Monday, June 21, 2010

My Not So Secret Love Affair...



Last week I took off without my husband for three days to visit one of my other loves and it was fabulous.


Ok, that’s about as scandalous as it gets. Yet I really am falling in love with another part of Italy. It’s even creeping up on my reliable, faithful Sicily. It’s name is Puglia, otherwise known as Apulia stateside.


The "Road" to Paradise???


Puglia has it all: culture, deep rooted history (including the olive trees ha!), breathtaking beauty, interesting cuisine, up and coming wines, gorgeous architecture, top-notch hotels, plenty of activities to keep the restless happy, enough white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters to keep the mellow, well mellow, and even a touch of sophistication!



Pesce Crudo Seaside!
Local Vineyards

A Charming Trulli House

My Usual "Feet in Beautiful Place" Photo

I’m going to be writing more about my beloved Puglia in the near future and am planning some terrific vacations for clients down there, so stay tuned for more on this sultry and seductive love affair (although I’ll be taking my husband with me next time!)...

End of Day at Coccaro Beach

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Other Riviera...



Yes, I admit it. I’ve become somewhat of a snob when it comes to the Riviera di Levante and all its natural beauty. But having the assignment with Fodor’s has opened my eyes to the other part of this gorgeous region, The Riviera di Ponente.


A brief geography lesson: Liguria is a crescent shaped region which hugs the NW coastline of Italy. It is really broken in 3 parts:

  • The Riviera di Levante - From Genova southeast to the Tuscan border, most famous for Portofino and Le Cinque Terre (and where I live)
  • Genova - Italy’s most underrated and one of its most beautiful cities
  • The Riviera di Ponente - From Genova northwest to the French border, most famous for San Remo, flowers and artichokes

While Levante has a rugged coastline dotted with colorful fishing villages and what I refer to as “little pirate coves”, the Ponente has more open, white sand beaches and in all honesty, is much more built up. In fact, this has always been my issue with Ponente. But I’ve been unfair.


If you can get past the industrial disasters of Savona and Imperia (I’m trying but it still makes me mad that the people let these places become what they now are), there are many charming seaside towns, resorts, some very nice hotels and quite a few interesting things to do and see.


Favorite Beach Areas:

Alassio

Finale Ligure

Noli

Varigotti



Quality Accommodations:

Punta Est

Relais San Damian

La Meridiana

Even the Royal Hotel San Remo is worth mentioning for those looking to live the “high life” on the Riviera



Fabulous Food:

Magiargè in Bordighera

Ai Torchi in Finale Ligure

Bagno San Ampeglio in Bordighera

Ristorante Doc in Borgio Verezzi



Cool Things/Places to Do/See:

Hanbury Botantical Gardens

Grotte di Toriano

Olive Oil Museum

Finalborgo

Isola Gallinara

Cervo

Casinò di San Remo


So if you are heading to or from France OR just want a a nice “vacation from the vacation”, the Other Riviera is not such a bad idea...Buon weekend!