Learning How to Be a Tuscan Chef

Let me tell you a secret: in my family, we are all big addicts. To the point of being incurable. There is one Italian dish we can never get enough of: the pici all’aglione. This is hand-made pasta topped with a garlicky tomato sauce. Continue Reading →

Behind the Scenes of Siena’s Palio


– Mummy, I want to “vote” for the Leocorno, my daughter told me with big round eyes.
– The Unicorn? You want to support the Unicorn team?
– Yes! And George says he wants to support the Elephant!
– Well… I’m afraid there is no Elephant team in the race, darling.
– Ah… I’ll go tell him to support something else then.
– Good idea. Continue Reading →

Artichoke Hearts in the Heart of Tuscany

“A woman is like an artichoke: you must work hard to get to her heart.” You will never guess who said that… Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Yes, the French – and always gallant – police detective featured in the Pink Panther, the famous movie series on the art of sensible investigation. Remember? Continue Reading →

Little Easter in a Great Garden

The Kiss… The Tomb of the Poet… Nine Astrological Aspects… Cathedral no 6… The Grass Sofas… The Eternal Lunch… An Island in an Island… The Beauty and the Beast… Make Something as Big as the Eiffel Tower… No, I’m not rambling, I’m just trying to arouse your interest.

What are your plans for this coming Easter? I have a great scheme for you… Continue Reading →

The Ultimate Tuscan Wine Tours

In vino veritas. This is Latin and it means: “In wine there is truth”. Yes indeed, there is truth in wine, and a lot more as well – design, intent, know-how, genius and life!

Over the last 20 years, I have had the chance to visit scores of wineries in Italy, particularly in Tuscany. I have even worked at the Castello di Brolio (Barone Ricasoli) estate, Italy’s oldest continually operating winery. Yet, I still learn something new, something that astonishes me, every time I take another vineyard tour. Continue Reading →

Tuscan Cuisine Gets One More Star

October 2014… One month which Roberto Rossi, chef and owner of Il Silene, will not easily forget about.

“I’m the happiest man on Earth, Katharina! he carolled to me, waving his hands, when I dropped by Il Silene in late October. Continue Reading →

Concert Night at the Castello di Potentino


“As I sit at the piano, says Mark Springer, the feeling takes hold of me and I start to play a melody which is very direct. It shifts interestingly between major and minor, and becomes a theme that keeps growing in mood and atmosphere.” Continue Reading →

A Great Organic Farm in Tuscany

Every time my family and I go to La Foce for a short or long stay, buying una forma di Pecorino – an entire ewe’s milk cheese – is one of the first things I do on arrival.

“What is an ewe, Mummy? my daughter asked me a few months ago as we were enjoying some fresh pecorino.
– An ewe is a female sheep, I answered.
– I’d like to see one!
– Oh really? Well…”

Continue Reading →

An Appetizing Menu and Venue

As some of you, dear readers, might remember, I started last week’s article by quoting a few words by Benjamin Franklin. This week, allow me to cite the great Virginia Woolf: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Continue Reading →

Music Magic in Tuscany

My father and I were simply mesmerized, like under a spell. We looked at each other with a funny smile, and then stood up to join the applauding audience. Continue Reading →


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