I know too much. It’s an occupational hazard. In doing lots and lots of research for my clients, I learn about these fabulous experiences- in Italy it seem that the possibilities are endless. I sit in my office dreaming and scheming, virtually experiences these amazing new places and adventures, and adding them to a list to be explored further and do a quality check. It’s a tough job but somebody has to do it! Here are some bucket list items that I am hoping to fulfill this year. All in the name of research, of course.
Hot Air Balloon Ride over Tuscany - I have sent many clients up in balloons and am just itching to try this. Not a big draw if you are no a morning person (lift of is at 6AM) but if you can drag yourself out of bed and bundle up, you are rewarded with an incomparable vantage point of the Tuscan countryside.
A cooking class at Jul’s Kitchen - Giulia Scarpaleggia seems like a person who you would love to share an aperitif with, sit at a table with for hours or stroll through the streets of Florence for a day of shopping and friendship. I fear these thoughts may qualify me as a stalker. I have never met Giulia but I follow her blog and instagram account faithfully and I just know that cooking in her kitchen would be a warm and hospitable event, embracing the philosophy of cucina italiana. Believe me, the next time I am in Tuscany it is on the top of my list.
Olive harvest - It’s one thing to visit an olive mill and farm, it’s another thing completely to participate in the actual harvest. The process of combing the trees and gathering the tarp is hard, manual labor but offers incredible insight into rural farm life in Italy. Doug thinks that these working vacations (grape harvest, olive harvest etc) are absurd - ‘you are paying THEM to do their work for them?!?!’ - but this experience has long been on my bucket list. It also helps that the olive harvest would take place in November, one of my favorite times to be in Italy.
Dinner at the Accademia - with very special permission, groups can reserve the gallery and dine in the shadow of Michelangelo’s David- pasta and pecs…..buon appetito indeed!
Stay at Il Pellicano- I have stayed in some fabulous hotels in Italy but have not yet made it to the iconic Il Pellicano resort. Mario Batali names it as his favorite in all of Italy and I hope to make it to this historic resort in the very near future. Located on the coast of Tuscany in Porto Ercole, the hotel was the destination of choice for jet setters in the 60s and 70s. It has undergone an amazing renovation and is the epitome of understated elegance and hospitality. A perfect spot to celebrate a big birthday or anniversary.
Chocolate tour in Torino - chocolate and hazelnuts, hazelnuts and chocolate. Turin is consider the chocolate capital of Italy and has a long tradition of master chocolatiers making decadent creations. Chocolate tours are hedonistic but so satisfying. Any tour that ends with abicerin (a concoction of espresso, chocolate and milk) is pretty much perfect, don’t you think?
Truffle hunting - spending the day in the Italian countryside with adorable dogs and even more adorable farmers in search of nuggets of culinary gold sounds incredible to me. It’s the thrill of the hunt with your weapon of choice being a nose rather than a firearm that is so appealing to me. And then of course, there’s the steaming plate of homemade pasta covered in shaved truffles. The reward is definitely worth the effort.
Tour of the new(ish) Antinori Winery - a family with a 700 year tradition of winemaking must be doing something right. The Antinomies reign supreme in the Tuscan wine world with vineyards spread all over the region. I have eaten in their restaurants, visited their cellarsand participated in their cooking classes but have yet to visit the most recently built winery, located in San Casino Val di Pesa, about 40 minutes outside of Florence. Opened in 2012, this is a state of the art operation. The architecture is ultra modern but somehow melds perfectly into the landscape.
Drive a vintage sports car through Tuscany - I see oversized sunglasses, a fabulous Hermes scarf to keep my hair out of my face, driving mocassins, and bright red lipstick. Zipping around the winding roads of the Val D’Orcia, a picnic and a fabulous bottle of red wine in the backseat. Hey, it’s my bucket list - a girl can dream, right?
Feeling inspired? Does your bucket list look anything like mine? Email me and let’s make your “to do” list your “done” list.