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A pampering stay in Sicily’s south – Adler Spa Resort Sicilia

“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is not to have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the clue to everything. The purity of the contours, the softness of everything, the exchange of soft colours, the harmonious unity of the sky with the sea and the sea to the land… who saw them once, shall possess them for a lifetime.” I couldn’t help think of this Goethe quote while I was soaking in the sunset views from the corner of Sicily... Read More

A winter weekend in Turin

This past weekend we spent a couple of gloriously crisp, sunny winter days with my mother in law, our girls and even the puppy(!) around the elegant northern Italian city of Turin, showing them some favourite old places that we love, while discovering some new spots to add to the list. It was a little harder to do everything that we’ve done on past trips (which, truth be told, involved mainly eating and drinking as I was researching for my... Read More

Yamaura, a hidden gem in the mountains of Japan

I have been coming to Japan my whole life, ever since I was a baby, my Japanese mother would bring me home with her to visit my grandparents. In 1985, when I was about to turn five, the government made a law that children of Japanese women could now claim citizenship and I got my first Japanese passport, a complicated privilege since children can only hold this dual citizenship until they turn 20 years of age. We continued visiting, every single... Read More

A stay at Adler, the original spa resort in the Dolomites

Last spring I was invited to spend some time in the Dolomites at Adler, at the original, historic lodge where the resort first began in 1810 in the centre of the picturesque, pastel-toned town of Ortisei (Urtijëi) in Val Gardena in the South Tyrol. Around the Dolomites area, Adler have four resorts (the other we stayed in on this trip and I’ve written about before is Adler Lodge Ritten), plus one in Tuscany at my favourite hot springs Bagno... Read More

The Lagoon Workshop, a deep dive into the heart of Venice

To celebrate the release of my upcoming cookbook, Cinnamon and Salt: Cicchetti in Venice: Small Bites from the Lagoon City, I am offering a very special trip that I like to call The Lagoon Workshop! The idea here is to introduce you to a part of Venice that is so often overlooked by visitors to Venice but yet is the “internal organs” of the city, as activist Jane da Mosto says: the lagoon. We will have three nights together and we will... Read More

San Miniato Dining and White Truffle Guide 2023

Updated September 2023 with some new entries! We have now called San Miniato, my husband’s hometown, our family home since 2020 and I admit that one of the reasons we found this Tuscan hilltop village so charming is the selection of restaurants and food shops in this small historical centre. Other than being a fixture on the Via Francigena, the ancient pilgrim route, with picturesque views of the surrounding countryside from every angle you... Read More

The 11 best panini in Florence that aren’t *that* panino

We used to live on Via dei Neri, the street that runs from the back of the Uffizi Gallery towards Piazza Santa Croce. It was more than 10 years ago now, when it was still a residential neighbourhood of central Florence. Despite being in the shadow of Palazzo Vecchio and two steps to all the monuments, people lived here — you could tell from the little shops like the fruttivendolo for fresh fruit and vegetables, the bakery and even the little... Read More

Fish soup on Giglio Island

We spent a week in our favourite holiday place, the very special Giglio island, a tiny island in Southern Tuscany that can only be reached by ferry from Porto Santo Stefano. It’s the kind of place where time slows down and there is a simplicity to the rhythm of the days when you’re on an island like this so we really slow down when we are here (especially in a spot like Pardini’s Hermitage, where we stayed one year). One of the things... Read More

Farm to Table at the Adler Ritten Lodge in the Dolomites

I had the pleasure of a truly relaxing and rewarding getaway earlier this month in the Dolomites, an area of Italy I have only scratched the surface of so far, but that is so worth digging deeper into! I was invited to stay at Adler Dolomiti in the heart of the charming centro storico of Ortisei (more on this soon), and at their sister property, Adler Lodge Ritten, in the beautiful, unspoilt Alpine highlands of Ritten (also known as Renon), sitting... Read More

Insalata Gigliese, a summery salad from a Tuscan island

I’m counting down the days until we get back to our favourite annual Tuscan holiday spot, Giglio island, and in the meantime I’m feeling a little bit nostalgic about the cookbook where this recipe for Insalata Gigliese (a deliciously refreshing salad of tomatoes and celery) comes from, Acquacotta. I recently found out that it is getting harder to find copies of Acquacotta because it sadly isn’t going back into another reprint, which... Read More