Wake up at the palazzo

The Palazzo is a 16th Century palace which has been splendidly restored by the original family owners. A large staircase leads us to our apartment, whilst other doorways and floors indicate the large receding scale of the building. We rented the large bedroom which included also self-catering kitchen with everything we could possibly need, maintaining a pleasant rustic farmhouse look.

On our arrival we were pleased to find in the fridge some cold meats and local cheese to welcome us. The ceilings are really high throughout all of the rooms. With crisp bed linens prepared for us and an extra stock of shots of expresso provided in the room, I had no doubt that comfort was assured!

The light and space makes the room feel very relaxing and everything was impeccably clean! Our large bedroom was exquisite with its original frescos on the ceiling. The feature of the ceiling is a beautifully depicted cherub, hovering above the bed, tethered lightly to two birds in flight. This central motif is finished with tasteful decoration and gold framing. It really is the most perfect first sight in the morning.

In the adjoining room to our private kitchen, bathroom and bedroom is the old ballroom that is the most luxurious place to enjoy breakfast. The ceiling is intricately constructed with the family crest placed in the centre (see photo). This room is perfect for lunging around and perusing the regional guides.

On Easter Sunday the countess brought fresh peonies and other flowers which smelled just amazing! We had so much space that it was a relief not to always feel pressure to go out but instead to buy ingredients for a tasty salad to have with a chilled glass of the amazing local wine, ‘Pecorino’.

The breakfast was not only varied and fresh every day, such as freshly squeezed orange juice, great coffee but also daily baked a different local breakfast cake, besides the savoury breakfast options.

Ancient Fermo

Fermo is a place where you can just as easily rest peacefully, as you can satisfy the urge to do some sightseeing. The place is rich in Roman history and was also a Papal city. This is made very clear by the statue if Sixtus the Fifth that keeps watch over the central piazza.

The oldest library in Italy is based here and so are the oldest European Roman cisterns that are similar in scale to the famous cisterns of Istanbul. If you like opera it is best to come in summer, we were sorry to miss the season but we did visit the opera house to view the old architecture and enjoy the fact that Giacomo Puccini announced his opera there in 1886 called “Le Villi”.


If you like walking, hiking, skiing, swimming or any kind of wind sport, this is the place for it all. It is only 20 minutes away from the sea at Porto St Giorgio and an hour and a half away from the local mountains or The National Park called “dei Monti Sibilini”. Here are a myriad of ancient hiking paths all linked to Dantesque myths and legends. You can also ski here in winter but for more challenging skiing, the tip is to head higher to near Abruzzo.


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Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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