Monday, 2 July 2018

The Restaurants of Arpino

Italy is all about delicious food (oh, and Italy is also all about great wine, stylish fashion, cool sport cars, amazing nature and brilliant properties). Arpino is no exception: we have 7 wine bars/wine shops, 5 cafes, 3 cheese shops, 4 butchers, one fish truck that delivers the catch of the day from the ocean and one amazing pasta factory where you can buy home made pasta or pick up a lasagna cooked to perfection. Not to mention the abundance of fresh, organic and locally produced vegetables, fruits and olive oils.

Italy is all about great food!

It’s great fun to go shopping for food in the local markets and we really enjoy to cook in our italian kitchen in our house, Casa Colle, and enjoy the meals with a view on our terrace. To go shopping for food is also a great way to learn Italian and you always bump into a lot of fun people and neighbours while getting your local supplies.

Arpino - a great place for food, wine and views!

Food (and wine) is very important here and of course there are several really good restaurants as well, both in Arpino and the nearby area. There are actually quite a few restaurants with Guide Michelin mentionings and also a GM 1-star restaurant not too far away from Arpino. Not to mention all the food festivals and wine tastings going on here where our neighbours open up there homes to offer the best home cooked food you can imagine and the streets are filled with food stalls and people.

The local food and wine festival in the street outside our house (one of MANY local festivals)

Where else than in Italy would you find all this service, quality and local initiatives in a small town with just 7000 people in the entire commune and just outside Rome? If this had been in Sweden there would hardly even have been a supermarket in a town this small.

Here are our favorite places to eat in and around Arpino!

Our top-10 selection of restaurants in Arpino (listed in no specific order):

1. La Perla
- By far our local favorite restaurant. High ambitions in the kitchen, beautiful presentations and a modern take on the Italian kitchen. Great wine selection and very attentive service from the owner Rino in a stylish setting with a great view. Local fine dining with a modern twist. We go here all the time and just love La Perla.

La Perla

2. Pizzeria Trattoria del Corso - we have had a lot of pizzas in Italy and around the world and the four cheese pizza of this place is honestly the best one we have ever tasted. It never fails! They also serve other dishes but for us it’s the pizza that counts. Rustic Italian interiors, friendly staff and a pretty good local wine produced by the owner.

Possibly the best four cheese pizza in the world!

3. Il Ciclope - a charming and very genuine local restaurant operated by a friendly family who serves excellent traditional Italian food with lots of love. The chickens, meat and vegetables served are from their own farm and the food is delicious. Great place for a long Italian Sunday lunch.

Il Ciclope - Real Italian food for real Italians

4. Magno - a new Sicilian restaurant with amazing food and great wines operated by a very talented Sicilian chef and his wife. Very sophisticated food, great value for money and beautiful presentations. The only thing we are missing is the opportunity to dine outside and enjoy the views. (Soon to be we hope)

Real Sicilian food, good stuff!

5. Il Pettinaro - outdoor dining on a charming little piazza in the heart of Arpino. Always busy and fun. Only a few tables and a menu that changes daily. Brilliant food, excellent wines and very easy going and nice.

Il Pettinaro, a new favorite!

6. Mantova di Lago - OK, it´s actually a 15 minute drive from Arpino but a visit is really worth the drive. This restaurant is unbelievable beautifully located by a lake and surrounded by impressive mountains and beautiful trees. A very serene location and a brilliant restaurant with focus on fish and seafood that is true Guide Michelin material.

This is the stunning location of brilliant Mantova di Lago

7. Casala de la Regina - another local restaurant with high ambitions in the kitchen. Mostly focusing on meat and chicken with a modern take on the traditional Italian kitchen.

Casala de la Regina, located in the valley below Arpino.

8. I Giardini dell’Acropoli -  A nice restaurant located by the ancient acropoli overlooking Arpino. Serving traditional Italian food, pizza and great gelato (ice cream).

Restaurant overlooking Arpino from the top of the mountain

9. Ottavo Vizzo - This restaurant is located in the cantina (cellar) of a palazzo and serves delicious Italian food and offers a nice wine selection as well as friendly service. The interiors are honestly quite simple and the space is dark but the food and general ambiance is great.

Enjoying the perfect Aperol Spritz at Barnaba wine bar

10. Enoteca Barnaba - it’s not a full-scale restaurant but it’s the best wine bar in town that also serves some basic food, tapas and antipasti. We go here to buy wine for the house, enjoy an apertivo and also the small dishes and friendly service. Best spot to catch the action on the piazza.

Sometimes you want to keep it simple: just that perfect espresso and perfect gelato

Always dine with a view!

So come visit us and enjoy the food (and sights) of Arpino! It´s actually worth the one hour drive, if you are in Rome, just to visit La Perla for lunch! You never go hungry in Italy. And remember: life is too short to eat bad food or drink bad wine!

Buon Appetito!

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Sicily & the South

Before getting our own Italian home we spent a lot of time exploring the Northern parts of Italy but we never went south of Rome. Our trips were focused on Milan, Venice, Florence, Tuscany, Valpolicella, Lake Garda, Lake Como and of course our favorite city Rome. Once we had bought Casa Colle in Arpino, just south of Rome, we started exploring the areas close to us including Naples, the Amalfi Coast, Capri, Pompei, Abruzzo national park and all the little medieval towns surrounding Arpino. It is such a beautiful area! For our next road trip we decided to go all the way south and also over to Sicily and find out what this region is like.

Going South!

Cicero is always up for a road trip

Italy is a very provincial country where the regions differ a lot in terms of food, wine, culture, style and personality. The North are known for being efficient and fashionable (but maybe a bit boring?) and the South for having the best food and a very relaxed lifestyle. The South is also known for it’s very dramatic and beautiful nature and coast lines. Many Italians themselves prefer to go South since it is less touristic and the food is amazing. We were eager to start exploring these parts so we packed our bags and were off towards the South.

Always travel in style

We took the scenic coast road and enjoyed stunning ocean views while driving South, stopping for long lunches at beautiful restaurants before reaching the historical town of Tropea where we stayed in the very stylish Villa Paola. This part of the Italian riviera is spectacular and so much more beautiful and chic than the more well-known Northern seaside destinations like Portofino or Cinque Terre. While the Northern riviera has mostly been taken over by tourists wealthy Italians still use the grand villas here in the South as private homes.

Enjoying the scenic route towards the South of Italy


Villa Paola in Tropea

After Tropea we continued South and finally took the 30 minute ferry from the mainland to Sicily, eager to start exploring the Sicilian food that we had heard so much about. In Palermo we checked into iconic Villa Igiea Hotel. This place is divine and we hardly wanted to leave this ocean front hotel where we also had some excellent food in the fine dining Sicilian restaurant as well as the more laid back ocean front restaurant. The historical centre of Palermo is beautiful and pet friendly. Cicero was welcome to join us everywhere, including in the Cathedral!

Hello Palermo!

The stunning cathedral of Palermo

Cicero was welcome to all the sites

 Iconic Villa Igiea was our home for a few days

Enjoying seaside lunches

After Palermo we crossed over the island to reach Syracuse and the historical centre located on Ortigia Island. This is a very charming ocean front town with great food and lots of charm.

 Hello Syracuse!

Charming streets of Ortigia Island

 Beach Club

Ocean front hotel and a room with a view

They say that the further south you go in Italy the better the food gets and we couldn't agree more. We enjoyed so many brilliant meals, from real fine dining to easy going street food and it was all fantastic!

 So much great food, so little time!
The Sicilian food

After a week in the South it was time to drive back home to Arpino for some work but we will soon head South again and continue to explore this fantastic region!


Thursday, 7 June 2018

Arpino Again!

After a very busy spring in Marrakech it was time to re-locate to Italy and Casa Colle, our townhouse in Arpino, south of Rome. As the Red City is heating up for another scorching summer and Ramadan was upon us it was time to head for the fresh air and some Italian lifestyle in Arpino.

Back in Arpino!

We are indeed very fortunate that we are able to work from anywhere in the world, so we just settled in, started up the daily operations and routines of the Italian office of Red City PR and for the next weeks we lead operations from here with the support of our very talented team, most still based in Marrakech. We will return to both Morocco and Scandinavia for some meetings and photo shoots this summer but Italy will be our main base for most of June and August. July will be spent in Sweden. Cicero is by now a very well-travelled dachshund and enjoys his flights between Morocco, Italy and Sweden with us in the cabin (preferably first class).

Cicero has arrived to Rome.

We spent the first week in Italy working on several Red City PR projects including the PR for a big new culture initiative on M Avenue (3000 m2 art and culture including an international theatre - read more about this visionary project HERE), several new websites, a photo shoot, the launch of a new fashion brand and the usual daily operations for all our clients. We are very lucky to have a great team of professionals supporting us and a business model that is truly mobile and digital.

The streets of Arpino

Italian moments

It has also been great to return to all our favorite restaurants, meet new and old friends, drink apertivos on the piazza and to enjoy those spectacular Arpino sunsets from our terrace. Arpino is such an amazing little Italian town with a perfect location. Everyday here is like living in the middle of an Italian movie. You can read more about Arpino HERE and HERE.

Those Arpino sunsets

We also try to compensate for all that pasta and wine by going running in the hills around Arpino. We have a very steep and very beautiful 10 km run that we do every second day. When not running we do Tabata exercises outside our house, which makes our neighbours laugh hysterically.

Casa Colle, our Italian home

The view from the terrace is pretty great!

We are writing this blog from our terrace looking out over the rolling hills and stunning nature that surrounds our little medival hilltop town. Next week we will do a little road trip to explore the south of Italy as well as Sicilly. Stay tuned for a report including lots of food, wine and some nice hotels.

But now it’s time for one of those apertivos, Cin-Cin!