From the colorful coastline of Cinque Terre and the quiet ports of the Aeolian Islands to the Renaissance architecture of Florence and the best pizza in Rome, every section features insider secrets and off-the-beaten-path recommendations (for example, a little restaurant in Piedmont known for its tajarin, a pasta that is the perfect bed for the region’s celebrated truffles).
This lush guide, featuring more than 350 glorious photographs from National Geographic, showcases the best Italy has to offer from the perspective of two women who have spent their lives reveling in its unique joys. In these illuminating pages, Frances Mayes, the author of Under the Tuscan Sun and many other bestsellers, and New York Times travel writer Ondine Cohane reveal an Italy that only the locals know, filled with top destinations and unforgettable travel experiences in every region.
Here are the best places to stay, eat, and tour, paired with the rich history of each city, hillside town, and unique terrain. Along the way, you’ll make stops at the country’s hidden gems–art galleries, local restaurants, little-known hiking trails, spas, and premier spots for R&R. Inspiring and utterly unique, this vivid treasury is a must-have for anyone who wants to experience the best of Italy.
Filled with gently undulating hills, golden stone buildings, pristine vineyards, and glorious art, central Italy epitomizes the joys of this country. Do you love exquisite Renaissance architecture, painting, and sculpture, along with artisanal shopping? Or do you seek medieval winding alleys and formidable fortresses along with adrenaline-filled festivals? Head to Siena, where a central grand piazza hosts the Palio, the bareback horse race that has been a town fixture for centuries. Perhaps you love pasta along with architecture? Head to Rome, where layers upon layers of history unveil themselves as you walk past treasures like the Forum or the Circus Maximus, all within sight of vibrant new cafés and bars and beloved trattorias.
In Piedmont’s Barolo and Barbaresco wine-growing districts, vintners aren’t allowed to plant the sacred nebbiolo grape on north-facing hillsides, so hazelnut trees often fill those slopes. That most nutty of nuts, blended with rich chocolate, is a marriage of true minds, although the wedding was originally one of convenience. In the early 19th century, when trade embargoes and the Napoleanic wars caused chocolate imports to shrink, nuts extended the quantity. Turin, gateway to the castle-topped, hills of Piedmont, is one of the primo food cities in Europe. It’s regal, thanks to the palaces, ballrooms, libraries, and gardens of the Savoy rulers, who also infused the cuisine with French influences. Vintage and new trams run around the centro. The tree-lined streets, shady river walks, and numerous parks keep this the greenest city in Italy.
In Your Glass
The majority of Lazio’s wines are white. Frascati is ubiquitous. There’s that word: drinkable. And they are. Light and summery, they’re able to heft a bit of gravitas too. From the island of Ponza, Casale del Giglio sends forth the chalky, fruity Biancolella Faro della Guardia. Biancolella is a grape variety grown only on the island. Three vineyards stand out for consistent high quality. Montiano, a merlot, is one of the region’s best wines. Next is the Sergio Mottura winery, known for its grechetto, Poggio della Costa. This pale beauty, with a whiff of citrus blossoms and stone, garners top ratings and the bonus of being well priced. Poggio Le Volpi’s Bacca Rossa, from the nero buono grape, makes an earthy and spicy partner to pasta with sausage and four cheeses. In Rome, wine nuts must feel a magnetic pull to Ristorante Casa Bleve.
If you want to understand what Paddy Renouf does, Google the word flâneur — we certainly had to before speaking to him. The creation of French author Charles Baudelaire, the flâneur, he wrote, was “a passionate spectator,” or a man who wanders the streets soaking in culture at every level.
In Renouf’s case, the streets are London, and the spectating is done on behalf of Sheikhs, celebrities and C-Suite executives from the top brands of the world. And here’s the best part about it: it’s his full-time job, one he began thinking about while in the midst of building a traditional career.
The post-war baby boom of 1945-65 produced the biggest and richest generation in British history. David Willetts discusses how these boomers have attained this position at the expense of younger generations.
Lord Willett’s book “The Pinch – How the Baby Boomers Took Their Children’s Future – And Why They Should Give it Back” is available now – https://geni.us/B0Gvq
Lord Willetts is a visiting Professor at King’s College London, Governor of the Ditchley Foundation, Chair of the British Science Association and a member of the Council of the Institute for Fiscal Studies. He is also an Honorary Fellow of Nuffield College, Oxford. Lord Willetts has written widely on economic and social policy.
His book ‘The Pinch’, which focused on intergenerational equity, was published in 2010, and he recently published ‘A University Education’. Lord Willetts served as the Member of Parliament for Havant, as Minister for Universities and Science and previously worked at HM Treasury and the No. 10 Policy Unit.
This talk was filmed in the Ri on 28 November 2019.
“When you listen and really grasp what another person is saying, your brainwaves and those of the speaker are literally in sync. By looking at brain scans, neuroscientists have found that the greater overlap and similarity of neural impulses between speaker and listener, the greater the understanding. It’s observable, measurable proof of listening, comprehension, and connection. You know it’s happening when you have that “Oh I get it” moment or sense of clarity when someone else is talking. You’re on the same wavelength, even if you don’t necessarily agree.”
In her new book You’re Not Listening, Kate Murphy draws attention to the worldwide epidemic of not listening, exposing the profound impact that it is having on us all and showing what we can do about it.
In this always illuminating and often humorous deep dive, Murphy explains why we’re not listening, what it’s doing to us, and how we can reverse the trend. She makes accessible the psychology, neuroscience, and sociology of listening while also introducing us to some of the best listeners out there (including a CIA agent, focus group moderator, bartender, radio producer, and top furniture salesman). Equal parts cultural observation, scientific exploration, and rousing call to action that’s full of practical advice, You’re Not Listening is to listening what Susan Cain’s Quiet was to introversion. It’s time to stop talking and start listening.
“Observation is observation. Looking, listening, thinking, conjecturing … all original ideas begin with a kind of scrutiny that is at once framed by discipline and open to discovery. Because I have always taught students in a university, not in an art school, I think I have a baseline understanding of what it means to approach the visual world from a different place. Teaching non-artists is always a little bit like being a foreign exchange student. Therein lies the challenge—and, I suspect, the fun.”
January 7, 2020 – This month, artist, designer, and writer Jessica Helfand joins Caltech as the Winter 2020 artist-in-residence in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences’ Caltech-Huntington Program in Visual Culture, which is administered jointly by the division and The Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens. Helfand is a former contributing editor and columnist for Print, Eye and Communications Arts magazines, and founding editor of the website Design Observer. She taught at Yale for two decades and has held artist residencies at the American Academy in Rome and the Bogliasco Foundation, among others. Her most recent book, Face: A Visual Odyssey, was published by MIT Press last fall. On January 16, Helfand will take part in a noontime talk with Bren Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience, and Biology Ralph Adolphs on the theme of the “face.”
What does our evolving view of the First Amendment mean for America, our democracy and our future generations? The New York Times’ Frank Bruni and Bret Stephens, Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, and NPR’s Tamara Keith explored cutting-edge questions about free speech, public discourse and the role of the First Amendment in today’s society.
The UC National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement’s inaugural #SpeechMatters conference brought together leading national experts to engage on today’s most pressing issues related to free speech on campus, the internet and beyond.
Learn more about the event at: freespeechcenter.universityofcalifornia.edu/speech-matters
From a Maclean’s Magazine online essay (01/08/20):
Boomers tore down institutions—divorce rates went up, churchgoing went down. We demonized the corporations that previous generations had venerated, though we bought their products in record numbers, our idealism blurring with the search for the perfect pair of jeans. We wanted it all. In place of institutions, we created the cult of the individual, our own particular Frankenstein.
So much of our music comes back to us in unfortunate ways, Dylan’s anthems barely recognizable in sappy orchestral arrangements that ﬁll the hours we spend on hold. And we seem to be permanently on hold these days. We are between 55 and 73 years old now, still deﬁning this as middle age, still a potent economic force because of our numbers, controlling 70 per cent of disposable income, though it feels to many of us that we have already disposed of it. Still, we bought houses when they were vaguely affordable. And politicians still cater to us because we vote en masse. However, we are largely left out of the cultural conversation, as music and social media continues to evolve, always leaving us one app behind the curve.