MY SECRET B&B TIP FOR THE MAREMMA

Last autumn, I took a little detour in Maremma. I had been at Il Priorato, one of excellence.villas’ high-end properties in southern Tuscany. Before heading back to Rome, I stopped for a coffee in the hilltop town Pereta.

I took a stroll through the pretty village and noticed a palazzo on the main square. It didn’t have a sign or a bell, but I marveled at its garden and the beautiful view from the town wall. “This type of setting,” I thought, “is exactly the sort of place I would love to call home.”

On the way back to my car, I checked Google Maps and to my surprise found a tag for a B&B with the enticing name “Locanda Sospesa” which could be freely translated to “floating boarding house.” Of course, the next time I was in the area, I booked myself a room there.

This is how I met Johnny and Elizabeth, the wonderful couple behind that secret door. During the first Covid lockdown, they left their corporate jobs in Rome and settled in Pereta, where Johnny had spent his childhood. Their two young daughters now go to the local school and Johnny and Elizabeth opened Locanda Sospesa to build a new life for themselves in the Tuscan countryside.

We had a lovely time and while Pereta’s beautiful palazzo may never be mine, I feel comforted now – it’s in good hands.

LOCANDA SOSPESA, Piazza San Marco 1, Pereta (GR).

 

Katharina's Italy

HOMO FABER VENICE

In April 2022, Venice will host Homo Faber, an international exhibition that champions artisanship from Europe, and this year also from Japan.

We’re especially excited about the opportunity Homo Faber provides to discover the workshops of Venetian artisans. To find a workshop (most are free) browse the ‘In Città’ section of the Homo Faber website, select a category (e.g., glassblowing or bookbinding) and book your spot early.

You can use the website as a resource even if you’re not in Venice this spring. It showcases some of the best artisans and workshops in town, and many of them offer visits and activities all-year round.

We found the workshop of Piero Dri like this. At Il Forcolaio Matto, the talented Venetian craftsman produces oars and forcolas, the crucial parts of any gondola.

HOMO FABER – from April 10 to May 1, 2022. Many of the 15 shows will take place in the beautiful spaces of the Giorgio Cini Foundation on Isola San Giorgio Maggiore.

 

Katharina's Italy

A VENETIAN RESTAURANT WITH VEGETARIAN TREATS

Are you a pescatarian? Or do you travel with friends who are vegetarians but you’d still like to try the famous fegato alla Veneziana (calf’s liver Venetian style)?

Osteria La Zucca in Venice has a varied and excellent menu that will make everybody happy.

Located in the Santa Croce neighborhood, the restaurant has a porta d’acqua, an entrance door right onto a canal. Hence it is easy to arrive by water taxi or gondola. And La Zucca’s elegant interiors are reminiscent of the precious woodwork on sailboats.

WHERE: Osteria la Zucca, 1762 Santa Croce, Venezia.

WHEN: We recommend La Zucca in summer and in winter. It is open for lunch and dinner. Closed on Sundays.  Make sure to check the current opening times and book several days ahead.

Phone +39 041 52 41 570 – www.lazucca.it

 

Katharina's Italy

SUCCESSION IN ITALY

Have you watched Succession yet? The HBO series about the powerful but dysfunctional Roy family has kept many of us up late.

Season 3 has just been released and part of it was filmed in Italy last summer.

If you stayed at la Foce or visited our favourite garden in Tuscany, you’ll have extra fun watching the Succession Chiantishire episode. Insider Information: the team stayed three weeks at La Foce which resulted in 20 minutes in the show!

Readers familiar with our Excellence.Villas catalogue will recognize the scenes filmed on lake Como at Villa Rosa.

It’s just the perfect show to put on your holiday watchlist.

Buone feste and see you in the New Year.

 

Katharina's Italy

Medici Villas and Gardens

Look what I’ve just found! A website about the 14 UNESCO heritage Medici villas and gardens in northern Tuscany. In the past, I visited many of them, but finding these properties required quite a bit of detective work. Thanks to the new Medici villas website, planning a visit has become much easier.

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A DAY AT THE 17th VENICE ARCHITECTURE BIENNALE

The inspiring 2021 Venice Architecture Biennale explores the most crucial question: “How will we live together?”

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VENETIANS BY RECENT ADOPTION

I feel we could all use some good news from the bel paese….
I have always been an ardent admirer of British actress Emma Thompson. In addition to her great performing skills, this witty and urbane woman has never been afraid to speak up and use her influence to support a good cause. And now I have new grounds for being fond of her: a few weeks ago, Emma and her husband, actor Greg Wise, have taken up residence in the Serenissima, a dream they had been entertaining for a long time.

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ONE OF SIENA’S HIDDEN TREASURES

On October 5 of the year 1554, more than 250 orphans were bluntly expelled from the Republic of Siena. The city had been under siege for 9 months and its government decreed that the best way forward to hold out against the enemy was to get rid of its bocche disutili, its “useless mouths”. And during the following months, another 4000 citizens, mostly children, unmarried women and elderly souls, were sent packing by the same token.

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A RENAISSANCE VIRTUOSA

Last month, my daughter returned from school one day with an elated heart: “Mummy, I have to write a theme about some artists! Female artists!”

I responded with a big smile and asked my daughter whether she had anybody in mind already. She said she absolutely wanted to talk about Frida Kahlo and Georgia O’Keefe, whose works were, to some extent, familiar to her. Then she pressed me for suggestions.

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INVITATION TO A VENETIAN OPENING

How did you celebrate, dear readers, your leap into the New Year?… I sincerely hope you had a smooth and joyful transition, and that 2020 is holding lovely surprises in store for you.

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