Italy’s Secret Concierge
Ever had excessive journey envy It’s that condition symptomatic of homogenized luxury, when you’ve been to the coalface of motels throbbing with bling and all you need is quiet glamour.
Step forward John Chicken. His world centres on southern Italy, where he opens doors to tiptop non-public villas and journeys that stir the blood — isn’t that a given in Italy Australian-born, he is achingly effectively-linked, he is the insider’s concierge.
His world is the new definition of luxurious. Nothing is extra glamorous within the 21st century than being personally greeted at your airport, pushed via ordered umbrella pines to your villa, which in Chicken’s address e book shall be one of the grand dames of Italy. The glass of Prosecco softens your journey on arrival. That is low-chic residing (the oligarchs are all out of sight in Forte dei Marni), where your day is punctuated with the pleasure of getting a stay-in host to organise whatever your heart wishes.
Hen’s Italy is a seventeenth century-meets-twenty first. Where the Duchess of Palma (with whom you might stay) will take you shopping in her native market and teach you to whiz up the perfect Sicilian Caponata, or a lighter-than-air Almond Semifreddo (a century outdated household secret).
Or it would the Marchese di San Giuliano’s 12th century compound, which was restored to splendour, by his late spouse, Fiamma Ferragamo. She was accountable for the model’s well-known pump with a grosgrain bow and, simultaneously, the planting of dreamy outlying citrus groves and ten acres of gardens. Visitors get pleasure from a resident butler, two cooks and three maids all in a row. It’s a bonus that the property gives personal your wine, olive oil, biscuits and breakfast marmalade.
In case you have food and a cooking college at the entrance of your thoughts, you’ll be able to stick with the Regaleali-Tasca d’Almerita family in Sicily, the place a flock of Testa Rossa (isn’t that a Ferrari ) sheep present milk for property-made artisan cheeses (tuma and ricotta, pecorino); the place the garden is devoted vanishing species of cherries and quinces. Lengthy before the beginning of the modern day travel writer, Homer slept here and described the cheese making in his Odyssey.
Yet one more patrician family, the Ravida’s, open up their neo-classical villa (their Ravida Further Virgin Olive Oil is offered in Australia at Fratelli Recent) to food lovers. The present technology is headed by Natalia, who opted out of a Television presenter’s job in London, to oversee cooking courses. Their very own model of sea salt is scooped up from the low waters of Sicilian shores.
Fowl has a benchmark of excellence and meals-centered holidays are only a blip on his radar. He distils a type of quite sophistication, for those who want to show up the Pavarotti and settle 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 sizzling springs and thermal baths. He can toss in side journeys to Tuscan hill towns, the Como lakes, the Veneto and Sicily. His black e-book of lesser-known eating places is unrivalled and he’ll have you in an Italian outlet shop as fast as you can shout “bellissimo.” Lastly, if you can’t transfer from that library, as a educated chef, he’ll ship the right spaghetti vongole, on your dreamy terrace.
“I am only a contemporary custodian, I love sharing the Italy I do know,” he says, in a charming method. But Fowl (multi-lingual, with French and Italian) knows jewel-box glamour, because he’s taken care of that for purple-carpet shoppers in New York, LA, Paris and Rome. Nowadays, he a lot prefers sharing his Italy.