Secrets of Italy’s streets
Uncover the coolest districts
Discover La Dolce Vita
Rome through the lens of a cult classic
Step into Italy cities and roam her streets to
discover amazing secrets above and below ground.
On the scent of Italian perfume
Join us on a fragrant adventure
A nose for truffles
Your flavourful field guide
Many of us share a mixture of feelings surrounding the realies of going on holiday once again.
At Citalia, we are commied to working with trusted partners and making sure their hotels
meet our standards to give you the peace of mind that you can holiday safely.
Be able to change your holiday up to three
mes with no amendment fee (any extra
holiday costs incurred are payable).
If COVID-19 has affected your travel
plans you can cancel your holiday up to
three weeks before departure for free.
If we have to cancel your trip,
we will refund you.
Curated by experts
ABTA and ATOL bonded, we’ve been
creang holidays for over 45 years, offering
a 24/7 concierge service for peace of mind.
Trusted partners only
We make sure that our partners
have your safety and wellbeing
at their core.
Private accommodaon and dining
opons are available. All holidays
come with private transfers to resort.
We will only offer you desnaons
that we know are safe to travel to,
underpinned by FCDO advice.
Health and safety
All of our partners must adhere to
local health and safety standards,
which we closely monitor.
There are secrets to be found in Italy’s streets.
Turn a corner and you’ll come across a scene that feels like
something out of an old Italian film, whether that’s hanging laundry,
quaint balconies with flowerpots and flowing curtains, or street
vendors serving up heavenly cannoli or trapizzino.
All the Citalia team are delighted with the announcement that the
quarantine period for UK travellers to Italy has ended. More than
ever, our Personal Travel Planners are here to advise and support
you so you can have a hassle-free holiday.
This season, we celebrate everything that the streets have to offer,
not least because it’s Italy’s cities that can provide you with a
perfect winter holiday.
In our article, Secrets of Italy’s Streets, we’ll take you to the coolest
urban neighbourhoods, and share with you some underground
networks that are steeped in history.
Learn a thing or two about vintage Rome as we take you behind the
scenes of Italy’s cult classic in Discover La Dolce Vita.
And, as the spooky season comes upon us, for something a little
different, we couldn’t ignore the Cursed Island of Gaiola, off the
coast of Naples. Our Regional Destination Manager Stefano Nirta has
reassured me that the curse never targets visitors, only its owners!
Make your next Citalia holiday extra special with our pick of Iconic
Luxury Hotels. You can also receive some additional tips from our
Senior Personal Travel Planner Raggy Singh in Tailormaking Italy,
and from one of our favourite guests, renowned archaeologist
Dr Holley Martlew, in Digging Up Italy.
Feeling inspired? Ourselves and our local partners are ready to
provide you with accommodation and services that are to the
highest of health and safety standards.
We continue our Book with Confidence guarantee so that you can
book your holiday with a refund guarantee while still able to make
any changes to your future bookings with ease.
Citalia is always here for you.
Italy’s cities bring with them an epic industrial past, which you can
explore through automobile innovation with our feature, In the Hot
Seat: Italian Cars.
Plus Venice, Florence, and Milan wouldn’t be the same without their
fragrant history, as we share in On the Scent of Italian Perfume.
Speaking of aroma, it's almost that time of year when the world
goes in search of the prized white winter truffle, and we venture
into the undergrowth in A Nose for Truffles.
LO LC LM
Andiamo! Street Life
08 17 24
Secrets of Italy’s Streets
Step into Italy’s cities this winter as Citalia
highlights chic urban neighbourhoods and
hidden secrets above and below ground.
Discover La Dolce Vita
The 1960s cult classic film is in the
spotlight. We take you behind the scenes
and find the true meaning of the sweet
life in Rome.
Our Pick of Luxury Hotels
Discover our pick of Italy’s luxury hotels.
From historical hotels to contemporary cool
resorts, you’re spoilt for choice.
Into Italy with
the Citalia team
with Raggy Singh
with Marie Kidd
Avis Road Trips:
Our Pick of
Andiamo! is a publication of Citalia | Citalia.com | Travel with Confidence | 01293 839110 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Connect with us
Managing Director: Helen Adamson | Publisher: Madhatter Creative Co. – Jen Marsden | Design: K8 Design & Marketing Ltd – James Palmer
Cover image: Burano Island, Venice Province, Veneto (Aliaksandr Antanovich, Shutterstock)
30 36 42
In the Hot Seat: Italian Cars
Whizz into the world of Italian automobiles
and know your Lamborghini from your
Ferrari, and your Fiat from your Alfa Romeo.
On the Scent of
Quintessentially Italian, Citalia takes you
on a fragrant adventure into the world of
alchemy and love potions.
A Nose for Truffles
With the most prestigious truffle hunting
season about to begin, we’ve prepared
a field guide to these earthy culinary
Italy with Dr
On the Scent of
Wine Pairings with
In the Hot Seat:
A Nose for Truffles
The Cursed Island
of Gaiola in Naples
alla Gamberi e
Images courtesy of: Antica Erboristeria San Simone, AVIS, Baglioni Hotel Regina, @basilandcoffee, Brunelleschi Hotel, Carthusia, Cassandra Vizza, Castel Monastero Resort, Daniella Cascio, Dr. Holley
Martlew, Gennaro Contaldo, Giorgio Perottino – Getty Images for Ente Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco d’Alba, Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, Hotel Danieli, Hotel Il San Pietro, Hotel Palazzo Avino,
Hotel Santa Caterina, Hotel Villa d’Este, Kate Ailey, Liz, Marie Kidd, Metropoliz Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere (MAAM), Monteriolo Coppo, Nonna Tonda, Raggy Singh, Ramona Gales, Riviera
Winery, Shutterstock, Sireo, Splendido, A Belmond Hotel, Vermentino Tenuta Guado al Tasso, Villa San Michele A Belmond Hotel.
Prices are estimations based on 2021/22 travel and are correct at going to print but are subject to change. Please note that any flight or travel times included are approximations.
with the Citalia team
Do you ever wonder where the Italy experts choose to
holiday? We found our Personal Travel Planners huddling
around a map of Italy as they shared their favourite
destinations with one another. This is what we heard.
“Lake Como is undoubtedly my favourite place. I was lucky
enough to live there for 10 months and it's definitely the
most stunning of the Italian lakes. It’s filled with quaint
little towns where you can easily spend an afternoon
relaxing and enjoying some gelato on the lakefront.”
“After a beautiful time soaking up the atmosphere
and strolling through Venice, my husband and I
returned home on the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.
What can I say but AMAZING! We were greeted and
spoiled with Prosecco from the moment we departed
Venice. Our porter was fantastic, always smiling and
helpful. Our cabin and the exquisite timeless décor
throughout was like stepping back into another era.
We had great fun meeting other passengers in the bar
carriage before dinner. Our cabin was turned into
comfy beds while we enjoyed our dinner - the food was
incredible. The train was so relaxing and we both felt it
was the perfect end to a few nights away. I would jump
at the chance to go again!”
Personal Travel Planner
“The region of Liguria is one of my favourite spots.
There is so much to see, learn, taste and enjoy here,
and what’s great is that most of Liguria’s towns
have good rail connections. I really love staying in
Santa Margherita and taking the five minute train
to the lesser-known Camogli for dinner.”
“At the toe of Italy’s boot, I love Sicily as it stays sunny
throughout the year. I love to visit all of Sicily’s triangle:
Palermo, Sicily’s triangle: Palermo, Agrigento and Taormina.
For me, a walking tour or street food tour of the capital of
Sicily, Palermo, is a must, while Agrigento’s Valley of the
Temples takes me back in time. Taormina, with Mount Etna
perched in the background, offers a great mixture of culture
and relaxation offering both the third century theatre,
Teatro Antico di Taormina, and the beach.”
Senior Personal Travel Planner
of Italy's Streets
This winter, why not step into Italy’s cities? Filled with delight both above
and even below ground, the streets reveal amazing secrets.
There are several major cities in Italy,
yet each one has a distinct character
that’s worth exploring in its own right.
“Italy’s cities are quieter in winter
and give you the time to explore them
at a much slower pace as you’ll be
able to move around more freely.
With this gentler tempo, you’ll also
have the chance to interact more
with the local people.”
Regional Destination Manager at Citalia
In winter, average temperatures in Italy’s cities
are around 6ºC, so you’ll find them cooler than
the summer but still very pleasant.
It’s really easy to travel between the major cities
as they’re all connected by Italy’s high speed
train network, so why not include a few on the
same Citalia holiday?
Most Italian cities are made up of a patchwork
Naples is a really vibrant and, at times, gritty
city. Among the youthful creatives who
were inspired to follow in the footsteps of
contemporary greats like Ernest Hemingway
and Andy Warhol, you’ll find a strong
community and artistic spirit.
“While it’s not everyone’s cup of tea”, says
Heather, “if you like to appreciate avantgarde
street art, religious architecture and
archaeology, and absolutely delicious street
food , then this is the place for you.”
Home to over 700 domes, Naples has more
churches based on the population size than
any other Italian metropolis. The most famous
is the 13th century Duomo di Napoli, located
in the city’s centro storico (historic centre),
which is dedicated to the city’s patron saint
San Gennaro, whose alleged blood rests in a
glass vial within the cathedral.
“One of my favourite neighbourhoods is the
affluent Chiaia, located along the seafront,
which is bursting with designer shops and cool
boutiques,” says Heather.
“Chiaia's really atmospheric in the
evening with its many bars and seafood
restaurants. If you keep walking along
the seafront you’ll find the ancient
castle Castel dell'Ovo located across
the waters on the island of Megaride.”
For a completely different side of Naples,
head to the bustling district of Rione Sanità.
This is Naple’s foodie centre but it isn’t for the
faint-hearted. Among tightly-packed streets,
you’ll stumble upon street markets, trattoria,
and gelateria, and there are flower-adorned
shrines to native saints on every street corner.
Go underground into the spooky catacombs of
San Gaudioso and San Gennaro to trace history
through its layers, and connect with the city’s
ancestors, or venture into the volcanic caves of
Dig further into history in Rione Sanità,
home to Italy’s arguably most impressive
archaeological museum, Museo Archeologico
Nazionale di Napoli (MANN). As Naples is in
close proximity to the ancient archaeological
cities of Herculaneum, Pompeii and Oplontis,
you’ll find primarily Greek and Roman
antiquities, but also on permanent display
are Egyptian artifacts, bronzes, mosaics, and
classical Farnese Marble sculptures.
Another authentic neighbourhood is the
16th century Spanish Quarters. It feels like
you’ve stepped into an old Italian movie, with
its laundry lines, shuttered windows, quaint
balconies, and hardy vendors on the streets.
Amble around its alleyways at leisure and you’ll
stumble across art by renowned street artists.
Hotel Palazzo Alabardieri
For a city that’s predominantly linked to industry, with many automobile
and manufacturing factories, you might be surprised by just how graceful
Set against a beautiful backdrop of the Alps, you’ll find dramatic
grandeur in a city filled with Baroque architecture. There are boulevards
reminiscent of Paris and elegant arcades housing galleries that make
wonderful shelters for rainy days, such as the sensual Galleria Subalpina.
“Residents in Turin remain dedicated to their sacred
aperitivo 'hour', which runs from 6-9pm each day.”
The aperitivo ritual became established in the 1920s when factory
workers marked the end of their day with a bitter tipple and nibbles
before dinner. Today this humble practice has developed into a delicious
buffet that is included in the price, so be sure to bring an appetite.
The hip neighbourhood of Aurora is home to plenty of local flair, where
young and old Italians mingle to play a game of bocce (bowls). Explore
Europe’s largest flea market, Balon, or head to Turin’s grandest and
oldest marketplaces, Porta Palazzo, which once served as the city’s
refrigerator and nods to its ancient past. The stalls here are heavily
influenced by the city’s early Moroccan immigrants, with exotic spices
among fresh Italian produce.
Join the locals in historic bars where tables spill out into the street in
the historical and mostly pedestrianised centre of Quadrilatero Romano,
which holds an exciting labyrinth of narrow streets.
In Turin’s main square, Palazzo Madama, lies a gorgeous Renaissance
cathedral, Duomo di Torino. This houses the Holy Shroud, which some
believe to be the burial linen that Jesus was wrapped in after crucifixion.
For top-notch shopping, head to Via Roma, which is lined with high
The neighbouring Centro district is home
to the Egypt Museum, which is second
in the world after Cairo for displaying
For a more authentic experience of Turin,
head further south of the city beyond
Via Lagrange, which is where all the
Every two years, Turin brings
the Slow Food movement to
life, where you can hear and
taste what it's all about at the
event, Terra Madre Salone
Get a flavour for Slow Food at
Eataly Torino Lingotto, a large
emporium, market and restaurant
in the commercial district of
Lingotto. This is also where
you’ll find the famous former
FIAT factory and futuristic
design by visionary architect
Turin’s trendiest street right now is Via Monferrato in the Borgo Po
district, with its Belle Époque buildings and lavish display of colourful
umbrellas, which is well worth a visit.
Turin’s green lung is Valentino Park, where you’ll stumble across a fake
medieval village, complete with cobbled lanes, a castle, and even a
drawbridge. It’s situated in the gentrified neighbourhood of San Salvario,
where former industrial sites have been revamped into happening
boutiques and cafés, while retaining its older aperitivo bars.
You’ll find some unique museums in this district, including the
somewhat macabre Museum of Criminal Anthropology, and the
Museum of Human Anatomy.
Grand Hotel Sitea
“The Duomo is at the centre of the city and is truly stunning
with its gothic architecture. I highly recommend you
explore the rooftop terrace for great views.”
Milan lost much of its classical architecture to destructive bombs during
World War Two, so you’ll find more contemporary buildings here than in
other Italian cities.
“Milan was never one of my favourite cities," admits Heather, " but it has
changed so much in the last decade, and feels far more welcoming.”
The historic centre is where you’ll find Poldi Pezzoli Museum, home to
the world’s largest private art collection, and the famed opera house,
Teatro alla Scala.
Milan celebrates fashionistas with their own fashionable shopping area,
Quadrilatero della Moda, known locally as Quad d’Oro.
However Brera is the district that boasts the classier yet artistic side
of Milan, packed with wonderful independent boutiques, delicious
contemporary restaurants, and concert venues. The Austrian composer
Mozart lived here in his youth, so you’ll find mentions of him around.
Don’t miss the Pinacoteca di Brera Museum, where you’ll find art works
by Raphael and Caravaggio.
Naturally, you’ll want to head to Il Cenacolo to see The Last Supper by
Leonardo da Vinci, as it is a must-do, but do book ahead.
Get lunch in neighbouring San Siro, which has plenty of local trattorias
and is also the neighbourhood of choice for AC Milan and Inter Milan
players, so if you’re lucky you may rub shoulders with the odd famed
“Not to be missed is the up and coming historic
area of Navigli, where you can find the old canal
network and some great bars and restaurants.
It’s particularly vibrant in the evening.”
Ticinese and Città Studi
Near to Navigli lies arguably Milan’s hippest district, Ticinese, where you
can enjoy street art, galleries, and romantic gardens.
While predominantly an area for students, Città Studi is an ideal spot if
you like local ales, as it serves up many craft brewery tours and tastings.
Sina Hotel De La Ville
SECRETS OF ITALY'S STREETS
Near to the Puglian city of Bari lies Italy’s longest natural subterranean
network, the Grotte di Castellana, which delves 60 metres deep.
Teeming with legends of magics and demons, you can go on an
incredible tour of these limestone limestone caves. They are believed to
have started forming over 90 million years ago and have been known
about since ancient times.
You’ll discover unusually-shaped stalactite and stalagmite formations
that resemble familiar objects.
The focal point of your tour will undoubtedly be
Grotta Bianca (White Grotto), a spooky cavern,
teeming with hundreds of jaw-dropping stalactites.
If you’re feeling particularly brave, you can even join an
evening tour with specialist 'speleonights'.
Palco Rooms & Suites
Palermo has the misfortunate title of most conquered city in the world,
but actually what this brings is many influences - and even more secrets.
While the capital of Sicily is best known for its Baroque architecture,
underneath its streets you’ll find something incredible: the ancient Qanat.
Dating back to a time when the Arabs reigned over Sicily, the Qanat are
ingenious tunnels that once transported water from the countryside into
As you stroll along Via Nave or Corso Calatafimi, you’d never know that
under your feet once hosted royal palaces and tropical gardens with
At 15 metres below ground, while not suitable for claustrophobics, this is
a fun experience for everyone else.
To enjoy this unique tour, you’ll need to don waterproof clothing, a
helmet, harness and rubber boots, which is all provided for you. You’re
guaranteed to get wet with water flowing down from the walls and up
from the floors!
Borgobianco Resort & Spa
Citalia’s very own Senior Personal Travel Planner
Raggy Singh shares with us his love for travelling in
Italy and offers some sage advice and top travel tips.
Ifirst fell in love with Italy on a personal
holiday. I woke up in Tuscany to an
espresso and the mist rolling off the
vineyards. From them on I was hooked.
Whether I’m getting lost in the
streets of Rome or in the vineyards of
Tuscany, I’m happy. Throw in a food or
wine tour, and I’m ecstatic!
I also love to travel with my wife (she told me
to say this). Honestly though, we’re a good
travel duo, and my ultimate travel memory is
proposing to her in the Dominican Republic -
she told me to say this too!
Our go-to travel destination is Florence, always
with a stay at Brunelleschi Hotel. We usually
travel by train or car, as it’s convenient and
allows us to explore every nook and cranny at
a slower pace and on our terms.
It’s now been over seven years since I began
working for Citalia. I love getting to discuss
holidays all day long and help create trips of a
lifetime for our guests. I especially love helping
One of many Citalia highlights was when a
guest asked me to help plan a proposal to his
other half in Venice. We organised everything
to the minute, running through every possible
scenario. At one point, he asked me to come
with him, but it wasn’t required as the plans
went like a dream. The newlyweds were
enjoying a honeymoon on the Amalfi Coast
with us two years later!
I can’t deny that the regular trips to Italy aren't
a perk of the job, they really are! Through my
role, I’ve been lucky enough to explore most of
Italy in a really in-depth way - I know the hotels
in our collection intimately. There are just two
regions that I’m not an expert in - Liguria and
Puglia - which I’m hoping to rectify soon.
I also really enjoyed meeting our brand
ambassador Gennaro Contaldo. He’s just
My top tip is to really make the most of
each holiday. While a four day trip is good,
it never gives you the time to really experience
the culture, slow down, and replenish
I absolutely love Sicily too. One of
my all-time favourite moments was
standing at the top of the activeyet-sleeping
volcano, Mount Etna,
and seeing the views. I won’t go into
more detail as I don’t want to spoil it
for anyone, but it really did feel like
standing on the top of the world.
While there are loads of gorgeous traditional
hotels in Italy, my favourite accommodation
style are modern hotels, ideally with a
smattering of Italian Art Deco.
Over the past few years, I’ve adopted Italian
customs that show no sign of disappearing
anytime soon. For example, I could never order
a cappuccino anymore, it has to be an espresso.
And, if I had to eat one cuisine for the rest of my
life it would be Italian.
An authentic Napoli pizza - woodfired,
thin and with plenty of prosciutto on
top? There’s nothing like it!
Nothing beats a fortnight or so away -
you can spend a week exploring a few
cities, and then finish with a few nights
stay somewhere really relaxing. The
great thing about Italy is its so diverse,
it offers something for everyone.
Travel definitely defines my life. Even when I’m
not working, I’m watching travel videos, and
my two favourite YouTubers are the American
couple Kara and Nate who travel the world
together - in fact they just got back from Italy,
so you might want to check them out!
My advice is don't let this pandemic stop you.
As soon as you can, get travelling. There are
experiences and memories to be made.
Raggy and his fellow Personal Travel Planners are here to help you plan your next Citalia holiday. Call us today on 01293 765061.
Ultimate Road Trips
When you dare to get lost, you’ll be amazed by what you find
With the help of our friends at Avis, our new Ultimate Road Trips itineraries
have been carefully designed so that you can easily explore our favourite
hidden destinations across Italy. There’s always plenty to do at each stop,
so if you wish to swap any details or add more nights to our suggested
itineraries then our Personal Travel Planners are here to help.
This season, we take you on a luxury road trip across Piedmont, Liguria, and Lake Como.
Stay in our handpicked selection of luxurious five star accommodation as you tour
through these wonderful regions.
Avis offers strategically located pick-up points across Italy, so whether you arrive by air, land or sea, you can enjoy a quick
and easy check-in, giving you more time to spend exploring Italy’s incredible landscapes and historic sites.
Days 1-3 GAVI | PIEDMONT
Start your trip in Turin, the capital of Piedmont. Not far from the Italian
Alps, this city is known for its Renaissance and Baroque architecture
and grand squares as much as it is for heady barolo wine and gianduja
(hazelnut and chocolate paste).
Pick up your Avis car at Torino Airport and head to Gavi, just an hour and
a half away from Turin. Considered the gateway to Piedmont’s incredible
fine wine culture, Gavi is surrounded by dramatic mountains and is an
absolute hidden gem of a destination.
If you’re keen to learn about Gavi’s ancient folklore and legends, then
head to its fortress, which stands proudly atop a hill overlooking the valley.
For most of the year, this town sleepily carries on with its time-honoured
agrarian traditions, until the summer months when it comes to life. Wine
cultivation is at the heart of everyday Gavi, so it’s the perfect place for a
few days of relaxing vineyard experiences.
Gavi’s renowned white wine, which is dubbed as white barolo on the
international wine scene, proudly holds the quality DOCG label, and is
made with the native cortese grape variety. Enjoy a bottle as you sip on
local dishes that blend Piedmontese and Ligurian flavours, such as ravioli
al tocco and fresh pesce povero.
Albergo L'Ostelliere - Villa Sparina Resort
Days 4-6 ALASSIO | LIGURIA
A few hours south of Gavi lies the coastal town of Alassio. This used to
be a popular holiday destination but in recent decades has eased back
into a quiet hidden gem with a wonderful provincial atmosphere.
Alassio’s natural beauty paints a romantic scene. You’ll find pastelcoloured
houses and elegant gardens surrounded by lush verdant hills.
Stroll along the stretching sandy beachfront, or step inside beautiful
boutiques and historic churches that allude to the town’s story.
Wander through the cobbled lanes that traverse behind the beach and
you’ll discover authentic trattorie (informal restaurants) that serve up
delicious dishes, and trendy Italian hotspots.
You may want to take a day trip to a local olive factory and learn
about how quality olive oil, pesto and sundried tomatoes are made.
Or you could spend a few hours sailing around the Ligurian coast,
before anchoring up in a beautiful bay where you can go swimming
Grand Hotel Alassio
AVIS ULTIMATE ROAD TRIPS
Days 7-9 RAPALLO | LIGURIA
Relax on the Italian Riviera, with your next few days spent in Rapallo,
which is located less than two hours away. Spend time on the many
inviting beaches found up and down the coastline, and perhaps consider
lingering on a bench to watch the world go by.
Rapallo has an eclectic mix of historic buildings, villas, and museums to
explore. Built in the Art Nouveau period, they have distinctive splashes
of mustard, sienna and pink.
Discover Lungomare Vittorio Veneto, a most picturesque palm-lined
promenade, where you’ll find the fairytale Rapallo Castle (see page 32).
Many distinguished visitors spent time in Rapallo, including novelist
Ernest Hemingway and his brilliant yet troubled American poet friend,
Days 10-13 MENAGGIO | LAKE COMO
The perfect place to end your luxurious trip has to be Menaggio in
Lake Como. While only its crumbling fortified walls show its ancient
Roman past, Menaggio’s heart-stirring beauty and serenity will leave an
impression on you.
Glittering Lake Como is known for its lakefront mansions that attract
celebrities and jetsetters - in fact George Clooney owns a villa nearby.
That’s why you’ll find a glamorous edge within this 19th century town
with its rustic terracotta-shaded houses and bustling little harbour.
Whether you find yourself sipping an espresso in the main square Piazza
Garibaldi, taking a gelato to enjoy by the waterside, or going golfing at a
nearby club, there’s always a hint of prestige involved.
Why not ferry-hop across to Lake Como’s other pretty towns, or go
sailing in a luxury yacht or kayaking? You can also head to nearby tranquil
mountains for hiking, horse riding, and cycling.
Head to the city of Como, where you’ll find an amazing Gothic cathedral,
a funicular railway, and museums dedicated to the Italian silk industry and
the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta. You’ll also find plenty of inspiring
art galleries, museums, and gardens, from the lakefront mansion of Villa
Melzi, to the 18th century Villa Carlotta.
One of our favourite spots in Menaggio is its modern lido, which boasts
incredible lake views. With several large swimming pools, a miniature golf
course and comfortable loungers for idling away the day, it’s the perfect
way to spend your last full day on this luxurious road trip.
On your final morning, relax at the pool before taking the leisurely one and
a half hour drive to Milan Malpensa Airport, returning your car in time for
your flight home.
Grand Hotel Victoria
Our 14 day Avis Road Trip itinerary of Piedmont, Liguria and Lake Como, starts from £2,299 per person.
Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
La Dolce Vita
The 1960 film, La Dolce Vita, portrays the decadent lifestyles of Rome’s elite.
Join Citalia in shining the spotlight on this cult classic as we uncover the true meaning of La Dolce Vita
When Italian director Federico Fellini released La Dolce Vita,
the timing couldn’t be more perfect, as the film heralded
the hedonistic embrace of life after the harsh suffering
that Italy, and Rome in particular, had undergone in World War Two.
During the late 1950s, Rome really did undergo a
resurgence, with cabaret bars and nightclubs of
striptease and gin-fizzes taking centre stage, all to the
soundtrack of the perky Perez Prado song, Patricia.
Hollywood actors and wannabe celebrities flocked to Rome, followed by
a trail of reporters.
Rather than being a defined story, La Dolce Vita is more a montage of
events in the life of its protagonist, a handsome journalist called Marcello,
who has abandoned his literary ambitions for work as a gossip columnist.
Moving in upmarket circles of celebrity, aristocracy and even royalty,
Marcello is always seeking out the cause célèbre of the moment, from
glamorous affairs and the supposed miracle vision of the Madonna, to the
sombre death of his friend, a renowned intellectual.
What is La Dolce Vita?
The literal meaning of La Dolce Vita is the sweet life. While the film
captures the darker side of hedonism and debauchery, director Fellini
stated that he was not using the phrase La Dolce Vita ironically but
referring to the sweetness of life.
However the English language today uses the phrase La Dolce Vita
mockingly and somewhat scathingly against libertarian and heavily
The film begins with a monument of Jesus Christ being flown over Rome
by helicopters towards St Peter’s Basilica, as young women sunbathing
on the rooftops ask: Where are you taking Jesus?
La Dolce Vita was intended as satire, a neo-realist film that was the first
of its kind from Italy, as Marcello battled between two worlds, one being
the traditional values of Catholic morality and family, the other a glitzy
yet godless society, which he falls deeper into as time goes on.
“Personally, I like Rome very much.
It’s sort of a moderate, quiet jungle
where one can hide well.”
In fact, when La Dolce Vita was released, it was both simultaneously
celebrated and criticised for its open approach to sexuality and
irreverence. It was a box office hit that brought in millions and won the
Palme d’Or, but it was also censored by the Vatican and banned in Spain.
It’s Marcello’s sidekick, a photo reporter called
Paparazzo, one of a gaggle of photographers
who always sticks their lens in the face of a scoop,
who lent his name to the modern-day term, paparazzi.
With the film’s release Rome became an epicentre of cool where wellheeled
The Eternal City became a place where it was deemed vogue to drink
cappuccinos and drive a Vespa by day, and wear sunglasses and hit the
clubs by night. An adjective for this lifestyle emerged: Italianate, and
firmly placed Italy on the map for global style.
Today, La Dolce Vita remains to stand the test of time and is well worth
watching. It also lives on, being referenced in popular modern films,
including Good Bye Lenin!, Pulp Fiction, and Lost in Translation, and was
even reversioned in Woody Allen’s 1998 film, Celebrity.
DISCOVER LA DOLCE VITA
Since the 1960s, while the cabaret scene has died down, the
foundations of Rome haven’t changed all that much and you will still
find jaw-dropping, monumental buildings, and neighbourhoods that
hang onto the seduction of La Dolce Vita.
The majority of La Dolce Vita was filmed on expensive sets in Rome’s
Cinecittà Studios, the hub of Italian filmmaking and Europe’s largest
film studio. But there were also a few areas of Rome that prominently
featured in the film.
The studio has an exciting museum where you can go on a guided tour
and explore the backstage perspective of film and witness vast film sets,
including one that represents Ancient Rome.
Parco Degli Acquedotti, Via Lemonia
In the opening scene when the helicopter carries the statue of Jesus,
it flies over the Parco Degli Acquedotti, which are ruins of a Roman
aqueduct. Why not enjoy a picnic here and witness the various Roman
towers, villas, tombs and even parts of an ancient road?
Via Vittorio Veneto & Harry’s Bar
Much of the film is based around Via Vittorio Veneto, colloquially known
as Via Veneto, a lavish and fashionable street in Rome where Hollywood
actors, gigolos and mobsters alike congregated in real life, only to be
hounded by flâneurs like Marcello and the paparazzi.
Today, while you may not see international superstars
all too often, this wide avenue still offers much buzz
with its immaculately turned out crowd.
Pay homage to La Dolce Vita and visit the celebrated and often copycatted
Harry’s Bar, which was the destination in the 1950s and 1960s.
Frank Sinatra once played the piano at Harry’s Bar, while Orson Welles,
Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardener were
all regulars. Always ready to capture the bar’s inebriated celebrities, the
real king of paparazzi, Rino Barillari, was usually found lurking here.
While Harry’s Bar has lost its original sparkle, you can still sip on a Bellini
cocktail or enjoy fine dining in this luxury antique-laden venue.
The most famous scene of this three hour long film is when Marcello
follows the jaunty famous Hollywood actress Sylvia into the waters
of the Trevi Fountain, a large Baroque fountain in central Rome.
Sylvia was portrayed by the renowned Swedish actress Anita Ekberg
and critics believe this role mirrored her own life at the time, drunk
When the fountain scene was filmed, it was a cold spring night and actor
Marcello Mastroianni allegedly wore a wetsuit under his clothing, and
downed a bottle of vodka in order to continue filming.
If the cold doesn’t deter you from being tempted to reenact the scene
and dip into the fountain water, then perhaps the armed guards stationed
on site will!
DISCOVER LA DOLCE VITA
St Peter’s Basilica
The famous 16th century church of Vatican City, St Peter’s Basilica,
features prominently in the film, but most of it wasn’t filmed on location -
the impressive dome of St Peter’s Basilica was reimagined on set.
However, you can ascend up the hundreds of steps, just as the ‘human
elevator’ Sylvia did in the film before arriving under the open-air dome.
It’s worth it for the astounding bird’s eye views over Rome.
Piazza del Popolo
In an early part of the film, Marcello and his mistress Maddalena pick up a
prostitute from the Piazza del Popolo or People’s Square.
Visit this grand square, which features Rome’s second oldest obelisk, and
the Renaissance church, Santa Maria del Popolo, which features artwork
by Caravaggio. You can also get an impressive view of the piazza in all its
entirety by climbing the stairs to Pincio Park.
Baths of Caracalla
Without wanting to dash your excitement, it’s unlikely you’ll find tuxedodonning
supper clubs or the vivacious cabaret acts seen within La Dolce
Vita. You could however head to Raspoutine, a 1930s-themed nightspot
that is considered Rome’s most stylish club, and where you’ll find the
occasional celebrity or footballer.
One nightclub that might have caught your eye in the film was that
of an atmospheric underground club, which was filmed at the Baths
of Caracalla. Never knowingly used as a nightclub except during the
shooting, these are ancient thermal baths located along the Appian Way.
The baths don’t attract the same crowds as Rome’s other ancient
attractions but are really interesting to explore and, occasionally, they
are used as a unique backdrop for theatre and live music events.
Rome’s quirky streets
What La Dolce Vita delivers loads on are scenes of tipica Roma - cobbled,
narrow lanes filled with character and merriment. The neighbourhood of
Trastevere, located across the River Tiber, delights with this vibe, home
to pavement cafés, jazz bars, and delicious Roman restaurants.
Just outside of Rome on the Tyrrhenian Coast, you’ll find the
small, seaside town of Fregene, which is where the final scene of
La Dolce Vita was shot. While it no longer has the bohemian allure
that the film once captured, it remains a wonderfully charming place to
spend an afternoon.
A 3 night holiday in Rome, staying at SINA Bernini Bristol, starts from £665 per person.
Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
Delightful Florence, Italy’s city of flowers and lovers, is teeming
with history. Why not experience a luxurious and historic stay
in one of its landmark locations this winter?
Florence is truly magical in the winter, with its twinkling
shops and festive street markets, making it a perfect city
escape this Christmas.
Situated in the heart of the city just a few steps away from the historic
duomo, and the city’s main square, Piazza della Signoria, Brunelleschi
Hotel is not just any luxury hotel in Florence, it’s the hotel to stay in.
You’ll be swept away the minute you arrive, as you discover the
impressive structure that’s composed of two ancient buildings, an
iconic sixth century circular Byzantine Pagliazza tower, and an adjacent
medieval church, known as San Michele.
While entirely sympathetic to its original founding features, Brunelleschi
Hotel received a complete refurbishment in 2019, so that classical and
contemporary design perfectly intermingle.
Stay in any one of the 96 rooms and suites, some of which boast
breathtaking views of the Duomo. If you’re travelling with your family,
then interconnecting family accommodation is also available.
When you’re not exploring Florence’s streets, you can observe the
hotel’s own private collection of Roman remains, or enjoy a cocktail or
two in the stylish bar.
Brunelleschi Hotel is home to two exceptional restaurants, and dinner
is often a memorable highlight of your stay. Head to the two-starred
Michelin Restaurant Santa Elisabetta, which boasts just seven tables
in the exclusive and elegant setting of the Byzantine Pagliazza Tower.
For a more informal setting and traditional Tuscan cuisine, dine at
Stay over Christmas and New Year and tuck into traditional festive menus
that are served up in the hotel’s unique medieval celebration halls. You
might like to join the special gourmet New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner too.
There’s so much to do in Florence during the winter.
Venture to Uffizi Gallery, or regale on the beauty of
Michaelangelo’s David at the Accademia. Revamp your
wardrobe with Italian designer labels in the New Year Sales,
which run from January right through to February, or book a
wine tasting experience in the nearby Chianti Hills.
A 3 night holiday in Florence, staying at Brunelleschi Hotel, starts from £639 per person.
Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
To help showcase the beauty Italy has to offer, we partner with local experts
who are devoted to where they live and provide insider tips on local gems.
with Marie Kidd
Marie Kidd, our Tuscany expert, moved to Italy 22 years ago
and settled in beautiful Tuscany 15 years ago. She lives in
a little medieval village called Vicopisano, which is located
near Pisa and Florence. Marie knows just about everything about this
region and collates all of her discoveries and top tips on Instagram. She
loves to show her audience hidden hilltop towns and local beaches and
coves, sharing her knowledge to help others get the most unique and
authentic experience out of this rustic region.
How long have you lived in Tuscany and why did you
choose to live here?
I’ve been in Tuscany since 2006, but I’ve been in Italy since 1999! My
husband and I decided to move to Italy for a better quality of life - and to
escape the English weather and food!
In springtime you’ll find yourself hiking between poppies and wildflowers
and foraging for wild asparagus and garlic. In May there’s a free trekking
festival, and in October you’ll get to see the olive harvest and pressing!
Why have you chosen to partner with Citalia?
Citalia offers real authentic Italian holidays, and I want to be able to show
the Citalia audience all of my hidden gems and secret spots to truly make
your Citalia holidays a unique, local and original experience!
Where's your favourite place in Italy?
I’m not biased, but it would have to be where I currently live. Vicopisano
is full of authenticity and character, and I love the charm of the area
and exploring the hidden hilltop towns and countryside. It’s also located
conveniently close to Pisa, Lucca and Florence, and we are also only 30
minutes from the Tuscan coast, so it’s easy to delve into the city and
escape to the sea.
What’s the best thing about Tuscany?
It would have to be the varied landscape, olive trees and the hiking trails,
to the typical Italian hidden beaches and coves. It really does have it all!
What's your favourite place to eat/drink in Tuscany?
It’s hard to pin down because there are so many fantastic places in our
region. One of the main reasons we left England was to escape the British
food, and I can say that I’ve never been disappointed with a meal out
here. I love having a drink during ‘golden hour’: as the sun dips below the
rolling hills and everything turns orangey-amber.
My favourite foodie market is Il Mercato Centrale in Livorno, Tuscany’s
important port city and only 30 minutes from Pisa. It was redesigned
under the reign of the Medici family during the Renaissance period and
is one of the oldest covered markets in Europe sitting alongside the main
canal. You’ll find 30 odd shops and over 200 stalls that line the corridors
of this huge food hall, which has an amazing selection of the freshest fish
What’s your favourite thing to do in Tuscany?
I love all the hikes and nature trails around me, and one of my favourite
activities is to go foraging! I also love visiting all the local farms, and
learning about how they create their produce.
My region is all about slow and organic living, and I love this way of life.
It’s so easy to grow your own vegetables here and create your own olive
oil, due to the culture of the region, which focuses on nature.
One of my favourite places to explore and go hiking are around the
hills of Monte Pisano, a small range of hills that separates the plains
and cities of Pisa and Lucca. It’s here where you’ll find a route called
Strada dell’Olio Monte Pisani, which winds between the olive groves and
wildflowers with distant views out to sea and the Tuscan island of Gorgona.
It’s the perfect territory for nature lovers, hikers, and mountain bikers.
What’s a few must-do activities in Tuscany?
Visit Lucca, one of Tuscany's best loved cities and walk or cycle along the
famous walls! These walls date back to Roman times, and the 'Princess
of Lucca' restored them back in the 16th century, turning them into
wide walkways for the locals to enjoy. These walkways are now part of
everyday Lucca life. There really is no better way to explore Lucca than
on foot or peddling away, as this city is mainly a car-free zone!
If you’re seeking relaxation, then have a spa day at Bagni di Pisa Palace
and Spa in the waters of San Giuliano Terme. This luxury hotel was a
former summer palace built for a Grand Duke of Tuscany in the 18th
century, and has so much history and amazing grand interiors.
The spa really does take you back in time as you follow the Salus per
Aquam Circuit, a small complex of pools filled with naturally warm spring
waters rich in healing minerals. Imagine bathing in pools of thermal
waters that were first enjoyed by the Etruscans, then the Romans, and
then the Medici family!
If you’re looking for a unique experience and something you wouldn’t
expect to do when visiting Tuscany, explore the coast. Tuscany may be
known for its rolling hills but it also has 142 miles of beautiful coastline!
My top tip is to find and book a stabilimento balneare (beach club) in
advance as they often get booked up by the locals, especially at the
weekends. Beach clubs are the ultimate way to enjoy Tuscany’s most
stunning sandy beaches.
Read stories from Marie Kidd and Citalia’s other inspiring experts on Instagram @citalia_holidays.
You’ll also find all the latest Italy travel information, giveaways, and exclusive Citalia offers.
Whether you’re seeking a classical indulgence or a contemporary
haven, Italy boasts some of Europe’s most luxurious
accommodation. Whether you’ve got a special occasion
to celebrate or just want to make your next holiday count,
here’s Citalia’s selection of tried and tested luxury hotels.
Splendido, A Belmond Hotel | Portofino
A former 16th century Benedictine monastery is the grand setting for your luxurious stay at one of the world’s highest acclaimed hotels.
From a heady hilltop that overlooks the romantic bay and harbour of Portofino, you’ll be resting your head in rooms furnished with antiques
and hand-painted trompe l’oeil interiors, while the cliffside swimming pool, wellness centre, and first-class service are a dream.
Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria | Sorrento
In the heart of Sorrento and affording views of the glistening Bay of Naples, this decadent family-run hotel is situated on the site of
ancient Roman ruins and is ensconced in a centuries-old citrus garden. Experience old world charm and grandeur with period furniture
and frescoed ceilings, just like many distinguished guests before you, including Oscar Wilde, Luciano Pavarotti and the hotel’s namesake,
Queen Victoria of Sweden. Dinner at the Michelin-starred Terrazza Bosquet seafront restaurant is a must.
Hotel Santa Caterina | Amalfi
Facing out over the Neapolitan Riviera with fairytale terraced
gardens cascading down the cliff face, you can expect sweeping
vistas from this splendid converted 19th century liberty-style
villa, which sings of its aristocratic heritage. Everything about
your experience here is intimate and peaceful, from the citrusscented
hideaway terraces that are filled with the vibrant pink of
bougainvillea, to a panoramic bathing platform. Tuck into the fresh
flavours of the Amalfi Coast in the Michelin-starred Ristorante
Glicine, or seek out the sun deck at the hotel’s exclusive beach club.
Hotel Palazzo Avino | Ravello
A sumptuous stay awaits you in this clifftop hotel, which
perfectly exudes contemporary style in a structure that dates
back to the 12th century. The white and aquamarine interiors
echo the freshness of the Amalfi Coast, and spectacularly
showcases contemporary art. Your ultimate haven will likely
be the rooftop with its magnificent sun terrace, swimming
pool, and stunning scenic sights. Treat yourself to a natural
spa day, head to the beachfront clubhouse, or feast at the
Michelin-starred Rossellinis Restaurant.
Hotel Villa d’Este | Lake Como
The peaceful shores of Cernobbio await you in this regal 16th century converted villa, which for a time was the home of Caroline of Brunswick,
Princess of Wales. Grandeur can be found in the distinctive architecture, exquisite interior furnishings, and sprawling gardens. Whether you’re
sipping a glass of champagne on the terrace or taking a dip in the floating swimming pool, every moment feels magical here. A member of the
Leading Hotels of the World, this is the epitome of lakeside luxury with its stunning views over the lake.
Castel Monastero Resort | Tuscany
Idyllic luxury awaits you in this traditional
Tuscan resort. Located close to historic Siena
lies this gorgeous 11th century hotel that’s
surrounded by 16 acres of manicured grounds.
Experience tranquility within the frescoed
walls or as you wander into the surrounding
countryside. Venture into the ancient vaulted
cellar to discover local specialities and a
bottle of the finest Chianti, or retreat into
the peaceful modern spa that embodies the
region’s Renaissance spirit.
Baglioni Hotel Regina | Rome
Reside in the heart of Rome at this refined hotel situated on Via Veneto, near to the famous Spanish Steps. As the former home
of Queen Margherita of Savoy, you’ll be mesmerised by the timeless elegance of classic and sleek art deco style. Artists, writers
and actors onced gathered here during La Dolce Vita. Excellent hospitality awaits you, whether you’re treating yourself to
Mediterranean-inspired dishes or enjoying a sundowner in the bar lounge.
ICONIC LUXURY HOTELS
Villa San Michele, A Belmond Hotel | Florence
Surrounded by woodland and with amazing views over Florence,
you really have the best of both worlds at this converted 15th
century monastery, which was originally designed by Michelangelo.
There’s a complimentary shuttle service to take you into the
centre of Florence, but you might find it hard to tear yourself away
from the mouthwatering cuisine found in the elegant al fresco
restaurant, or the heated outdoor swimming pool that boast
panoramic views of the Arno Valley.
Hotel Danieli | Venice
Perfectly positioned in the heart of Venice, minutes from St Mark's
Square and the Bridge of Sighs, this iconic and luxurious 14th century
former palazzo has somewhat of a reputation. You’ll understand why
when you witness the stunning golden staircase and magnificent
atrium, or sleep in your lavish guest room that’s teeming with regal
furnishings. Dinner at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant Terrazza Danieli is
an essential part of your stay as it boasts some of the best views over
Venice and its lagoon. This is pure indulgence with Venetian flair.
Hotel Il San Pietro | Positano
Perched high with views towards the bay of Positano, this opulent cliffside property is part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group and had
a former life as a private villa and attached chapel. This family-run hotel boasts amazing service, epic interiors and a pool with wonderful views,
as well as an exclusive beach club. Each guest room is uniquely decorated and features a private terrace where you can gaze over the
Mediterranean Sea that on a clear day stretches as far as Capri’s iconic faraglioni (rock formations). Head to the property’s Ristorante Zass
for a Michelin-starred culinary experience, or indulge at the sumptuous spa.
Lorenzo Quinn's Building Bridges sculpture,
a highlight of the 2017 Venice Biennale,
outside Ca’ Sagredo Hotel.
Archaeologist Dr. Holley Martlew has been a Citalia guest
for many years, and has travelled numerous times with us,
often combining her professional work trips with pleasure.
Holley shares with us her experiences of Italy.
Ihave loved Italy for as long as I can
remember. Once upon a time I spent
nearly a year in Florence.
I travelled the world with my parents as a child
and have continued the tradition ever since.
I have great experience of travelling on my
own and usually make my own reservations,
but when it comes to Italy I always use Citalia,
and that’s for one simple reason, the type
of personal service I receive from my Citalia
Personal Travel Planner, Linda Kulka.
Linda is efficient, really knowledgeable and
professional, and tailors everything to my
taste and needs, which she understands well.
What’s not to love about Italy?
I love the architecture, food,
history, ambience, people,
and of course the opera -
Teatro La Fenice in Venice
is at the top of my list.
My favourite destination for both work and
pleasure has to be Venice, but I also love
Rome. Taking place in February each year,
the Carnevale in Venice outshines all others
Because my trips include professional
endeavours I tend to travel to Italy alone,
but my husband has travelled with me for
holidays, including Carnevale, Christmas and
I am an archaeologist whose field is Greek
prehistory, Minoan and Mycenaean. I included
the island of Vivara in the Bay of Naples
in a pioneering archaeological project I codirected,
on the scientific analysis of pottery
and skeletal material from the Bronze Age,
as the Mycenaeans had visited Vivara. The
project culminated in an exhibition which was
mounted in seven international museums,
one of which was Naples. We had our biggest
audience in Naples, 34,000 in one month,
which was a coup as only Egyptian exhibitions
usually command such custom!
I have spent a considerable amount of time
in Venice, usually visiting two or three times
a year. The most interesting thing I have
ever done in Venice was to train in mosaics
and micro mosaics at Orsoni Venezia 1888
Orsoni is the premier producer
of glass tesserae in the world.
If you haven’t heard of them then
you should, as they make all the
mosaics used for restoration and
upkeep of the Basilica of San Marco.
The company offers mosaic courses and tours
which are absolutely fascinating, both of which
I highly recommend.
I then found myself involved professionally
with a project on the extraordinary wellheads
of Venice, so now my trips to Italy continue
with a work/play balance.
I have stayed at the Hotel Danieli in Venice
since my first visit with my parents when I was
10 years old and even today it reigns supreme.
With the terrace boasting gourmet delicacies
- lunches and dinners - and the best view in
Venice, the Hotel Danieli was my father’s
favourite, and now it is mine.
I have had first-hand experience of the
Venetian phenomenon of Acqua Alta, the high
tide that affects low-lying areas like the Piazza
San Marco. The most unusual one occurred
in May a few years ago when I was dining
with friends on the island of Giudecca. It had
started out as the perfect evening, with pink
geraniums cascading over a balustrade, which
separated me from the lagoon.
As a dedicated shopper, over the years I have
friends in many shops in Venice and Rome,
and top of the list are Missoni, Prada, and the
outstanding Venetian designer Gualti whose
exquisite atelier is between the Rio Terà Canal
and Campo Santa Margherita. I am wearing
one of his creations in the photo.
When it comes to food, my favourite restaurant
in the entire world is Harry’s Bar in Venice. I
usually order fegeto Veneziana (Venetian-style
liver) or osso buco (a braised veal dish from
Lombardy), which is only available on Sunday’s,
and then for dessert, the delectable meringata
Gatto Nero has the most memorable seafood
served on the most gorgeous
china, so it just has to be
given a special mention. This
restaurant is on the island of
Burano, which is known for
its painted houses of many,
almost every, colour, and has
I also love ice cream and Giolitti in Rome is my
favourite gelateria, although Florian's in Venice
and Pedrocchi in Padua are close runners-up.
I always order an Aperol spritz,
a cocktail composed of gorgeous
translucent orange Aperol, Prosecco,
and soda, served in the Venetian way
with a slice of orange and
a very large green olive.
There are still many places I wish to visit. On
my next work trip to Venice, I want to extend
my visit to combine Italy’s best gardens with
her lakes, such as Isola Bella in Lake Maggiore.
I also plan to explore Sicily further, visiting
the extraordinary mosaics at Villa Romana del
Casale near the town of Piazza Armerina, the
gourmet restaurants in Ragusa, the Baroque
gem of Noto, and a return visit to Palermo,
to the mosaics in Cappella Palatina and the
church known as La Martorana.
A 3 night holiday in Venice, staying at Hotel Danieli, starts from £1,459 per person. Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
Since the end of the 19th century, Italy has been in the hot seat for automobile design and
manufacture. Citalia takes you on a tour of the birthplace of Italy’s most esteemed car brands.
Usually identified for its fabulous food culture, the region of
Emilia-Romagna is the beating heart of Italian automotive design and
manufacture, as several major brands were born here. You’ll find plenty of
museums showcasing its automobile and motorcycle heritage.
The luxury sports car Ferrari, known as a thoroughbred pedigree in Formula
One racing, was born out of Modena, the same town that gave the world
genuine balsamic vinegar.
Founded in 1947, this Prancing Horse brand has become synonymous
with speed and wealth. The brand’s first 125 S iconic two-seater road car -
painted red, naturally - won the Rome Grand Prix that same year, before it
was further developed into a refined GT roadster.
There’s no better place to celebrate Ferrari than at Museo Enzo Ferrari, a
museum that’s set in the original Ferrari factory in Modena. You’ll discover
the story of Ferrari’s founder, Enzo Ferrari, who was not only the brainchild
of Italian car manufacturing but also a dynamic and legendary Italian racing
driver in his own right.
Ogle the prized Ferrari collection in its futuristic museum next door, before
tucking into delicious local cuisine, because nothing good is ever done in
Italy without food.
A short drive or shuttle bus away in the small town of Maranello lies Museo
Ferrari, a shrine to the world of Formula One, where you can enjoy racing
simulations and other interactive experiences.
Modena is also home to Maserati, the brand that has a trusty trident for
Founded in 1914, Maserati has long been associated with Ferrari as,
until this year, Maserati was using Ferrari’s engines. Unfairly, Maserati is
often called the poor man's Ferrari. Why not judge whether this is true for
yourself? Take a guided tour of the renowned Maserati car factory, where
you can browse both historic and new models of this iconic car.
As if two distinguished brands born in Modena isn’t enough, the
contemporary sports car brand Pagani was also established here.
Notice a quick flash of vivid yellow and you’ll know you’ve been
Lamborghini-ed. For Italy, Lamborghini is a relatively modern brand, as
its luxury sports and SUV vehicles were only born in Emilia-Romagna’s
Bologna in 1963.
The brand grew rapidly in its first decade, aided by the Miura model with
its iconic ‘eyelashes’ - its uniquely designed grills around the headlights.
Lamborghini’s renowned Raging Bull logo was inspired by its founder,
Ferruccio Lamborghini, who was born under the Taurus zodiac sign and,
randomly, was also a big fan of Spanish bullfighting.
Today, Lamborghini is owned by the Volkswagen Group, but you can still
visit where it all began at the Lamborghini Museum in Bologna and witness
prototypes, and classic, exclusive models, from the Espada to the Sesto
While you’re in Bologna, also visit the Industrial Heritage Museum, which
applauds Bologna’s industrial heritage and contribution to the world with
various vintage automobiles on display. You can also enjoy the Italian
Factory Motor Tour, where you’ll get the chance to test drive Ferrari and
There’s one punky car that absolutely dominates Italy’s automotive
industry today - and that’s Fiat.
Fiat first came onto the scene in 1899 in Turin, the capital of Piedmont,
when an Italian entrepreneur founded Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino
(FIAT) - the Italian Automobile Factory of Turin.
Fiat proceeded to become the bestselling car across Europe for the next
100 years. The brand became the forefather of economy cars in 1936
when the first Fiat 500 was born - the A Topolino, which translates as
little mouse and is the Italian name for Disney’s Mickey Mouse.
From the 1920s until the late 1970s, the original Fiat Lingotto Factory in
Turin employed thousands of workers and still stands in Turin today as
an entertainment complex. It also boasts a three-quarter mile test track
on its rooftop, which was made famous by the 1969 film, The Italian Job,
featuring Michael Caine. Plans are underway to convert the track into a
While most young Italian car aficionados had their hearts set on the Ferrari,
the more affordable motor was naturally, the trustworthy Alfa Romeo.
Founded in Milan in 1910, the brand successfully took part in endurance
races, Grand Prixs and Formula One. The brand’s logo is the Visconti
serpent, a heraldic symbol of Milan’s medieval noble family.
What made Alfa Romeo stand out and continues to do so to this day is its
iconic trilobe front and clear aerodynamically designed lines. Unlike many
brands, Alfa Romeo’s models over the last century have never added in
design details just for the sake of it.
You can witness a historic collection of models and learn about the brand’s
history on a private tour of the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo, located in the
town of Arese, near Milan, which also houses a café.
ELSEWHERE IN ITALY...
All across Italy, you’ll find automobile museums honouring Italy’s rich
contribution. In Verona, the Museo Nicolis has an epic collection of
Formula One race cars and motorbikes, including Fiat’s regal 1929 model,
the Isotta Fraschini.
To uncover more of Fiat’s history, head to the Centro Storico Fiat Museum,
which is located in a gorgeous Art Nouveau building and boasts a selection
of not only Fiat’s legendary automobiles, but also other items the company
produced, from war technology and ship engines to aeroplanes, tractors
and even washing machines!
Turin is also home to two other esteemed and historic Italian car brands,
Lancia and Abarth.
Why not let Citalia help you create a unique Italian automobile lovers holiday?
Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
Italy is a treasure chest of ancient worlds. This issue, Citalia unearths the
region of Liguria, where the sea plays a dominant role in its history.
Liguria is considered to be the Italian Riviera. You’ll find a
slower pace of life in its charming villages, and can tap into
luxury with the chic bars, boutiques and super yachts that line
the harbours. It’s also filled with unique historic riches that are well
worth witnessing - even below the waters.
Witness the castle on the sea. The picture-perfect town of Rapallo has
a guardian, standing in memory of bygone days. This old castello (castle)
stands on rocks surrounded by the waters of the Gulf of Rapallo.
Constructed from solid stone with two-metre-thick walls, its compact
rectangular shape with rounded corners is dominated by its wide square
tower that rises out from the coast.
Its aura is straight out of a medieval fairytale, even though the castle was
built outwith the Middle Ages.
In the 16th century, a Turkish pirate called Dragut invaded the city,
kidnapped a hundred of Rapallo’s inhabitants, and threatened death on
anyone who challenged his crew’s mass looting. Without any defense
fortifications, many residents were forced to flee to the hills.
The need for a fortress was promptly established, and Rapallo Castle was
built within a year of this historic event. For a long time, the castle was
also used as a prison.
Today, Rapallo Castle is best viewed with a gentle amble along the
promenade and, if you’re lucky, you might find the odd exhibition here. In
early July each year, a marvellous fireworks display is held at the castle to
honour the city’s patroness, Our Lady of Montallegro, as part of the local
Apparition Day celebrations.
Rapallo Castle’s story is of
buccaneering Treasure Island style,
as it was built to defend the city
from pirate invasions.
Christ Of The Abyss
San Fruttuoso is a strange little place. Tucked between the towns
of Camogli and Portofino, it’s neither a port or a town. It’s also very
secluded, as it’s only accessible by foot or from the sea. Yet it’s wellworth
visiting because, etched out of the mountains, San Fruttuoso is
home to an ancient Benedictine monastery.
What’s more, just off the shore you’ll find a highly unusual sight: a statue
of Jesus Christ rising two and a half metres tall and praising the heavens
while under the blue of the Mediterrean Sea.
While you may think the statue appeared as a result of a tragic shipwreck
many centuries ago, in fact it was intentionally submerged here in 1954.
Sitting 17 metres under the waves, the statue, known as Cristo degli Abissi
(Christ of the Abyss) was cemented to the sea floor.
Castello Brown Museum | Portofino
Perched high over the harbour of Portofino lies Castello Brown, a historic
castle that dates back centuries and has had several reconstructions and
enlargements over time.
Surrounded by prestigious villas of the international jetset, the castle is
ideally placed to observe all the activities below, both on land and water.
Archaeological digs concluded that this eagle-eye site has
been used as a military bulwark since the Roman times.
This spiritual statue was the brainchild of legendary Italian diver Duilio
Marcante, before being created by the sculptor Guido Galetti. It pays
homage to Dario Gonzatti, the first Italian to use scuba diving gear, who
died during a dive near this spot in 1950.
The statue was crafted from the recycled bronze of medals, naval
artefacts, and old bells. In 2003, it was lovingly restored and returned to
the waters two years later.
Castello Brown was abandoned in the early 19th century when Portofino
fell into a more peaceful state. It gets its rather un-Italian name from
the British diplomat who sympathetically remodelled the castle into a
comfortable private villa. It was subsequently held by his descendants
Castello Brown was further restored to its original design and historically
mapped by an English couple, before being sold to the city of Portofino
The castle claimed fame as the setting for the 1922 novel by Elizabeth
von Arnim and subsequent award-winning 1991 film, The Enchanted April.
Today, Castello Brown is a public museum and decadent events
space that brings its rich history to life, from its neo-Gothic tiled
staircase to its wooden coffered roof depicting martyrs and rulers.
It's also surrounded by a marvellous Mediterraean garden filled with
fragrant flowers and pergolas.
Since its installation, the Christ of the Abyss is a symbol for
scuba diving and has become Italy’s leading dive destination,
not least because it also happens to be a Protected
Marine Area with a vast array of marine life.
Other copycats have cropped up in other Italian waters, and you’ll find
replicas that were created from the original clay cast in the Carribean and
On the last Sunday of every July, a torchlight mass is held on the beach to
commemorate all those who have lost their lives at sea, and divers place
crowns of flowers at the feet of the underwater Christ.
Even if you don’t dive, when the waters are calm and clear, it’s possible to
peek at the statue through the water from a boat.
A 7 night holiday in Liguria, staying at Grand Hotel Bristol Resort and Spa, starts from £1,059 per person.
Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
While classical art is what Italy is renowned for, there’s also an underground
contemporary art scene that sometimes edges on obscurity. From underground
stations to former slaughterhouses, it’s well worth hunting out.
Woodpecker Disco | Cervia
A domed disco club in a seaside resort popular in the 1950s has been reimagined
by artists, including work by Italy’s own Banksy, the street artist ‘Blu’.
Metropoliz Museum of the Other and the Elsewhere (MAAM) | Rome
An abandoned salami factory on the outskirts of Rome is now a collective art space
for over 300 contemporary and street artists, and a shelter for refugees.
Explore more unusual art:
Toledo Art Station | Naples
With its inspiring psychedelic mosaics found 130 feet underground, this
is the crowning jewel of the Naples Metro Stazioni dell’Arte project,
which brings contemporary art into everyday life.
Tuttomondo | Pisa
Acclaimed American pop artist Keith Haring developed a theme of world
peace and harmony on the wall of Sant'Antonio Abate church. In doing
so, he created the largest mural in Europe.
Fondazione Pastificio Cerere | Rome
An abandoned pasta factory in the San Lorenzo district was repopulated
by artist studios and now holds fascinating exhibitions and events.
MACRO (Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome) | Rome
Former brewery and slaughterhouse spaces combined to establish
this imaginative museum. It’s currently running a three year exhibition
looking at art that’s capable of revolutionising society.
Mosaics of Vincent City | Lecce
Eye-popping recycled tile art and kitsch sculptures showcase the work
of eccentric artist Vincent Brunetti at his estate in the quaint town
On the Scent of
Move over France. Perfume is quintessentially Italian. Are you ready for Citalia
to take you on a fragrant adventure into the world of alchemy and love potions?
Then let us begin...
Scent has the power to make you smell sassy, savvy, or sweet,
and some perfumers believe the right aroma is a mirror of the
The history of perfume all started with a few ships, and some positively
pungent people: during the medieval times, essential oils were used by
the wealthy to mask body odour caused by both infrequent bathing and
clothes washing. Traditional perfume was always ungendered, worn by
both noble men and women.
Italy’s Fragrant History
Venice has always been perfectly positioned to receive amazing exotic
spices, herbs, flowers, resins and oils thanks to all the trading ships that
sailed in from Africa, Arabia, Persia, and the Orient. This is the reason
why the Italian city was at the forefront of crafting fragrance.
A groundbreaking discovery in the 14th century changed the course
of perfume when an Italian apothecary, Giovanni Paolo Feminis,
developed aqua mirabilis or miracle water, an alcohol solution that could
be used as a base for natural and synthetic aromas to linger.
This discovery, coupled with its felicitous access to exceptional
ingredients and beautiful Murano glass bottles for storing scents,
established Venice as the global hub of fine perfume-making for several
hundreds of years.
The regions of Sicily and Calabria also contributed to the perfume
industry by growing many of its raw materials.
The young noble lady Catherine de Medici of Florence, took her
personal profumiere, Renato Bianco, to the royal courts in France when
she married the future King of France, Henry II.
In France, Bianco pioneered love potions and a fashion for perfumed
gloves, and this is when aqua mirabilis received a new French name by
Feminis’ progressive nephew - eau de cologne.
As perfume’s popularity grew, the French town of Grasse became the
new perfume-making scene on the global map.
If the artistic Murano glass blowers were tempted to move to where the
perfume bottling opportunity was or divulge their secrets to the French,
they were soon put off by threat of death by the Republic of Venice.
Medieval Masks, Modern Miracles
When you’re in Venice you’re likely to see the somewhat comedic long-beaked masks on display in the
city’s many boutiques. These are known as medico della peste, a practical fashion worn during the
bubonic plague of the Middle Ages. The beaks were filled with herbs and scented sachets to help perfume
foul odours and were considered an important sanitary precaution by respected doctors of the time.
While these masks only come out to play during masquerade balls today, during the recent
coronavirus pandemic, some Italians have been reclaiming their legacy aqua mirabilis and revived this ancient
miracle water as a refreshing hand sanitizer.
ON THE SCENT OF ITALIAN PERFUME
Perfume Mastery Today
While the majority of perfumes today are created synthetically from a
handful of large laboratories, Italy still boasts a traditional handcrafted
perfume culture and is the place to go to find your one-of-a-kind scent.
You can expect long-lasting notes evocative of distant lands and of more
local terroir, such as Amalfi lemons blended with rosemary and thyme.
Italian perfume may seem more expensive but that’s because it never
sacrifices quality in its luxurious natural ingredients. For example, one
ounce of rose oil uses a whopping 5,000 rose petals.
In Venice and Florence you can still find some of the original formulas
of fine perfumes, where tradition and a good nose have been passed
down the generations.
Head to Venice’s own perfume museum at Palazzo Mocenigo, located
along Venice’s Grand Canal. Discover the world of Venetian nobility as
you explore an entire floor dedicated to the history and craft of perfume,
including a room that resembles a 16th century perfumer’s laboratory,
and a collection of rare perfumes that date back to 2,000 BC.
To explore a family-run perfume house, visit Mavive Parfums Venezia
on Via Altinia, which was founded in the 1980s by the grandson of the
esteemed master perfume-maker, Angelo Vidal.
In 2011 the Vidal family established The Merchant of Venice, a project
that celebrates family perfume tradition and Venetian cultural heritage.
This project naturally evolved into its own luxury contemporary perfume
brand, which you can find at its flagship store at Campo San Fantin on the
site of a former ancient apothecary.
On the Venetian island of Sant’Elena you’ll find a perfume museum on the
aptly-named Via del Profumo, which was founded by a local organisation,
the Fondazione Cammino Del Profumo, in order to tell its part in Venice's
The museum holds a collection of over 1,500 modern perfumes from
the 20th century, including unique and first editions. There’s also an
adjoining botanical garden, which grows species especially cultivated for
perfume-making, while at the museum shop you can buy the foundation’s
exclusive Sant'Elena Sannita fragrances.
An hour’s drive north of Venice, in the Friuli-Venezia countryside,
you can visit the creative perfume studio and lab of the last remaining
independent Venetian master perfumer, Lorenzo Dante Ferro.
There’s an entire historic perfume district in Florence, known as La
Corte dei Profumi, or the Court of Perfumes, and it’s here where you’ll
find a handful of master artisanal perfume houses that date back
centuries, including Antica Erboristeria San Simone on Via Ghibellina,
and Erboristeria Gremonihas on via Fanza, both of which date back to
Head to Officina Profumo Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella on
Via della Scala and get a whiff of Acqua di Santa Maria
Novella, the brand’s oldest and most iconic fragrance,
which was commissioned by Catherine de Medici
and is full of fresh citrus notes, including a base of
homegrown Calabrian bergamot.
You can go on a multisensory journey
at Florence’s perfume museum, Museo
Villoresi on Via de’ Bardi 12, which boasts
the Osmorama scent library, a 1000+
strong collection of ancient and modern
aromatic ingredients from around the world, as
well as an aromatic garden and terrace.
Milan's perfume museum on Via Messina celebrates
fragrances from the 1900s, telling the stories of both Italian
and international masters, while showcasing the all-important
glassware that bottles these delicate fragrances.
ON THE SCENT OF ITALIAN PERFUME
Worth a Whiff: Italian Perfume Brands
While you’ll find many Italian designers with unique Italian fragrances,
including Gucci, Bulgari, Prada, and Bottega Veneta, you’ll also want to
take a whiff of our favourite Italian perfume brands.
First established in 1869 in Treviso, this family brand started out as a
brushmaking factory, before it developed fragrances that take their
inspiration from the rich flora of Italian gardens. Their bestseller is the
unisex eau de parfum, White Moss.
Legend has it that monks developed Capri’s first perfume for a visiting
queen way back in 1380, although it wasn’t until 1948 when the sunkissed
island developed its own renowned fragrance brand, Carthusia. Its
most popular fragrance, Gelsomini di Capri, has a scent of gardenia, orange
blossom, Turkish rose and tuberose, and was a favourite of the former US
First Lady, Jackie Kennedy.
While not strictly Italian due to the fact it’s made by the Swiss brand
Valmont, the five scent collection of Storie Veneziane is inspired by
Venice's rich fragrance history, and each scent features a colourful
Murano glass face set into its golden bottle.
ACQUA DI PARMA
Founded in 1916 by Italian baron Carlo Magnani, Acqua di Parma’s
first perfume Colonia continues to be an iconic fragrance today with its
sunny Sicilian citrus fruit notes that are married together with rosemary,
lavender, and lemon verbena.
Experience the best scents of Italy on your next Citalia holiday! Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
We’ve all been missing those trips to Italy, which is why in August, we asked our followers
to share their favourite holiday photos with us on our Instagram page (@citalia_holidays).
Here are just a few that have us yearning for our next Citalian adventure!
Connect with us:
Get involved in future activities and find out about all things Citalia. Just follow our social channels!
A Nose For
Venture into the undergrowth with Citalia’s
field guide to truffle hunting in Italy.
What are truffles?
Truffles are rare edible mushrooms and a gourmet delicacy considered the
diamond of the culinary world thanks to their distinctive smell and flavour.
Truffles have been a part of the Italian cuisine since the Roman era.
Wealthy noble families would feature truffles in unique regional recipes at
their grand banquets.
Even today, local dishes hero in on truffles. You’ll find tajarin al
tartufo, white truffle shaved over long, thin ribbon pasta featuring on
restaurant menus in Piedmont. In Tuscany, you’ll find the traditional
recipe of carpaccio al tartufo, an uncooked marinated beef steak
served with a salad of green leaves, shaved white truffle, pine nuts,
and Parmigiano Reggiano.
If you're visiting Rome, we recommend stopping by Tre Scalini Restaurant
in Piazza Navona to try their signature gelato al tartufo - black truffle
Where can you find Italian truffles?
Notoriously hard to find, you’ll find truffles growing exclusively
underground close to the roots of trees, particularly oak, willow, hazelnut,
poplar and linden trees.
Truffles can grow between five and 30 centimetres underground, and
they love humid, cold climates.
Wild truffles are found within quite a limited area of Italy - you’ll need
to head to the forests of northern Piedmont, central Tuscany, Umbria
(in Orvieto, Perugia and Norcia), and Le Marche (within Acqualagna
The area where truffles are grown are known as tartufaia, and these are
a closely-guarded secret, known only to the local people and established
trifalau (truffle hunters).
How are truffles harvested?
Italian truffles are harvested using a wonderful traditional method.
Unlike in France, who use pigs for their truffle hunting, the Italian trifalau
use a team of dogs to help them to sniff out their distinctive smell.
Truffles are almost impossible to find otherwise!
It’s not just any old dog that’s used. A particular dog breed, Lagotto
Romagnolo, are trained to point at the truffle, so that they can be carefully
extracted without any damage to this precious ingredient or the habitats
they grow in.
Truffles are at their best when they are at their freshest, so it’s best to
consume them immediately after being removed from the earth. White
truffles only tend to last three days, whereas some black truffles can keep
for up to two weeks if stored carefully.
When is truffle season?
If you want to plan your Citalia holiday around foraging for and
eating truffles, then you need to know your truffle season. Due
to the different varieties available, there’s actually more than
one season, which means truffle growing spans seven months
of the year.
White winter truffles: October to early January
Black winter truffles: November to March
White summer truffles: Mid-January to late April
Black summer truffles: May to September
The finest Italian truffles are harvested in the autumn
months, from September to November.
Join a truffle hunt
There are plenty of truffle-based activities in Italy, so there's
no need to start digging up tree roots. The grand Castel
Monastero Resort, surrounded by the beautiful Tuscan and
Chianti countryside, offers a fantastic hunting excursion
during truffle season.
Join a professional truffle hunter and a team of trained
dogs as you explore the stunning fields and wooded
areas in search for the area's greatest treasure.
The experience includes a delicious
truffle-based local lunch, and the
opportunity to purchase the
truffles you’ve found.
< Lagotto Romagnolo
November is considered the ultimate month for a truffle-themed holiday,
as this is when you’ll find the best truffles and most of the truffle fairs
and sagre (food festivals).
A NOSE FOR TRUFFLES
What truffle varieties are there?
Italy is home to a whopping 28 different species of truffle, of which eight
are suitable for cultivation and human consumption.
Tartufo bianco (white truffle) is world-renowned. Although the aroma of
white truffle is intense, it’s also delicate as it fades quickly when cut or
shaved. This is why white truffles are served fresh and raw, which helps
the aroma linger. You’ll often find white truffle shaved on top of risotto,
with pasta, or - our personal favourite - on a traditional stone-baked
The crowning glory of the white winter truffle is the Alba white truffle
(tuber magnatum pico), also known as the Trifola d’Alba Madonna (Truffle
of the White Madonna), which is found in northern Italy in the Piedmont
region, or in San Miniato, Tuscany.
Alba white truffles are extremely rare, more so than any other variety,
as they’re the most aromatic and flavourful. Irregularly shaped, you’ll
find they have an earthy, almost musky, aroma with notes of garlic, nuts,
Said to be practically worth their weight in gold,
authentic white truffles can cost between £600 and
£1,300 per pound (lb). If you prefer the metric system,
that’s between £1,700 and £4,290 per kilogram.
White summer truffles, known as tartufo bianchetto or marzuolo, are the
same species as the white winter truffle but are more affordable. They’re
harvested earlier in the year from the same Italian regions as the winter
variety: Piedmont, Tuscany, and Le Marche. While not as pungent, you’ll
find they have a sweet and musky, garlicky flavour.
Alba White Truffle Fair
Head to Alba in Piedmont for the annual International Alba White Truffle
Fair. At the heart of this fair is a world market, where you can appreciate
and buy truffles from the Langhe, Monferrato and Roero regions.
Running from mid-October to mid-December this year, the Alba fair is
considered one of the best in Italy, with a whole host of world-famous
market stalls for you to browse, touch, and smell the many truffles from
local vendors and truffle hunters.
International and local chefs come together to put on top-class cooking
shows. It's your chance to discover mouthwatering wines, local cheeses,
egg pastas, and cured meats from the area.
The event is as much a cultural festival as a
celebration of the area's fantastic truffles.
A medieval fair offers a glimpse into the area's history,
which is brought alive through historical enactments,
and the much-anticipated Palio (Donkey) race,
which has been running for decades and makes up
an essential part of the festivities with its parades,
trumpets, and drum rolls.
Compared to white truffles, black truffles have a more subtle aroma that
lasts longer, and this variety actually benefits from gentle cooking to help
release the flavour.
Tartufo nero (black truffle) are the most common truffle variety, as they
can be farmed commercially, and are therefore much more affordable.
Because they travel well, these are often the fresh Italian truffles found
on the British restaurant scene.
However, you will still find wild black truffles in Italy. The best black
winter truffles are the nero pregiato, a sweet black truffle that boasts
earthy notes of chocolate and dried fruit. Found in Norcia and Spoleto,
two historical towns in Umbria, and around the Nera River, this warty
treat can also be found in Piedmont. Nero pregiato is harvested between
mid-November and mid-March.
Once harvested, tartufo nero are often made into a spread or, as is
popular in Assisi, cooked in omelettes.
Black summer truffles - known as scorzoni, are a different species from
black winter truffles, and have a bumpier skin and a mushroom-y smell.
While you can enjoy them from May to September, they are best enjoyed
If you want to bring your family, then children are also entertained at this
epic event with their own kids' space, where they can enjoy educational
games made of wood and other natural materials.
A 5 night holiday in Piedmont starts from £579 per person. Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
THE CURSED ISLAND OF
Spooky season is fast approaching, so we thought it was time to share with you
the legend of Isola Gaiola, an ill-fated island off the coast of Naples.
Locals won’t go anywhere near Isola Gaiola. It’s cursed, they
say. Wth a history of disappearances, drownings, murder
and suicide for those who have lived there, you can probably
understand why the locals believe the legend.
Abandoned with only a crumbling villa and occasional silent narrow
streets, this eerie place strangely draws you in.
Perhaps it’s the emerald waters that lap its rocky shores,
or the opportunity to glimpse submerged ancient ruins
that attracts brave visitors.
Isola Gaiola sits in the Tyrrhenian Sea, and makes up part of the volcanic
Campanian Archipelago. The island is actually two small rocky islets that
have been connected by a short and narrow arch-shaped stone bridge.
The name Gaiola, originates from Latin for caveola or ‘little cave’, which
accurately describes the cavernous coastline of Posillipo, an affluent
residential area of Naples.
It’s so close to the coast that you can reach it by swimming in just a few
strokes, or you can take a boat out.
The panoramic views from Gaiola are spectacular, which is perhaps why
the island piqued the interest from such prominent figures who suffered
what the locals call the Gaiola Malediction.
The history of the island and its surrounding coastline dates back to the
17th century when noble Romans built their factories and scenic holiday
Legend has it that the esteemed Roman poet Virgil taught his
students here, and perhaps even got his divine inspiration
from wandering the island.
In the 19th century, Gaiola was inhabited by a hermit, who went by the
name of Il Mago (The Wizard). Living a solitary existence, relying only on
the almsgiving of local fisherman, one day he vanished without a trace
Not long after this mysterious disappearance, the island was purchased
by a wealthy businessman called Luigi de Negri who owned a large
fishery. He constructed the solitary private villa that still stands today
and then promptly suffered financial ruin.
The island then passed into the hands of the maritime engineer Nelson
Foley, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s brother-in-law, who sold it onto Norman
Douglas, author of Siren Land, who sold it back to Foley just seven years
later in 1903.
In 1911, a ship skipper, Captain Gaspare Albenga, showed interest in
acquiring the island. As he was navigating around it, he crashed his ship
into the rocks and subsequently drowned, although locals say neither
body or ship were ever found.
There’s some irony in this part of the legend as Gaiola was once called
Euplea and considered the protector of safe navigation. In fact it even
had a small temple for those who sailed by.
In the 1920s, a Swiss businessman took possession of the island, and was
subsequently found murdered and wrapped in a rug. Not long after, his
wife drowned in the sea.
The island was then purchased by Otto Grunback, a German perfume
dealer. While spending time at his newly-acquired villa, he suffered a
heart attack and instantly died.
The legend of the curse continued to swell, and yet interest
never dwindled from wealthy Europeans looking for a
peaceful place to spend their retirement.
Gianni Agnelli, the Turinese owner of automobile company Fiat, acquired
the island and was probably its most notable owner. Yet, even Italy’s
richest man suffered its alleged curse. First, his son’s body was found
under the island’s bridge in an apparent suicide, then his young nephew,
Umberto, who Agnelli had begun grooming to take over the business,
died of a rare cancer.
Not deterred by its history, Jean Paul Getty, an American billionaire
tycoon, purchased Gaiola. He lost his oldest son to suicide and his
youngest son died under suspicious circumstances.
Then, in 1973, his grandson was involved in a high-profile kidnapping
by the Calabrian mafia. They sent the boy’s severed ear to Getty in
the post, which forced the industrialist to pay US$3 million ransom
for his safe return.
Gianpasquale Grappone, the owner of a successful insurance company,
became the final private holder of Isola Gaiola. He ended up imprisoned
due to unpaid debts, while his wife perished in a car accident.
In 1978, the island became the property of the government of the
Campania region, who declared the island part of the Parco Sommerso di
Gaiola (Gaiola Underwater Park), a protected marine area.
Just after buying Gaiola, Maurice Yves Sanzoz, a Swiss pharmaceutical
industrialist, went mad. Ending up in an asylum in Switzerland, he
eventually committed suicide.
A steel industrialist from Germany, Baron Karl Paul Langheim, was next
to take on Gaiola, but, much like de Negri before him, was dragged into
financial ruin, apparently caused by ‘wild living’.
As the villa deteriorates and slowly approaches
the fate of the island’s ancient structures,
no one’s entirely sure that the curse has been lifted.
In 2009, a couple were murdered in the villa that sits across from the
island, which brought the Gaiola Malediction back into the local news.
So what do you think? Is Isola Gaiola cursed? Will you be brave enough
to visit it on your next holiday to Naples?
A 2 night holiday in Naples starts from £399 per person. Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
with Gennaro Contaldo
Italy is one of the world’s foremost wine producers, with a number of renowned
varieties grown in the country. From Pinot Grigio and Prosecco, to Chianti and
Barolo, there’s a wine to suit every palate and to pair with every dish.
We asked our expert hotel sommeliers and staff to recommend wines to pair
with some delicious regional dishes shared by our favourite Italian chef,
Gennaro Contaldo. Plan an authentic Italian evening with our regional menu.
POLLO ALLA TOSCANA, TUSCANY
Pollo alla Toscana is a rustic but flavoursome
dish popular in rural Tuscany that makes the
most of locally produced olive oil.
“Use good quality extra virgin olive oil
as the better the flavour of the oil,
the better the dish.”
Pollo alla Toscana really heroes in on the few
ingredients needed to put the dish together. In
Tuscany, you’ll often find it made with rabbit
instead of chicken. Serve the chicken on or
with bruschetta and enjoy!
The maître d'hôtel at Brunelleschi Hotel,
a luxury hotel in the heart of Florence,
recommends pairing Vermentino from Tenuta
Guado al Tasso. This wine is made from
Vermentino grapes sourced near the medieval
village of Bolgheri in the Maremma area
This light wine is bright straw yellow in colour
and boasts notes of citrus fruits and flowers.
Fresh on the palate, this wine has good balance,
defined by a lingering finish.
Gennaro's Pollo alla Toscana recipe:
A 3 night holiday in Florence, staying at Hotel Brunelleschi, starts from £639 per person.
PORCHETTA NATALIZIA, LAZIO
Porchetta Natalizia is a dish generally eaten
during the festive Christmas period, most
popularly in the Lazio region of Italy. Pork is
stuffed with pork mince, chicken livers and
mortadella, a large Italian pork sausage, before
being rolled and cooked in the oven.
This dish and most pork dishes call for
a wine that can cut through the richness of
Stefano Nirta, Citalia's Regional Destination
Manager, recommends the 2009 Monteriolo
Coppo chardonnay from the Piedmont region.
This oak barrel fermented chardonnay wine is
fresh and complex, making it an ideal wine to
pair with Gennaro's Porchetta.
Gennaro's Porchetta Natalizia recipe:
A 3 night holiday in Rome, staying at Starhotels Metropole, starts from £449 per person.
PESCE DI LAGO IN CARPIONE, LOMBARDY
Lakes Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore
are the jewels in Italy’s crown. Located
in northern Italy, the lakes are home to a
large variety of fish including pike, trench,
eel, carp, and trout. A local tradition sees
fish preserved in carpione, which means
being cooked then marinated.
“Pesce del lago in carpione is usually
served cold and can be enjoyed
as either an antipasto (starter)
or as a main course.”
Luciano Esposito, the sommelier at the Grand
Hotel Excelsior Vittoria’s Michelin-starred
restaurant, Terrazza Bosquet, recommends
pairing this and other fish-based dishes with
Sireo Bianco Abbazia di Crapolla.
This wine is pale yellow in colour with notes of
lemongrass, citrus peel, and white apple. Fresh
on the palate with mineral tones and good
drinkability, it is a lovely wine to pair with fish
that has been fried.
Gennaro's Pesce del Lago recipe:
A 7 night holiday in Sorrento, staying at Grand Hotel Excelsior Vittoria, starts from £2,599 per person.
ORECCHIETTE CON CIME DI RAPA, PUGLIA
Cime di rapa (turnip tops) are very popular
during the winter months in southern Italy.
Similar in taste and appearance to broccoli,
this vegetable is often served sauteed in olive
oil, garlic and chilli.
Produced by the Riviera Winery, the Pungirosa
D.O.C.G. is delicate, fresh and juicy, with hints
of wild strawberries and cherry, which are all
balanced with a delicate acidity.
Orecchiette con cime di rapa is a delicious
dish associated with the region of Puglia. This
pleasantly bitter green vegetable is combined
with handmade, ear-shaped pasta known as
Masseria Montenapoleone’s owner, Giuliano
Monteneve, recommends pairing a Puglian
rosé wine with this traditional dish.
“If you can't find cime di rapa you can
use either purple sprouting or long
stem broccoli instead.”
Gennaro's Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa recipe:
A 7 night holiday in Puglia, staying at Masseria Montenapoleone, starts from £839 per person.
Tickle your tastebuds with one of our guided street food tours on your next Citalia holiday.
Speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
AUTHENTIC ITALIAN RECIPES
Flavours Of Italy
Delicious Bucatini alla
Gamberi e Pomodoro
Middle-weight white wine
(Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, or Frascati) or
medium-bodied red wine
(Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel,
or Rosso di Montalcino)
30 minutes to 1 hour
We love the fresh seafood pasta
dishes that you’ll find on the
Puglian coast, whether you’re
visiting the small traditional fishing village of
Torre Canne di Fasano or the pretty seaside
town of Savelletri di Fasano.
Our friends at Nonna Tonda share with us
a delicious recipe which uses the famous
datterino, a juicy and sweet gourmet tomato
variety that benefits from Puglia’s hot sun. It also
features a crispy pangrattato (garlic crumb) for
extra decadence. Just follow the steps to making
this tasty summer dish.
Nonna Tonda delivers delicious authentic
freshly made pasta and sauces right to your
home with new recipes every week.
• 500g bucatini pasta
• 600g datterino or good quality
cherry tomato, quartered
• 700g prawns with their raw shell on
• 3 tbsp olive oil
• 120ml white wine
• 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
• Small handful fresh parsley, finely chopped
For the Pangrattato:
• 200g ciabatta/rustic loaf
• 1 tsp fennel seed
• 1 tsp chilli flakes
• 5 tbsp olive oil
Break up the bread and blend in a food
processor to make breadcrumbs. Heat the oil
in a small frying pan. Add the breadcrumbs,
chilli, and fennel seed, and fry until the
breadcrumbs are crispy and golden. Season to
taste and keep to the side.
Peel and devein the prawns, reserving one
quarter of the heads.
Heat olive oil in a separate large frying pan.
Add the reserved heads and garlic then fry
until lightly coloured.
Deglaze the same pan with white wine and
add the tomatoes. Cook for around 5 minutes
until the tomatoes have softened and created
Remove the cooked prawn heads from the
sauce and discard.
Add the chopped parsley and raw prawns
and cook for 1 minute or until the prawns are
cooked through. Season to taste and set aside.
Cook the pasta in a large pan of salted water
according to cooking instructions. Drain the
pasta and reserve half a cup of pasta water.
Return the pasta to the pan with the prawn
sauce and toss well. Add the reserved pasta
water as required to loosen the sauce.
Divide between plates and sprinkle over the
pangrattato. Buon appetito!
New to Nonna Tonda? Receive 50% off your first two deliveries with our exclusive offer.
Use the code CITALIA when you checkout. nonnatonda.co.uk
Keep your eye out for more information
on our partnership with Nonna Tonda,
including our first ever Instagram Live!
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Call our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
Call our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061
To book or find out more, visit Citalia.com
or speak to one of our Personal Travel Planners on 01293 765061