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Stairs to the Ocean? Check. Bathing suit packed? Check. One week where you’ll do nothing? Check and check.

Renting a villa for a week is a fabulous thing to do — most villa rentals in Italy during high season are by the week. The Thinking Traveller has an excellent selection of curated villas in beachy locales I love. Here’s one of them in Cefalu, Sicily (you absolutely must day trip to the Aeolian islands if you stay in this area). Seriously though, you need to go spend a minute (or ten) ogling over the images of this beautiful spot — pictured above on the left, just casually at the foot of an old Norman tower.

Image: The Thinking Traveller


MANGIAMO

Making homemade pasta is very therapeutic. And who doesn’t need cheap therapy you can eat? If you have yet to try it, remember that you don’t need fancy ingredients or equipment to make many types of pasta. If you haven’t made pasta before, the easiest thing you can make is gnocchi, and you can work your way up to pasta. Here is a traditional gnocchi recipe from a friend in Tuscany. And here is a more classic pasta recipe where you’ll need a pasta machine — but a friend will likely have one you can borrow (like a treadmill, pasta machines get bought and forgotten). To make pasta all you need is a window of a few hours, a good mood, and some music. Do it — it’s so enjoyable and it’s so satisfying to eat. The adorabile Pasta Grannies on YouTube will get you in the spirit.


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Oh, how I love Sardinia — and how you will love it, too (if you love “off the beaten track” kinda places). It’s a very insider place to go — hip Europeans know where the good bits are. So, many Italians go to Sardinia — and I like knowing where the picky Italians go to holiday (hint: Sicily and Sardinia). I have several fave hotels there — Petra Segreta being one of them — have a look and see why.

PS You need a car in Sardinia so rent one plenty far in advance – especially if you’re going in 2022 ’cause all 2022 reservations will be bonkers.


WHAT WE’RE LOVING RIGHT NOW

Vanessa Bruno, French designer and purveyor of very pretty summer dresses that I covet hard, has just released a limited edition capsule collection called Capri Collection. I adore so many things about this — go and browse summer getaway clothes. My fave items are this and this. What are yours?

Images: Vanessa Bruno


WISH WE WERE HERE

Summer officially starts in a few days. We wish we were beating the heat on this beach in Monterosso (Cinque Terre), gelato in hand…


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With love + foccacia,

Bianca

 

 

 

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Can’t Beat These Views

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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Hiking in the Cinque Terre. This is a question we get asked A LOT. “Should we go hiking in the Cinque Terre? Do we need a guide? Can we walk between all of the villages? Can I go it alone?” The answer to all of the above is YES. You should 100% go hiking in the Cinque Terre. You can hire a guide if you like, but there are also trails that you can follow on your own. Of course, which ones you take will depend on your fitness level. Here’s a great resource from the National Park for checking out the trails. I like to recommend going with a guide at least once, because then you get to hear insider stories about the area that you wouldn’t hear otherwise. On our Cinque Terre tour, many of our guests will opt to spend a free day enjoying the trails. Just know that if you decide to hike the hills for 18 minutes or for 8 hours, these dreamboard worthy views will be something that you NEVER forget.

(PS: Pack a bottle of your favorite vino, cups for sharing, and some freshly baked focaccia for an easy picnic)


MANGIAMO

Masseria Serra dell’Isola is a 17th-century olive oil mill turned learn-to-cook homestay that has been in owner Rita’s family for three centuries. Puglian cuisine is renowned even in Italy, and with Rita you’ll get to learn some of the intricacies. Come for the weekend or even stay for a whole week – she’s got rooms for you too! Learn about the magic of truffles, pick your own herbs and vegetables from her garden, and accompany her to the local fish markets. We love her motto: “Arrive as guests, leave as friends”. Getting here? Nearby Bari has an international airport, and Rita will happily arrange a private transfer for you. 


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Speaking of 17th-century buildings — here’s one breathtaking building that also comes with breathtaking Mediterranean views. And yes. You can stay here, too. Monastero Santa Rosa is a once-upon-a-time monastery/convent perched upon the cliffs between Positano and Amalfi, in the small fishing village of Conca dei Marini. Whether you’re dining at the Michelin Star Ristorante Il Refettorio, or watching the sunset from the infinity pool, you better pack an extra bag, because you know you’re going to get here and never want to leave.


WISH WE WERE HERE

In this cozy mountain hut, drinking something bubbly, while watching the sunset — after a day of exploring (or more likely frolicking through) mountain meadows. This is the Auronzo Mountain Hut overlooking Tre Cime di Lavaredo, and you can access it by foot, or by car via one spectacularly scenic mountain road. 


SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER

Share our newsletter, get Italian Swag. It’s a simple way for you to share Italian Fix, and be rewarded with groovy things.

Wanna play? Click to share our newsletter, and we’ll send you gifties in the mail. Not lame cheap crap, but handmade, thoughtful and useful things to make your life more beautiful.

Share with 7 people, get an art print. Share with 17 people, a beautiful candle made in Florence. Share with 37 people, we’ll send you a skincare kit from the fanciest apothecary in Italy. Cause we’re crazy like that.

 

___

With love + foccacia,

Bianca

 

 

 

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Sicilian Sogni

by Bianca @ Italian Fix

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A celebratory birthday. Surrounded by friends. Anywhere, really (except your own kitchen table where you’ll be doing the cleaning up — don’t do that). I’m talking about really stepping sh*t up. Like renting a villa and inviting a dozen friends and a chef to cook a private meal, just for you and your crew. Or, simply gathering in a hotel with fam and friends (that’s less work than a villa rental), and picking up the tab for the big beautiful dinner you’ve planned with the restaurant staff. I did this in Sicily for my 40th. I just told everyone to meet in Catania — and people flew in from all over. My Italian friends came, too. I picked up all my peeps in Catania, transferred them to the hydrofoil, and we zipped over to the Aeolian Islands. We did the big cocktails and dinner thing al fresco — so fun! This went down at Hotel Signum (where we also bring clients). We also did the zipping-around-on-mopeds-the-next-day thing — so hilarious! A few days later — a boat trip. Planning a mini-getaway for friends, and just telling people where to be and what to bring is a blast. Everyone gets a holiday — and doing it together is way cool. Try it! Plan a year in advance to give people plenty of time to save and organize their lives. It’s like a destination wedding … but way less stress and expectations and expense.

Images: Stefano Butturini


MANGIAMO

There’s an amazing book in Italy, called Il Mangiarozzo. It’s the “trattoria bible” in Italy and it’s never been translated into English, but I think you could buy it and wing it and figure it out. ‘Cause all you need is the names of the restaurants. Their tagline is: 1000 e più osterie e trattorie d’Italia. È facile mangiare bene e spendere poco se sai dove andare! I’ll translate: “Over 1000 osterie and trattorie of Italy. It’s easy to eat well and spend little, if you know where to go!”


WHAT WE’RE LOVING RIGHT NOW

I’m kinda obsessed about this Made in Sicily skincare line, Furtuna Skin. Get the Discovery Set with all the trial sizes if you wanna see what it’s all about. This is not sponsored. I buy this brand — and I’m always looking for products that are clean for me and my daughter. They had me at “wild foraged” ingredients from Sicily. And having spent many glorious days barefoot in the Sicilian sunshine amongst the jasmine and orange blossoms, carob and almond trees — it just makes me happy to use those products. Sicily is bursting with wild plants and herbs that make the air so fragrant (it’s especially glorious when you’re driving on a hot summer night). I have a feeling you’ll love these products, too.


WISH WE WERE HERE

In the garden of a friend’s house, in Sicily. We get to visit a few places on our Sicily trip that are created just because we have connections. It’s not what you know in Italy, it’s who you know. This is a countess’ home, and we take clients here to share a lunch together that she prepares. It’s a casual “outside in someone’s yard” feeling. But said friend is a countess who owns an estate. I like to say the experiences clients have with us are not “Googleable” experiences. Thankfully, Amazon hasn’t figured out how to package “Sicilian friend’s garden visit” and speed it to your door, so it still feels special and insider. That’s what makes Italian Fix feel different than a big company.


SHARE THIS NEWSLETTER

Share our newsletter, get Italian Swag. It’s a simple way for you to share Italian Fix, and be rewarded with groovy things.

Wanna play? Click to share our newsletter, and we’ll send you gifties in the mail. Not lame cheap crap, but handmade, thoughtful and useful things to make your life more beautiful.

Share with 7 people, get an art print. Share with 17 people, a beautiful candle made in Florence. Share with 37 people, we’ll send you a skincare kit from the fanciest apothecary in Italy. Cause we’re crazy like that.

 

___

With love + foccacia,

Bianca

 

 

 

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