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!