Cinque Terre

Cinque Terre -what to see and do…Cinque Terre charming small villages, simple accomodation

as there are many questions about Cinque Terre – this great overview from Conde Nast is a useful overview

There are five Cinque Terre villages—Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore—are backed by hills so steep that a coast road was never built. The villages are connected by train, with five tiny stations wedged into the space where the tracks emerge from the tunnels. East of the Cinque Terre, where the coast is flatter, are a series of family resort towns and working ports: Sestri Levante, Chiavari, Rapallo, and Santa Margherita Ligure. The promontory that juts out into the clean sweep of the coastline here is host to one of Italy’s most beautiful (and exclusive) seaside villages, Portofino. It lies around three miles south of Santa Margherita, with its train and bus connections (see Getting Around). Continue reading

Italy – great new book highlights food, farms and markets in a delightful valley in Umbria

Cooking and food in Umbria Do you love Italian food? Would you like to take a cooking class in your villa in Italy? I would love to introduce you all to Elizabeth… I first met Elizabeth when she and her then business partner came to cook at one of our villas in Italy, together they performed, created, cajoled, sang all while teaching us about the wild herbs from the hillside, how to stuff and roast, duck, quail, chicken on a spit in the open kitchen fireplace, how to fill fresh mozzarella bites with homemade fruit mostarda, all accompanied by a ‘few’ glasses of wine.

Dinner on an open fire – Chicken, Quail, turning on a spit in our kitchen fireplace

Her cooking classes in our villas became a ‘must do’ for all our clients, as one lawyer friend who was most reluctant to subject his wife and daughters to a cooking class before leaving for his trip ( as we planned it together), came home a few weeks later from Italy, he phoned me up and said “you know about that cooking class? ( I waited for the shoe to drop), he said…”well it should be mandatory!, it was an amazing experience”… Now Elizabeth has published a book about the food and farmers of this lovely area of Umbria.

Sustenance: Food Traditions in Italy’s Heartland -A new guide to farms, markets, and fairs in the Upper Tiber Valley Continue reading

Lost wine – Vandals waste 80,000 litres of top Brunello di Montalcino wine

Just thought this might be of interest to some of you… what a shame, some great vintage wasted… from the UK Guardian.

Vandals waste 80,000 litres of top Brunello di Montalcino wine

Six years’ worth of Gianfranco Soldera’s Tuscan red wine, worth up to €500 a bottle, emptied on to cellar floor during break-in

A vineyard near the Tuscan town of Montalcino in Italy

A vineyard near the Tuscan town of Montalcino in Italy. Photograph: Max Rossi/Reuters

One of Tuscany’s finest and priciest red wines is now a lot harder to find after vandals broke into the producer’s cellar and emptied 80,000 litres’ worth on to the floor. Continue reading

Christmas in Italy

Christmas time in Italy can be wonderful, and while they don’t really decorate the cypress trees on this famous winding road, it was great fun to imagine what they would look like.  Florence in winter is lovely , far fewer tourists, some great cosy restaurants to find, the food markets full of hearty fare; the museums easy to access. Rome too is lovely in winter, warmer than Florence, well worth visiting when the tourist count is down, wander through the streets off the Piazza Farnese and discover new artisans and interesting window displays. We can tell you more when we talk.  Meanwhile – I wish all of you a lovely holiday season with family and friends.


Florence – one of the top picks for multi-generational family holidays

Florence – one of the most visited locations in the world, is a great location for a

multi-generational family visit – a recent posting on Reuters, London states:

As baby boomers hit retirement and generation Xers become soccer moms, more and more families will be looking for vacation spots that work for a wider age group. With this in mind, the members and editors of compiled a list of the “Top 10 Multi-Generational Destinations.” The aim was to find locales that will provide stimulating activities and a multitude of options for children, parents, and grandparents while on vacation. Reuters has not endorsed this list: Continue reading

London, things to see and do…if you stop here enroute to your villa vacation in Italy

Conde Nast reporst about  some…..Things to Do in London Besides the Olympics


If you are heading to Italy for a villa vacation, some of you may stop in London enroute – this article in Conde Nast Traveler may be just the thing for you…read on

London’s Emirates Air Line cable car

The Olympics are taking over London this summer, but that’s not all there is to do in town. Read on for our picks of the city’s top summer festivals, exhibits, and events that have nothing to do with the games…. Continue reading

Rome – Rome is the Real Star of Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love


Rome is the Real Star of Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love so says Conde Nast Traveller – with a great slide show too

Woody Allen’s newest film, To Rome with Love, opens today, and not only does it have a stellar cast (Penelope Cruz, Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg), it has a stellar setting: the gorgeous streets of Rome. On their site – you can take a look at the place we think is the real star of the show.

Rent an apartment in Rome and stay a while

Rent an apartment in Rome

Continue reading

Where to eat in Paris – 5 great Bistros from Conde Nast

Paris -the question is always “where to eat in Paris” there are so many choices, that it becomes a problem to choose, even where to start.  Of course for me the local bistro is always the best … the fancy restaurants, really everyone knows which they are, and how to find them, but the bistros are key. so if you rent an apartment in Paris and want to find a little place to eat, this recent article in Conde Nast Traveller may provide a place to start:

that being said – one of my personal favorites is Bistrot d’Henri – located near our Princesse apartment

Paris Bistro near our Princesse apartment

Bistro in Paris – one of my favorites

From Conde Nast - here are their recommendations

Those wonderful red-checked-tablecloth bistros are why you fell in love in Paris, right? Sadly, they’re not only increasingly rare but increasingly expensive. Here, however, are five that won’t break the bank. Continue reading

Google 3-D imaging take a look and Rome…Venice Florence and more

Fascinating…Google has this amazing 3D imaging of certain major towns – take an armchair trip or plan your next holiday – take a look at Rome

Florence – take a look at the Duomo Square

Then – look at what’s up today -Google is unveiling the “Next Dimension of Google Maps” -  Google is hosting an event to show off the “Next Dimension of Google Maps”. Continue reading

Riviera – home to great food – A French Riviera Gastrocrawl

The french Riviera – not only a place of luxury homes, beautiful views and charming villages,  the New York Times recently had a great article on some wonderful food related things to see and do here… we have some great properties in Provence, within a few hours drive of here – we also work with some lovely boutique hotels – in Nice and surrounding areas – so  take a closer look at the whole article – A French Riviera Gastrocrawl; a few delicious excerpts below: and see if you would like to book the next jet out to the Riviera. from the article in the New York Times Continue reading