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Italy’s Secret Concierge
Ever had excessive journey envy It’s that condition symptomatic of homogenized luxury, when you’ve got been to the coalface of resorts throbbing with bling and all you need is quiet glamour.
Step ahead John Hen. His world centres on southern Italy, where he opens doorways to tiptop private villas and journeys that stir the blood — isn’t that a given in Salvatore Italy Australian-born, he’s achingly nicely-linked, he is the insider’s concierge.
His world is the new definition of luxurious. Nothing is more glamorous in the 21st century than being personally greeted at your airport, driven through ordered umbrella pines to your villa, which in Bird’s address ebook will be one of the grand dames of Italy. The glass of Prosecco softens your journey on arrival. This is low-chic living (the oligarchs are all out of sight in Forte dei Marni), the place your day is punctuated with the pleasure of getting a live-in host to organise whatever your coronary heart wishes.
Hen’s Italy is a 17th century-meets-21st. The place the Duchess of Palma (with whom you might stay) will take you purchasing in her local market and educate you to whiz up the right Sicilian Caponata, or a lighter-than-air Almond Semifreddo (a century old household secret).
Or it would the Marchese di San Giuliano’s 12th century compound, which was restored to splendour, by his late spouse, Fiamma Ferragamo. She was chargeable for the model’s well-known pump with a grosgrain bow and, concurrently, the planting of dreamy outlying citrus groves and ten acres of gardens. Guests enjoy a resident butler, two cooks and three maids all in a row. It’s a bonus that the estate supplies own your wine, olive oil, biscuits and breakfast marmalade.
When you’ve got food and a cooking faculty on the entrance of your thoughts, you’ll be able to stay with the Regaleali-Tasca d’Almerita family in Sicily, the place a flock of Testa Rossa (is not that a Ferrari ) sheep provide milk for property-made artisan cheeses (tuma and ricotta, pecorino); where the garden is dedicated vanishing species of cherries and quinces. Lengthy before the start of the modern-day travel author, Homer slept here and described the cheese making in his Odyssey.
Yet another patrician family, the Ravida’s, fake vs real ferragamo slides open up their neo-classical villa (their Ravida Extra Virgin Olive Oil is offered in Australia at Fratelli Recent) to food lovers. The current technology is headed by Natalia, who opted out of a Tv presenter’s job in London, to oversee cooking lessons. Their own model of sea salt is scooped up from the low waters of Sicilian shores.
Chicken has a benchmark of excellence and meals-centered holidays are solely a blip on his radar. He distils a form of fairly sophistication, for those who need to show up the Pavarotti and settle right into a library, or escape to a beach raked with white sands, to museums or concerts, cycling or golf. He will whistle up a masseur or drive you to sizzling springs and thermal baths. He can toss in facet journeys to Tuscan hill towns, the Como lakes, the Veneto and Sicily. His black guide of lesser-identified restaurants is unrivalled and he’ll have you ever in an Italian outlet store as quick as you possibly can shout “bellissimo.” Finally, if you can’t transfer from that library, as a trained chef, he’ll ship the perfect spaghetti vongole, in your dreamy terrace.
“I am just a contemporary custodian, I like sharing the Italy I know,” he says, in a charming manner. However Bird (multi-lingual, with French and Italian) knows jewel-box glamour, as a result of he is taken care of that for pink-carpet shoppers in New York, LA, Paris and Rome. Today, he much prefers sharing his Italy.