celebrate the 2013 olive harvest of Sardinia. The 2014 crop is sure to have been damaged by the cyclone that hit at the end of 2013. Turn to page 13 for details of how to donate to support rebuilding efforts.
Cover image iStock photo, sunower eld in Le Marche This image Liz Harper


Hannah Bellis Editor

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Cycling to Barolo, page 55

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LORENZA BACINO, as well as being a yoga devotee and committed traveller, is a real culture vulture. You can follow her museumand food-led itinerary to the delights of Turin in 48 hours on page 30. Turin is often overlooked in favour of other more famous, more glamorous cities, but it is steeped in history. SEBASTIAN CRESSWELL-TURNER now lives in London, having spent eight years in Rome. One of the things he misses most, besides the beautiful women, are the fantastic opportunities for trekking, just short train rides from the cities. He explores the Sybilline Mountains and the gourmet trufes of Norcia on page 44. FREYA MIDDLETON has been sharing the delights of Italian art history with us in her Fast Culture column for the last 12 issues. The nal column in her series is on page 36. But never fear, Freya is not leaving us: she will be back later in the year, when shell be exploring the history and styles of the best Italian fashion houses.


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30 48 HOURS IN TURIN Lorenza Bacino fits as much as she can into a weekend in Turin, beginning with a sightseeing tour by hot-air balloon 37 SECRET VENICE Let Secret Venice guide you round the streets of San Marco, where we find often missed street scenes and overlooked objects. 42 PROPERTY FOCUS: UMBRIA Itays Green Heart is rich in natural beauty, culture and history, yet is often overlooked.



67 EATING ITALY Three seafood recipes from Jeff Michaud that will demand your time, patience and the best of your culinary skills. 71 THE SECRET LIFE OF THE SICILIAN PASTICCERIA Sicily is a land of contradictions. Rachel Thom goes in search of its secrets, and finds them revealed in its pastries. 74 NOTES FROM PUGLIA In Puglia, Sunday is still a true day of rest. Amy Lucinda Jones describes a typical Sunday lunchtime. 76 FRANCO MANCA Franco Manca pizza restaurants are the talk of the town in London Giuseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo share their secrets. 82 BUY ITALIA! BALSAMIC VINEGARS The world of Italys greatest gastronic invention. 89 DRINK ITALIA! BAROLO Hannah Bellis enjoys Italys greatest wine.


44 TRUFFLE COUNTRY Sebastian Cresswell-Turner discovers Norcia, a gastronomic capital in the untouched national park of the Sybilline Mountains. 55 GOURMET CYCLING IN PIEDMONT Keen to sample the delights of Barolo at her own pace, Liz Harper heads out to Piedmont with a friend for a self-guided cycling tour. 62 A DAY AMONGST THE OLIVES Native Sardinian Giulia Dessi visits the village of Seneghe to discover the secrets of its award-winning olive oil.



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20 HOMES IN LE MARCHE The region of Le Marche is becoming a firm favourite with foreigners. Fleur Kinson still considers it to be a wise place to buy.







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7 PHOTO OF THE MONTH Enter your photographs for your chance to win a bottle of Nino Franco Prosecco! 9 LETTERS Readers share their stories and pictures from their experiences in Italy. 10 VIEWPOINT Il Golfo di Lerici. 12 NEWS This months headlines. 16 TOP PICKS Choice items for your perusal and purchase. 18 EVENTS IN FEBRUARY Helping you plan your forthcoming visit. 29 SPEAK ITALIA! Sebastian Cresswell-Turner on Montalbano. 36 FAST CULTURE Freya Middleton concludes her art history column. 50 SUBSCRIBE TO ITALIA! Save 50 per cent when you subscribe to Italia in our January sale! 53 RELOCATION Expert advice for expats. 60 PAST ITALIA The ancient city of Nora. 86 ASK THE EXPERTS More insider knowledge on living and travelling in Italy. 92 BOOK REVIEWS This months new releases. 94 GETTING THERE Plan your ights to Italy. 98 MY ITALIA Author Hannah Fielding describes her love for Venice.

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EDITOR Hannah Bellis hannah.bellis@anthem-publishing.com ART EDITOR Debra Barber debra.barber@anthem-publishing.com OPERATIONS EDITOR Jonathan Palmer jon.palmer@anthem-publishing.com

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CONTRIBUTORS Zulekha Afzal, Chiara Avidano, Lorenza Bacino, Dawn Cavanagh-Hobbs, Sebastian Cresswell-Turner, Massimiliano De Benetti, Giulia Dessi, Hannah Fielding, Kevin Gibney, Liz Harper, Bridget Hugo, Amy Lucinda Jones, Thomas Jonglez, Gideon Kibblewhite, Fleur Kinson, Giuseppe Mascoli, Jeff Michaud, Freya Middleton, Chris Short, Rachel Thompson, Paola Zoffoli MARKETING ASSISTANT Anna Wilkie anna.wilkie@anthem-publishing.com ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE Laura McLean laura.mclean@anthem-publishing.com ADVERTISING MANAGER Sarah Lindsay sarah.lindsay@anthem-publishing.com ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Simon Lewis simon.lewis@anthem-publishing.com EDITORIAL DIRECTOR Paul Pettengale paul.pettengale@anthem-publishing.com ART DIRECTOR Jenny Cook jenny.cook@anthem-publishing.com MANAGING DIRECTOR Jon Bickley jon.bickley@anthem-publishing.com SUBSCRIPTIONS & BACK ISSUES  0844 322 1254/+44 (0) 1795 592848 italia@servicehelpline.co.uk Price (12 issues) 42 UK basic annual rate MAPS Netmaps www.digitalmaps.co.uk PRINT Polestar UK Print Ltd  +44 (0) 1206 849500 DISTRIBUTION Marketforce (UK) Ltd, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark St, London SE1 0SU  +44 (0) 20 3148 3300 LICENSING ENQUIRIES Jon Bickley jon.bickley@anthem-publishing.com  +44 (0) 1225 489984
TEXTING ITALIA! TERMS AND CONDITIONS By texting Italia! magazine you are agreeing to receive details of future offers and promotions from Anthem Publishing Ltd and related third parties. If you do not want to receive this information please text the words NO INFO at the end of your message. Texts will be charged at the specied price plus one message at your standard network tariff rate. COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS By entering this competition you are bound by these rules. The winners will be drawn at random from all entries that answer correctly before the closing date. The prize draw will take place after the closing date and the winners will be notied within 28 days of the draw. Only UK residents aged 18 and over may enter. No employees of Anthem Publishing Ltd or any company associated with this competition, or any member of their close family may enter. Prizes are as stated and no alternatives, cash or otherwise are available. Anthem Publishing Ltd accepts no liability for any loss, damage or injury caused by any prizes won. The editors decision is nal and no correspondence will be entered into. Where prizes are offered on behalf of an associated company these prizes are provided in their entirety by these associated companies. Anthem Publishing Ltd cannot be held responsible for any failure to provide prizes as specied and all enquiries relating to such prizes will be referred to the associated companies. All entries must be received by the closing date. One entry per person. No purchase necessary. Copies of winners list are available by written request from Anthem Publishing, Suite 6, Piccadilly House, London Road, Bath BA1 6PL.

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THIS MONTHS WINNER Reginald Murray A visit to the splendid city of Verona. The experience was spoilt by terrible weather, which did not, however, put off these street buskers/artists, who sat motionless through the rain.


W IN !

Send us your favourite photos from your Italian travels, and each month the best photo will win a bottle of Nino Franco Rustico Prosecco and cooler*!

THIS MONTHS RUNNER UP Trish Ellse As winter approaches I wanted to send this picture to you. I hope the quality will be okay! My family and I spent nine months living in Pacentro, Abruzzo, and this was taken in December 2012 after a fresh snowfall. The colours and beauty of this village continually take my breath away whenever we are there, no matter what time of year.
HOW TO ENTER Email high-resolution jpegs of your photos of Italy to italia@anthempublishing.com or send prints to Reader Photo Competition at the address given on page 6. Please include a brief explanation of your photo, plus your name, delivery address and a phone number (for our couriers). You must be over 18 to enter. READER OFFER Italia! readers can get a 10 per cent discount off Nino Franco wines from www.sommelierschoice.com until 1 June 2014 by entering the code italia10 at checkout.
Please note: Any photos you submit must be your own work and you must have the right to send them for inclusion on this page. By sending your entry, you are conrming that Italia!s use of your photo(s) will not constitute infringement of any rights, and conrming that you are over 18.


February 2014 ITALIA! 7

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Share all your Italian experiences with us by sending your photos and letters to italia@anthem-publishing.com youll receive a gourmet gift set if youre chosen as our Letter of the Month winner LETTER OF THE MONTH
I thought I would send this photo to you following a holiday with my family to Viareggio in Italy. I hired a Vespa to explore the towns of Camaiore and Pietrasanta both were very beautiful but I was particularly moved by the Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Camaiore and the dome fresco. I believe the church to have been built in the 13th century and is truly beautiful! I would recommend all your readers to visit both the town and the beautiful countryside which surrounds it! Kind regards, Wilf Hall, Marple Bridge, Cheshire Thank you, Wilf. We do loving getting recommendations. The church looks like a great example of 13th century architecture.



I believe the church to have been built in the 13th century

The Church of Santa Maria Assunta in Camaiore

Each issue, our Letter of the Month winner (when based in the UK) will win Calabrian specialities from the Calabria Club restaurant and online store. The winner can enjoy a jar of delicious Nduja salami and two bottles of Cantine Lavorata Calabrian DOC wine. Find out more about Calabria Clubs products and see the full range of ingredients at www.calabriacucina.co.uk or call  01246 559944


FEB 2014



First I have to say I enjoy reading your magazine. I just wish I would have read it a year or two earlier it would have saved me and my wife a lot of work! I am an a American living in Germany and my wife is Polish. I have lived in Europe for the past 10 years and have decided to stay. We fell in love with the beaches and the lovely people of the Marche region of Italy. We started going and staying in a B&B in 2006. The last two years we were looking for an apartment to buy for retirement and holidays as the prices will only go up. In 2013 we signed the deed on our new apartment that was built in 2008 in the town of Carassai. It is located 15km from the beach town of Pedaso. We got a steal of a deal 100sqm with a view that is just great, and for only 65k. You are 100 per cent correct by saying if you travel seven plus kilometres from the beach the price drops, and it is much quieter you can not hear the trains! Please check out the great wines of the area. We go every year to the town of Ofda as they have some very good wines there.
Jim Booth, via email Le Marche is certainly one of the best regions in Italy to bag a property bargain, and going a few miles inland does often mean you will get even more for your money.



maybe back to Italia again and do a trip from Sanremo to Portovenere, provided I can convince my wife to do Cinque Terre again. She is still cursing me for the walk between Monterosso and Vernazza!
Leslie Toth, Heidelberg, Ontario


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Italia? This was our seventh threeweek trip. The routine is always the same. I pick a small region, rent a car, and we visit the picturesque, off-the-beaten-track, romantic little places, from Dolceacqua to Muggia, from Castelrotto to Maratea, from Vieste to Chioggia. Have we seen Italia yet? No, not even close! Next year it will be the Greek islands, but after Greece,

Keep up with Italia! on Facebook. Go to www.facebook.com then search for Italia magazine and click on Like to join us. Go to www.italia-magazine.com, and follow the Twitter link to keep up with tweets from Italiamag. See you there!

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10 ITALIA! February 2014



Il Golfo di Lerici lies on the Ligurian coast, about halfway between Genoa and Livorno. Commonly, albeit unofcially, is also known as Il Golfo dei Poeti....
The Renaissance poet Francesco Petracco (aka Petrarch, to the English; Petrarca to the Italians) travelled extensively throughout Europe indeed, as well as his more famous epithet: The Father of Humanism, he is also sometimes known as The Father of Tourism yet of all the places he visited, the Bay of Lerici always held a special place in his heart. Petrarchs influence on English literature begins with his contemporary Geoffrey Chaucer (40 years his junior), and extends to Percy Bysshe Shelley, who came here with Mary to live, write, and, tragically, die: he drowned just a short way along the coast from here when his boat was struck by a storm as he was returning to his beloved Lerici from Livorno. The literary connection continues with Emma Orczy, author of The Scarlet Pimpernel, who had a villa built in the hills above the town. Lord Byron and the 20th century Genoese poet Eugenio Montale were frequent visitors. Visit www.italytravelandlife.com to read Lines Written in the Bay of Lerici, by ! Percy Bysshe Shelley. Q
Turismo in Liguria


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THIS MONTH F ebruary 2014

Italy manager Cesare Prandelli has reacted with exasperation after the draw for World Cup landed his team in a Group of Death with England, Uruguay and Costa Rica. The Azzurri were not among the top seeds for the draw because of an eyebrow-raising late decision by FIFA to only use the world rankings from October 2103. Prandelli complained: If the ranking counts, then we are now seventh and were seventh for two and a half years, but if the only month that counts is October Its a bit ridiculous. Prandelli was frustrated further by the news that Italys games would be played in the sweltering heat of Manaus, Recife and Natal, all in the north of Brazil. For me the problem is not the rivals, but because we play in three hot venues. We wanted to be in Rio, but that may not be possible any more. It has changed everything.
Photography iStock Photo and PA Photos unless otherwise stated


The shifting political landscape again hits the Italian news this month as Matteo Renzi takes control of of the Democratic Party, and Italy draw England in the World Cup

Italian farmers have parked their pigs outside Parliament in protest at hams and salami sold as Made in Italy but produced elsewhere. Too many products with an unclear origin enter our country on a daily basis and then magically become Made in Italy simply because we lack a clear law on the labelling, said farmers union Coldiretti president Roberto Moncalvo. According to Coldiretti, 36,000 farmers have lost their jobs since 2007. Eight thousand of those jobs were in the pig farming sector alone the equivalent of a large industrial rm, Moncalvo claimed. A country in crisis like ours cannot afford it.


The mayor of San Quirico dOrcia in Tuscany has written to McDonalds Italy in protest at the burger chains use of an image of San Quirico dOrcia countryside to advertise a new burger, the Gran Chianina. (The Chianina is a Tuscan breed of cattle.) Mayor Rappuolis letter pointed out that use of imagery of the area for commercial purposes needs permission from local authorities. The law isnt a ban. But it puts in place guidelines to avoid images of our town from being misused, he wrote.

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Speaking at the ofcial unveiling of the frescoes, the Vaticans archaeological superintendent, Fabrizio Bisconti, dismissed the suggestions that gures in the frescoes are priestesses.
The young political star of the left, Matteo Renzi, has won the leadership of the Democratic Party with a landslide majority vote. His job now is to unite a weak and divided party that let a big opinion poll lead melt away before the last general election, leaving the current Democrat prime minister, Enrico Letta, to lead the party into a fragile coalition. Renzi, the mayor of Florence, is often talked of by commentators as a Tony Blair-like reformer willing to take on the left of his party. However he said his election was not the end of the left, adding: We are changing the players but we are not going over to the other side of the pitch. Renzi will now run for prime minister in the next general election. In the meantime Renzi will be, like Silvio Berlusconi, a party leader but not an MP. Prime Minister Letta said he looked forward to a fruitful working relationship with Mr Renzi.


Newly restored frescoes in Rome show priestesses practising in the early Christian Church, say supporters of women priests. The frescoes are in the Catacombs of Priscilla on Romes via Salaria and date from between 230 to 240 AD. However, speaking at the ofcial unveiling of the frescoes, the Vaticans archaeological superintendent, Fabrizio Bisconti, dismissed the suggestions that gures in the frescoes are priestesses. Bisconti said one fresco showing a female-gure in an attitude of priest-like prayer was in fact a depiction of a deceased person now in paradise. Another female gure, depicted sitting at the table, is not he said, administering the Eucharist but actually taking part in a funeral banquet. The fresco was, he said, a fairy tale, a legend, and interpretations of it supporting the idea of women priests was sensationalist and absolutely not reliable. The catacombs are now open to the public after ve years of restoration work.

Police were forced to intervene in an argument in a block of ats in Reggio Emilia after a couples moments of intimacy, perhaps a bit too noisy, aroused the interest of the classic nosy and meddling neighbour, reported local newspaper Gazzetta di Reggio. It appears that the neighbour, whose motives are unknown, went down to the local bar and invited his friends up to his at to eavesdrop on the amorous couple. The row began when the couple worked out what was going on.


Deutsche Bank has set up appeal funds to help the people of Sardinia and the Philippines, which were both hit by extreme weather events in November. In Sardinia, at least 18 people died and thousands more were displaced when Cyclone Cleopatra hit the island in November. The town of Olbia in the northeast was particularly badly hit, and there was a similar situation near the central town of Nuoro. In the Philippines, the death toll caused by Typhoon Haiyan has reached 6,000 people. www.db.com.


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Italy is set to buy back a deserted rocky island and nature reserve just weeks after it was sold to a New Zealand businessman. The tiny island of Budelli, which forms part of the Maddalena archipelago between Sardinia and Corsica, was auctioned off after its Milan-based owners went bankrupt and was snapped up by 47-year-old Michael Harte for a cool 2.94 million. It appears that Budelli, famous for its Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach), corals and beautiful blue coves, was never in any danger from development. Building on Budelli is forbidden and Mr Harte had also sworn at a press conference to protect the islands environment. His promises did not, however, stop the swift development of a protest campaign that has culminated in a ruling in the Senate that will see Italy grab back Budelli and Mr Harte handed back his cash. The group of MPs behind the campaign said in a statement: The island of Budelli can nally return to public ownership, to our immense satisfaction.


Last month we reported that the Italian Senate had voted to expel Silvio Berlusconi over his conviction for tax fraud. A major blow politically, the expulsion also means that Berlusconi has lost certain legal immunities he enjoyed as senator and he could now face prosecution in new cases, at a time when he is already ghting court battles on multiple fronts. But Mr Berlusconi has no intention of leaving the stage yet, nor is he nished as a political force. His revived Forza Italia Party will benet from his continued popularity, and he will still be able to spread his message via his massive media empire. In typical style, after the vote to expel him he vowed to stay on the eld.

Building on the island of Budelli is forbidden and its owner, New Zealand businessman Michael Harte, had also sworn at a press conference to protect the islands environment.
Italian property prices have continued to fall but the outlook, say analysts, is brighter. According to Italys central bank, residential property prices will have fallen 5 per cent on average in 2013, but there will be a modest rise throughout 2014. According to the economic research institute Nomisma, an Italian property bubble is unlikely: Repricing in Italy is taking longer than in other markets. Here the bubble was smaller, we let the air out little by little, said director Luca Dondi.

Italia! readers who are fans of the 2010 BBC sitcom The Trip, starring Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan, have good reason to be looking forward to the sequel: A Trip to Italy. We have known for months that Italy was to be the setting for the follow-up, but now Brydon has tweeted some details: Film version premieres at Sundance 19th January, and Episodic TV version in UK next year. I know not when. It might be April, when the Sundance festival arrives in London

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Tods Shoes tycoon Diego Della Valle has called for a huge project to restore monuments and support tourism to drive forward Italys economy. The billionaire laid out his idea as he announced the long-delayed start of the Tods-funded 25 million restoration of the Colosseum. We dont have the steel, chemical and car industries that we had 30 years ago, he said. All that has own away. Now we have tourism as our industrial future. The government has to launch a concrete plan immediately. Referring to collapses at Pompeii, he added: We dont have any more time. Things are literally falling apart. The Colosseum project is only now starting after three years of legal wrangling. We have lost three years in useless disputes and petty local bickering, Della Valle added. This is Italys most important symbol and we want to show that this country can do things.

Now we have tourism as our industrial future. The government has to launch a concrete plan immediately.


Italian lm and Cinema

In a landmark ruling that adds to the pressure on the political parties to introduce meaningful reform, Italys highest court has ruled that Italys electoral law is unconstitutional. What will happen next because of the courts decision is not yet clear. The court will explain its decision and set out its judicial effects in the coming weeks. However, in a statement the court has suggested that there is no reason for politicians to dawdle over reform in the meantime: Parliament is free to approve new electoral legislation, based on a political choice, as long as it respects the constitution, it said. Interior minister Angelino Alfano, who led a party from Silvio Berlusconis centre-right grouping, declared: Now there is no more room for excuses from anyone: we have to move, quickly, to change the law. The current system, branded by its own creator a porcata (a load of rubbish would be one polite translation), is widely blamed for the current deadlock in parliament, while the party list system, say its critics, distances MPs from the voters.


WWW.ARCHIVIODELCINEMAITALIANO.IT This site, which is written in both English and Italian, may look simple, but it is in fact an extensive database of a huge array of Italian lms and documentaries from 1930 onwards. The sites main purpose is the cultural and scientic preservation of Italian cinema, and it provides a wealth of information on both popular and lesser known Italian lms. WWW.ITALIAN FILMREVIEW.COM This English language site contains hundreds of articles by reviewers who are passionate about Italian lms. The posts, which appear in blog style, are informative and cover a wide range of lm genres, which you can select either from the bar at the top, or by clicking on the A-Z button for the full list. The Randomizer button is the most fun way to explore, though. WWW.FILM.IT The Italian equivalent of the Internet Movie Database (IMDB). Whether you want to nd out about lms from the past or present, international or Italian, this site has it all. Under the generi category, check out lm italiani for synopses, release dates, links to ofcial websites and external articles and reviews from the web.


The new DeLonghi Scultura breakfast collection captures the essence of Italys stylish and creative past and combines it with cutting-edge product design, to form a range of eyecatching kettles and four-slice toasters and pump espresso coffee machines for 21st century living. Rounded edges

and a sculpted ripple silhouette form a dynamic, multi-dimensional design, while a high gloss, pearlised nish captures the light and lends a luxurious feel to this iconic new collection.


February 2014 ITALIA! 15


WorldMags.net THIS!
T&G Woodware has come up trumps for Valentines Day with this heart-shaped acacia wood board with leather tie. It measures 250x247x15cm, so its just about big enough to serve two, but not really big enough for any more than that 11.99 from T&G.  01275 841841 www.tg-woodware.com


Newly arrived in the UK and just in time for Valentines Day comes a new range of essential oils, perfumes and body creams from Italian perfumer Bruno Acampora, whose work is now continued by his son, Brunello, in Naples 5ml essential oils and 50ml eau de parfum, 110; body nourishing creams, 99 for 200ml. Available from Senti, 39b High Street, Wimbledon Village, London SW19 5BY  0208 947 5179 www.senti.co.uk




Regular visitors to the Italia! Top Picks pages will already be acquainted with the dulcet tones of Alessandro Brustenghi, aka Friar Alessandro, and sometimes aka Brother Alessandro: his debut album, Voice from Assisi, made these pages a year ago. Now the tenor returns with a second collection of religious music for your delectation. Some of it is distinctly Christmas related but not all of it The real highlight has to be the Ave Maria the Bach/ Gounod one, of course. Available on the Decca label from all good retailers, including Amazon and iTunes. http://friaralessandro.com http://store.universal-music.co.uk


Premium extra-virgin olive oil from Puglia. This oil is 100% natural, only from locally grown olives with nothing added. The olives are harvested by hand at the beginning of December and cold pressed the same day to ensure the very best quality oil. The oil is presented in a 500ml stylish clear glass bottle and is best for dressing salads, pasta dishes and eating with bread. This oil is a limited production exclusively sold on Pugliashoponline .com Price per bottle: 14.97 (approximately 11.95).

Valentines Day falls on a Friday this year, so you could y out to Italy with your beloved for a romantic weekend away, or you could stay at home and watch a romantic lm

Roman Holiday, directed by William Wyler, screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, Ian McLellan Hunter and John Dighton. Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck star in this classic 1953 romantic comedy about a reporter and royal princess whose paths cross in Rome. On her tour of several European capitals, Ann (Hepburn) abandons her tight schedule to discover the true Rome. American reporter, Joe Bradley (Peck) takes her around the beautiful city in a lm sprinkled with humour and a dash of romance.

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If you were to ask the author Hannah Fielding, as we did (see My Italia, page 98), she would recommend a mask shop by the name of Ca Macana on Calle delle Botteghe, in Dorsoduro, Venice. And you wouldnt have to actually go there either their work is available for purchase online at www.camacana. com. Hannah knows what shes talking about in this regard so we are not inclined to gainsay her, just to point out that there are plenty of other options. If, for example, you were to go to Liz Harpers eight-year-old daughter Molly for advice and judging by the pictures of her in last months Italia! (Venice for Kids, page 50) Molly knows a good carnival mask when she sees one shed take you around St Marks Square, or perhaps even make one for you We have sampled this splendid sparkling ros brut already as you will be aware if you are signed up to our twitter feed (ItaliaMag) and very nice it is too. We were aware at the time (it was a Friday afternoon) that this was really a bottle we should have been saving for Valentines Day, but we came to a ready agreement that as it was nearly Christmas (and also a Friday afternoon), it would be fair enough to taste it straight away. What was it like? Well, Faiv is a word from the Venetian dialect that denotes the small, gilded red sparks that rise towards the sky from a bonre, lightly and freely carried by the wind. (There is no ready English translation.) Grapeswise, its 80 percent Merlot and 20 per cent Cabernet France. It is fruity, with hints of pear, and very drinkable. In fact, we sampled the whole bottle in no time at all. It is available in the UK from www.parkandbridge.com and www.sommelierschoice.co.uk The RRP is 16.

If you watch too many cookery programmes on telly (and we do accept that they are difcult to avoid) it is easy to become brainwashed into thinking that you should be eating rich, expensive, elaborately prepared food every day, all year round. This, of course, wouldnt do you any good at all. Throughout Europe at least the weeks between Christmas and Easter are naturally lean months, when we eek out the last of the winter stores while waiting for the rst crops of spring. Rice really comes into its own now. Carnaroli is a medium-grained rice grown in the Vercelli province of northern Italy. It has a higher starch content, a rmer texture and a longer grain than the more common arborio variety. We have here, from left to right: Risotto Carnaroli con tartufo; Risotto Carnaroli con radicchio; Risotto Carnaroli con asparagi. 1.49 per 300g pack, from cost-conscious Lidl. www.lidl.co.uk


Pane e tulipani (Bread and Tulips), directed by Silvio Soldini, Screenplay by Doriana Leondeff and Silvio Soldini. An award-winning 2000 romantic comedy telling the story of a housewife, Rosalba Barletta (Licia Maglietta) and her discovery of freedom in the beautiful water city of Venice. With an attractive new life and friendship with Fernando Girasole (Bruno Ganz), Rosalba nds herself not wishing to return home to Pescara and her husband, but rather to continue her days in the hidden streets of Venice.

Il Postino (The Postman), directed by Michael Radford, screenplay by Anna Pavignano, Michael Radford, Furio Scarpelli, Giacomo Scarpelli and Massimo Troisi. This 1994 lm tells a ctional story in which the poet Pablo Neruda befriends a postman who learns to love poetry. The story sees Mario (Massimo Troisi) fall in love with the beautiful Beatrice (Maria Grazia Cucinotta), communicating his feelings through poetry. As a romance ourishes, a friendship is broken in this tale about the delicacy of life.


February 2014 ITALIA! 17



Its Carnival time in Italy this February and, as youll, discover, Venice isnt the only place to celebrate it. Its also Valentines Day, and where better than Italy, the country of romance, to celebrate that? You could get a tattoo while youre there, if you want
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
COCO CHANEL AT PALAZZO MORANDO 6 December 2 March Milan, Lombardy For the fans of timeless fashion, this exhibition makes its next stop in Milan, the capital of Italian fashion, after opening in London last September. Coco Chanel: A New Portrait by Marion Pike, 196771, brings together paintings, photographs and documents that explore the biographies, friendship and creativity between the late fashion icon and the talented artist, who met in 1967 when Pike was asked to create Chanels portrait. Held in Via SantAndrea, the luxurious shopping street in the centre of Milan, the Chanel agship boutique store is only minutes away if you want to make some inspired purchases budget permitting! CARTOON FESTIVAL 1-2 February Milan, Lombardy Looking for somewhere to take the children this February? Or maybe even to rediscover the child in you? Milan is host to this annual festival that attracts some of Italys biggest publishing houses, who exhibit a huge variety of print material, video games and short lms. As Milans most popular animation event, collectors gather to complete their collections, trade, sell or buy material. Held at the Parco Esposizioni Novegro, this convention has been running in Milan for years and is perfect for anybody looking for a colourful distraction in their schedule. ALMOND BLOSSOM FAIR 2-9 February Agrigento, Sicily The Festa del Fiore del Mandorlo in Agrigento is one of the truly great celebrations of the new year. While we in the north are still in the depths of winter, on Sicilys south coast, spring is springing, and the festival coincides with the start of the spring planting season. SAN BIAGIO 3 February 2014 Across Italy Celebrated each year with a festival known as the benedizione della gola, or blessing of the throat, Saint Biagio is supposed to have powers to cure all types of throat ailments. The legend goes that, during a religious ceremony, Biagio noticed a young boy choking on a sh bone. He acted by putting consecrated bread down the boys throat to ease the bones passing. It is customary to consume panettone and a glass of wine on this day to protect the throat from the cold of winter. SANTAGATA 3-5 February Catania, Sicily In commemoration of Saint Agatha of Sicily, who was martyred in 251 AD, this annual festival sees the entire city turn out en masse to celebrate her life, as well as to experience the hours of reworks, food and fantastic atmosphere. For two days and two nights, almost one million people express their gratitude to SantAgata through parades, marching bands and by following her statue as it is carried through the city. For anyone wanting to experience a Catania that has not changed in centuries and witness how religious fervour still exists in modern Europe, the festival of SantAgata is a unique opportunity.


MILANO TATTOO CONVENTION 7-9 February Milan, Lombardy With the fashionable trend for tattoos increasing over the past few years, this tattoo convention in Milan promises to be one of the biggest spectacles you may ever have seen. With 300 tattoo artists from around the world, this may even interest those with just a hint of curiosity about the process of tattooing and the intricate artwork that created on a daily basis. Just hold back on those impulses before doing something you might regret! http://worldtattoo events.com/milanotattoo-convention

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PA Photos

Sanremo song festival

CIOCCOLENTINO 9-15 February Terni, Umbria Who doesnt love a nice bit of chocolate? And where better to go than the country of romance to enjoy tastings, shows, decoration lessons and mouthwatering exhibits? Now in its 11th year, more than 60 confectionery companies will be involved in this extravaganza. Just in time for Valentines Day, this chocolate-lovers dream is perfect for nding those romantic chocolates for that special someone or, if you are alone this Valentines Day, to treat yourself. But dont have too many, because tomorrow, theres a party to go to (see right) www.cioccolentino.com

SAN FAUSTINO 15 Feburary Across Italy This day has been adopted by single people in Italy. Some years ago, a group of single Italians decided it was time to celebrate the single life, and chose the day after Valentines Day to do so. So if youre in Italy by yourself and happen to come across a sign for a Saint Faustinos Day party, then chances are its a party for singletons. Even if you have left a loved one back home, its still a good excuse for a good knees up!

SANREMO SONG FESTIVAL 18-22 February Sanremo, Liguria The inspiration for the THE ENCHANTED PALACE Eurovision Song Contest, 15 February, 22 February this elaborate festival and 1 March 2014 is Europes oldest music Venice, Veneto festival. It serves as an As part of the annual, intricate talent show two-week carnival, this contest, focusing on new event for 2014 takes original compositions and place in a 600-year-old the singers vocal talents. palace on the Grand VIAREGGIO CARNIVAL Broadcast on national Canal. Upon arrival, 16 February 9 March television, the festival magical dancers will Viareggio, Tuscany turns Sanremo into a greet you with cocktails Dating to 1873, this is music lovers paradise. before you venture considered to be among For the past few years, into the elegant rstthe most renowned it has also been used oor dining room for carnival celebrations, not to choose Italys entry dinner, accompanied by just in Italy, but across for Eurovision. Previous internationally acclaimed Europe. Known for having winners of the festival illusionists, acrobats the best costumes, oats include Italian tenor and entertainers. and parades, everything Andrea Bocelli. Afterwards, you can about it is over the top, www.sanremo.rai.it relax upstairs with with more than a million wine and dessert while people descending each a whimsical costume year to join the party party takes place on the atmosphere. Some of the ground oor, including oats have been known live music, dancers and to be as tall as ve or plenty of surprises! Dress six-storey buildings! code: strictly historical Denitely not one to be costume and mask. Prices missed if you want a true start at 960. carnival experience. www.venice-carnivalhttp://viareggio. italy.com ilcarnevale.com

MILAN FASHION WEEK 18-23 February Milan, Lombardy Showcasing promising young designers and the most luxurious fabrics around, this annual event is for both the fashionista and the artist in you or for anybody who likes to soak up an electric atmosphere. Although you need an invite to attend any of the catwalk shows, you can still be an honorary guest by relaxing in the nearby cafs, celebrityspotting and even snapping up the sales the week before. Just be sure to bring an extra suitcase for all those bargains! www.cameramoda.it

Please note that the dates of all events are subject to change. If you plan to attend, check events are going ahead before you travel. All attempts are made to present the correct details.


February 2014 ITALIA! 19

L I V I N G I TA L I A !


orming the shapely calf muscle of the Italian Given all these blessings, its little wonder that for leg, Le Marche sits halfway down the national the past decade or more Le Marche has been a big hit peninsula on the eastern side. Its long line of with overseas holiday home buyers and also those seeking honey-gold beaches is lapped by the warm, a permanent move to Italy. In fact, the region has often bright-blue Adriatic Sea. As you inch away been cited as one of the best places in the world to retire from the coast, the region buckles into verdant hills which abroad. But you mustnt imagine that Le Marche is now roll prettily for many miles inland. Gentle rises in the land just an ex-pat colony with no real life of its own! Far from are crowned with ancient, well-kept towns and villages, it. Nowhere here do foreign buyers and retirees outnumber full of handsome townhouses wrought in warm-coloured local people or in any way dilute local identity (which is stone. Moving towards the western border, the soft hills more than can be said for, say, certain parts of Tuscany). Le cede to the steeper, wooded Apennines Marche is still its true original, with and Sibillini Mountains. Up here plenty of space for you in it. there are wonderful hiking routes and mighty vistas, plus a scattering of MARKET AND PRICES small-scale ski resorts providing winter When Le Marche rst started to fun. For such a relatively small area, become popular with foreign buyers, Le Marche offers a quite astonishing the region was frequently celebrated as variety of beautiful landscapes. a much cheaper alternative to Tuscany. But its not just its geography In those early days, tumbledown old that had made this region so popular properties to restore and customise with visitors and homebuyers. Le presented a particular bargain, and Marche is rural yet prosperous, orderly many of these were eagerly snapped yet relaxed. It enjoys the distinctive up. The cost of buying (and of lifestyle and culture of those other restoring) crept up over the following much-loved central Italian regions, years as Le Marche became ever better Tuscany and Umbria. The population known, but the region never stopped density is low, the crime rate very offering good value for money. Then low, and the sense of community the international nancial crisis arrived very strong. The locals are warm and and, in Le Marche as in the rest of friendly, and do not hesitate to embrace Italy, the numbers of non-Italians you into the fold. Settlements might be coming here to buy a home dropped There are lots of beautiful small, but theres lots of fun goings-on. signicantly. Those numbers have only landscapes to enjoy Events and colourful festivals abound. recently started making a recovery.
20 ITALIA! February 2014

Splendid beaches, lyrical hills, handsome towns and majestic mountainscapes have all helped make Le Marche a foreign-buyer favourite. Fleur Kinson considers it to still be a wise buy

Le Marche

Homes in


All photographs iStock Photo unless otherwise stated


Fossombrone, in the province of Pesaro e Urbino


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L I V I N G I TA L I A !


Type of property Fractional ownership Number of bedrooms 5 Price Five weeks annual ownership 195,000 Location Monteore dellAso Contact Appassionata  +39 331 541 3225 www.appassionata.com This spacious, luxury home sits within its own private, landscaped garden, which has a pool and tennis court. Surrounded by vineyards, olive groves and rolling hills, with magnicent sea and mountain views, every room encompasses its own characteristics, carefully and cleverly throughout. Luxury nishes include beamed and vaulted ceilings, cotto-tiled oors and Venetian plaster. Curl up in front of a large open re in the winter months and laze by the pool with a book in the summer months. With blue ag beaches and the Sibillini Mountains and national park nearby, the area offers year-round activities. Le Marche also has a strong reputation for its gourmet cuisine. Only one share remaining!
Ascoli Piceno

And what of property prices since

the recession? Have they dropped too? Well, not greatly. Italy continually shows a remarkably stable property market with slow, steady rises and modest, gentle sinks being about as dramatic as things ever get. There is no mad cycle of booms and busts

while asking prices might not have gone down by much ostensibly, the frequent acceptance of offers below asking prices means that buyers have been getting more property for their money than they did a few years ago. Now, therefore, is an excellent time to buy.

Buyers have been getting more property for their money than they did a few years ago
here which, of course, makes Italy a particularly safe country in which to invest your money. Having said that, however, what has happened in Le Marche, and in many other Italian regions in recent years, is that vendors have become much more open to negotiation on price. So,
The walled city of Urbino

Kevin L Gibney of Property ForSaleMarche.com notes various dynamics currently operating in Le Marches market. While the occasional hot deal still presents itself, he says, prices overall have stabilised and houses are now selling at 6-12 per cent below asking prices

Type of property Partly restored farmhouse Number of bedrooms 4 Price 289,000 (245,000) Location Petritoli Contact www.magicmarche.com A partly restored traditional farmhouse in a glorious rural location, yet within minutes of one of the most popular historic towns of the region. This charming property, set in a beautiful, tranquil location is immediately habitable, allowing the owner to enjoy occupation now and complete the full restoration later. The completed works include all external walls, new roof, ceilings, double-glazed windows and doors, plus a substantial covered portico and rst-oor terrace. The completed restoration would give a wellproportioned four-bedroom house. Situated on 2 hectares of land it enjoys extensive views which include the surrounding medieval hilltop towns of Petritoli, Moregnano, Ponzano di Fermo and Fermo. The asking price has just been reduced from 325,000.

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both are signs of a stable, more rational market than weve seen in ve or six years. Kevin has also seen an expansion in the client base drawn to Le Marche. Whereas at one time the market here was 80 per cent UK-driven, he says, its now more diverse. Today we have a global market for Marche properties, with buyers coming from the Emirates, the US, Israel, Australia and Scandinavia. FIGURES AND LOCATIONS Heres a very rough guide to the kind of gures you might be looking to pay for a home in Le Marche these days. Country ruins to restore start at about 50,000. What you might spend doing up such a property all depends on how lavish a project you have in mind. For 60,000 to 90,000 you might get yourself a fully-restored village apartment to start enjoying immediately. For 100,000 to 250,000 you could consider a standing house to complete or renovate, a small nished country cottage, a fully-restored threebedroom townhouse, or a one- or two-bedroom seaside apartment. A budget of 250,000 to 400,000 could get you a beautifully restored three-bedroom farmhouse, an even larger country home needing minor renovation or nishing work, or a villa on the coast. Obviously some areas of Le Marche are pricier than others, and before you begin your property hunt its a good idea to get a basic familiarity with where the largest

Continued on page 26


edfordshire-based Miles Patten and his partner Daniel Crohan own a small country house in southern Le Marche. They make frequent visits to the property throughout the year, and anticipate retiring there permanently one day. What drew the couple to Italy? My parents often took me and my sister on holiday to Italy when we were children, Miles explains. They particularly loved Tuscany, and I got to know that region quite well over the years. Later I did Art History at university, and that only fuelled my love of central Italy. Three years ago, Daniel and I started to think about buying a home abroad, and thankfully he didnt need much persuading that Italy should be the place! We knew that Tuscany was very expensive, so we looked at properties in all sorts of nearby regions northern Lazio, parts of Umbria, and then Le Marche. When we saw the ruined old cowshed that would later become our house, we laughed at how horrible it was. But we couldnt deny that its location was superb. Its about half an hour from the sea, near the top of a little hill, surrounded by beautiful farmland. We can see the bright blue line of the Adriatic to the northeast, and there are pretty mountains lining the opposite horizon. We had the original building knocked down completely, and started from scratch. The old structure had faced south, but we oriented our home to enjoy seaviews from the front windows and mountain scenery from the back. We worked with some amazing local builders and craftsmen, and they managed to incorporate a large amount of the materials from the original building into our nal two-bedroom house, which saved us a lot of money on stone and so on. Our builders were extremely hard-working and really seemed to care that the nal building should be beautiful which it is! We are so happy with it, and we love showing it off to friends and family when they come to visit us. At rst we worried that as a same-sex couple we might raise some eyebrows in the local village, or meet with a bit of unfriendliness sometimes. But now we feel stupid for even thinking that! The local people couldnt be friendlier. They dont care a g that were a same-sex couple and theyve welcomed us just like anyone else. Were always being invited to gatherings and parties. Everyone in the local caf and the shops knows us and keeps us chatting for ages whenever we go in. Thankfully, Daniel and I can just about get by in Italian now. Theres a fabulous sense of community down here, and we just love being part of it.
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Le Marche lies on the eastern side of Italy, east of Umbria, between majestic mountains and inviting sea. The region is split into ve provinces: Pesaro-Urbino, Ancona, Macerata, Ascoli Piceno and the recently constituted Fermo. Its proximity to both mountains and sea makes it very appealing to prospective homebuyers. The Adriatic coastline stretches some 180km and includes some of the best Italian Blue Flag beaches, while the steep eastern slopes of Italys mountainous backbone, the Apennines, includes the stunning Monti Sibillini in the south. The main autostrada, the A14, and the state highway SS16 run swiftly along

the coast, but further inland they are slower as they weave up and down the hills between towns. The regular intercity train connections at Ancona link with Bologna and Rome. Ancona is also the site of Le Marches international airport at Falconara, served by Ryanair from Stansted. Le Marche boasts 13 protected areas, forests and nature reserves including the majestic Monti Sibillini and the National Park at Monte Conero on the coast near Ancona. Historically, Le Marche has a remarkable historical heritage too, with its medieval hilltop towns and villages and more than 30 signicant archaeological sites and 200 Romanesque churches, as well as beautiful Renaissance city of Urbino.

The coast of Le Marche stretches q from Pesaro to San Benedetto del



Tronto, past stretches of sandy beach and clean blue water and numerous small seaside towns and villages. The region can boast one of the highest number of Blue Flag beaches of any region in Italy. Ancona sits almost half way down the coast and is the administrative capital, and a busy port. With its Greek heritage there are many interesting styles of architecture. A lot of the coastal resorts are relatively small and retain a certain old-fashioned charm. The largest seaside resort is Pesaro, in the north, which is bursting with good shops and restaurants.

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Famous for being the birthplace of Gioachino Rossini, the town has an annual Opera Festival. Senigallia, a little further south, is known as the Velvet Beach with its 13km of soft, golden sand. The Conero Riviera offers the jewel of Portonovo with its Napoleonic fort, idyllic Sirolo and its spectacular golf course, and the Liberty-style architecture of Porto San Giorgio. Continue down the coast for Pedaso which hosts a famous mussel festival Cupra Marittima and its imposing castle, and Grottamare with its medieval old town. Finally you come to San Benedetto del Tronto, the second largest resort after Pesaro, with its coveted Blue Flag. The shing port is very busy in the summer with its pretty promenades and vibrant nightlife. The coast might be expensive for property, but its easy to get there from inland towns, so you wont miss out if you cant afford a home in a coastal resort.

Macerata is popular with tourists and home-buyers alike

2 Move inland from the coast and you will nd the rolling hills and open elds of farming country, a peaceful landscape punctuated by pretty hilltop towns and gentle valleys. The quieter environment and slower pace of life make this is a popular area for British buyers. One of the regions most eminent cities is Urbino. It rivals Florence for cultural signicance and the more compact, bustling city has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Further south, the hill town of Macerata boasts one of Europes most outstanding outdoor theatres, the Arena Sferisterio, built in the 19th century to resemble an ancient Roman arena. The Stagione Lirica musical festival is held here every summer. Close to the border with Abruzzo, the ancient town of Ascoli Piceno takes its name from the Picene tribe, who were conquered by the Romans in 89BC. The city was once a stop on the via salaria (the salt route) from Rome, but now enjoys a quieter existence. With one of the most beautiful marblepaved piazze in Italy, and a wealth of medieval architecture, theres plenty to enjoy. Many other villages dot the

landscape, including Arcevia (to west of Ancona) perched on the foothills and surrounded by historic castles; Ofda in the south with its unusual triangular piazza and memorable Vin Santo; and medieval Jesi, near Ancona, with its castle, cobbled streets and famous Verdicchio wines.
3 The Monti Sibillini National Park was created in 1993 when 700 square kilometres of mountainous wilderness was set aside as a site of outstanding natural beauty. Rising to more than 2,000km high, this is a popular destination for naturalists, skiers in winter and walkers in the summer. The mountains form the border with Umbria to the west and the highest peak is Mount Vettore, at 2,476m. The area is dotted with medieval towns and criss-crossed with walking trails. There is shelter at the network of rifugi (mountain huts) across the range and all the maps and guides you need to plan your routes can be found at the Casa del Parco visitor centres. Popular nearby towns include Amandola with stunning views of the mountains, and Force, famed for its artisans and wrought iron work.

The stunning Sibillini Mountains, part of the National Park in the southwest



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Type of property Fully restored property Number of bedrooms 3 Price 490.000 (415,000) Location SantAngelo in Pontano Contact www.magicmarche.com  +39 331 381 9509 A meticulously restored traditional stone and brick farmhouse with breathtaking views of rolling hills and hill top towns. This 3-bedroom, 4-bathroom property sits within 7.5 acres of land with a landscaped garden and a beautiful 11m x 5m swimming pool, 2 alfresco dining areas, a mature olive grove and outbuildings for storage. The ground oor comprises a large, fully equipped designer kitchen with separate walk in pantry, utility room, bathroom, large dinning room and two living rooms with replace/wood burners. The rst oor has a master bedroom with en suite bathroom and a spacious dressing area and a further 2 double bedrooms, both en suite. All utilities are connected, including satellite TV, wi- and LPG gas central heating throughout.
Arcevia sits in the foothills of the Apennines a lovely spot for properties

and smallest pricetags tend to be.

As is true of most Italian regions, the coast is usually the most expensive part of Le Marche, and prices tend to drop steadily the further you move inland (and, almost inevitably, uphill) reaching their lowest levels at the very highest elevations which is a boon if you happen to be looking for a life in the mountains. A much recommended strategy is to choose a home about half an hours drive from the sea. This way you keep easy access to beaches while simultaneously making excellent savings compared to an actual sea front home.

lovers, meanwhile, will nd some of Le Marches lowest prices in its homes on high, as stated earlier. The bewitching Sibillini Mountains near the border with Umbria have beguiled many British buyers in the past, and yet average prices here remain very reasonable. RESTORING AND REBUILDING Le Marche has always been a very popular region for buyers who want to restore an old tumbledown property. The benets of restoring are obvious: you end up with a home

Restoring an old property isnt for everyone. It requires a great deal of time and commitment
Type of property Fully restored house Number of bedrooms 7 Price 499,000 Location Montelparo/Fermo Contact www.propertyforsalemarche.com info@propertyforsalemarche.com  +39 347 538 6668 Here is where you will truly enjoy la dolce vita. A fully restored house with lots of room for living well and majestic views over the surrounding countryside The property has a comfortable portico, perfect for an afternoon Prosecco or an al fresco dinner. There is also a romantic balcony area and a large kitchen. There are 7 bedrooms in total and 6 of them are en suite! The house itself comes in at 400 sqm, and there is also a 50 sqm cottage (to restore) on the land. And there is plenty of space for a swimming pool. The house is completely private, yet has good proximity to many of Le Marches best places. Furthermore, the asking price has just been reduced by 90,000.

Because of Le Marches fortunate geography, there are other benets to buying inland too. Youll be at a higher elevation than on the coast and are likely to enjoy lovely views not only down to the sea but also towards the mountains in the opposite direction. If you situate yourself perhaps 45 minutes from the sea, you could nd yourself equidistant from beaches and high mountains, with excellent summer hiking plus small-scale winter ski resorts. Not that proximity to sea or mountains is the only appeal of Le Marches inland hills! There are wonderful towns scattered round here too. Some towns that have proven a hit with foreign buyers include Macerata, Amandola, Sarnano and Ascoli Piceno. Mountain-

exactly tailored to your taste and often worth more than what you paid for the original building plus the cost of the restoration work. Restoring an old property isnt for everyone, though. It requires a great deal of time and commitment. You might prefer instead to buy a home thats already been lovingly restored by someone else. In the current nancial atmosphere, this can often prove a very good-value route. Jane Smith of Magic Marche says, The ready-restored market remains the strongest right now. This is primarily because there is still a glut of properties being off-loaded by people who need to sell due to the lingering effects of the economic downturn. Competition to attract

26 ITALIA! February 2014



A room with a view: from Arcevia over the Cesano Valley

buyers is still erce so prices are good. Part-restored properties are also popular, again because they represent good value if the work was done several years ago and now owners just want to recoup their cost, without prot. Theres also good news, however, for buyers who have their hearts set on a restoration project of

at this). Other benets of rebuilding include the avoidance of unforeseen and potentially expensive problems which sometimes crop up in the course of restoring an old house. With a total re-build, you know in advance what youre getting. You control the design and layout, and you also get to incorporate state-of-the-art efciencies

Type of property Fully restored house Number of bedrooms 4 Price 599,000 Location San Ginesio/Macerata Contact www.propertyforsalemarche.com info@propertyforsalemarche.com  +39 347 538 6668 Casa Famiglia is one of our best nished properties in Le Marche. It has all the desired characteristics of a family house in the Marche countryside. The big, spacious main house can sleep up to 14 people. There are spectacular, panoramic views of the Sibillini Mountains, the bell towers of San Ginesio and the rolling elds of sunowers. The property has fully landscaped grounds bordered by ancient oak trees. There is a welcoming 12m x 6m pool with a spacious pool house. Two further unrestored buildings provide exciting potential for future development. The value found at Casa Famiglia is outstanding. All the features weve described for 599,000 represent a value unsurpassed in todays market.

Demolition costs are not high, and materials from the old property can be reclaimed
their own. Jane notes that, With the attention off the old unrestored properties at the moment, it means they have been coming onto the market and remaining unsold. So if your passion is to buy and restore, the choice and prices are good. Whats more, builders are eager to bring in more restoration work and are more open to deals and negotiation on price right now. An alternative to a straightforward restoration (and its an alternative recommended by many experienced agents in Le Marche) is to demolish an old ruin in a good location, and build something new on the site. The benets of this are many. First, you can always build a house you like, but you cannot build a view! If you nd a location you love, construct your desired home there out of an existing ruin. Demolition costs are not high, and all materials from the old property can be reclaimed, cleaned and re-used in the new one (Italian builders are highly skilled such as great insulation, eco-powergeneration, underoor heating and so on. Over the last couple of decades, Le Marche has grown into a very popular part of Italy for foreign visitors; and houses in the country especially those with pools are almost as desirable as villas and apartments right on the coast. Countless buyers have discovered strong holiday rental prospects which are enough to cover the annual upkeep of their home. So if youre looking to do this yourself, take heart. To optimise rentability, choose a home less than 90 minutes drive from the airport, and if its out in the countryside, put in that much! coveted pool! Q


Type of property Fractional ownership in a medieval town Number of bedrooms 3 Price The rst 2 shares will be offered at 55,000 Location Petritoli Contact Appassionata ifh@appassionata.com www.appassionata.com  +39 331 541 3225 Appassionata is delighted to launch their new property, a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom townhouse, built into one of the ancient turrets which form the entrance to the town. Spacious indoor living and stunning outdoor space, including a 50m roof terrace with distant sea views, and the surrounding hilltop towns and countryside. Petritoli is a lively town, with excellent bars, restaurants and shops, all within walking distance. Just a 20 minute drive to the nearest blue ag beach, 45 minutes to the Sibillini Mountains and national park, this property is ideally located. A one tenth share (5 weeks exclusive ownership) in Casa Tre Archi will be ready in the spring of 2014.

www.appassionata.com www.gate-away.com www.PropertyForSaleMarche.com www.magicmarche.com www.verdeabitare.it


February 2014 ITALIA! 27


Le Marche: The new Tuscany More affordable Just as beautiful!

Le Marche Property Sales & Restoration Management

With over 40 years of property experience, Magic Marche has built a reputation for integrity and professionalism. We sell restored, unrestored and partly restored properties including: farmhouses, townhouses, apartments, grand palazzos, B&Bs and rental businesses.
Part Restored 289.000 (245,000)

We are at your side from your first viewing, until the keys are in your hand.

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S P E A K I TA L I A !

Mentre stavo guardando lultima puntata della pi recente serie di Montalbano, mi sono chiesto perch questa produzione televisiva tanto avvincente. Non solo per le trame, direi, n per i bei paesaggi mediterranei, n ancora per larchitettura barocca color di miele del sud-est della Sicilia, dove la serie ambientata. No, il suo fascino, secondo me, si trova ad un livello pi profondo nel fatto che in quanto ritratto della vita quotidiana nellItalia contemporanea, questa serie assolutamente vera ed autentica. Chiunque abbia trascorso qualche tempo nel Bel Paese riconoscer subito i caratteri del dramma. La vedova curiosa che spia i vicini di casa; le casalinghe annoiate; i vari tipi criminali; il proprietario del ristorante i cui clienti sono la sua famiglia; i modesti contadini; le sirene mediterranee sono tutti perfettamente verosimili. Ancor pi verosimili sono i rapporti tra di loro. Poche persone di origine anglo-sassone si rendono conto che per molti versi la societ italiana estremamente gerarchica; e questa serie televisiva riesce a catturare con grande precisione le sfumature di come gli italiani di diverse condizioni interagiscono. La deferenza riluttante che Montalbano stesso accorda al suo superiore; il livello esatto di formalit e di informalit che adopera verso i suoi vari colleghi; e le precise gradazioni di respetto o di ossequiosit che i membri del pubblico dimostrano verso di lui in quanto commissario della Polizia tutto questo rispecchia perfettamente la struttura di una societ italiana nella quale il prestigio di ognuno ben denito. Ci sono tante altre cose, che ora accenno come mi vengono in mente. Anche qui si vede la tendenza di tante donne italiane ma non, al solito, degli uomini di ricorrere ad un linguaggio vagamente psicoterapeutico, con espressioni come Sono stata sconvolta o Ho avuto un attacco di angoscia, le quali rispecchiano una mentalit diffusa. E poi il tessuto sico della vita italiana qui si cattura con una accuratezza sempre dabile il fatto, ad esempio, che il pi modesto appartamento sar dotato di una porta blindata. E poi la lingua italiana, e i gesti che la accompagnano. Gli italiani parlano precisamente cos; e per di pi, le parolacce non sono state censurate in modo puritano. Dunque, in quanto ritratto dellItalia moderna; in quanto studio della mentalit italiana; e anche in quanto corso ditaliano colloquiale per chiunque ne abbia bisogno per tutti questi versi la serie Montalbano pressoch imbattibile.

While watching the concluding episode of the most recent Montalbano series, I found myself wondering what it is that makes this television drama so compelling. It is not just the good storylines, surely, or the beautiful Mediterranean scenery, or the honey-stoned baroque architecture of south-east Sicily, where the series is set. No. The appeal, I think, lies at a deeper level namely, that as a portrayal of everyday life in modern Italy, the Montalbano series is absolutely true and authentic. To anyone who has spent any time in Italy, the cast of characters is instantly recognisable. The nosey widow spying on her neighbours; the bored housewives; the various criminal types; the restaurant owner whose customers are his family; the contadini (humble country-dwellers of a type that is fast dying out); the Mediterranean sirens all these are spot-on. Even more spot-on, however, are the relationships between these types. Most people of Anglo-Saxon origin do not realise that in many ways Italian society is extremely hierarchical; and what the Montalbano series captures so well is the precise nuances of how Italians of differing statuses interact with each other. The reluctant deference with which Montalbano addresses his superior; the exact degree of formality and informality that he adopts towards his various colleagues; and the precise gradations of respect and obsequiousness which the public shows towards him in his capacity as police commissioner all this perfectly reects the well-dened pecking order of Italys status-conscious society. Other things, as they occur to me. The fondness of many Italian women but not, on the whole, of the men for a certain sort of psychobabble is well portrayed, with expressions such as Sono stata sconvolta or Ho avuto un attacco di angoscia (I felt overwhelmed; I had an attack of anguish) reecting a widespread mindset. Then the physical texture of Italian life is captured with unfailing accuracy the way, for example, that the most modest of ats will have a front door made of reinforced steel. And lastly, the language itself, and the gestures. This is precisely how the Italians speak and gesticulate; nor are the swearwords prudishly censored. As a portrait of modern Italy, therefore; as a study of the Italian mentality; or, indeed, as a refresher course in colloquial Italian in all these ways the series is close to unbeatable.
SEBASTIAN CRESSWELL-TURNER is a freelance writer, translator and uent Italian speaker who lived in Rome for many years. His travel articles have appeared in The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and The Mail, plus many more.

The television series Montalbano offers us more than good drama, says Sebastian Cresswell-Turner it provides us with an accurate portrait of Italian life, society, culture and language



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Clockwise from top left: View of the Mole Antonelliana with the Alps beyond; la Chiesa della Gran Madre di Dio and the Ponte Vittorio Emanuele I; Turin is proud to be the birthplace of the Slow Food movement; the Piedmontese are also justly proud of their wine; the Porta Palatina; staircase at the Palazzo Carignano; the market at the Porta Palazzo

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anging in the air above the city wasnt exactly how Id envisaged starting my visit to Turin. Yet here I was, 150 metres off the ground in a helium balloon, my heart in my throat, feet heavy as lead. Somehow, Id been persuaded that The Turin Eye (www.turineye.com) would be a novel way to see the city. In spite of my trepidation and inability to step onto the glass panel in the basket, the views from up here are captivating. The snow-capped peaks of the majestic Alps provide an enchanting backdrop as I gaze gingerly down at the city. From up here I can clearly see the Royal Palaces and gardens in the historic centre, the famous dome of the Mole Antonelliana, home to the renowned lm museum, the myriad piazzas and green spaces, and of course, the mighty River Po with the huge Gran Madre basilica just across the bridge from the Piazza Vittorio, one of the widest piazzas in the world. My feet rmly reunited with the ground, I head off to the Porta Palazzo market which, Im reliably told, is the biggest in Europe. The market is on every morning and all day on Saturdays. I feast my eyes on the luscious displays of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, all ripe for the eating. Everything is laid out neatly and Im amazed at how the sellers colour-coordinate their stalls so perfectly. Red and yellow peppers are arranged alternately side by side in a pyramid shape, plump black grapes are displayed next to white, orange melons alternate with green.

Photography Archivio di Turismo Torino e Provincia and Lorenza Bacino

Theres so much to see and do in Turin that a weekend hardly seems enough. Lorenza Bacino ts in as much as she can, beginning with a sightseeing tour by hot-air balloon




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PALAZZO MADAMA 1 Piazza Castello Much of the city centre has been pedestrianised, so is fantastic for enjoying the elegant palazzi and museums. Palazzo Madama is right in the middle of the Piazza Castello and is a double-faced royal residence, baroque on one side and medieval on the other. It exhibits art work from medieval times through to Gothic and Renaissance and culminating in baroque. POLO REALE AND SAVOY RESIDENCES 2 www.residenzereali.it The residences of the Savoy Dynasty from the 17th century until the mid-1800s. Portraits, chandeliers and furnishings through the centuries are on display.

MUSEO DELLAUTOMOBILE 3 Corso Unit dItalia 40, Lingotto +39 011 659 9872 www.museoauto.it A fantastic space that has recently had a complete makeover. On display are more than 200 vehicles dating from the mid19th century to the present day. Even if you are not particularly interested in cars, this is still well worth the trip out of town. TORINO MAGICA TOUR 4 Piazza Statuto, 15 +39 011 668 7013/0580 www.somewhere.it These bus tours operate on Thursdays and Saturday evenings, departing from Piazza Statuto at 9pm. The tour lasts two and a half hours and explains how Turin came to have esoteric traditions steeped in black and white magic. Piazza Statuto is said to be one point of a black magic triangle that includes London and San Francisco. The white triangle includes Lyon and Prague. BALLOON RIDE 5 Piazza Borgo Dora (Giardino Cardinale Michele Pellegrino) +39 342 133 6565 www.turineye.com This service has only been available for the past two years and is the perfect introduction to the city, if you dont mind heights. Do, however, phone in advance and check if theyre ying, as if the weather isnt good, they wont be and you may be disappointed. BASILICA DI SUPERGA 6 Strada Comunale della Basilica di Superga The hill is more than 700m high, gives a great view of the city and is beautifully illuminated at night. Admission to the 18th century basilica is free. Some of the tombs of the House of Savoy can be seen here, as well as the only complete collection of portraits of all the Popes through the ages.

The Palazzina di caccia at Stupinigi

THE EGYPTIAN MUSEUM This collection is second only in importance to the Cairo museum itself. Dont miss the Tomb of Kha, and the statue of the Pharaoh Ramesses II. Via Accademia delle Scienze, 6 +39 011 561 7776 www. museoegizio.org

Its pulsating with life and the

traditional smells of basil, tomatoes and melons mingle with more pungent and less familiar aromas from North Africa and the Middle East. Porta Palazzo is a place where Mediterranean and ethnic cultures collide and re-invent themselves. Under a glass awning next to the main market is a farmers market, or zona contadina, where you can buy directly from the producers. Turin is home to the Slow Food movement (www.slowfood.com), which now has world-wide recognition, and buying seasonal vegetables straight from the producer ts in well with their philosophy of aiming to preserve local foods and biodiversity. ETHNIC FOOD SHOOPS Still salivating over the goodies Id seen in the market, my trusty walking tour guide Chiara (www. torinoturismo.it) points out some ethnic food shops which have recently taken a foothold around the market square. The Panetteria Marocchina has a selection of mouth-watering pastries and sesame breads and theres even an Arab restaurant

housed at the Bagno Turco (www. hamam-torino.it). She then takes me to get lost in the cobbled streets of the Quadrilatero Romano. This historic part of town is a hive of art galleries, wine cellars, restaurants and boutiques. We stroll down via Santa Chiara and via San Domenico, gazing at beautiful baroque shop fronts and stucco faades. Chiara explains that the tradition in Turin is to preserve the old shop signs and to put the new ones over the top. Somehow it works and maintains the citys history in a very charming fashion. We stop at the historic Al Bicerin (www.bicerin.it) caf in Piazza della Consolata. They have been manufacturing chocolate since 1763 so its the place to try this traditional drink, although most of the other historical cafs serve it too. A bicerin (small glass in Piemontese) is made up of three layers. On top you have crema di latte (denitely not panna) then a layer of coffee followed by a layer of chocolate on the bottom. I was instructed by the owner to hold the glass only by the stem and denitely not to mix up the layers. The crema di latte is

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The Palazzo Reale

ART HOTEL BOSTON 7 Via Massena, 70 www.hotelbostontorino.it +39 011 500 359 If you love art then this is the hotel for you. Art is everywhere where you sleep, where you dine, where you sit and relax. There are 87 rooms inspired by and dedicated to various modern or contemporary artists. You could even stay in the Picasso room if you like. All rooms have wi-, satellite TV and mini bar. Prices range from 120 to 250. HOTEL PIEMONTESE 8 Via Claudio Luigi Berthollet, 21 +39 011 669 8101 www.hotelpiemontese.it This is a beautiful Liberty-style hotel that has recently been renovated. It comprises 39 rooms, some of which have a jacuzzi or a sauna. Breakfast is served on the garden terrace and there is a particular emphasis on organic products and coeliac-friendly food. Prices start at 100 for a double room with buffet breakfast. HOTEL GENOVA 9 Via Paolo Sacchi, 14 +39 011 562 9400 www.albergogenova.it The staff are friendly and the location is excellent if you like a good night out. Just walk through the Porta Nuova train station to San Salvario, a lively area that in the evenings attracts hoards of young people to its many restaurants and night clubs. Prices range from 150 for a double room with breakfast included. GRAND HOTEL SITEA 10? Via Carlo Alberto, 35 +39 011 517 0171 www.grandhotelsitea.it This hotel is very central and only a few minutes from the Egyptian museum. The restaurant is very good too. Prices range from 160 for a double room and that includes a sumptuous breakfast. HOTEL VICTORIA 11 Via Nino Costa, 4 +39 011 561 1909 www.hotelvictoria-torino.com This hotel has a beautiful heated swimming pool, wellness centre and spa and is very central. Prices start from 200 for a double room with breakfast. HOTEL PRINCIPI DI PIEMONTE 12 Via Piero Gobetti, 15  +39 011 55151 www.atahotels.it A 5-star hotel in a prime location facing the via Roma. Prices start at 225 for a double room with breakfast.

Lorenza takes in the views

Caff al Bicerin

tepid and soft as it touches my lip, becoming warmer as I reach the coffee and chocolate below. Lightly sweetened, its a delicious treat after traipsing the streets. Al Bicerin is one of the famous historical cafs of Turin, and the shelves in the wooden interior are stacked with jars containing brightly coloured pastils called pastiglie Leone, also a family business going back generations.

famous, more glamourous, Italian cities, but its steeped in history and is home to a remarkable wealth of baroque buildings. Furthermore, its royal heritage is second to none in Italy. In 1563 Turin was declared the capital of the House of Savoy and became the rst capital of a unied Kingdom of Italy in 1861. Its royal heritage is omniscient and Turin possesses no fewer than 15 royal

EATALY Foodies will love Eataly, out in the Lingotto area, a few minutes ride on the excellent metro (Torino Lingotto). Stroll around thousands of square metres of cheeses, meats, sh, vegetables, pasta, sauces and more. Or sit down at one of the small restaurants, read the newspapers and sample a glass of wine and locally produced food. Via Nizza, 230, Lingotto,  +39 011 195 06811 www. eataly.it

T urin is steeped in history and is home to a remarkable wealth of baroque buildings

The old-style shop next door sells a large selection of tastefully-wrapped chocolates including Turins famous gianduiotti. My suitcase will be a few kilogrammes heavier upon my return. The Santuario della Consolata basilica opposite the Al Bicerin is a place to feast your eyes and soul. Its a ne example of Piedmontese baroque architecture and even if it isnt to your taste you cant fail to gawp at the splendour of its golden interior. Turin is often overlooked by the tourist in favour of other more residences (declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997) and more than 40 museums. I decide I am going to stick with baroque for the day, and make my way to the Palazzo Reale in Piazza Castello. Turin is a tidy network of streets and very easy to navigate, even for me, the worlds worst map reader. The Palazzo Reale is sumptuously decorated with elegant gilded stucco and giant chandeliers. Theres also an important collection of paintings to enjoy. A blood-red carpet


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5 4 14 15 6 2 1 16 13


RISTORANTE MONFERRATO 13 Via Monferrato, 6 +39 011 819 0661/0674 www.ristorantemonferrato.com A stones throw from the Gran Madre Basilica, this restaurant has been around since 1820 and serves traditional, and delicious, Piedmontese food. On Saturdays you can book a meal on a gustotram, which takes you on a tram tour of the city. O Price range O TRE GALLINE 14 Via Gian Francesco Bellezie, 37 +39 011 436 6553 www.3galline.it This Three Chickens has been around for four centuries and offers super-traditional Piedmontese cooking. You can eat here for less than 50 a head but once youve seen their menu you probably wont. O O Price range O CUCINA TORINO 15 Via Bertola 27/a +39 011 562 9038 www.cesaremarretti.com The brainchild of charismatic TV chef Cesare Marretti and very much of the Slow Food ethos. Cucina is very small and great for a quick and delicious meal. It costs 10 per person, including a main dish, dessert and a glass of wine. Theres no menu, you just decide whether you want meat, sh or vegetarian. You get whats on offer and its always delicious. Price range O TABERNA LIBRARIA 16 Via Conte Giambattista Bogino, 5, +39 011 812 8028 www.tabernalibraria.to.it The walls are covered in books and bottles so you can ick through an old Adelphi edition while you enjoy your meal. A menu degustazione will cost you less than 50 for two, but the full ve-course experience will not. O O Price range O COCOS 17 Via Bernardino Galliari, 28, +39 011 259 5576 www.trattoriacocos.it Slow Food founder Carlo Petrini put this place on the map by dedicating an entire page to it in the pages of La Repubblica. Prior to that, only the stall holders in the market knew about it. Now this bar transforms into a trattoria at lunchtime, welcoming everyone from students to transvestites. Its full of knick-knacks inside newspaper clippings, photos and takes you back to the 60s. A great place with a great atmosphere. O Price range O

12 10 11 9 8 17 7

THE ICE CREAM Turins ice cream parlours are famous. There are many traditional ones like Fiorio and Miretti. Grom is particularly special and now has branches abroad. The rst tiny shop is in Piazza Paleocapa, near Porta Nuova train station. And in San Salvario, check out Eurocrem in via Pietro Giuria, 25. It has a delightfully old fashioned atmosphere.

throughout matches perfectly

with the gold and glitter adorning the ceilings and I believe I can almost hear the music echo through from the past as I traverse the ballroom. Your ticket to the Palazzo Reale includes entry into the Galleria Sabauda, where you can see the art collection that the Savoy dynasty accumulated over three centuries and

I cant leave Turin without a visit to the Mole Antonelliana to see the famous Museo del Cinema. And it turns out to be one of the highlights of my visit. I am completely unprepared for the magnicence of the enormous atrium and my breath catches in my throat as I gaze up at the 167m dome. In the semidarkness, I drink in the splendour of

The Alps are never far when youre in T urin and youll often catch sight of a snowy peak
which the rst King of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, gifted to the new nation. Feeling smug about my cultural exploits I decide I need some greenery and the Parco del Valentino looked very inviting from my balloon. And indeed it is. Its a relaxing park along the banks of the River Po where you can visit the quirky Borgo Medievale, which, it turns out, is a genuine fake an 18th century reconstruction of a medieval village! Its denitely worth a peek. There are cafs and trellises along the banks of the river where students hang out for a drink or pretend to study. You can take a leisurely boat ride along the river too. its upward spiral from the comfort of plush red reclining seats and enjoy projections of some of the most famous lm clips in the history of cinema. I could spend the day meandering in this most engaging and interactive of museums. I immerse myself in all sorts of curious nooks and crannies which line the walkway ascending the spiral dome. Lighting and visual games playing havoc with reality, I wander through in a dreamlike trance. Taking the vertiginous ride in the stainless steel and glass lift through the centre of the museum brings me back to reality with a bump.

34 ITALIA! February 2014



The Castello del Valentino

Towards the end of the tomato season


The Museo Carpano at Eataly

Seemingly pulled up by the roots of my hair, the metal cables propel me the 85m to the top of the dome. I exit and walk 360 degrees around the terrace on the outside, where another perfect view of mountains and city greet me. The Alps are never far when youre in Turin and youll often catch sight of a snowy peak as you stare up at the palazzi in this elegant and ! cultured city. Q

THE MOLE ANTONELLIANA and the National lm Museum. A must for any visitor. Its a great place both for lm enthusiasts and children as its interactive, fun, engaging and playful. The exhibits trace the story of lm from its origins and youll be amazed when you enter the Temple Hall, from where you can take the panoramic lift up into the dome. Via Montebello 20, +39 011 813 8511 www. museonazionaledelcinema.it

The Mole from ground level

BY PLANE The airport of Sandro Pertini-Caselle (www.aeroportoditorino.it) is about a half hour taxi ride from the city. You can also take a bus or train to the Porta Susa and Porta Nuova train stations in the centre of town. From London, Ryanair, British Airways and easyJet all operate regular and frequent ights to Turin. Ryanair also y there from Dublin. BY TRAIN Turin has two main stations, Porta Susa and Porta Nuova. The Turin-Milan service to/from Porta Susa departs frequently. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Milan. KEY TO RESTAURANT PRICES (full meal per person, not including wine) Up to 25 O O 26-50 O O O More than 50 O


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UNDERSTANDING THE REASONING behind the most recurrent style and choice of subject matter in the art of any era enables us to understand the people from that period. In the medieval period, nearly all paintings in Italy were religious, reecting the theocentric society. There was a disregard for the here and now, and daily life paled in importance against the spiritual realm. The art featured predominately religious subjects and very rarely the natural world or urban scenes. Heaven and the protagonists who inhabited this realm were also considered different and superior to the everyman and so they were not shown realistically, but symbolically. These symbols could be colours, so as to recognise the subject matter, or particular ways of representation; either way, there was a conscious effort in the medieval period to not show images with photographic realism, but to use icons.

Artisan becomes artist

The artisans who produced the paintings of medieval times could not deviate from the iconic representation of Heaven
Heaven was conveyed with a gold background, the Virgin Mary was always depicted wearing blue and red clothes and consciously not depicted like an earthly woman. The baby Christ in her arms didnt look baby-like; instead, he was shown as a little adult. Being a society which concentrated more on the spiritual rather than the earthly realm, it is obvious that they would meditate more on the God nature of Christ than on his human nature. As babies arent associated with wisdom but men are, Christ is symbolically depicted as an adult, or even like a Roman senator, being the embodiment of wisdom. The artisans who produced the paintings could not deviate from this iconic representation. Consequently, there was very little room for artistic licence and individual talent to ex muscles. However, things began to change in the 1300s especially in Florence. The gures started to obtain a greater sense of realism, volume and expression. This reected the shift in society to a more humanistic community, an anthropocentric world, which accorded greater attention to the present. Due to the increase in trade and good harvests, there was a renewal in urban centres, which in turn led to an increase in communication, a desire for law and order and a communal identity. A shift of attention from the vertical to the horizontal, natural world took place. The natural world regained a value that had last been seen in antiquity. This shift is documented through the change in the representation of the people and space in painting. Baby Christ was depicted progressively more as a baby: young, chubby, reecting the meditation of his human nature and Madonna and Child from the medieval period, San his earthly suffering rather than his Remigio Church, Florence heavenly, eternal make-up. The artisan became the artist, as he was no longer ABOUT THE WRITER limited to iconic representations, but FREYA MIDDLETON is a private tour guide and writer who lives in Florence, Tuscany. freed from limitation. His originality You can read her blog online or learn more about her tours at www.freyasorence.com ! was set free. Q
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Can you spot these often missed street scenes and overlooked objects of Venice? Let Secret Venice guide you round the streets of San Marco


Salizada Pio X, Rialto Almost opposite the entrance to the church of San Bartolomeo at the foot of Rialto Bridge is a small sculpture of a head that can often pass unnoticed. In bronze, it is the old shop sign for the apothecary Alla Testa dOro (At the Golden Head) and dates from an era when a substantial part of the population was illiterate and had no other way of identifying the shop. We do not know exactly whom the artist took as his inspiration for this depiction of a rather haughty, determined face crowned with laurel leaves. Perhaps it was Virgilio Zorzi, one of the former owners of the apothecary shop, or perhaps it was an imaginary portrait of Andromache or Mithridates. On the wall, you can also see a fragment of an inscription which refers to Theriaca dAndromaco. A sort of universal panacea believed to be efcacious against any number of ills, teriaca was a speciality of this spezieria as early as 1603. In fact, its teriaca was considered the best in the city, thus Alla Testa dOro was authorised to manufacture the potion three times a year, whilst all the other licensed apothecaries in Venice could only do so once a year. After the Fall of the Venetian Republic in 1797, this apothecary was the only one to go on producing teriaca. It would continue to do so right into the 20th century, even if the recipe was simplied. For example, when regulations regarding pharmaceutical products were introduced in the 1940s, teriaca could no longer include opium, an ingredient that had originally been included for its analgesic properties.

Custodian of the secrets of a universal panacea

SIGHTS NEARBY THE GRAFFITI IN THE FONDACO DEI TEDESCHI The Fondaco dei Tedeschi formerly housed the warehouses, exchange and residence facilities (more than 200 rooms) for merchants from Germany, Austria, Hungary and the north of Europe in general. The interior courtyard was laid out on three oors, the corridors visible through arcades (so the Venetians could keep the activities within under easy surveillance). On the rst oor, alongside the monumental clock, there are bits of grafti carved into the parapets. These include the schema for a game of Nine Mens Morris, which here seems more likely to be an esoteric symbol than the simple outline of a game.


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There are other reminders of the Bajamonte Tiepolo conspiracy in Venice. An engraved stone in Campo San Agostino (near Campo San Polo) identies the location of Bajamontes house, which was demolished. In its place, a column of infamy recording his crime was initially set up. It was then replaced with the paving stone that recalls the episode. Other traces are the marks that were set on the homes of each of the conspirators as well as the emblems of the confraternities that helped bring about the defeat of the conspiration, on campo San Luca.


Corte del Teatro, San Luca Halfway up a house in Corte del Teatro, there is a curious marble sculpture of an old womans head, which originally seems to have been the shop sign of the Farmacia La Vecchia in Campo San Polo. There is an amusing story about it. A miserly old woman (vecchia) of the parish of San Paternian used to hide her money in the lining of an old cloak that she kept in the attic. One winters day, her son, Vincenzo Quardio, knowing nothing about the hiding place, took pity on a local pauper and gave him the cloak. A week later, the woman went to add to her savings but could not nd the garment. To convince her son to go and get it back, she told him that it contained all the money that she had intended to leave to him. The son then set out in search of the pauper, even disguising himself as a beggar on the steps of Rialto Bridge. Finally, he found him and, voicing charitable concern about the bitter cold, suggested a swap: his own thick cloak for the threadbare one he had given him before. With the money he got back, the son was then able to open a ourishing apothecarys business, the rear of which was decorated by a sculpture showing his mother seated and himself standing. These days, all you can see of the high-relief is the womans head, anked by an image of a cedar tree (the shop sign of another nearby apothecary that has since disappeared), the arms of the Bembo and Moro families, and the crest of the Confraternity of San Rocco. In the 16th century, this house had passed from the Bembo to the Moro and then to the confraternity.


The good, the poor and the miserly

SIGHTS NEARBY THE EMBLEMS ON THE FLAG POLE IN CAMPO SAN LUCA On the base of the ag pole in Campo San Luca are the emblems of the two confraternities that played a part in defeating the conspiracy led by Bajamonte Tiepolo: the Scuola della Carit (Confraternity of Charity) and the Scuola dei Pittori (Guild of Painters).

Mercerie, at the corner of the Sotoportego del Cappello Mercerie, 149 Often overlooked, this sculpted plaque just a few steps from St Marks Square is a reminder of a remarkable incident in the history of the Venetian Republic that took place on 15 June 1310. In order to overthrow Doge Pietro Gradenigo, the Tiepolo and Querini families banded together with various other aristocratic families in a plot led by one Bajamonte Tiepolo. However, things did not go as planned. Forewarned by informers, the doges guards cut off access to the Palace and ghting started in St Marks Square. Soon, the rebels had to beat a hasty retreat, making for the Rialto via the Mercerie. Looking out on these events from her balcony at the beginning of that street, an old woman whom some records identify simply as Giustina, others as Lucia Rossi dropped a heavy mortar onto the eeing rebels, hitting Bajamonte Tiepolos standard-bearer and killing him on the spot. The old woman subsequently asked for a reward for her derring-do, requesting that thereafter, on 15 June and all public holidays, she be allowed to hang the banner of St Mark from her balcony, and that the rent for her house never be raised (neither for her nor her daughters after her). A municent ruler, the doge accepted her requests, and ruled that the xed rent should be enjoyed by the old womans heirs in perpetuity. More than 500 years later, in 1861, the sole occupant of the house, Elia Vivante Mussati, had this plaque carved. Bearing the date of the rebellion, it depicts the old woman throwing the mortar. Directly below the sculpted plaque in St Marks is a small white stone indicating where the mortar fell. It also shows the date in Roman numerals.

38 ITALIA! February 2014


Palazzo Loredan, Riva del Carbon Looking at Palazzo Loredan, the second column in from the left has a grafti depiction of a man with a long pipe. It is inspired by the remarkable legend of a local sherman called Biagio. A rm favourite with one and all, this old man used to spend a lot of time outside Palazzo Loredan, touting for small jobs amongst the residents of the district. During the moments of rest that he allowed himself, he liked to stand and look out along the canal whilst smoking his pipe. One day, however, when the city was very quiet, the wake left by a passing gondola suddenly turned red. The waters of the canal parted, leaving the gondola suspended in midair, whilst the panic-stricken gondolier dived to one side and swam to the bank. At this point two enormous black arms ending in terrible claws came out of the water and snatched away the felze (the small cabin that used to be located at the centre of a gondola). Biagio caught a glimpse of two young girls seized by the claws, whilst a monstrous, twin-horned head emerged from the water. Biagio had no doubt that it was Satan himself. Later, it emerged that the two young girls were members of the Gradenigo family, and it was said that Satan was probably taking revenge upon their father, whose dabbling in the secrets of magic had unwittingly offered the Devil the chance to seize hold of these innocent souls. Faced with this terrifying spectacle, Biagio did not think twice. He hurled his pipe into the water and yelled at Satan to take him rather than the two girls, extending his arms to show that he offered himself in sacrice. Now it was Satans turn to mock Biagio for believing he was some sort of Christ gure. However, he did promise to release the two girls if Biagios extended arms could embrace the entire world. No sooner had he said this than Biagios arms were painlessly detached from his body and, followed by a host of cherubim, ew off in either direction around the globe. The Devil was left speechless and released the two girls, leaving untouched the old Biagio, whom God had protected.
February 2014 ITALIA! 39


SIGHTS NEARBY THE PLAQUE OF THE FIRST FEMALE GRADUATE On the wall of Palazzo Cavalli, at the corner of Riva del Carbon and Calle Cavalli, a plaque placed about four metres high recalls the fact that the rst woman in the world to graduate from a university was born here in Venice, in 1646. Elena Lucrezia Cornaro Piscopia graduated from the University of Padua (then under Venetian rule) with a degree in philosophy in 1678. The rst university to welcome female students opened in Zurich in 1867.

Biagios miraculous sacrifice




An alchemical symbol of the search for Philosophers Gold

Palazzo Morosini, Campo Santo Stefano, San Marco 2802 The main entrance of Palazzo Morosini gives onto Campo Santo Stefano, whilst the other side of the building is bound by the Rio Del Santissimo. Although there is a bridge over the small rio, it is nevertheless difcult to see the amazing sculptures that decorate this side of the building. You either have to have your own boat or else ask the gondolier to halt here as you go past. One of the sculptures is a surprising depiction of a winged horse anked by two winged gryphons. The horse is Pegasus, an animal which in Greek mythology was said to have been born from the blood of Medusa after Perseus beheaded the monster. Where Pegasus hoof struck the ground of Mount Helicon, it caused water to ow forth. This Horse Spring (Hippocrene) would become identied as the source of poetic inspiration and associated with the immortality of poetry. Pegasus was subsequently immortalised by Zeus, who turned him into the constellation Pegasus within the northern hemisphere. Ultimately, the winged horse would also become a symbol of the Primordial Tradition of Alchemy, its anks said to be made of gold (a reference to the Philosophers Gold which was the ultimate aim of the Great Work of Alchemy). It is no accident that this sculpture is placed here, over a very quiet canal. It symbolises Divine Wisdom, referring to Pegasus ability to create, with a mere blow of its hoof, a miraculous spring that can give humans immortality. This divine wisdom is also represented by the two winged gryphons alongside. They symbolise the phase of sublimation in alchemy. Traditionally, these creatures were said to mate with a mare, the fruit of the union being a hippogryph. There is a medieval expression, Jungentur jam grypes equis, which means to cross a gryphon with a horse and was used to refer to something that was considered impossible. Hence, the hippogryph symbolises both love and impossibility. In medieval legends, this imaginary animal was often associated with knights in love with a lady who was impossible to conquer. Similarly, it would become the symbol of those engaged in the magical arts, who achieved the apparently impossible by submitting the material to the laws of the spiritual.
40 ITALIA! February 2014

In the upper gallery of the Doges Palace, two pink columns stand amongst all the other white ones. Legend has it that the doge used to stand between these two during ofcial ceremonies. It was also from here that death sentences were announced to the crowd below (the pink thus recalling the colour of blood). The most common place for the gallows was between the two columns overlooking the waterfront in the Piazzetta. Across the far side of St Marks Square was the clock tower, and so the condemned man could see the exact time of his demise. St Marks bell tower itself was sometimes used for punishments, when a cage (cheba) containing convicted criminals was hung from a point halfway up the structure.

SIGHTS NEARBY THE LAMPS OF THE DOGES PALACE On the southwest side of the Doges Palace are two small lamps that are always kept lit. They commemorate one of the rare occasions when the Republic admitted to a miscarriage of justice. One morning, as he was going to his bakery, baker Piero Tasca tripped over an object lying on the gleaming agstones. Bending down to pick it up, he saw it was the sheath of a dagger. A few feet away lay the body of a man. Tasca was arrested for his murder, ultimately confessing under torture and consequently executed on 22 March 1507, opposite the south side of the basilica. The real murderer was discovered shortly after his execution. TRACES OF AN OLD WELL IN ST MARKS SQUARE A dozen or so metres in front of Caff Florian (slightly to the right), a discreet inscription marks the site of the last public well to exist in St Marks Square. THE AXIS OF THE BASILICA St Marks Basilica is not aligned with St Marks Square. Under the arcades in the square, opposite Sotoportego de lArco Celeste, is a metal medallion indicating the exact line of the basilicas axis.

SIGHTS NEARBY THE ONLY UNDERGROUND CANAL IN VENICE If you have your own boat or want to add to the wealth of one of the gondoliers you can enjoy the thrill of travelling along the one underground canal in Venice, a stretch of the Rio del Santissimo that passes right under the choir of the Church of Santo Stefano. The place is also well-known to young Venetians, who come here to smoke without being disturbed. At high tide, be ! careful not to hit your head! Q


These sights are taken from Secret Venice by Thomas Jonglez and Paola Zoffoli, published by Jonglez. You can buy the book for 13.99 in all good book stores or visit www. jonglezpublishing. com







Itays Green Heart is extraordinarily rich in natural beauty, culture and history, yet it is often overlooked on the typical tourists itinerary



This is a truly a unique house. You wouldnt know it to look at it now, but it is in fact a former pigsty! It has been thoughtfully converted and now features high wooden-beamed ceilings and lots of windows. The house is situated in a little hamlet where there is a good restaurant and a bed and breakfast and is just a ve minute walk from the centre of the town of SantArcangelo, where there are all the services and facilities you will require. The lake is right there too. The house has a large living area with replace, a little kitchen, a bathroom and a bedroom as well as the most amazing roofed terrace with incredible views of the lake. Price 105,000 Contact  +39 075 837 8011 www.ilcastelloditara.com



Despite its central location and famous attractions, Umbria is rarely part of the usual tourist itinerary. It is that special place you choose to go to because, within a drive of an hour or two from Rome, Florence, Assisi or Siena, you can still feel like an explorer. Umbria is the home of Saint Francis and Saint Benedict. It is the home of great artists like Perugino and Pinturicchio. Lake Trasimeno, the fourth largest lake in Italy, is of amazing beauty and also happens to be pretty historic: in the Battle of Lake Trasimeno in 217 BC, Hannibal defeated the Romans with one of the biggest, most successful military ambushes in history. And nally Panicale, an idyllic Italian village: an intact medieval microcosm and a living town together, where increasing numbers of people are returning to live because of its special atmosphere, local customs, traditions and way of life, one that is worth savouring. Il Castello di Tara Piazza Umberto I, 5 Panicale (PG)  +39 075 837 8011 www.ilcastelloditara.com



Reaching Podere Margherita is like nding a hidden treasure. It sits in the midst of hills and sunowers, in an exceedingly panoramic and suggestive position on a little hill not far from Chiusi Lake. It is surrounded by greenery and walnut trees, and the garden directly around the house is beautifully landscaped with little outdoors areas to catch the best moments of the day and of the seasons. There is a big, open-space living area, three bedrooms and three bathrooms, as well as a lovely swimming pool. The house itself is impregnated with history with its little tower on the roof; it dates back to the 14th century and maintains all its original character. Price 675,000 Contact  +39 075 837 8011 www.ilcastelloditara.com

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WorldMags.net Il Castello di Tara

For a mans home is his castle
Italy has a green heart: Umbria being its centre with an abundance of historical medieval hamlets, hills dotted with olive groves and grape vines divided by stunning lines of ancient Cyprus trees with elds of bright yellow sunowers. The birth place of the Renaissance art movement, home to Saint Francis the patron saint of Italy, stunning walled cities not to mention the delicious home-made food which is Tipico of the region and of course excellent wine Truly the ideal location for your new home. Fall under the Umbrian spell and buy the house of your dreams! We will assist you right from your initial property search through to completion (and after too!). Visit our website or come and say hello; we are based in the beautiful hilltop village of Panicale.

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Email us at lindatravella@hotmail.co.uk or call us on +44 (0)1322 660988 visit us at www.casatravella.com

Langa hill. Superb property in a commanding location sitting within 2 hectares Moscato vineyard. The property has been tastefully restored, enjoys fantastic views and has a stunning swimming pool.

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Monferrato hills. Tastefully renovated piedmontese Cascina surrounded by more than 2 hectares land, in very good shape, with nice views on rolling hills and woods. This L-shaped house is composed of a main apartment, with four spacious bedrooms, and a guest accomodation. MUST SEE! Visit our website for other listings, and arrange your viewing tour now!

We offer a full service, from choosing your dream property in Italy, following all steps of the purchase, including the relocating service! Book now your viewing tour of our properties! call now 0039 3283792917 or email info@verdeabitare.it via Bogliolo 6 - 14047 Mombercelli - AT www.verdeabitare.it



Sebastian Cresswell-Turner discovers the delights of the Umbrian town of Norcia, a gastronomic capital in the untouched national park of the Sybilline Mountains...

Photography Hannah Bellis

The village of Castelluccio in the Sybilline Mountains is the highest permanently inhabited village in Italy

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eparated from the rest of Italy by a four-kilometrelong tunnel to the west and by the Sybilline Mountains to the east, the quiet provincial town of Norcia belongs to a slower, bygone age; whereas nearby, high in vast upland plains, which are snow-clad for much of the year, you nd yourself not just in another age, but in another world altogether. Here, far away from the ordinary concerns of life, you might nd yourself wondering whether you have stumbled across Shangri-La. And yet you are in central Italy. Siamo stati un po dimenticati, said our hostess Anna Bianconi, the matriarch of the most prominent family hereabouts, as she reected wistfully on the numerous unsung attractions of her town. We have been rather forgotten.

Snowshoes are essential for winter trekking The smooth skin of an autumn black trufe alongside a rugged winter specimen

PALAZZO SENECA Via Cesare Battisti 10, Norcia  +39 0743 817434 www.palazzoseneca.com Palazzo Seneca has rooms from 120 per night including breakfast and entrance to the spa. To book visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call 0845 034 0700. EasyJet ights from London Gatwick to Rome Fiumicino cost from 61 return and return transfers from Rome to Norcia (Palazzo Seneca) cost 560 (470) for up to four people.

For winter hiking in the mountains, where the temperature can easily fall to -15C or lower Proper waterproof walking boots Proper trousers, jacket and jumper Scarf, gloves and hat with ear-aps Dark glasses, sun cream and lip balm Rucksack and snowshoes (though your guide may lend you these). For summer hiking: the usual gear. All the year round: leave plenty of room in your suitcase for local gastronomic specialities to take back home.

That, however, is ne by me; because if your idea of the perfect holiday is to spend the days hiking in countryside of unsurpassed grandeur and working up an appetite that will be satised in any number of excellent local restaurants, then Norcia is ideal. Indeed, not only is this unspoiled Umbrian retreat a perfect base for extended mountain treks all the year round, it is also one of Italys most venerable gastronomic destinations. Yet it is almost totally unknown to English-speaking travellers. TO THE MOUNTAINS For much of the two-hour drive northwards from Rome, you are in familiar territory. As you climb into the foothills of the Apennines which form the backbone of Italy, the countryside becomes more and more grand, offering glimpses of hilltop

towns in the distance before you come to the huge medieval castle above Spoleto. Shortly afterwards, you enter the long Forca di Cerro tunnel, from which you emerge into what seems almost a different country, noticeably wilder and more sparsely populated. By now more or less free of trafc, the road winds its way upwards, and by the time you reach the ancient Roman town of Norcia, you might be a thousand miles away from anywhere. Come here in the winter, and the streets are slippery with ice and the stars shine above you in the clear night sky, whilst the empty main square, framed by a Benedictine basilica, a Renaissance town hall and a doughty stone fortress, is the stuff of picture postcards. For those wishing to spoil themselves, the place to stay is the recently refurbished 16th-century

46 ITALIA! February 2014


ham. The town is also renowned for its cheeses, especially for its tangy pecorino, and for its dried lentils. It is, in short, a gastronomes delight. Directed by the unappable Flavio, we started off, appropriately enough, by making a lentil soup, served up with mushroom bruschetta with ricotta shavings; and then made our own pasta as a prelude to preparing taglietelle alla salsa norcina, a local speciality served up with trufe shavings. We ate both of these dishes, accompanied by a glass of wine. They were delicious. Again appropriately, the afternoon was given over to a trufe-hunting excursion, and as we drove up into the hills above Norcia, accompanied by Lulu, a frisky cocker spaniel whose job was to sniff out this luxurious item for which the town is renowned, we learnt the basics.

Again appropriately, the afternoon was given over to a truffle-hunting excursion

For mountain trekking you need an experienced guide like Francesco Capozucca Lulu the dog is rewarded for nding a trufe

Palazzo Seneca, with a library, a huge stone replace in the sitting room, and state-of-the-art marble-lined bathrooms throughout. Here, we were greeted by Signora Bianconi, who, on this cold winters night, was wearing an ankle-length fur-lined cape; and ten minutes later, we were seated at a large table in the Granaro del Monte restaurant across the road, the head waiter having received strict instructions to treat us as honoured guests. Linen tablecloths, an open re, good local red wine at 5 per litre, and a plate of Norcias delicious ham even as the antipasto was placed in front of us in this restaurant founded in 1850, London was a distant memory. When I woke up the next morning, it was to an almost eerie silence; and opening the shutters, I realised why. At 600 metres above

sea level, you are surrounded, in the winter months, by mountains covered in snow that mufes all sounds. Indeed, in winter as in summer, the unspoiled mountain countryside near Norcia is one of the towns two main attractions. The other is food GOURMET NORCIA It was soon time for a cookery lesson given by Flavio Faedi, the head chef at the Palazzo Seneca, at a cost of 90 per person for a two-hour session. As Flavio explained to us in his uent English, Norcia is the Italian capital of black trufes, just as the Piedmontese town of Alba is the capital of white trufes. Since Roman times, it has also been famous for its cured meat hams, saugages and salami. Indeed, it was from the people of Norcia that the inhabitants of Parma learnt how to cure their own


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Sertorio, in which every second shop is a delicatessen, the prices on the whole surprisingly reasonable. And thats pretty much it except for one attraction which most people dont bother with, but which I found magical, because Norcia is one of the very few towns in Italy whose fortied walls are entirely intact. Not only can you follow these in an unbroken circle round the whole town, but in many places you can see the Ancient Roman walls that form the foundations for the later 13th-century ones. MAJESTIC COUNTRYSIDE Otherwise, Norcia serves as a base for exploring the majestic countryside of the Sybilline Mountains, a huge nature reserve whose upper reaches are generally snow-bound from midNovember until Easter. Come here in the winter months, as we did, and you will need to be accompanied by a qualied guide. I cannot recommend Francesco Capozucca warmly enough (www. vagogiro.it). He, too, speaks excellent English, and barely a couple of hours after he picked us up from the hotel, we had put on snowshoes provided by him, had climbed high above the mountain village of Castelluccio, and at 2,000 metres above sea-level were pausing to admire a view of unimaginable grandeur. Suspended in the frozen air, particles of ice glistened in the sunlight, and the silence was total. We had found Shangri-La. Come here in the summer, on the other hand, and there are numerous panoramic hiking routes. Perhaps best of all, you can climb up Monte Vettore, the highest mountain in the vicinity, and watch the sun rise over the Adriatic Sea to the east.

Lulu and her master, Nicola

Come here in the summer, on the other hand, and there are numerous hiking routes
Found in lightly-wooded,
uncultivated land 600 to 1,200 metres above sea level, the black trufe is a fungus that attaches itself to the roots of the host tree, generally a scrub oak, although it also likes hazlenut trees and juniper bushes. There are three types: the summer trufe, the autumn trufe and the winter trufe; the rst being the least special and the last the most special, retailing at about 1,500 per kilo; and the trufe-hunting season lasts, on and off, from June to March. In spite of the snow, Lulu found two of these prized objects small bits of coal whose pungent aroma pierced the winter air. Back in Norcia, you rapidly realise that it is indeed a small provincial town with not a great deal going on. For some reason, there are rather a lot of banks. Theres the main Corso

There is a huge contrast of temperature between sun and shade

48 ITALIA! February 2014


After which, you might return to Castelluccio for lunch on the terrace of the Dal Capitano restaurant (closed in winter), from which the view over the vast Pian Grande plain below is one of the most spectacular in the whole of Italy. Nor can you afford to miss the isolated abbey of SantEutizio, a short drive northwards from Norcia. Founded in 470 AD, this was one of the most illustrious religious establishments of the Middle Ages; and the Benedictine monks here developed a skill in surgery that they passed on to the inhabitants of nearby Preci, so that it was a local surgeon called Cesare Scacchi who was called to England in 1588 to operate on the cataracts of Queen Elizabeth I. More importantly for the modern traveller, the Guaita SantEutizio restaurant, right by the walls of the monastery, offers excellent, wellpriced local fare. Then it is back to Norcia. Here, at 7.45 every evening, in the basilica on the main square, the Benedictine monks chant the words of Compline, the last of nine daily services of prayers, and all are welcome. After which, you might treat yourself to a meal in the Vespasia restaurant, attached to the Palazzo Seneca, where you cannot go wrong with their tender local lamb washed down by the excellent local Montefalco Rosso. And before you leave, it would be a crime not to taste the local Nursia beer, which for centuries has been brewed by the Benedictine monks here, and also to ll your suitcase with as many of the local specialities as it will carry. No Italian visiting this town ! would dream of doing otherwise. Q

RISTORANTE GRANARO DEL MONTE via Aleri 12, Norcia  +39 0743 816513 Traditional cuisine, simply and inexpensively served in elegant surroundings. Try the meat from a woodred brazier, or the delicious local cheese plate the pecorino is especially good. DAL CAPITANO via del Pian Grande, 2 Castelluccio di Norcia +39 0743 821159 In the summer, this place really shines, with a fantastic terrace overlooking Piano Grande. In the winter its a good place to warm up in after a walk with their fabulous hot chocolate, which is almost a hot chocolate custard. RISTORANTE GUAITA SANTEUTIZIO outside the Abbazia di SantEutizio, near Preci  +39 0743 939319 www.ristoranteguaita.it After a visit to the impressive abbey, visit this venerated eatery offering well-priced local fare. RISTORANTE VESPASIA via Cesare Battisti 10, Norcia  +39 0743 817434 www.palazzoseneca.com This gourmet restaurant offers ne dining cuisine showcasing the best of the local specialities inside Palazzo Seneca. Chef Flavio Faedi spins trufes and prosciutto into elegant plates.

The statue of San Benedicto in Norcias main square

BY CAR For those wishing to explore the region independently, by far the best solution is to hire a car and drive. Otherwise, Palazzo Seneca can arrange transfers from the nearest airports at Rome, Florence or Perugia. Alternatively, take the train to Spoleto and then a taxi to Norcia (about 60). Details of public transport can be found at www.umbriamobilita.it

The medieval walls around Norcia, with the Roman wall visible below

Gourmet trufe treats at Vesperia


February 2014 ITALIA! 49





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Thinking of taking the plunge and relocating to Italy? Get some advice from our experienced experts theyll make the move a much smoother process for you

The rst step in the relocating process is nding the right house, and, depending on the house you choose, restoring it or updating it. At Property for Sale Marche weve got you covered on that rst crucial step. Were the trusted source for Le Marche property search and restoration services, offering a full range of quality properties of all types and budget ranges, sourced directly through owners or our network of trusted agents. And, when that rst step is behind you, we can help you with your relocation, based on the simple fact that we, too, have relocated to Italy and have faced many of the same challenges, from arranging for delivery of household items to getting an insurance agent and enrolling children in school. Weve even sourced language tutors, car mechanics and people to harvest olives and grapes for our clients! A welcome part of living in Italy, here in Le Marche in particular, is the genuine kindness of the local people. So, while we like to think were a big help to you, youll also nd your Italian neighbours will be indispensable in helping you get settled into your new life.

For native English speakers, who have always found it difcult to learn Italian due to the grammatical and phonetic differences between the two languages, its a good idea to attend a language course before leaving. This will make it much easier to t into Italian daily life, while it would also be a wise decision to continue studying the language once in Italy. It is important to choose the right school for example, one belonging to ASILS (www. asils.it) or to AIL (www. acad.it) because, as well as improving your language skills, it could give you the chance to meet other people who are going through the same experiences. A good school offers a wide range of courses individual courses, group courses, courses for companies, children and adolescents and makes a network of consultants available who can help students solve problems in their everyday lives. Last but not least, the recreational activities organised by the school provide opportunities to make new friends, which is psychologically reassuring, especially for women who have to move to Italy because of their husbands job.

MARCHE HOMES DIRECT Kevin L Gibney  +39 347 538 6668 www.propertyforsalemarche.com info@propertyforsalemarche.com

ABBEY SCHOOL Chiara Avidano www.ciaoitaly-turin.com info@ciaoitaly-turin.com  +39 011 56 94 775

Italys luxury property market has been attracting considerable interest recently, but if you dont have access to millions of euros to invest, fractional ownership is a great option. Appassionata has rst hand experience of how well Italys luxury property market has operated during the past two years. Our four-bedroom property, Casa Giacomo, is sold out and the ve-bedroom, vebathroom Casa Leopardi, which comes with its own pool and ve acres of vineyards and olive groves, lavender plantation and trufe orchard, has been in hot demand, with only one share remaining. Designed as the ultimate luxury holiday home, Casa Leopardi is beautiful on the inside as well as the outside each last tile and antique chandelier adds to the propertys overall charm. Casa Leopardi is a fractional ownership property, divided into ten shares. Each share provides the owner with ve weeks exclusive use of the house per year, along with the organic produce grown on the estate. This arrangement means owners can arrive at their property, put their bags down and start enjoying their holiday immediately.

De Benetti & Co. is an Italian law rm providing full and qualied legal assistance to international clients who plan to relocate to Italy. We can follow our clients step by step during the whole buying process, starting from the negotiation until the completion of the purchase, drafting all deeds in English, from the buying proposal, through the preliminary contract to the nal conveyance deed. We are able to provide independent surveys on the properties to be purchased, assistance in obtaining mortgages, as well as tax advice in order to take advantage of the lower purchase tax rate and benets reserved to rst-time buyers relocating to Italy. We can deal with any other aspects such as opening a bank account, obtaining an Italian tax code, arranging for a resident permit and an Italian identity card, guiding our clients through the best options for their health care and insurance. Our law practice is also specialised in wills drafting and the accomplishment of the inheritance scal procedure. Avv. Massimiliano De Benetti is the senior partner of De Benetti & Co Law Practice.

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DE BENETTI & CO. LAW FIRM Massimiliano De Benetti  +39 3497 150 314 +39 0497 994 546 www.debenettilaw.com m.debenetti@debenettilaw.com



February 2014 ITALIA! 53



Gourmet Cycling in Piedmont

here do we leave the bikes? I gasped, having nally regained enough breath to ascertain that this was indeed our home for the night. Take the rst right down the road and youll see a Her voice trailed off as she looked down at Jill, my cycling partner for the week, collapsed in a chair in reception, and registered the horror on both of our faces at the thought of even seeing our bikes again that day, let alone having to ride them. Dont worry, well sort the bikes out. Let me show you to your rooms. It had been an amazing days cycling, but the last 30-minute uphill slog had just about nished us off.


I cycle relatively regularly a couple of times a week as a rule although admittedly not very far
I cycle relatively regularly, a couple of times a week as a rule, although admittedly not very far. Oh, and I eat three times a day as a minimum, and probably a little too much. So when Headwater invited me to try out their gourmet cycling tour of Piedmont, Id packed my padded cycling shorts quicker than you can say la dolce vita! Stunning scenery, more vino than my local wine merchants, Michelin-starred restaurants and some pretty special looking hotels along the way. Oh, and hills. Lots of hills as I found out luckily only after committing to the trip. Piedmont derives its name from the Latin pedimontium, meaning at the foot of the mountains and, with a landmass that comprises over 40 per cent mountains and 30 per cent hills, its a pretty undulating area to say the least. Actually, its pretty full stop: almost Tuscan with its rolling hills, and vine-covered expanses. The second largest region in Italy, it is spectacularly framed on three sides by the Alps and bordered by France, Switzerland and Lombardy (and to a lesser extent by Liguria and the Aosta Valley). Home to world-class wine: the awardwinning Barolo, a dry and massively bodied but velvety smooth red; and whites including Asti and Moscato not to mention being the birthplace of the Slow Food Movement, Piedmont is a food and wine lovers dream. In opposition to the invasion of fast food outlets in the 80s, Piedmont put up a ght for its local

She registered the horror on our faces at the thought of even seeing our bikes again that day, let alone riding them
Keen to sample the delights of Barolo at her own pace, Liz Harper headed out to Piedmont with a friend for an organised, but self-guided cycling tour

Photography Liz Harper


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Theres a real Tuscan feel to parts of Piedmont

T he next morning, following a short bicycle familiarisation session and a briefing on puncture repairs from Marc,
producers by promoting local artisans,
local farmers, local avours and local food production and in doing so secured the regions place on the world food map. property surrounded by vines and hazelnut trees and with views of the Monviso Alps. A quick suitcase dump (no point in unpacking when youre moving on every day) and then to the restaurant to start the week as we intended to go on: eating sensational food, on this particular occasion in the hotels Michelin-starred restaurant. The next morning, and following a short bicycle familiarisation session and a brieng on puncture repairs from Marc, we loaded our luggage into the van, had a quick peruse of the days cycling directions and maps, and were off. As we made the gentle climb out of Benevello, the snow-topped Alps catching the light of the sun in the distance, we heard an encouraging cuckoo call from across the valley. The countryside was reminiscent of Tuscany, and yet quieter much, much quieter. Ten kilometres of fairly easy going cycling (and just two cars) later we reached the small town of Treiso and our rst Prosecco stop of the day. It was also the rst of many surprises of the week My Italian is poor to say the least, but I loved the fact that our waitress at Il Profumo di Vino spoke no English. I was a little concerned, however, when an order for two small Proseccos turned into not only delivery of a freshly opened bottle of the bubbly stuff but also a crisp white linen tablecloth and tray of delicious canaps. Certain that this was going to cost us, but almost enjoying the experience too much to care, we sat back and listened to the tolls of the rusty

ELASTICATED WAISTBANDS Headwaters proposition is simple: they do all the research, planning, organisation, bookings and supply the bikes; you cycle. They do their part of the deal incredibly well. The rest? Well thats really up to you. (Or in this case, to me!) So it was with great excitement that, with elasticated waist bands and empty stomachs, we met the Headwater team, Marsha and Marc, at Turin airport and headed off to our home for night one. The Relais Villa DAmelia in Benevello is a beautifully renovated 18th century

If we d stopped every time an opportunity to taste the local wines presented itself, we d probably still be there now.
The pretty cobbles of Monforte dAlba Breakfast with a view at Casa Pavesi, Grinzane Cavour

56 ITALIA! February 2014



Team Barolo!

You are free to cycle at your own pace

we loaded our luggage into the van, had a quick peruse of the days cycling directions and maps, and were off
church bells and watched the passers-by as we sipped the local tipple. When it came to settling up, our little bubble and exquisite snack interlude had cost us a grand total of 10. Three weeks earlier Id paid more than that for two glasses of water on a visit to Florence. This region may have a Tuscan feel to it, but it certainly comes without the tourists and exuberant price tags. Marsha and Marc had encouraged us to take a small diversion from the days route to visit the picturesque town of Neive. Weighing up the steep climb to the centre warning versus the one of the most beautiful villages in Italy claim, we took a gamble that the climb was going to be worth the effort and set off towards the historic centre. The climb was short and the gamble more than paid off with us cycling into the beautifully picturesque and cobbled centro storico and exploring all the villages little nooks and alleyways. After soaking up the views from the highest point in the village, we settled down to our rst ravioli of the week at Ristorante Contea. If wed stopped every time an opportunity to taste the local wines presented itself, wed probably still be there now. We made the decision (a very grown up one at that) to do our tastings when we stopped for lunch, or at the end of the day. That evening we almost cycled straight past the gates of Albergo Castiglione in Castiglione Tinella, a beautiful hotel with cream faade and pale blue shutters, nestling behind metal gates. Unlike the 1960s erected church in the village centre, which seemed way out of proportion to its predecessor, home and surroundings, the hotel had no pretensions about it, and the bursting of owers from the many pots in the driveway and window boxes was only overshadowed by the friendliness of greeting when we arrived, and the bliss of the swimming pool, with its panoramic views, at the end of a days cycling. Most of the mornings cycling on day two was on the Pista Ciclabile del Tanaro (the Tanaro cycle path), which runs alongside the Tanaro River towards Alba. The capital of the Langhe region, Alba is a bustling town with the obligatory central square, Piazza Risorgimento, and a labyrinth of streets and alleyways homing everything

We made the decision (a very grown up one at that) to do our tastings at lunch, or at the end of the day
Rolling hills of symmetrical vines


February 2014 ITALIA! 57


Cycling up into Neive

Barolo: home of the most famous red in the region. In a town dominated by its wine, it would have been rude to ride
from designer fashion labels to gourmet
delicacies. Its also home to the Ferrero Rocher factory, producers of not only the ambassadors favourite chocolates, but also Nutella. Had there been a visitor centre or tasting area we may never have left, but lack of either forced us to move on. The impressive 11th century castle dominated the hilltop and village of Grinzane Cavour, and looked down on our resting place for the night, Casa Pavesi. My room (a suite by most hotel standards) was spacious and opulent and had two large windows overlooking the surrounding countryside and vine-covered hills. Breakfast the following morning was served on the outside terrace by the wonderful Paola, whose horror at my tipping an espresso into my steamed milk caused much hilarity. A British heathen? Guilty as charged! Day three had us cycling up into yet another beautifully picturesque hilltop town, Barolo: home of the most famous red in the region. In a town dominated by its wine, it would have been rude to ride through without stopping off for a little tasting, surely Barolo is revered the world over. To be sampling it on home turf was special. STEADY CLIMB While we would have happily settled in for the evening, we still had another nine kilometres to go, so we set off again on a steady climb away from the already elevated Barolo towards home that night in Monforte dAlba. After a couple of lovely long downhill runs, we reached the nal climb of the day. We had been warned it was a long one! Monforte dAlba is a wonderfully quirky little town with steep little roads and alleyways leading off the main square in all directions. Its got an arty vibe to it and plenty of galleries interspersed amongst the enotecas. Reaching the main square, however, was a red herring, with a further 30-minute climb up out of the village to the glorious 18th century Hotel Villa Beccaris. Too tired to even park our own bikes but with an immense sense of satisfaction and having loved every minute (yes, even the uphill minutes!) we collapsed into reception. The self-guided aspect of this holiday means you set your own timings: stopping to sightsee, wine taste, eat (or even just catch

T his trip isnt for hardcore cycling enthusiasts, but if youre reasonably fit, love the outdoors and love to explore
The Castle at Grinzane Cavour

58 ITALIA! February 2014


While this tour isnt for hardcore cyclists, there is a fair amount of uphill cycling so a reasonable level of tness is required. As youll be spending a number of hours in the saddle each day, invest in some padded cycling shorts. Do not fear if youre a little uncomfortable with the lycra look, many styles can be work under normal clothing! While Headwater do provide water bottles, there are no clippings on the bike to hold them; they live in the panniers. Take a hydration backpack so youve always got instant access to water and are not having to stop every 20 minutes or so. Take your own cycling helmet, as theyre not supplied. You wont encounter much trafc but remember that you dont need trafc to have an accident. Always wear your cycling helmet!

Piazza Risorgimento, Alba

Quiet roads abound

through without stopping off for a little tasting, surely T o be sampling Barolo on home turf was special
your breath!) at your own pace. With your luggage collected and delivered to your next hotel each morning, and meticulously researched and selected places to eat booked each evening, your only requirement for the day is to get from A to B and you have all day to do it (and a back up truck if you really cant be bothered!) The scenery is simply stunning. This isnt an area for livestock; instead an everstretching, rolling landscape of perfectly symmetrical vines as far as the eye can see, amid clusters of hazelnut trees. It seems as though every village and town in the region is picture postcard perfect, all seemingly perched on hilltops with trademark church and castle. Yes, there are hills, but they go down as well as up and the long, sweeping downhill stretches more than make up for the effort required on the uphill climbs (drop the bike into rst gear and keep pedalling, or jump off and walk for a bit). Forget the frenzied, horn-blowing Italian driving that is so prevalent in other regions; we experienced very little. Instead, the sound of tractors, dogs barking and the ever-present cuckoo formed a fairly consistent backing track for the entire week. This trip isnt for hardcore cycling enthusiasts, but if youre reasonably t, love the outdoors and love to explore new places, this could be right up your street. Work hard during the day and then reap the rewards of your efforts with stays in beautiful hotels and indulging in some of the most deliciously waistband-expanding menus Ive ever encountered in all my visits to Italy. From the Michelin-starred experience of the Villa DAmelia in Benevello, where the presentation was exquisite and the food an explosion of avours in the mouth, to our wonderfully traditional but delicious dinner at the small, family-run Osteria Verde Rame in Castiglione Tinella, the food was, without exception, fabulous. In fact, it was ve pound weight gain despite all the cycling fabulous! We didnt have the rest days between each cycling day (which come as part of the normal tour) and therefore missed out on exploring this fascinating and seemingly undiscovered part of northern Italy. That might seem a shame, but actually it is just a ! good excuse for a return trip! Q

new places, this could be up your street. Work hard during the day and then reap the rewards of your efforts
Resting tired legs at the end of the day

Liz Harper travelled with Headwater on their eight-day Gastronomic Barolo Cycling Tour (condensing their standard trip into just 4 days). Visit www.headwater.com for further details. Prices start from 1,479 per person (tour only) / 1,647 by air-rail. Prices include: 8 nights half-board hotel accommodation (4 stars for 6 nights/3 stars for 2 nights) with gourmet menus throughout; bike hire, maps and route notes; local transfers and transport of bags between hotels; 24/7 local and UK support.


February 2014 ITALIA! 59



60 ITALIA! February 2014


This was once an important trading port, with two protected harbours, one on each side of the peninsula. Now all that remains of its grandeur are these mosaic oors


he ancient city of Nora, which once stood proud on a peninsula near Pula, on the southern coast of Sardinia, is believed to have been the islands rst permanent settlement. The city was founded in the 8th century BC by the Phoenicians, though there is evidence to indicate that the area may have been inhabited a long, long time before then. Time and the weather have taken their toll, as has geology: the southern end of Sardinia is slowly sinking into the Mediterranean, and a substantial part of Nora now lies buried under the sea. Q !


February 2014 ITALIA! 61

iStock photo

D I S C O V E R I TA L I A !

A Day Amongst The Olives

The olive harvest is a focal point in the Sardinian calendar. Native Sardinian Giulia Dessi visits the village of Seneghe to discover the secrets of its awardwinning olive oil, the envy of landowners across Sardinia and beyond


n days of festival, signs such as Seneghe maccu (crazy Seneghe) or Per la pazzia, di l (this way to foolishness) clutter the roads leading up to Seneghe, all erected by mischievous residents from neighbouring villages. Legend has it that one day, madness, under the guise of a beautiful woman, visited the village and bewitched every soul. Centuries have past and a seed of madness can still be traced in Seneghe, manifesting itself in the meticulous care they place in the olive harvest. Intrigued by the fame of the village, and curious about the origins of my everyday
62 ITALIA! February 2014

The villages new mill

Vincenzos olive trees

Team photo for Italia!

olive oil, I decided to see for myself one of the most fascinating rituals in all of Sardinia. Driving inland from the wind-torn west coast, Seneghe can be found perched on a hillside leading into the Montiferru mountain range. An expanse of more than 65,000 olive trees dominates the slopes above the village, while the valley below is carpeted with grape vines. Sunlight bathes this south-facing slope, and red oxen trudge lazily around the small patches of uncultivated land. It is a charming, but far from remarkable sight in fact, on the surface, there are countless villages across Italy that share these attributes. However,

for some reason, it is here that the conditions align to create the best olive oil in Sardinia, and doubtless far beyond. In the overgrown front garden of his house, I meet Vincenzo Carcangiu, a 75-year-old local olive farmer whose family boasts an ancient tradition of tending the olive groves. He is with his 28-year-old son, Sebastiano. Vincenzo owns about 300 olive trees, a modest vineyard, and a bar on the beach, built by himself, where he spends the months in between harvests. Your car is not t, he says, getting into his rickety white Fiat Panda and opening the passgenger door for me. Less


than a mile later, I understand why. His olive groves are located deep in the countryside, atop the hills which back the village, and access involves navigating a muddy, rut-strewn track. The Panda struggles on the steep uphill climb, but after a few minutes we are surrounded by olive groves, each separated from the other by a dry stone wall. Our rst stop is at the eld of the Sanna family. As we walk in, a clamorous mechanical arm grabs a nearby tree trunk and shakes it violently, until each and every olive drops onto the wide black sheets covering the soil. Two men assist by hitting the tree top with bamboo canes. Another two pull the sheets out once they are piled with fruit. Its impressive to see how smooth the work is; everyone has his role and proceeds without hesitation. Nello Usai, the man in charge of the arm-like contraption, turns to me mid-work and shouts: The system must be linear, to avoid time wasting in useless meandering. As the machine is hired, everything has to be done quickly in order to maximise the time. I look around and am struck by the absence of other women in the eld. Sheets are very heavy to carry, explains Vincenzo. Paradoxically, the introduction of the machine in the 90s excluded women from harvesting. When labour was only manual, men would hit the foliage with sticks, and women would bend over to handpick the olives from the ground. Fifty years ago, every olive on the soil would have been collected, even those fallen naturally. Today, they are only picked from the trees and the quality has never been so good. We head off to another grove a mile away, where the same meticulous work is being carried out. Here we see many crates of fruit, the harvest of the mornings activity. Seven men, drenched in sweat, are hard at work. Vincenzo introduces me to the

A clamorous mechanical arm grabs a nearby tree trunk and shakes it violently, until each and every olive drops onto the wide black sheets covering the soil

Vincenzos son Sebastiano (right) and his trusty Fiat Panda

Mechanical help

Ripe for the picking

Reaching for the top

Silhouette of Seneghe from the olive groves

These days, its all considered mens work


February 2014 ITALIA! 63

D I S C O V E R I TA L I A !

Apart from me, no one in the eld is a stranger as they label those who dont come from Seneghe. The fact that I was born 20 minutes away means nothing to them: I am not from Seneghe. We help each other, Vincenzo explains. When your family members are not enough, you hire day-workers, or you give a hand to a friend with his trees, and he then returns the favour when its your turn. COMMUNAL ATMOSPHERE The olive harvest is a good catch-up occasion, where friends from the village gather and share a day together. Vincenzos son, Sebastiano, nds the work gruelling, but feels spurred on by the communal atmosphere. If I stop for a moment, my dad would scold me, but the right company denitely lightens the workload. They work hard from dawn to sunset, but lunch is a ritual he would never miss. They improvise a dining room by sitting on the upside-down olive boxes and placing one in the middle as a table. While devouring local ham, cheese, and bread, the stories of past years pour out, and a few bottles of red wine lubricate the conversation. You can see these guys are very serious and focused on work now, says Vincenzo,

they gladly take a short break. The rst, Angelo Mastinu, seems to be in charge, but when I ask him whether he owns the eld, he laughs: I wish it was mine. Its my brothers, and Im just a farm hand. I soon nd out that most of them are seasonal workers. In October I did the grape harvest. The next is cork, he continues. Others are sheep farmers and one is a butcher who takes part in the harvest to earn a little extra cash on the side.

group, and

Vincenzo was taught pruning when he was a boy and has himself taught many young men willing to learn this art. His son is not among them

Vincenzo takes his pruning seriously

Stone walls separate groves

Back in the old days

The mornings harvest

Plump with rainwater

Vincenzo surveys the crop

64 ITALIA! February 2014



Spreading the sheets

Time to go home

The old granite olive mill

Vincenzo handpicking olives

but wait until the evening; then everyone will be in a good mood. The permitted break is short and workers soon have to go back to harvesting. Vincenzo takes me then to walk around his cherished groves, whose harvest is planned for the following week. Look at that tree, he says, pointing at the neighbouring plot. Compared to his own, it is very tall and has a large foliage. There is nothing worse than poor pruning. Unfortunately many farmers overlook that nowadays, he continues. If the branches are too tall, the nutrition cannot arrive up to the olives. Also, if the foliage is big on top, it

works as a shield, hiding the rest of the plant from the sun beams. The result will be an harvest of dry and small olives. EXTRAORDINARY KNOWLEDGE Vincenzo was taught pruning when he was a boy and has himself taught many younger men willing to master this art. His son is not among them. Sebastiano, a structural engineer who came back home after his studies, often helps his dad out, but he doesnt share the same devotion. People think of Sardinia as a warm place, but in November, in the mountains, it is too cold to enjoy the work, he complains.

Talking with him, however, I understand that he has an extraordinary knowledge of pruning, harvesting and olive pressing. Olive oil runs in this young mans blood, whether he likes it or not. Breathing the fresh air blown in by the Mistral wind, I ask Vincenzo what the crucial elements to achieving a rst-class oil are, other than pruning and sunlight. I feel like a detective, putting together, piece by piece, the much sought after secrets of Seneghese oil. Harvesting must be done in November, a few days after rain, he says. (The water makes the fruit juicy.) If you do it after
February 2014 ITALIA! 65


D I S C O V E R I TA L I A !



EXTRA-VIRGIN From the rst pressing of the olive, so of the highest quality. It contains no more than 0.8 per cent free acidity, which can be damaged by heat, so use it as a dressing and as a condiment, not for cooking. VIRGIN OLIVE OIL Comes from the rst pressing of the olives, but is of slightly lower quality, with free acidity of up to 1.5 per cent. COLD-PRESSED OIL
Temperatures over 27C have not been used in the extraction of the oil. High temperatures can damage the polyphenols and antioxidants which are the health-giving parts of the oil.

Good care of the trees is essential for a good harvest

Vincenzos son, Sebastiano

Another disused mill

These need pruning

a sunny week, your olives wouldnt

produce the same amount of oil. The care in harvesting is also important for the harvest of the following year. If you damage the trunk, for example, you expose the tree to diseases. There are of course elements which cannot be copied. The soil pH, the southfacing valley, and the microclimate of the Montiferru foothills are all perfect for olives. IMMEDIATE PRESSING The nal secret is the immediate pressing. Farmers in Seneghe understand that to achieve a quality oil, the olives must be pressed within hours of harvesting. In 1956

they built a collective mill where everyone in the village pressed their olives. The mechanical process of pressing might be less romantic than the old granite mill-and-press displayed outside the modern mill. But, as I understand later, it is more democratic, as formerly only wealthy families owned a mill. Moreover, the precise pressing allows for the recycling of every part of the olive. Nothing is wasted. The esh is used as a fertiliser; the stones become fuel. The village bakery has even adapted its ovens to make them suitable for burning the olive stones.

As I gaze out towards the sea in the distance, Vincenzo hands me a paper box and invites me to handpick some olives. I slowly ll up my basket, selecting the rmest fruit, while listening to the preserved olive recipe which Vincenzo learned from his granddad. Two weeks later and a big jar of green olives takes pride of place in my kitchen. Every time I savour one of these bitter fruit, or pour extra-virgin oil onto a fresh salad, I think back to the Seneghese people. I dont know if a beautiful woman really brought madness to Seneghe, but if she did, it was far ! from a curse. Q

66 ITALIA! February 2014


Eating Italy
These three seafood recipes from Jeff Michaud will demand your time, patience and the best of your culinary skills but they are worth it!
Recipes reprinted with permission from Eating Italy by Jeff Michaud with David Joachim, 2013 Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group


Grilled stuffed squid with Meyer lemon and beetroot Calamari ripieni alla griglia con limone Meyer e barbabietole
225g red or Chioggia beetroot 70g sea salt 12 small whole squid, cleaned 175ml extra-virgin olive oil, divided 6 stalks Swiss chard (225 to 285g) 1 garlic clove, sliced 235ml white wine 1 kg fresh whole-milk ricotta cheese 30g hard Italian cheese, grated 1 large egg 55g plain, dry breadcrumbs salt and freshly ground black pepper 16 Meyer lemon segments 60ml freshly squeezed Meyer lemon juice 2 tbsp minced chives 170g salad rocket Preheat the oven to 260C/Gas Mark 10. Meanwhile, scrub the beets, then rinse them and leave them wet. Put the salt in a heatproof dish, add the beets, and pack a thick layer of salt around each beet. Transfer to a baking sheet and roast the beets until tender enough for a fork to slide in and out easily, 2 to 3 hours. Let cool, then rinse the beetroot and cut it into very small cubes. You should have about 140g. Set aside or refrigerate for up to 3 days. To clean each squid, pull away the head and tentacles from the hood (tubelike body), and then reach into the hood and pull out the entrails and the plastic-like quill, taking care not to puncture the pearly ink sac. Cut off the tentacles just above the eyes, and discard the head. Squeeze the base of the tentacles to force out the hard beak, then rinse the tentacles and the hood under cold running water. Using the back of a paring knife or your ngers, pull and scrape off the grey membrane from the hood. Cut off and discard the two small wings on either side of the hood. Refrigerate the hoods in ice water until ready to stuff. Pat dry the tentacles. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. When smoking hot, add the tentacles and cook until curled, rm and browned here and there, 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Separate the leaves from the stems of the chard. Trim any rough spots, then coarsely chop the stems and leaves. Heat 3 tbsp oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add the chard stems and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the wine, and cook until the stems are almost tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the leaves, and cook, stirring now and then, until the liquid evaporates and the leaves wilt down a bit, 2 to 3 minutes. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a food processor, along with the seared tentacles. Mince the chard mixture using short pulses. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the ricotta, hard cheese, egg and breadcrumbs. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into a resealable plastic bag and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Snip a corner off the bag and pipe the mixture into the squid bodies, stufng them full. Close the ends of the squid with toothpicks. (If you have any leftover lling, you can use it as a ravioli lling.) Season the squid all over with salt and pepper and coat lightly with oil. Heat a skillet to medium heat. Brush the skillet, coat it with oil, and cook the stuffed squid directly over the heat until marked and set in the centre, turning a few times, about 8 minutes. Gently combine the beets, lemon segments, lemon juice, chives, and remaining 120ml oil. Season with salt and pepper. Divide the salad rocket among plates. Place two stuffed squid on each plate and top with the beetroot salad. Drizzle with the remaining dressing in the bowl.


February 2014 ITALIA! 67


Corzetti pasta with clams, tomatoes and chilli peppers Corzetti alle vongole con pomodoro e peperoncino
FOR THE CORZETTI 600g tipo 00 flour, or plain flour 2 large eggs 60ml olive oil FOR THE CLAMS AND TOMATOES 2.25kg small hard-shell clams, such as cockles 10 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided 1 medium-sized yellow onion, finely chopped (200g) 1 small garlic clove, smashed a bunch flat-leaf parsley, stems and all 1 litre white wine 1 litre fish stock or water 340g grape tomatoes or small early summer tomatoes, halved 1 long hot chilli pepper, minced (about 112g) First make the corzetti dough. Combine the our and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer tted with the dough hook and mix on a low speed. With the machine running, gradually add the oil until incorporated, then gradually add 235ml water until incorporated. Turn the mixer to medium-high speed and mix until the dough holds together. Separate the dough into three pieces and gently knead each piece in your hands until the dough looks smooth. Shape each piece into a rectangle the width of your pasta roller. Roll each piece of dough into a long rectangle about 3mm thick onto a oured work surface. Using a lightly oured corzetti stamp or a 6cm round cutter, cut out circles of dough you should get 50 to 60 circles from all three pieces of dough with no re-rolling. Lightly our a corzetti stamp, then stamp each circle to imprint the design. If you dont have a corzetti stamp, leave the circles plain or use a lightly-oured cookie stamp or butter stamp. Place the corzetti in single layers between sheets of oured parchment paper, then cover and freeze for up to 2 days. For the clams and tomatoes, scrub the clams and rinse under cold running water. Heat 60ml oil in a large, deep saut pan. Add the onion, garlic and parsley to the pan, and cook until the onion is soft but not browned, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the white wine and boil over high heat until the liquid has reduced in volume by half, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat as soon as the clams open, then transfer the clams to a plate. Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and strain the clam liquid through the cheesecloth. Set aside. Pick out the meat from the clams and refrigerate it in the strained clam stock for up to 4 days. When ready to serve, bring two large pots of salted water to a boil. Add half of the corzetti, one by one, to each pot, stirring gently to help prevent sticking. Partially cover the pots and cook just until the corzetti are tender, about 5 minutes. Reserve about 375ml of the pasta water, then drain. Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep saut pan over medium heat. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to break down, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the hot pepper, and cook until soft, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the clams, 310ml of the clam stock, 235ml of the pasta water, and the remaining 60ml olive oil to the pan. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook until the liquid reduces by about half, 5 to 8 minutes. Add the cooked pasta and toss in the sauce. Using tongs, overlap eight corzetti in a circle on each plate. Simmer the sauce in the pan until slightly reduced and thickened, then spoon over the corzetti.

68 ITALIA! February 2014


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Eating Italy by Jeff Michaud

(Running Press) is available now, priced 25. Readers of Italia! can buy direct from the publisher for just 20 (including UK P&P). To order, please call Grantham Book Services on 01476 541080 and quote the offer code EAVG01.

Halibut en papillote with potato and Ligurian olives Halibut al cartoccio con patate e olive liguriane
SERVES 4 PREPARATION 20 minutes COOKING 7 minutes
FOR THE POTATOES 8 fingerling potatoes, scrubbed 4 tsp grapeseed or olive oil salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 tsp unsalted butter 4 tsp chopped flat-leaf parsley FOR THE HALIBUT 60ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling 700g halibut fillets, cut into 4 pieces salt and freshly ground black pepper 12 pitted Ligurian (or Nioise) olives, halved lengthwise 24 fresh oregano leaves 12 thin slices of lemon 60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice 3 tbsp unsalted butter, diced Put the potatoes in a pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil until the potatoes are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Let the potatoes cool until warm, then cut in half lengthwise. Heat the oil in a saut pan over medium-high heat and fry the potatoes, cut-side down, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain any excess oil, then season the potatoes with salt and pepper and toss with the butter and chopped parsley. Preheat the oven to 230C/Gas Mark 8. Cut four 25cm squares of parchment paper and grease each with a thin lm of olive oil. Season the halibut all over, then divide between the parchment squares. Mix the olives, oregano, and 2 tbsp olive oil, and arrange over the halibut. Overlap 2 or 3 lemon slices on each portion, then drizzle with the lemon juice. Divide the cut-up butter between the portions, scattering it over the lemons, and drizzle with the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil. To make each package, fold the parchment corner to corner over the sh to make a triangle. Youll have to nudge the sh slightly off centre to make the corners meet. Starting at one of the other corners, begin rolling the paper toward the sh. Continue making a series of small double folds all the way around the sh until you reach the opposite corner and the paper is folded tight against the sh. Twist the nal corner several times to seal it tight, then fold it under the paper package. Put the packages on a large rimmed baking sheet and drizzle each with a little olive oil. Bake until the sh reaches about 50C on an instant-read thermometer stuck through one of the packages, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a spatula, transfer each papillote to a plate. Slit open the package, arrange the potatoes around the sh, and serve immediately.


February 2014 ITALIA! 69


With its history of trade, invasion and occupation, Sicily is a land of contrasts and contradictions. Rachel Thom goes in search of its secrets and nds them revealed in its pastries
annexed by Tunisia, Albania, the Roman Empire, the Byzantines, the Normans, and several Germanic tribes in turn. The Arabs brought their citrus trees, sugar cane, nutmeg, clove and cinnamon; Spain gifted cocoa; the Greeks bonded honey to nuts, and gave Catania a fondness for pistachios. Remarkably, all three tastes now peacefully coexist in the pasticceria, without dilution and with little assimilation over the centuries. Cannoli, sweet curls of pastry stuffed with fresh ricotta, are the most famous of all the Sicilian desserts the town of Piana degli Albanesi even plays host to the Fountain of the Three Cannoli. This dish is so embedded in the regional psyche that it has become the culinary signature of Sicily. Ricotta cream is spooned into a sweet curl of cigar-shaped, crispy, bubbly pastry infused with Marsala wine and topped with a shaving of candied orange rind. The cannoli shells are traditionally formed around a stubby piece of cane and deep-fried until crispy. Restauranteurs produce their cannoli with otherwise disproportionate levels of pride and rightly so, as the perfect cannolo is an art form. The bite-sized pieces are called cannolicchi, or simply cannoli piccolo. There are as many cannoli recipes as there are villages in Sicily. A cannolo is garnished with candied cherries in Palermo, almonds in Mineo and Messina, pistachios in Catania, and candied orange in Alcamo. Inland, the cream tastes earthier, as sheeps milk is often preferred. Caltanisetta claims to be the originator of the cannoli, but speak to another Sicilian and it was surely rst created in Piana degli

icily is an island of secrets, from Palermos catacombs to the Carnevale masquerades and the Cosa Nostra. We are going to get beneath the skin of Sicily and play the detective edible clues about the islands past lurk under the layers of pastry, ricotta and sugar in the islands desserts. Every occupying force for two thousand years has left behind a trace; ancient Jewish customs are hidden within modern Catholic festas and small communities have kept strong ties to the past. So lets eat, discover and understand! An island with surviving Arbresh, Lombard and ancient Sicilian-speaking communities has little hope of producing a homogenous style, language, culture, or indeed taste. Over the past two thousand years, Sicily has been

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leave a sweet yet salty avour in the mouth, a sure giveaway of its Arabic roots. They would be known as queens biscuits if they were English, though the queen they were named after has been lost to time. SEASONAL VARIATIONS Visit during spring, and the wild owers and acid-green elds fuse with the pinks and greens of the marzipan cassata, prepared for the Easter feast. The stock ingredients of this cake couldnt be fresher than at spring time: new ricotta is at its best and the almond crop has just been gathered. During the dog-hot summer, a chunky granita is the best way to cool off. Christmas almost demands the consumption of a giant buccellato and All Saints Day brings frutta martorana: skilfully worked, ultrarealistic marzipan fruits.

Albanesi. The origins of the name could be Latin, or they could be Arabic; it may have been a convent sweet, or rst made for women in a harem. All opinions to do with the cannoli are contradictory unless the talk is about eating it Biscotti regina are biscuits that are instantly recognisable: rolled in sesame seeds and shaped roughly into a nger or elegant curl. Biscotti regina

In the summer, discerning pasticcerias and restaurants will atly refuse to pipe ricotta into their cannoli, preferring cream instead. This exchange is perfectly justied, as summer turns the islands grazing pastures into a dust bowl. Most Sicilians will agree that a dry summers ricotta is pale in comparison to the spring yield, when the island is a vibrant green and grazing is lush. Therefore, piping cream into a cannolo in the summer months is an adaptation to the seasons, and an effort to stay true to the rich and creamy taste. Brioche con gelato, an Italian ice cream sandwich, is the breakfast of choice when the temperature climbs to its summer highs; typically, a chocolate or hazelnut gelato is teamed with a sweet, buttery brioche bun. But visit the gelateria at noon and
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offer, account for 80 per cent of Sicilys lemon crop. The people who came from North Africa to briey settle on the west coast are in part responsible for limoncello and granita di limone both Sicilian staples. Three ruby-red oranges are the sanguigno comune, tarocco and sanguinella: the common, the preferred and the bitter blood orange respectively.

youll have a race on your hands

to nish the frozen treat before it runs to your elbows. Despite challenges, you are sure to see Palermos ofce workers emerging from the shadows, licking the last of the molten gelato from sticky ngers. The golden fruits of citrus are a winter crop. Citrus fruits were rst brought to Sicily by the Arabs and ever since the island has enjoyed a wide variety of sharp, sweet produce. Varieties of blood orange and sweet lemon are farmed in abundance; femminello lemons, the sweetest on

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS Catholic festivals solemn events in continental Europe descend into a riot of colour and noise in Sicily. The island plays host to hundreds of festas in the space of a year; celebrating San Salvatore in Cefal, SantAgata in Catania, Santa Rosalia in Palermo. Music, wine, trumpets and reworks only intensify, and of course the festival food is a big part of this tradition. There will always be a sweet bun, cake or dessert unique to that festival to try. Sngi doughnuts are made especially for the Festa di San

Giuseppe (Saint Joseph) on March 19. It is believed to be both Greek and Jewish in origin, and is loosely related to the zeppole found elsewhere in Italy. Sicilian snge are small, roughlyshapen balls of batter, dusted with sugar and sometimes topped or lled with chocolate-threaded ricotta. They are a popular festival snack and best served warm. Catania dedicates three full days in February and one in August to celebrating their SantAgata. The story of her life is tragic: after refusing the advances of an occupying Roman, she was tortured, and later died from an enforced mastectomy. A pair of round, white cassatas, each garnished with a glazed cherry, is the ofcial festival food. Frutta martorana, or marzipan fruits, were rst made by nuns at the Monastero della Martorana, as the story goes, to decorate the branches of empty trees for an important archbishops visit. The convent no longer exists, but Sicilian homes and

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pasticcerias have continued in their tradition. Although the levels of craftsmanship differ, the very best frutta martorana are individually moulded into an apple, a g or an orange before being carefully dyed, achieving a true likeness in miniature. They can be seen all year, but are typically given to children on All Saints Day. Travel from east to west across the island and tastes shift. In much the same way that the dominant avour of the cannoli, a Sicilian staple, tastes richer and swaps orange rind for cherries, the granita transitions from smooth to a chunky, shattered ice. You can taste this in their cioccolato. The mountainous hinterlands of Sicily shield and protect evocative tastes that are otherwise extinct, and this is no truer than with chocolate. Sicilys oldest chocolate factory is the Antica Dolceria Bonajuto in Modica, which has been trading since 1888. The rich offering is avoured with

cinnamon, vanilla and orange peel, and contains no milk. It tastes not like the tempered chocolate found elsewhere in Europe, but instead is the modern embodiment of the very granular chocolate brought from South America via Spain. Perched on Europes outskirts and shielded by mountains, its no wonder that Sicilian cioccolato has survived since the time of their Spanish occupation, hundreds of years before. Any Sicilian will tell you that the sharper granita comes from the west; in the east they make theirs smooth. Aside from the texture, the avours betray the location as well: granita from Catania will likely be chocolate avoured, while Syracuse prefers lemon granita with mint syrup. Almond granita is a popular choice in Catania and coffee granita in Messina. This is a region where marsala is sweet and even the lemons lose their bitter edge, so what better way to understand Sicily, its people, seasons ! and inuences, than by desserts. Q

BY PLANE We dont know if this is the Montalbano effect but Sicily is now served by no fewer than four airports with links to the UK and Ireland. In the southeast is Catania, which can be reached from Dublin, Gatwick, Luton, Manchester and (from May 2014) Birmingham, while not far to the southwest of Catania is Comiso, which Ryanair serves from Dublin and Stansted. The capital, Palermo, can be reached from Dublin, Gatwick and Stansted, while Trapani, on the western tip of the island, runs Ryanair ights to Luton and Manchester. BY FERRY Sicily is, unsurprisingly, well served by ferry networks. The shortest route is the quick hop from Villa San Giovanni to Messina (20 minutes), but there are other departures from the mainland available from Civitavecchia, Genoa, Livorno, Naples and Salerno. There is also a Sardinian service from Cagliari to Palmero, as well as connections with Valletta and Tunis.


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One member of the family will always stop off at the pasticceria before they arrive


Notes from Puglia

In Puglia, and indeed most of southern Italy, Sunday is still a true day of rest. Amy Lucinda Jones describes a typical Sunday lunchtime
cooking of the meat in the sauce, it creates a rich and tasty flavour. Any type of pasta can be served with this sauce, but the most common type is orecchiette, the pasta produced in my area of Puglia. After the pasta course, and a possible second helping, known as a bis, you have the main meat course. Red meat is usually eaten, whether it be beef or lamb, and is often made into polpette (meatballs) or involtini (meat and ham rolled together around a small skewer). Any leftover sauce can be drizzled over these delights, which will always be served with a contorno (side dish) of in-season vegetables, or salad during the summer months. Once you have cleared the sauce on your plate with a chunk of fresh bread, its time for fresh fruit or nuts. We have now arrived at my absolute favourite part of the meal: la dolce. There is no traditional Pugliese dessert thats enjoyed on Sundays; instead, one member of the family will always stop off at the pasticceria before they arrive, to pick up some cream cakes. Big ones, small ones, chocolate ones, fruit ones As long as its sugary and sweet, it has a place on the table! Better get in quick though, because even after a large lunch, Puglians always have room for a little cake or four.


undays in Puglia are largely devoted to the following activities: going to church, walking, chatting, walking some more, sleeping and, of course, eating. Sunday lunch is an important event down here in the heel of the boot, and much attention is paid to ensuring that this particular lunch is the most delicious meal of the week. Lunchtime on a Sunday can be rather lengthy, starting at around 1.30pm and sometimes not finishing until the late afternoon and it is usually a family affair, with several generations getting together to enjoy each others company. Like our own roast dinner in the UK, the Italian Sunday lunch follows a pattern. Just as in the UK, its commonplace to have roast lamb, beef, or chicken with vegetables. The ingredients can be very similar, but the Puglians go about it in a slightly different way. Most southern Italian lunches involve pasta of some kind with rice or potatoes acting as an occasional substitute, though they do sometimes partake of a dish of pasta and potatoes! and Sunday is no exception. The primo piatto, or starter, is pasta with a delicious tomato sauce, or sugo. This sauce is made during the morning and, due to the

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The burrata. Meaning buttered in Italian, this fresh cheese may look like a run of the mill mozzarella on the outside, but wait until you cut into it! This is a typical cheese from Puglia, and can be made from either cow or buffalo milk, as well as rennet and the interesting ingredient: cream. As this cheese is being made, curd and fresh cream are added into its pouch-like form, which is then tied up at the top. Cut it open, and out gushes the delicious mozzarella cream! As you have probably guessed, it doesnt last too long, so is best eaten with 24 hours. Enjoy it at room temperature, either with fresh tomatoes, cured meats or a simple piece of crusty bread.


Sunday tomato sauce Sugo della domenica

1 onion olive oil salt 2 tins of peeled tomatoes 1 jar of passata 20g pork sausage 2-3 meatballs (pork or beef) 2-3 ribs of lamb 500g pasta hard Italian cheese In a large saucepan, fry the onion in the oil, then brown all the meat before adding the tomatoes (you may want to chop them up a little) and the passata. When this is all mixed together, add approximately 200-300ml of water and leave to cook over a low ame for a minimum of 90 minutes (around two hours is best). Check the salt every now and then and add extra if needed. After a while, the sauce will start to thicken; then it is ready to eat! Boil your pasta in a pan of salted water, then add some of the sauce to the pasta and mix well. Serve in shallow bowls with a sprinkling of hard cheese, then add another dollop of sauce on top. Afterwards, you can use the cooked meat for a tasty secondo. Buon appetito!


Amy Lucinda Jones is originally from Worcestershire in the UK. She now lives in beautiful Puglia, teaching English, exploring her passion for writing and, of course, sampling the regions culinary delights. Visit her blog sunshineandtomatoes.blogspot.it, which offers a light-hearted insight into southern Italian living through the eyes of an expat with a very sweet tooth


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Franco Manca pizza restaurants are the talk of the town in London these days. Giuseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo share the secrets of the house DOUGH 1

Franco Manca pizzas!

For baked and fried pizzas
This dough will take about 16-18 hours to develop, so is ideal for making in the late evening for an early supper the following night. You can make the dough in the morning for use in the evening by adding 20 per cent more yeast, as long as you leave it in an ambient temperature of 20-23C. If the temperature is colder (15-18C) it will take a few hours longer.
MAKES 640g PREPARATION 16-18 hours
YEAST VERSION 250ml lukewarm (22C) water 0.2g dry yeast 1 dstspn olive oil 380g flour 10g salt SOURDOUGH VERSION 250ml lukewarm (22C) water 30g starter 8ml olive oil 380g plain flour 10g salt In a bowl or jug, measure out the water and add the yeast (or sourdough starter). Stir or whisk in, then add the olive oil. Place the our and salt in a large, 2-litre ceramic bowl and combine the ingredients with your ngertips. Pour the liquid into the our in a few stages, mixing each time with stiff ngers. (Note: use your left hand for pouring water if you are right-handed.) Work lightly, using only your ngers to draw the dough together and mop up all the our. Avoid getting dough on the palm of your hand. Knead the dough a little with your knuckles. knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Dipping your ngers in water will help keep the dough from sticking to your ngers while you do this. Once kneaded, cover the bowl with clinglm or a damp cloth and leave the dough to sit for 1 hour. With a lightly oiled hand this time, fold the dough by drawing the four edges consecutively into the centre, and then pressing down on them. With the shape of your hands, form a large ball and then turn the mass over. Brush a bit more olive oil on top and cover the bowl again to store, making sure its airtight. Leave the dough in an ambient temperature of 20-23C and in 16-18 hours, your dough will be ready to use. If the temperature is colder (15-18C) it will take a little longer.


Giuseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo

TIP You can clean the dough off your hands by grabbing small amounts of our and then rubbing your hands together. You can also stroke the dough off your ngers gently with a pot scourer, under running warm water.
Once the ingredients have roughly combined you can rest the dough. This gives the our time to absorb the water and will make the dough easier to knead. After 15 minutes, use your ngers and knuckles to

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For tray-baked pizzas

The best tray pizzas are made with a very wet and elastic dough, based on a method using poolish (an equal mix of our and water with added yeast). This is made about 16 hours in advance of the dough. The total dough recipe here makes enough for one pizza (1kg) and is enough to feed four people. The best way to mix this dough is to use an electric blender with a dough hook. If you are working without one, be prepared to apply elbow grease.

Shaping balls
The baked and fried pizzas both start with a ball of dough that is opened (stretched) into shape. For pan baking, 160g balls will t easily into the base of an iron pan. For pizzette (small, fried pizzas), cut the dough into 50g balls.
Tip the dough onto a oured surface and divide the developed dough mass into equal pieces with a dough cutter. Our dough recipe makes 640g, so that means dividing it by four. Alternatively, you can weigh your balls on a set of scales. Knock back the dough pieces by rolling them in a circle on a table until they form tight balls. When you do this, keep a tight grip around the edges of the ball with your ngertips, while applying some pressure from the palm of your hand on top. You may want to practise, but do not overdo the shaping of each ball, as you will stress and tear the dough. Place these on a oured surface in an airtight container or in a deep baking tray. If you are using a tray, drape a dampened tea towel over it, but be sure to tuck the edges of the cloth under the tray, so the rising dough does not stick to the sagging cloth. At normal temperatures (18C) these balls will take up to 2 hours to prove. In a warm kitchen (24C), 1 hour will be enough.

MAKES 640g PREPARATION 16-48 hours

FOR THE POOLISH 400ml lukewarm (22C) water 400g flour 6g dry yeast FOR THE DOUGH 160g flour 24g yeast 12g sugar 16g salt 2 tbsp olive oil ingredients are absorbed into the dough, then turn the mixture out into a lightly oiled bowl and allow it to rest for 20 minutes. Transfer the dough onto an oiled tray and fold into shape, following the dimensions of the tray you are using. Then turn it over, so the good side is up. Turn your oven on to its highest setting and place a rack on the middle shelf. Stretch the dough towards the edges of the tray in two stages, resting for 10 minutes between each stretch. When stretching the dough, try not to touch it on top, but use your ngertips from underneath the dough mass. After the second stretch, add your toppings. If using tomato sauce, make sure it is spread right to the edges of the dough. If you are using olive oil, pour it into the palm of your hands and pat it lightly over the top of the dough, again making sure it touches the edges. If the dough is deep (or the tray small) you can dimple the dough with your ngertips, making a focaccia-style deep pizza and adding more sauce or oil. If you have stretched the dough very thin, simply add the rest of your ingredients and seasonings. Bake on the middle rack of your preheated oven for 12-14 minutes. If you have created a very thin pizza base, check for doneness after 10 minutes.

NOTE Make the poolish the day before you make

pizza by combining all the ingredients in a bowl. Cover and set aside in the fridge for at least 16 hours and no longer than 48 hours.

In a large bowl, mix the our, yeast and sugar into the poolish and combine. As it comes together, use the strength of your arm and stiff ngers to beat it for about 6 minutes. You might have to rest every few minutes! With a mixer this should take about 4 minutes. You are aiming for a smooth, elastic dough that starts to shine. Add the salt and oil and mix again until these


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When the best fresh tomatoes are used for passata, no further cooking is needed and the sauce can be used as is. Depending on the juiciness of your tomatoes, different quantities of passata will be yielded. You should get about 1 litre of passata from every 5kg of tomatoes. 5KG OF TOMATOES
a large shopping bag of San Marzano or plum tomatoes a few basil leaves, torn Sort through the tomatoes, cutting off any black parts and discarding any that are damaged. Wash well and steep in boiled water for 2-3 minutes, then drain in a colander. Pass the tomatoes through a food mill, collecting the pulp, which is now ready to be bottled. Add a leaf of basil for extra avour. Use sealable bottles (for example beer bottles with a crown) or jars with lids. To sterilise the jars of passata, place them, unsealed, in a deep pan and ll the pan with cold water, almost to the rims of the jars. Bring to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat and carefully seal. If you have a thermometer, you can take the pot off the boil when the water has reached 90C. Your passata will keep for a year if it is stored in a cool, dark place.


240g (1 can) whole, peeled tomatoes fine sea salt, to taste fresh basil, torn In a large bowl, squeeze the tomatoes hard through your ngers to crush. If you are reducing your sauce, simmer in a pan over a low heat for 5 minutes. Add a few leaves of fresh basil and ne sea salt to taste. The avour should all be in the tomatoes so be careful not to over-salt.

Lard salsa Salsa lardiata

If you are after a richer tomato topping, this is a great variation you can use for both the passata and basic salsa. Either regular lard or a speciality cured lard will add avour to the meaty tang of the reduced tomatoes, and the onion keeps the deal sweet.
200g onions 500g passata or fresh, juicy tomatoes, peeled and chopped 40g lard or cured lard On a chopping board, with heavy knife, chop the onion together with the lard, beating the latter into the onion with the blunt edge of the knife. In a frying pan, season the crushed onion and sweat over a low heat until the onion has melted. Add the tomato, stir to combine and leave to simmer for at least 1 hour (the longer the better). Season to taste, being careful not to oversalt.

Basic salsa
Without fresh tomatoes, you can make an on-the-spot sauce using either bought passata or canned tomatoes. (Italian products tend to be better.) When buying cans, go for whole, peeled tomatoes instead of chopped, as theyre better quality. The sauce will gain extra avour if you reduce it slightly and add a little basil. We recommend that you add garlic or chilli only to your pizzas (not to your sauce) as they do not complement all toppings, particularly in their raw state.

Good-quality tomatoes are key to a richtasting pizza sauce so try to source the best you can nd. Fresh tomatoes have a short season in summer, anything between 6 weeks in temperate zones to 3 months in warmer climes. For the rest of the year, unless youve made your own passata, which we would highly recommend, you are better off buying canned tomatoes.

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Ham, mushroom & ricotta pizza Pizza di prosciutto, funghi e ricotta
Cooked ham and mushrooms make a very popular pizza topping, probably because both are fairly moist, with gentle avours and textures. Good ricotta can also be described in these terms, which is why it is used here to complete the ingredient trilogy.
To prepare the mushrooms: rst rub the wild mushrooms lightly with a tea towel to clean. Do not wash them or soak them in water, as they will absorb the water and this will detract from their avour. Place in a bowl and toss with the olive oil and salt before frying off in the butter. Sprinkle a little our over your hands and on the work surface, then open the dough ball by attening and stretching the dough with your ngers, or by rolling the dough with a rolling pin. Pick the pizza base up and gently stretch it a little further over your sts, without tearing it. Drop this onto the hot pan, and allow it to start rising. As soon as the dough rms up, spread the tomato sauce over the base with the back of a metal spoon and, with a teaspoon, add blobs of crema di ricotta do not spread the ricotta. Scatter over the ham, basil and mozzarella and drizzle with a little extra olive oil. Cook the pizza on top of the stove for about 3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the grill for a further 3-4 minutes. Serve whole or sliced.

Pancetta and aubergine pizza Pizza di pancetta e melanzane

Good pancetta is essential to this recipe so it might require a trip to your local butcher or deli and ask for it to be sliced thinly. If you only have bacon, we recommend you use a good-quality cooked ham instead.
1 dough ball (see previous page), left to rise for 1-2 hours flour, for dusting 5 thin slices of aubergine 1 dstspn extra-virgin olive oil sea salt 4 dstspn tomato sauce (see opposite page) 4 slices pancetta 60g mozzarella fior di latte, torn into 5 chunks 4 basil leaves, torn a handful of rocket Italian hard cheese, grated (optional) Place a rack on the highest shelf of an oven and turn the grill to its highest setting. When hot, place a greased, 26cm iron pan on the stove top, set to medium heat. In a shallow pan, fry the aubergine in 1 dessertspoon olive oil until soft, golden and a little crispy. Season with salt to taste and set aside. Sprinkle our over your hands and work surface, then open the dough ball by attening and stretching the it with your ngers, or by rolling it with a rolling pin. Pick the pizza base up and gently stretch it further over your sts, without tearing it. Drop this onto the hot pan, and allow it to start rising. As the dough rms up, spread the sauce evenly over the base with the back of a metal spoon. Add the pancetta and aubergine, then drizzle with oil and scatter over the mozzarella and basil. Cook the pizza on top of the stove for 3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the grill for a further 3-4 minutes. Once ready, dress with the rocket leaves a little grated hard cheese wont hurt either, if you have it. Serve whole or in slices.

1 dough ball (see previous page), left to rise for 1-2 hours flour, for dusting FOR THE CREMA DI RICOTTA 2 tsp milk 4 dstspn ricotta sea salt and freshly ground black pepper FOR THE WILD MUSHROOMS 160g wild mushrooms 2 dstspn extra-virgin olive oil a pinch of sea salt 2 dstspn butter 4 dstspn tomato sauce (see opposite page) 50g cooked York ham, cut into small but not paper-thin slices 60g mozzarella fior di latte, torn into 5 chunks 4 basil leaves Place a rack on the highest shelf of an oven and turn the grill to its highest setting. When hot, place a greased, 26cm iron pan on the stove top, set to medium heat. To make the crema di ricotta: in a bowl, stir the milk into the ricotta and mix to a smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

NOTE A York ham is the quintessential English ham.

Folklore has it that the oak construction for York Minster provided the sawdust for smoking the ham though this is probably not true! What is true, however, is that it is mild in avour and usually lightly smoked.


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Artisan Pizza to make Perfectly at Home by Giuseppe Mascoli and Bridget Hugo is published by Kyle Books, priced 12.99. Readers can buy the book at the special offer of 10.99 inc free p&p (UK mainland only). To order, ring 01903 828503, quoting ref KC APTMPAH/Italia or email mailorders@ lbsltd.co.uk

Mixed cheese with radicchio pizza Pizza di formaggi misto con radicchio
This pizza presents a subtle mix of avours that works like a dream the blue cheese is tangy and scented, the goats cheese is austere, while the mozzarella and washed rind cheeses add creamy bass notes. The bitter, crunchy radicchio cuts through the richness of them all, making this an almost decadent but extremely delicious pizza.
1 dough ball (see page 77), left to rise for 1-2 hours flour, for dusting FOR THE RADICCHIO (MAKES ENOUGH FOR 4 BAKED PIZZAS) 150g (16 leaves) radicchio (Tardivo, if possible) 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil a generous pinch of salt 1 dstspn extra-virgin olive oil 15g Ogleshield or washed rind cheese 15g goats cheese, crumbled 20g blue cheese, crumbled 75g mozzarella fior di latte, torn into 6 chunks 4 basil leaves, torn To prepare the radicchio: in a large bowl, mix the radicchio with the olive oil and salt and leave to marinate for 40 minutes. Place a rack on the highest shelf of an oven and turn the grill to its highest setting. When hot, place a greased, 26cm iron pan on the stove top, set to medium heat. Sprinkle a little our over your hands and on the work surface and open the dough ball by attening and stretching the dough with your ngers, or by rolling the dough with a rolling pin. Pick the pizza base up and gently stretch it a little further over your sts, without tearing it. Drop this onto the hot pan, and allow it to start rising. As soon as the dough rms up, drizzle the base with olive oil, then add all the cheeses, the basil and a quarter of the marinated radicchio leaves. Cook the pizza on top of the stove for about 3 minutes, then transfer the pan to the grill for a further 3-4 minutes. Serve whole or in slices.

NOTE In late winter/early spring you may

nd Tardivo (or to give it its full name, Radicchio Rosso di Treviso Tardivo), which is a very special sweet radicchio that looks a little like a tentacled octopus. To prepare it for this recipe, slice it in half lengthways, rub with olive oil, salt and freshly milled pepper, and sear it in a hot pan.

To read our review of the original Franco Manca pizzeria in Brixton that started the brand, visit our website at www.italytravelandlife.com

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B U Y I TA L I A !


Unique in its conception, preparation and avour, balsamic vinegar is one of the truly great triumphs of Italian gastronomy. We chose seven for this months taste test


he very best balsamic vinegars can be over a century old, but as the saying goes if you need to ask how much those will cost, you cant afford them! Most commercially available balsamics are sold after just a few years ageing in wooden barrels, which allows them to be sold at much more affordable prices, though and this is probably even more true of balsamic vinegar than it is even of wine and olive oil if the price looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Good balsamic vinegar is not cheap, but if you can nd a good one, at the right pice, you will nd that a little can go a very long way. Traditionally, balsamic vinegar is served drizzled over chunks of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, or it is used to dress raw or grilled vegetables as antipasti. It will also enhance meat, cooked or raw, eggs, and sh, and will give a great sense of depth to slow-cooked sauces. You can even use it on strawberries and other fresh fruit and the Italians do. Most balsamic vinegars do contain sulphites as a preserver, so it should be noted that the Vallebona and the San Giacomo featured here do not.


From Vallebona www.vallebona.co.uk Price 9.80/50ml (18.80/250ml)

No, it isnt cheap, but this tiny little bottle packs an extraordinary amount of character and avour.

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Theyre all good, but this one is our favourite it simply manages to pack so much punch into such a tiny bottle (50ml). Just the bottle itself is very appealing, diminutive its almost like something Alice might have found in Wonderland! You feel you must be delicate just opening it. And then the vinegar pours out with the consistency, and colour, of black treacle. Unctuous and viscous, with a lovely sheen to it. Raise it to your nose and it is very fruity grapes, yes, of course, but theres also a hint of redcurrant to it, and you get this sensation on the back of the palate too, but then the taste slowly turns pleasantly bitter, with a touch of aniseed. Theres something almost Oriental to it, such is the sense of sweet and sour. With that in mind, it would make a lovely glaze for some pork. But do make sure it is a very good cut of pork. It would be a shame to waste such a excellent vinegar on anything less. Contains: wine vinegar, grape must and nothing else.



FEB 2014




From Carluccios www.carluccios.com Price 11.95/250ml

From Academia Barilla www.something-italian.com Price 24.50/250ml Aged for 8 years in oak, cherry and chestnut barrels to produce a pungent, fullbodied vinegar though it is not as thick as the Vallebona. This is the 8-year-old bottle; but Something Italian also offers a 3-year-old version at 10 for 500ml. Drizzle over crudits, or add to a slowcooked sauce to give great depth of avour.

Satisfyingly red-brown in colour, with savoury, fermented aromatics. To the palate it becomes fruity and sweet, but still retains it depth, and it has a really nice, long nish. This one comes with a wax seal, that helps to further guarantee its freshness in the unopened and very stylish bottle. Rich enough for roasted meats and grilled sh.

Intense, sharp and sweet with lots of cherry avour and a hint of black olives.

Very stylishly presented but this is not a case of style over substance.



From Nudo www.nudo-italia.com Price 10/250ml


From Waitrose www.waitrose.com Price 1.80/250ml


From Tesco www.tesco.com Price 6/250g


Made from a recipe secret to the Dodi family business. A sharp but well-balanced balsamic with a good syrupy texture and quite a bite to it. Like all the vinegars here, this is not especially old, yet you can taste the wood of the barrels it has been aged in behind the various levels of fruit. Balsamic vinegar is often used to dress fresh fruit and this one would serve that purpose very well.

It has the dark colour, but this is easily the thinnest of the vinegars we have on test here. Its musty, yet very light. Its fruity and sharp, but it hasnt got the depth and the richness and the variety of avour. You wouldnt use this for big occasions, but at the price it is far and away the cheapest here it will not be without its uses.

It has the colour, it has the consistency: it looks the part. It is very pungently spiced theres a hint of star anise and clove about it. It is unapologetically powerful, a little too bold perhaps, but it is not entirely unpleasant. You certainly wouldnt need to use much of it, so you are getting value for money here. Its not subtle but it is perfectly usable.

From Acetaia San Giacomo www.surbir.it Price 7.50/200ml

This is a subtle vinegar, free of any colouring, preservatives or thickeners: just cooked grape must that has been aged in barrels of various woods almost certainly including cherry, judging by the taste of it. Very sweet, very syrupy, and presented in a very attractive bottle. One for the table, and a real bargain at this price.

A rich and well-balanced balsamic that tastes older than it probably is.

You get what you pay for, but if you want a cheaper option, this will do ne.

Not as good as it looks, but it would serve the budgetconscious for everyday use.

An very good balsamic, perfect for salad, grilled meat or a carpaccio.


February 2014 ITALIA! 83








KYLE HALL is the founder of Scolastica Tours. Scolastica Tours is an Italian tour company where the tours are based on literary texts the same texts that Italians have been reading for centuries, and that inform their vision of their country, their history and themselves. http://scolasticatours.com MADELINE JONES, with her husband, Tim, owns and runs the Hotel Leone, an intimate 8-room boutique style hotel situated in the historic centre of the picturesque hilltop town of Montelparo in the Italian region of Le Marche. www.hotelleonemarche.com LAURA PROTTI is the founder of LEP Law and is dual qualied as an Italian avvocato and English solicitor. She has extensive experience in Italian property law, international private law, contract law, succession law, and taxation, and has assisted with the drafting and updating of books and articles on Italian Law. www.leplaw.co.uk MARK SWIFT is Marketing Manager at DeLonghi UK and has a wealth of knowledge about coffee. DeLonghi make some of the best coffee machines on the market today to see the full range of options for home coffee machines see their website www.seriousaboutcoffee.com



Our experts are here to help with all your questions about Italy. Email your questions to italia@anthem-publishing.com, or write to us at our usual address, as given on page 7
fact, one famous citizen who was born and raised there, Count Camillo Benso di Cavour, was never comfortable speaking Italian in public, having grown up speaking French even though he eventually became the rst prime minister of Italy! Throughout the 20th century, Turin was a major centre of literary production, a fact attributable in no small part to the establishment of the Einaudi publishing house in 1933. Authors who lived and worked in the city include Carlo Levi, Cesare Pavese, Primo Levi, Italo Calvino, and Natalia Ginzburg. Another native of Turin is Alessandro Baricco, one of Italys most famous living writers, who has been involved in establishing and guiding the Scuola Holden, an education centre that offers courses on storytelling and the art of writing. On the more practical side of things, the University of Turin is one of the oldest universities in Europe. With a current student population of around 60,000, you wont nd the city short on the young and ostensibly studious set. Youll have easy access to the citys renowned museums, including the fantastic National Cinema Museum that is housed inside the Mole Antonelliana, which used to be Turins synagogue. Youll also be able to sample the cuisine for which Turin is also famous, including agnolotti, small stuffed pasta often served in a butter and sage sauce. And if youd like to hop over to France, Nice, Marseille and Lyon, along with hundreds of smaller towns are only a short ride away.
Kyle Hall, Scolastica Tours

Im going to be doing a degree in French and Italian literature and hope to spend my year out in Italy. Where would be the best city to live, in your opinion? Lily Hayward, Exeter

Fortunately, theres no shortage of options in Italy when it comes to selecting a city that can inspire your literary studies, whether youre interested in medieval/Renaissance texts, the baroque, or more modern and contemporary works. But since youve also mentioned that you have an interest in French literature, I would suggest Turin as a great destination for your Erasmus year. Thanks to its history and location near the Italian border, Turin has always had a close relationship with its French neighbours. In


iStock photo

I am interested in buying a property, probably in Le Marche, and running it as a small bed and breakfast. I would like to know what licensing requirements and other permits are required to do this. We are Australians but also have EU passports so residency should not be a problem. Tina Donovan, Perth, Australia

86 ITALIA! February 2014



To run any business in Italy it is best to work hand in hand with a good commercialista (accountant). Due to the ever changing landscape of rules, regulations and legislation a commercialista is best placed to advise on the current situation. 7HAT ) CAN TELL YOU IS THAT A "" MUST be a maximum of three rooms to rent and that the rules all differ slightly depending on the Province and the Comune. There can be heavy nes for non-compliance. In order to make your lives easier it may be worthwhile considering a business which is already up and running and, therefore, already has the necessary licences and permits. This could save you a lot of time and money as youd avoid some of the one-off Italian bureaucracy necessary for a start-up. Now is a good time to consider Le Marche as it is currently unspoilt by mass tourism and is becoming ever more popular with the number of tourist on the increase every year.
Madeline Jones, Hotel Leone

Coffee Corner

I understand that the mark of a good espresso is its crema. How do I ensure I achieve this with my home-made coffee? Michael Stepney, Chester


legal expert


I will be studying in Florence next academic year and need to sort out access to my nances while I am there. Can I just use my British cashpoint card there, or is there a better way of going about this? Olivia Wright, Banbury

Given that the purpose of the trip is to study and the duration of the trip is one academic year, the simplest OPTION WOULD BE TO USE YOUR "RITISH CASH point card. A small commission will be applied by the bank for withdrawing money in a foreign country, so in view of that it might be worth withdrawing larger amounts of cash at a time and paying for larger items by card. Opening an Italian bank account is a more complicated solution and involves costs that would not be incurred with a UK bank.
Laura Protti is the founder of LEP Law. She is dual-qualied as an Italian avvocato and English solicitor, and specialises in assisting British and Italian clients with matters relating to Italian law. See www.leplaw.co.uk

The perfect espresso is 30ml and should have a soft, hazel-coloured micro-foam on top referred to as crema This should be 4-5mm thick. Crema will form best when the coffee is extracted under high pressure. DeLonghi machines are designed with a 15 bar pump and lters that ensure at least 9 bar of pressure when the coffee is brewing. There are two main commercially available types of coffee: arabica and robusta. Arabica beans tend to be more expensive and are seen as more premium, but many great coffees are derived from blends, and more crema is delivered in blends that have robusta in them. Always make sure that your coffee is extra-fresh. You will get a lot less crema from coffee that has been exposed to air and moisture, as well as a lot less avour and aroma! Coffee coarseness also plays an important role: crema is the result of emulsied coffee oils forming a micro-foam. To extract those oils you need a ne grind. If you are serious about coffee it is worth investing in a coffee grinder. If you prefer buying pre-ground coffee, make sure that it is ground (ne) for an espresso machine. Avoid coffee for lter machines! Even the cup plays a part. Pre-heat the cup. Always use an espresso cup with a rounded base as this helps to preserve the micro-foam crema. Now to the process of making crema-rich espresso. If you are using a pump machine, dispense a 7g portion of ground coffee into a lter holder. Tamp (compact) the coffee with good pressure, and with the

top level. Dust off any excess coffee from the lter holder, and lock it into the group head. Press the brew button and time the extraction from the moment the espresso starts to ow. Your target extraction time is 18-23 seconds to produce a 30ml shot. Note the appearance of the espresso ow into the cup: the colour and the density. On the perfect extraction you can identify the microfoam body rising to create the crema. If your coffee is under-extracted, adjust the grinder collar clockwise, making the grinds ner and slowing down the extraction time; if your coffee is over-extracted, adjust the grinder collar anti-clockwise, making the grinds coarser and speeding up the extraction time. If you are using a bean-to-cup machine, simply adjust the grinder setting one click at a time while it is grinding the beans until you get the desired coffee crema. DeLonghi bean-to-cup coffee machines are designed to automatically bring the best out of the avour, aroma and crema of your coffee. s ! $E,ONGHI "EAN TO #UP MACHINE WILL create pro-standard latte, espresso and CAPPUCCINO AT THE TOUCH OF A BUTTON "EANS are freshly ground in the machine and, with our premium machines, the auto-cleaning milk carafe froths, heats and delivers fresh milk for your drink. s $E,ONGHI ,ATTISSIMA 0LUS .ESPRESSO COFFEE machines use capsules to make fuss-free espressos and have a patented integrated carafe to deliver fresh, hot-frothed milk. s $E,ONGHI .ESCAF Dolce Gusto machines are pod-based multi-beverage systems. Choose from a variety of coffee drinks and non-coffee beverages such as Chai Tea Latte and Chococino. Pop the pod into the machine, then personalise to your taste. Visit our new website at www.seriousaboutcoffee. com and click on the Products > Find Your Machine, or download the free DeLonghi Coffee Expert app for mobiles (available on Android and Apple).
Mark Swift, DeLonghi


February 2014 ITALIA! 87




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D R I N K I TA L I A !

If not the most famous, Barolo is surely the most venerated of the Italian reds, with prices to match. Hannah Bellis explores the wines that deserve their kingly reputation


In the hands of an experienced producer, you can expect something very special from a Barolo
As Ive matured, and become more willing to spend the money in my pocket on quality rather than quantity, I treat myself to more than the occasional bottle of Barolo. This is a wine that fully deserves its grand reputation as Italys nest wine. It is the most dramatic and powerful expression of the Nebbiolo grape and the ultimate reection of the quality of the fabulous wines that come out of Piedmont. Of course, even with the very best grapes, it is possible to get it wrong, and there is no shortage of bad, overly extracted and bitter Barolo wines on the shelves of the supermarkets, as well as plenty of raisiny wines that have been overheated and cooked. But in the hands of an experienced producer who truly knows and appreciates the characteristic of his vines and his grapes, you can expect something very special from a Barolo. The very best of them reveal their quality with complex and expansive aromas that include tar, liquorice, dried roses and occasional white trufe, sitting amid a rich and full-bodied wine that is backed by substantial tannins not to mention an often considerable percentage of alcohol
February 2014 ITALIA! 89

ike many of us, I am inclined to suspect, I discovered the unique pleasures of Barolo rather late in the course of my wine-drinking. This is due to the sheer price of it. Even in Piedmont, the cost of a bottle of Barolo puts it out of the reach of pretty much everybody as an everyday wine, and, as a younger and poorer wine drinker, I always went for the more affordable Dolcetto if I were ordering red Piedmontese wine.


From Berkmann Wines www.berkmann.co.uk 52.50 This single-site Barolo from the Bussia vineyard in Monforte dAlba is aged in traditional oak barrels. On the nose the wine reveals its pedigree in a complex aroma, with intense hits of plum and cherry and lingering oral notes. Its pretty rich on the palate too: concentrated red fruit with strong, spicy notes and just a hint of oak amid velvety, well-structured tannins. The nish is long and lingering, with notes of cloves and ripe cherry. Its drinking so well now, and is a wine to celebrate with.



From Great Western Wine www.greatwesternwine.co.uk 27.28 This wine is on offer right now, giving you a small saving from the 31 RRP. You could lay it down for a few years to develop even further, but you may not be able to wait. Strangely, it doesnt reveal much apart from rich red fruit on the nose, but that changes when you sip it. Sweet and slightly smokey avours sit above a ripe blackcurrant fruit background, with aromas of tobacco and a hint of spicy cloves. The smooth tannins give you a long nish.

From Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.com 34.95 2007 has a reputation of being a bad year for Piedmont wine, as the weather was unusually hot. This wine, from the Barolo hamlet of Vergne, appears to have emerged unscathed, however. Presented in an untraditional bottle, the wine inside is a real traditional Barolo, with big avours of rich fruit and bitter tar, smooth but still with a strong tannin hit that will leave your mouth watering. It would benet from a few more years in the bottle, but it drinks just ne now too.


From Berry Bros & Rudd www.bbr.co 65.27 This is quite a Barolo! At 15 per cent, you can see the evidence of the hot vintage in the strength, but rather than baking, the sun and the quality vinication have intensied the avours. Big, gutsy and heady, with oral rose on the nose, and hints of cherry in the aroma, too. The body is of sweet red fruits enhanced with spice, and very ripe tannins, but no evidence of raisin. The Mascarellos clearly know exactly how to get the best from their vines. Opulent, dramatic and delicious.

Celebrate this special wine with a great cut of steak, simply cooked.

Sweet and smokey, so matches well with strong cheeses, English or Italian.

This well-balanced wine would match well with the sweetness of roast lamb.

A rich wine needs a rich meat, so partner this with veal or venison.


From The Drink Shop www.thedrinkshop.com 40.18 What an approachable wine this is! It has a very complex bouquet, with the expected dried rose, but also hints of liquorice and sweet Thai basil. On the palate it is all rich red berry at rst sip, which expands to bring you an almost vanilla-like sweetness, balanced with hints of spicy nutmeg and good, tight tannins. You are left with an impression of sweetness on the palate, enhanced by the smooth tannins that linger without cloying. No harm in keeping it, but no need to either.

D R I N K I TA L I A !



Barolo 2008 Ciabot Berton From Majestic Wine www.majestic.co.uk Price 28 Buy two bottles of this and the cost of each comes down to 23 and I would certainly buy two. In fact, I would buy a case. Ive tried this in earlier vintages and always enjoyed them, but the 2008 seems especially well balanced to me. At 14.5 percent, it is pretty heavy hitting, but you dont get the sense of this on the palate it is actually pretty soft with fresh tannins that blend with the sweet acidity of cherry fruit, along with lingering avours of liquorice and cherries. For a Barolo, it is still pretty young, but already it has started to develop some interesting characteristics the rose is there on the nose, subtle but present, along with aromas of ripe olive and orange. It is not one for drinking now though you could: the balance is there and youd enjoy a straightforward entry-level wine. But Id expect more characteristics if you left it in the bottle for at least another three years. Buy it at this price, set it aside for a few years and then I think you will have a wine that is really to be celebrated and at a price that is worth a celebration too.

It is still pretty young, but already it has started to develop interesting characteristics

Partner the oral notes with salty, anchovy-stuffed breast of lamb.

Serve with family, roast rib of beef, as well as garlic and rosemary roasties.




Within the Barolo community there are two distinct styles of vinication in play. The rst is the original technique: ageing the wine in large oak barrels; in the modern approach, small barriques are used, which more readily pass their oak to the wine. Whether you approve or not depends on your palate. The traditional technique allows the Barolo to mature in a far more neutral environment and, if the grapes are good, the process lets the natural aromas of the grapes come to the fore more readily. But modern winemakers argue that the oak avours complement the heavy tannins and smokiness of the wine to enhance these further, and that using the barriques can help soften the wine without the necessity for long ageing, to produce softer Barolos that are still relatively young and vibrant. This certainly seems in keeping with the demands of the market, making younger, more approachable wines, both in the softer tannins and the less imposing prices from the shorter ageing.

February 2014 ITALIA! 91


From Sainsburys www.sainsburys.co.uk 15.99 Supermarket Barolos can be a bit hit and miss, as there are plenty of bad, overcooked, raisiny Barolos on the market after the hot summers of recent years. Sainsburys have avoided these and opted for a very simple, direct Barolo with big avours. Its a relatively young wine, so expect robust red fruit with plenty of tannin to linger on your palate. (Incidentally, we could not get hold of a sample of Morrisons signature Barolo 2009, but Ive tasted this and it is another bargain at 14.99.)


FEB 2014





Some romantic literature for Valentines Day, some quasi-historical and futuristic ction for darker nights, and a splendid collection of inspirational places for children in this months selection of books

Lonely Planet, 14.99 (hardback) A kids virtual adventure book with amazing stuff to know about the coolest places on the planet. Theres a great spread on the Sistine Chapel, enticingly entitled Art Upside Down; Palermos Creepy catacombs also feature, as does Pompeii The Buried City. Its all very well presented and guaranteed to pique childrens interest.


Hannah Fielding, London Wall Publishing, 17.99 (hardback)

Set in Venice at the turn of the millennium, The Echoes of Love tells the story of the intertwining lives of Venetia and Paolo. Having moved to Venice to be an architectural restorer and to escape the man she loved ten years before, British-born Venetia nds herself attacked by two men one evening, only to have mysterious, suave stranger Paolo come to her rescue. The two develop a passive relationship and after months of chasing, he later hires her to undertake some work on his own home. But after nding out that he is not as available to her as he once made out, Venetia is left questioning his true intentions. Venetia becomes increasingly drawn towards her rescuer, who makes it clear that the feeling is mutual, yet she discovers that she also has another admirer that wont take no for an answer. However, is Paolo really the man he seems to be? Just like Venetias troubled past, he too has his own life-changing secret that, when discovered, threatens to tear them both apart. Will Venetia forgive Paolo for his secret, and will he forgive Venetia for her history that brought them both to this point? The Echoes of Love is a plot-twisting story of drama, love and tragedy set against the backdrop of the most romantic city in Italy. 92 ITALIA! February 2014

Katrina Meynink, Murdoch Books, 16.99 (paperback) A cookery book, with all the recipes in context. A rst dinner date at home? Crispy blue cheese ravioli, radicchio and walnut salad with quince dressing. Cooking for potential in-laws? Caramelised chipotle chicken with chipotle glaze and parsnip fries. Coping with heartbreak? Rose vodka or cinnamon caipirinha. So many of lifes possible scenarios amply covered.




Diego Marani, Dedalus, 9.99 (paperback)

Domingo Salazar is a Vatican secret agent bent on defeating the Angels of Death. He must capture an abortionist doctor who is likely to commit the serious crime of euthanasia while visiting his terminally ill father. Although content with this mission, Salazar is a complex individual with complex ideas. While living in Holland, he has been secretly building a movement called Bible-Koranism, the new frontier of a globalised faith. As a result, in a turn of events, it is Salazar and his closest friend, Guntur, who fall under suspicion of sabotaging the administration as their concept for a globalised religion upsets the church Set in a parallel world where religious doctrine has replaced secular law, this vision of future Italy is a place where papal police carry guns, abortion is punishable by death and atheists are hunted as terrorists.


Alexandra Sage, Kindle Editions, 2.56 (inc. VAT). www.amazon.co.uk Debut novel from a former City lawyer who has become a full-time mother and writer. Her heroine, Alessia Vincenzi, makes the same decision, but her step out of the City leads her to spend the summer in Sorrento, where she discovers passion, romance and the joys of limoncello-making but will a disturbing family secret destroy her new-found happiness?

David Madsen, Dedalus, 9.99 (paperback) First, a warning for anybody easily offended by vulgarity or heresy: this book is shocking. It tells the story of Peppe, a deformed dwarf who rises from obscurity in the slums of the Trastevere district to the highest rung of the Vatican ladder, becoming the condante of Pope Leo X. Having suffered from bullying and torment from a young age, Peppe received no affection from his own mother, who despised and mocked him. Accused of heresy, Peppe is sold and forced to join a freak-show circus. Written from the perspective of Peppe himself, this book uses humour and (very) graphic imagery to detail his life story in the face of adversity, and the adventures he nds himself in on the road to becoming the condante of Pope Leo X until the Popes death in 1521. It is a heart-warming yet controversial tale of deformed people, ecclesiastical corruption, sexual perversion and, ultimately, hope in the quest for love.


Gail Mencini, Capriole Group, $16.95 (paperback) Over a summer in Italy with seven other students, Bella makes lifelong friends and has a romance with Phillip. Upon returning home, the relationship breaks down and she never hears from him again. Thirty years later, a reunion is held for the eight of them to return to Italy. Bella goes for one reason only: to tell Phillip the secret that has haunted her ever since that summer.


February 2014 ITALIA! 93




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Let Italia!s ight guide take the hard work out of planning your trip. Just pick your ideal destination from our handy map of Italy and locate the corresponding number from the list
ORIGIN Dublin LDN Gatwick LDN Luton LDN Stansted LDN Stansted Dublin LDN Gatwick LDN Stansted Birmingham Bristol Cork Dublin East Midlands Glasgow Prestwick Knock Ireland West Leeds Bradford LDN Stansted Manchester Dublin Edinburgh LDN Gatwick LDN Heathrow LDN Stansted LDN Stansted Edinburgh LDN Gatwick LDN Stansted Birmingham Dublin LDN Gatwick LDN Luton Manchester Dublin LDN Stansted LDN Heathrow LDN City LDN Gatwick LDN Stansted LDN Stansted Birmingham Dublin Edinburgh LDN City OPERATOR Ryanair Thomson*** Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair** BA, easyJet Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Aer Lingus, Ryanair Ryanair easyJet BA Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair easyJet Thomson*** Aer Lingus AirOne* BA, easyJet, Thomson, Norwegian** easyJet* Thomson Ryanair** Ryanair Vueling CityJet BA Ryanair Ryanair BA, Flybe Aer Lingus easyJet Alitalia, Cityjet DESTINATION
13 Milan (continued) O 

ORIGIN LDN Gatwick LDN Heathrow LDN Luton Manchester Birmingham Bristol Dublin East Midlands Edinburgh Glasgow Liverpool LDN Gatwick LDN Luton LDN Stansted Manchester Newcastle Bristol Leeds Bradford LDN Gatwick LDN Luton Dublin LDN Gatwick LDN Stansted LDN Stansted LDN Stansted LDN Stansted Belfast Bournemouth Bristol Cork Dublin East Midlands Edinburgh Glasgow Prestwick Leeds Bradford Liverpool LDN Gatwick LDN Heathrow LDN Luton LDN Stansted Manchester Newcastle Birmingham Bristol

OPERATOR easyJet Alitalia, BA easyJet BA, Flybe Thomson easyJet, Thomson Aer Lingus Thomson easyJet Thomson easyJet BA, easyJet, Thomson Monarch*** easyJet Thomson, Monarch*** Thomson easyJet Jet2 easyJet, Meridiana easyJet Ryanair AirOne** easyJet Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Jet2 Ryanair easyJet Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair Ryanair, Jet2 Ryanair BA, easyJet BA easyJet Ryanair Jet2 Jet2 Monarch easyJet

2 Ancona O 3 Bari O

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16 O


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17 O 18 O 19 O 20 O

Parma Perugia Pescara Pisa

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Genoa Lamezia Milan

21 Rome O 

Every effort is made to ensure that the above information about ights between the UK, Ireland and Italy is correct at the time of going to press, but do check before you plan your trip

94 ITALIA! February 2014


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* Service begins March 2014, ** Service begins April 2014 *** Service begins May 2014


February 2014 ITALIA! 95







My Italia!
Hannah Fielding talks about the inspiration for her new romantic novel, The Echoes of Love, which is set in the splendour of Venice

Its history, grandeur and beauty. I love the red sunsets on the canal that turn the water to re, and then Venice at night, with all its oodlit monuments that glow in the dark and the silver moon that lls the narrow canals with romance and mystery. Venice is an elemental city of stone and water and its people are the ames.

Not as often as I would like! I was last there early in 2013 I like to go outside of the tourist season; during the colder, misty season I nd the city quite charming.

The Piazza St Marco, because it is home to so many beautiful monuments: the Basilica, the nest example of Byzantine architecture in the world; the Doges Palace, with its incredible Renaissance art; and the Torre dellOrologio, whose two great bronze gures at the top rst caught my imagination as a young child, and still ll me with wonder to this day.

I am going to try! My son is getting married around that time, so I might be pushed for time but I will denitely try not to miss it. I love the Carnival and I have always been fascinated by the intricate masks. Every time I go to Venice I go to visit a specialist mask shop called Ca Macana on Calle delle Botteghe, in Dorsoduro, which is my favourite area in Venice for its artistic and bohemian vibe.

Hannah novel features in our Books section this month (pages 92-93). As well as writing, she also reviews literature on her website at www.hannahelding.net
98 ITALIA! February 2014


Photography Hannah Fielding

I rst visited Venice as a young child. Then, as now, I was wide-eyed and enchanted by the beauty of the city. I distinctly remember standing in the Piazza St Marco, gazing up at the stunning architecture of Saint Marks Basilica and feeling I had somehow entered another world a fairytale world. Then I looked down, at the square itself, which was overrun by hordes of pigeons, which were quite spoiling the place. And it struck me then that Venice is a city of two faces: that which the tourists ock to admire, that makes the city the capital of romance and inspiration; and the other, darker side, that which is concealed in what Erica Jong called the city of mirrors, the city of mirages. When I returned to the city as an adult, I became quite fascinated by the concept of Venice what it means to be Venetian; what the city really is beneath the layers of history and grandeur and legend. Frida Giannini wrote, Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate lm set suspended on the water. I wanted to know the city beyond the lm set. Venice so captured my imagination that I knew I would write a romance novel set in this most elegant and fascinating of cities. But it had to be the right story to t the place. For me, that meant a story that reected the two faces of Venice the mask she wears, and the true form beneath.


If you want to tell the story of your relationship with Italy whatever it is get in touch with us! Send emails to italia@anthempublishing. com with the subject line My Italia and a brief description of your story.

Below: Hannah Fieldings new novel, The Echoes of Love was published on 14 January 2014 by London Wall Publishing.




5 Hotel Brufani Palace, Umbria

This hotel boasts Italian five star luxury in the heart of medieval Perugia, with fantastic views of the city and the Umbrian hills beyond. A true highlight of the Hotel Brufani Palace is surely the pool, where you can swim over the glass bottom and admire the Etruscan ruins below.

4 nights Bed & Breakfast from only 449 per person

Including return flights departing London Gatwick 04 May 14 EXCLUSIVE to Citalia Room upgrade, 100 sale discount, plus 20% early booking discount and online booking discount

SAVING up to

280 per couple

Whether youre looking for a chic city break, a relaxing escape to the lakes, a coastal retreat, or a bespoke multi centre holiday, we have the perfect Italian escape to suit you.

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visit citalia.com or call 0843 249 7979
ABTA No.V4068

Price based on two adults sharing on selected dates in May 2014 departing from London Gatwick. Prices are subject to availability and change but are correct at time of going to print. Terms and conditions apply. Calls cost up to 5p/min plus network extras.