Pinecones and branches come from the wood, the vegetables from the home garden, cheese, butter and milk from the in-house dairy, and the fresh pasta from the family’s malga. SanBrite is, first of all, an act of love towards one’s own land and roots…
South Tyrol, Italy
It was probably on a Saturday afternoon, at the special time when the sun disappears behind a mountain. There were two rooms in our name at Niedermairhof. Helmut and Kathrin were in the courtyard, and he was sitting on the tractor holding their ecstatic son on his lap…
Empty beaches, closed chalets, deserted promenade. In autumn, the Adriatic Sea is tepid and good-natured, vaguely sad, and only belongs to a few. Above all, to those who live there and can enjoy the last days of sun sitting in the courtyard of a port trattoria at lunch. In Fano, young people love to meet at La Rustita, and so do we. We eat seafood salad, grilled squids, fried fish, mixed salad and white wine of the house between white wood and salty breeze.
La Taverna della Rocca has the fragrance of my childhood Sundays: long tables and meals that resembled a ritual; the smell of dense meat sauce – cooked slowly – and of hand-rolled egg pasta that characterised the holiday; the smell of grilled meat. The only ‘eccentricity’ here are the piade sfogliate grilled and served with wild herbs and local toma cheese (the house women are quite proud of them). An ode to dedication and simplicity.
If I had a masseria, I think I’d want it like this one: a luxury family residence with a big, spotless white, Spanish-style façade and five balconies on the piano nobile to see if the black wild horses are back from the woods, if the goats have gone into the shed, and if Brindisi and the Ionian Sea are glittering in the evening. The corner kitchen tiled with majolica ends in a big roof terrace, near St. Martin’s statue…
‘Schiuma’ (foam) is a splendid word. It quickly calls to mind high waves’ foam, soft soap bubbles and their rainbows, soft milk, shaving foam that smells like pungent cologne, the lightness of childhood, an adolescence-like goliardic spirit, and an ephemeral consistency that leads you to play at any age. There is a street named Schiuma that from national road S90 – Monopoli to Savelletri – going south, takes you away from the sea and into an unexpected countryside. Masseria Schiuma’s name comes from it. In my opinion, its owners – a sincere Danish couple, graceful and beautiful, Pernille and Lars – love simplicity so much that they did not want to add any more frills or meanings to this place, a temple of private and shared spaces. Every movement of hosts and guests is free and mature…
‘32 sq. m. of sea’. Water is the primary element that always fascinated Pino Pascali. The artist re-created his own sea in zinc tubs, each one containing a tone-on-tone variation of the colour of the sea. Pino Pascali, the greatest Apulian artist, was born in Bari on 19th October 1935. His parents came from Polignano a Mare. Very soon, his works emphasized his Mediterranean culture…
‘No moon, no blossom. Just me drinking sake, totally alone.’ Matsuo Bashō, 1689. Oku no Hosomichi (‘The Narrow Road to the Interior’) is one of the most important classic books of the Japanese literature. This work by poet Matsuo Bashō is a travelogue written both in prose and verses during a long and perilous walk, a five-month pilgrimage, more than two thousand kilometres long, from the modern Tokyo to the Japanese hinterland. It was the end of the eighteenth century. The master’s itinerary became the opportunity for many to start their own Japanese journey…
When spring comes, Arctic plants follow some direct and indirect environmental signs to know when they have to wake up from their winter sleep: milder temperatures, longer days and the reduction of sea ice. The bed is high, my legs dangle and my toes sense the ancient carpet. The white linen is an old-time one belonging to home women’s trousseaus. Bells ring as clear as a mother’s voice; they may be the Cathedral’s bells. The smell of cinnamon we fell asleep with is back. The Florentine light can barely filter. There is no sound. Only the young owner of this house moves quietly barefoot around the kitchen, a teaspoon stirring hot coffee. Waking up in this residence at 43 Via dell’Oriuolo is a moment made of small gracious signs. It is an act of generosity by Patrick, a sculptor and photographer. We will talk mainly about Engadin, a place we love in different ways, a place that lingers in our eyes. He is lucky enough to be born there.
Azure is a rare colour in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. When we see it in nature, it is not proper azure, but the result of light diffraction: it happens with some birds’ feathers, the sky, ice, water and the wings of butterflies. Once squashed, blueberries are red rather than blue. So, which room did you choose? In which one did you sleep? In the azure one. In Casa Flora, the colours of the lagoon were brought into the rooms. There is the shade of green of the narrowest and clearest canals, the most heart-breaking Venetian shade of pink, and the soft azure of our room…
The walk to reach malga Fodara Vedla is the kind of gift we would like to give our children every autumn Sunday. Intersecting Altavia, which crosses the Dolomites from Braies to Belluno, you pass virgin woods, enjoy the first snow of the season, and grit your teeth on the steepest paths. As a reward, a delicious genuine mountain meal prepared and served by the descendants of grandpa Hans. He was a baker in San Vigilio and during WWI he bought the place from the Austro-Hungarian troops. The Mutschlechner family will dine next to you, talkative and harmonious, when almost all wayfarers are back on their paths, as the sun is setting behind the mountaintops and your children are blissfully enjoying the last sips of their cocoas with whipped cream before resuming the walk. Open end of May until November.
The warmth of the hygge helps the Danish endure the long Scandinavian winter. The word was coined by the Norwegian neighbours in 1700, and represents that mix of family harmony, attention for details and joie de vivre that makes us think nostalgically of our journeys to the North. Architects Caroline and Armin have their own idea of a hygge and, after you have lived among the larch-wood and arolla-pine wood walls of their cottage hanging to the mountainside, you will be delighted by it. You will take with you some of their style and peace, and make good use of it…
In Torre di Palme, on New Year’s Day, a kind young man lets us sit in a room with blue walls. Bells have just celebrated noon, a few tourists linger on the sunny lookout, a lady wearing an apron rapidly hangs out clothes in the Adriatic breeze. Our memories of this place will include the alleys we walk to reach it and the glimpses of the sea between century-old houses. As well as the handmade tortellini in an ancient flowered tureen, the white tablecloths on tables slowly animated by regulars, the intimate and discreet welcome, the perfectly salted grilled meat, and the exquisite herbs. At the end of the day, we wish the New Year were exactly like every meal in this inn – cheerful, precious and graceful.
In 1902, if you got off the train in Palazzolo sull’Oglio, on the railway line Milan-Venice built by the Austrians, and took just two steps, the Rossi family welcomed you to their Osteria della Villetta with lodging, a three-story Art Nouveau building perfumed with traditional recipes. The exquisiteness of this place is that the family stayed where they were born and preserved what back then was a normal place and today is the enchanted set of an Early Twentieth-century film. You are tempted to get there by train and dress with the modest Sunday elegance of our great-grandmothers…
Leave behind the covered market in Placa da Ribeira and its chaos, go up to the first floor, and sit at one of the tables embraced by the light of a Lisbon sunset. For once, you do not have to open the menu: you can trust the tips of the staff, welcoming you with bowls of olives, fritters, mouthwatering bread, olive oil and smiles. Pap’Açorda is the second life of a historic restaurant in Barrio Alto. Save room for the chocolate mousse (cit.)