Tuscany

19 Jul 19
PHOTOS OF OUR PROVENCE and Beyond

L’île d’Elbe, Pise et les Cinque Terre (juin 2019) Partie 2/2 Maintenant, ce blog est bilingue et prend la suite de mes deux blogs en français, que vous pouvez continuer à visiter pour les sorties passées: http://huberaime.wordpress.com/ et http://tabbychat.wordpress.com/ . Souvent, un lieu décrit ici a déjà été montré ailleurs dans ce blog, ou le […]

19 Jul 19
Robb Report UK
There are few truly private golf clubs in Europe – and only one that sits at the heart of a prestigious wine estate in Tuscany. For Massimo Ferragamo – scion of the Salvatore Ferragamo shoes and luxury goods dynasty – the call to bring to life an abandoned village and 2,000-hectare estate within a UNESCO protected landscape, infusing luxury and authentic Tuscan simplicity into a unique blend of wine, hospitality and private golf proved irresistible. Is there a spot at The Club at Castiglion del Bosco which you’d deem to be your personal favourite, and why? Sitting on the Clubhouse terrace, in the evening, watching the sun set over the golf course and across the Val d’Orcia, sharing a bottle of Brunello di Montalcino with family and friends, is something that is forever on my mind, wherever I am in the world. The Villa Sant’Anna Living Room What were your feelings when you first encountered the premises? Castiglion del Bosco has been an incredible place for centuries and what spoke to me when I first came here was the landscape; 2,000 hectares of hills, forests, fields and, of course, the vineyards. I have to be honest and say it was wine that first brought me here. I was so incredibly moved by the limitless views and the scenery, I knew it was the place for me. That was in 2003 and now, with 62 hectares of organic vineyards, a winery, the Rosewood Castiglion del Bosco Hotel and Italy’s only truly private golf club, it is what I always, always wished for. How important is it for The Club to reflect the identity of – to “belong” to – its Tuscan surrounds? It’s an evolving world, so even places like this where the estate has preserved the same boundaries for more than 800 years has to evolve and always have a new meaning. But you have to respect the main reason people come here and why they love it, which is because it is Tuscany. So The Club, including a golf course sympathetically designed to blend into the landscape, and the Clubhouse, restored farm buildings using reclaimed stone and roof tiles, is fashioned in true Tuscan style, from the ground up. The beauty of Tuscany really is its simplicity, so you never want to give that up no matter what you do. Our members have to experience the best; everything has to be done in a great way. I’m a true believer in things that are real and so I thought it was very important to give all the comforts and amenities that are necessary, but on the other side to keep it real – keep it Tuscan. Massimo with his co-owner wife Chiara Ferragamo What was unique about how Tom Weiskopf went about the golf course design? Tom Weiskopf has designed some of the greatest golf courses in the world. Working with Tom was a real pleasure. He has designed the golf course keeping in mind the land, which was so important to me. The wider Val d’Orcia landscape, which is UNESCO listed, has been celebrated since the Renaissance as a region that reflects the ideals of people living in harmony with nature, creating an aesthetically pleasing picture. Tom interpreted this very, very well and, using the natural contours of the land, has created something important, different and unique. Was there a catalyst moment that led you to the founding of the club – possibly years before you founded it? Originally, I wanted to find a rural retreat, a vineyard and some traditional Tuscan farmhouses from which we could create a private estate, a place to share with family and friends. So I really wasn’t looking for an estate of this size, or an abandoned “borgo” (village), but I fell in love with Castiglion del Bosco at first sight. As we set about restoring the borgo, which is now a Rosewood hotel with 23 suites, as well as transforming 11 luxury farmhouses into luxury villas, some of my international friends suggested it would be great to also have a private golf course within the estate. Also, my wife Chiara and I, wanted this magical place to “live again” and in order to achieve that, we thought that we had to create a synergy between wine, hospitality and a private golf course. The inspiration for Castiglion del Bosco came from the land and the place itself; it was like the estate ‘told us’ what it needed to live again. So that’s where the idea of The Club originated. Do you feel consumer tastes are changing in the luxury realm – and how? Yes, in the luxury realm consumer tastes are always evolving. I feel that nowadays people are looking for more bespoke experience, more unique experiences and more simplicity, but in a truly unique surrounding and environment. The ageing cellar Is luxury moving away from the tangible, towards the experiential? Yes, I think so. Tangible is always in demand, but in my opinion people now are looking towards a new true type of luxury, which is represented by what fulfils your soul and your mind. Where, and in what circumstances, do you get your best creative ideas? I get my best creative ideas in the shower in the morning [laughs], or it can be looking at the untouched and stunning Tuscan landscape, or in front of a sea view. At the end of the day, though, great and creative ideas can come from anywhere, if it’s the right moment when you are particularly inspired. Look out for an account of our visit to The Club at Castiglion del Bosco  in the latest issue of Robb Report UK, out now
19 Jul 19
P.M. News

The Italian police have given graphic details of how a Nigerian-made Mafia, code named MAPHITE operated before the latest crackdown with the arrest of its major leaders

19 Jul 19
AFROINSIDER

File photo: Nigerian mafia gang leaders arrested in Italy The Italian police have given graphic details of how a Nigerian-made Mafia, code named MAPHITE operated before the latest crackdown with the arrest of its major leaders. MAPHITE as a mob group like the Italian mafia is involved in drugs business. But unlike the Italian mafia, […]

19 Jul 19
Thrive Global
I love the search for the perfect hotel when planning a vacation. Once I know where I want to travel, I relish the time spent diving into travel sites and articles that suggest the best places to stay in a particular location. This year, I limited my search to only family-owned and operated hotels or resorts. Running a resort or hotel is serious business but adding the hopes and dreams of a multi-generational family history into the mix makes it even more special and interesting. My vacation destination this season was Italy and I was looking for a few unique places to share with my own family this year. American author Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our day, is, of course, how we spend our lives.” No people seem to embrace this philosophy more than the Italians. Living life fully present appears to be the whole-hearted endeavor for every Italian I have ever met so a trip to Italy was destined to be just the kind of life-affirming experience we all wanted and needed. Hotel Hermitage Elba Island Embracing the Italian way of life was easy to do when we dropped ourselves onto our first family-owned resort on Isola Elba, or in English, Elba Island. An island off the coast of Tuscany, just a short ferry ride, and about one hundred miles south of Florence. The exquisitely run Hotel Hermitage is located in Portoferraio on a gorgeous strip of oceanfront property with crystal clear water and fragrant flowers lining the hillsides. This hidden gem is owned and managed by the sister and brother De Ferrari team from Genoa. They continue the tradition their parents began, by creating an environment of relaxed Old-World charm. The luxurious accommodations are coupled with a welcoming atmosphere for families. A place safe enough for children to roam and explore and feel free. The De Ferrari family’s commitment to excellence shines through their pristine tennis courts, grounds and restaurants. If you want to try a place where time stands still and not many Americans have found yet, then this is your place. The evening sunset views from the restaurant coupled with the 5-star dining experience with food mostly sourced from the island itself, alone is worth the journey. The dread of leaving Elba Island could only be assuaged by the anticipation of a stay at a very special spot in Florence. The Westin Excelsior Florence was as palatial as promised. Walking into the hotel was reminiscent of visits to a royal home. Gorgeous bouquets of sunflowers welcomed us into a grand entrance with a formally dressed staff to greet and assist guests. We chose to take a sweeping staircase up one level to our rooms. It’s hard to describe the elegance of the place; full of paintings, rugs and lighting resembling this once private estate sitting right on the river Arno. As one of Marriott’s premium brands, this Westin exhibited the Marriott family’s high standard of hospitality. The ethos of the Marriott family lives on with their core values of putting people first, pursuing excellence, embracing change, acting with integrity and serving the world. This Florence experience was no exception. We loved every minute. Suite Living Room Westin Excelsior Florence Our final spot was smack in the middle of the Tuscany countryside not far from two of my favorite wine regions, Montalcino and Montepulciano. Let your Soul Fly is the motto of the Adler Spa Resort Thermae and if your soul doesn’t soar here it won’t fly anywhere. This family owned and operated resort is part of the 5 Adler resorts run by the 6th generation brothers of the original Sanoner family. It all started in 1812, and the original resort along with 3 other properties are located in the mountainous northern Dolomite region of Italy. The one we chose sits on a beautiful piece of Tuscan land where a natural spring delivers hot bubbling healing waters to the guests. Unlike most wellness spas in the USA, this resort is steeped in the Italian culture of providing an abundance of superb food and wine. One can participate in a full wellness retreat with medical consultations, soaks in the mineral waters, and a choice of a library list of healthy spa and sauna experiences and exercise classes. The beauty of Adler Spa is that you get to create your own mix. One may enjoy dining al fresco by the pool, hop on an ebike to a winery tour or go take a hike into the hillsides. Or maybe instead, lie on a chaise lounge and read all day, sunbathe, swim and drink prosecco. View from Yoga AdlerSpa Thermae We selected a healthy and indulgent mix of Ayurvedic and aromatherapy massages, an interesting body-mind stress reducing Haki water-immersion session, and daily yoga. We coupled all this Spa time with leisurely morning rides through the Tuscan countryside and towns, wine tastings and long, late carefully crafted dinners under the stars. During our visit it was clear that the Sanoner family emphasized an appreciation for the staff’s important role in the success of their hotel. Every interaction with an Adler employee, whether at the front desk, the spa or dining room, was warm, friendly and helpful. This kind of service only comes with happy employees. The best news we heard was that the Adler resorts were expanding to a coastal spot in Sicily. We cannot wait to be one of their first guests! Want more stories like this one? check out DrSharon’s other travel posts.
18 Jul 19
Solacebase.com

Italian police said Thursday they have arrested 19 suspected members of a Nigerian mob, including the leaders of a clan, called MAPHITE, which forged alliances with other mafias and violently punished anyone who rebelled. In an operation dubbed “Burning Flame”, coordinated by police in Bologna and Turin, over 300 officers carried out arrests and searches […]

18 Jul 19
The Misty Miss Christy

Boy Bitten by a Lizard by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio c.1594-5 / 26”x19 1/2” / Oil on canvas / The National Gallery, London (a second version of this painting belongs to the Roberto Longhi Foundation’s collection in Florence) [There are four embedded links above] Previous July 18 posts: Summer~ July 18 Artist Birthday Quiz for […]

18 Jul 19
P.M. News

Italian police said Thursday they have arrested 19 suspected members of a Nigerian mob, including the leaders of a clan, called MAPHITE, which forged alliances with other mafias and violently punished anyone who rebelled.

18 Jul 19
AFROINSIDER

*Police give details of a Maphite Cult run by Nigerians File photo: Nigerian mafia gang leaders arrested in Italy Italian police said Thursday they have arrested 19 suspected members of a Nigerian mob, including the leaders of a clan, called MAPHITE, which forged alliances with other mafias and violently punished anyone who rebelled. In an […]