Eating pizzoccheri in Valchiavenna

It’s a lazy Sunday lunchtime on a February Sunday and I’m having lunch in a restaurant with family and friends. The restaurant is La Genzianella in the hamlet of Fraciscio above Campodolcino in Valchiavenna. It’s a small place with an adjoining bar that fits snugly into its context with a wood-panelling dining room and a […]

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why valchiavenna will always have a place in my heart

On Sunday we finally got to the mountains. We went up to Gualdera above Campodolcino in Valchiavenna. Valchiavenna is the valley that leads up from the top of Lake Como all the way to Val Bregaglia and then Switzerland and up to St Moritz. I spent a lot of time there when I was young, […]

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breakfast with a view, florence

Life is a series of breakfasts, or at least sometimes it’s felt like that and has been all the sweeter because of it. The current restrictions mean that it’s not always possible to relive the experience. It all depends on what level of restrictions we’re at. The covid restrictions here work on yellow, orange and […]

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A night in Pleiney

If you go to the Aosta Valley and follow the signs for the Great Saint Bernard’s Pass, you’ll get to one of the region’s lesser-frequented valleys, the Great Saint Bernard Valley. It’s the valley where the wind known as the coumba freida in the local dialect blows cold in winter, and the temperature remains cool […]

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An hour from Milan

When lockdown was lifted, it all felt like someone’s idea of a joke as it rained for what felt like an eternity. Then it stopped, and the heat arrived. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Italy, and in this case northern Italy, there is heat and there is northern Italian heat. It’s the […]

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Up Lake Como without a plan

It started off as it often does with a vague idea to go off somewhere that ends up somewhere else which is always the best thing about it. On this day in particular, I wanted to explore the part of Lake Como between Como and Bellagio. I ended up in Molina, a hamlet of Faggeto […]

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Eating chisciöi above Lake Como

True to every stereotype, it’s a beautiful Spring day up on Lake Como and I’m sitting on the sheltered terrace of Crotto di Biosio, feeling like I’ve hit the jackpot in some game called la dolce vita. Of course living in Italy isn’t all dolce vita, by any means. My life is very probably your life, and the […]

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Montespluga

“Go there today,” the woman in the café tells me. “You don’t get many days like today.” “No?”  “Not up the Spluga. You probably get about five clear days every summer, really clear days.” I’d set off that morning, passport at the ready, with the intention of going up the border into Soglio in Switzerland. […]

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