Italy’s Secret Concierge
Ever had extreme travel envy It’s that situation symptomatic of homogenized luxurious, when you’ve got been to the coalface of hotels throbbing with bling and all you want is quiet glamour.
Step forward John Hen. His world centres on southern Italy, where he opens doorways to tiptop personal villas and journeys that stir the blood — isn’t that a given in Italy Australian-born, he is achingly properly-connected, he’s the insider’s concierge.
His world is the new definition of luxury. Nothing is extra glamorous within the twenty first century than being personally greeted at your airport, driven by means of ordered umbrella pines to your villa, which in Chicken’s deal with book will probably be one of the grand dames of Italy. The glass of Prosecco softens your journey on arrival. This is low-chic residing (the oligarchs are all out of sight in Forte dei Marni), where your day is punctuated with the pleasure of having a live-in host to organise whatever your coronary heart needs.
Fowl’s Italy is a seventeenth century-meets-21st. Where the Duchess of Palma (with whom you might stay) will take you purchasing in her native market and train you to whiz up the proper Sicilian Caponata, or a lighter-than-air Almond Semifreddo (a century old household secret).
Or it’d the Marchese di San Giuliano’s twelfth century compound, which was restored to splendour, by his late spouse, Fiamma Ferragamo. She was liable for the model’s famous pump with a grosgrain bow and, simultaneously, the planting of dreamy outlying citrus groves and ten acres of gardens. Company take pleasure in a resident butler, two cooks and three maids all in a row. It’s a bonus that the property provides personal your wine, olive oil, black ferragamo flats 1985 biscuits and breakfast marmalade.
If in case you have meals and a cooking faculty on the entrance of your thoughts, you’ll be able to stick with the Regaleali-Tasca d’Almerita household in Sicily, where a flock of Testa Rossa (is not that a Ferrari ) sheep present milk for estate-made artisan cheeses (tuma and ricotta, pecorino); the place the backyard is dedicated vanishing species of cherries and quinces. Lengthy earlier than the start of the modern-day journey author, Homer slept here and described the cheese making in his Odyssey.
Yet one more patrician household, the Ravida’s, open up their neo-classical villa (their Ravida Additional Virgin Olive Oil is bought in Australia at Fratelli Contemporary) to meals lovers. The current generation is headed by Natalia, who opted out of a Tv presenter’s job in London, to oversee cooking courses. Their own brand of sea salt is scooped up from the low waters of Sicilian shores.
Fowl has a benchmark of excellence and meals-focused holidays are solely a blip on his radar. He distils a form of fairly sophistication, for many who need to turn up the Pavarotti and settle right into a library, or escape to a beach raked with white sands, to museums or live shows, cycling or golf. He will whistle up a masseur or drive you to scorching springs and thermal baths. He can toss in facet trips to Tuscan hill towns, the Como lakes, the Veneto and Sicily. His black e-book of lesser-recognized eating places is unrivalled and he’ll have you ever in an Italian outlet store as fast as you possibly can shout “bellissimo.” Lastly, if you cannot transfer from that library, as a trained chef, he’ll deliver the perfect spaghetti vongole, in your dreamy terrace.
“I’m just a contemporary custodian, I love sharing the Italy I do know,” he says, in a charming manner. But Chook (multi-lingual, with French and Italian) is aware of jewel-box glamour, as a result of he’s taken care of that for crimson-carpet shoppers in New York, LA, Paris and Rome. These days, he a lot prefers sharing his Italy.
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