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Italy’s Secret Concierge
Ever had excessive journey envy It’s that situation symptomatic of homogenized luxury, when you’ve been to the coalface of inns throbbing with bling and all you need is quiet glamour.
Step forward John Hen. His world centres on southern Italy, where he opens doors to tiptop private villas and journeys that stir the blood — is not that a given in Italy Australian-born, he’s achingly well-connected, he’s the insider’s concierge.
His world is the new definition of luxury. Nothing is more glamorous within the twenty first century than being personally greeted at your airport, driven by means of ordered umbrella pines to your villa, which in Hen’s deal with ebook will probably be one of the grand dames of Italy. The glass of Prosecco softens your journey on arrival. That is low-chic residing (the oligarchs are all out of sight in Forte dei Marni), where your day is punctuated with the pleasure of getting a stay-in host to organise whatever your coronary heart desires.
Fowl’s Italy is a seventeenth century-meets-21st. The place the Duchess of Palma (with whom you might keep) will take you purchasing in her local market and educate you to whiz up the perfect Sicilian Caponata, or a lighter-than-air Almond Semifreddo (a century outdated household secret).
Or it might the ferragamo that stay on waist Marchese di San Giuliano’s twelfth century compound, which was restored to splendour, by his late spouse, Fiamma Ferragamo. She was accountable for the brand’s famous pump with a grosgrain bow and, simultaneously, the planting of dreamy outlying citrus groves and ten acres of ferragamo that stay on waist gardens. Company enjoy a resident butler, two cooks and three maids all in a row. It is a bonus that the property offers personal your wine, olive oil, biscuits and breakfast marmalade.
In case you have meals and a cooking college on the front of your mind, you possibly can stick with the Regaleali-Tasca d’Almerita family in Sicily, where a flock of Testa Rossa (isn’t that a Ferrari ) sheep present milk for estate-made artisan cheeses (tuma and ricotta, pecorino); the place the backyard is devoted vanishing species of cherries and quinces. Lengthy before the birth of the modern-day journey writer, Homer slept right here and described the cheese making in his Odyssey.
One more patrician household, the Ravida’s, open up their neo-classical villa (their Ravida Extra Virgin Olive Oil is bought in Australia at Fratelli Contemporary) to food lovers. The current era is headed by Natalia, who opted out of a Television presenter’s job in London, to oversee cooking classes. Their own model of sea salt is scooped up from the low waters of Sicilian shores.
Chicken has a benchmark of excellence and meals-targeted holidays are only a blip on his radar. He distils a sort of fairly sophistication, for those who want to turn up the Pavarotti and settle right into a library, or escape to a seashore raked with white sands, to museums or concert events, cycling or golf. He will whistle up a masseur or drive you to hot springs and thermal baths. He can toss in side trips to Tuscan hill towns, the Como lakes, the Veneto and Sicily. His black guide of lesser-recognized eating places is unrivalled and he’ll have you ever in an Italian outlet shop as fast as you can shout “bellissimo.” Lastly, if you cannot move from that library, as a skilled chef, he’ll deliver the right spaghetti vongole, on your dreamy terrace.
“I’m only a contemporary custodian, I love sharing the Italy I know,” he says, in a charming method. But Hen (multi-lingual, with French and Italian) is aware of jewel-box glamour, because he is taken care of that for pink-carpet purchasers in New York, LA, Paris and Rome. Nowadays, he a lot prefers sharing his Italy.