Anyone for Venice?

When Venice’s only female gondolier, Alex Hai, rows through the meandering canals, she says she feels the buildings are moving away to give her space, everything is fluid and magic can happen at any moment. After 30 years of being on the water in her sleek black gondola, she describes Venice as divided between boat … Continued

Rome with a view

The allure of Rome has cast a spell through the ages for its narrow streets, church domes, plundered treasures, and golden light. I was mesmerised, magically restored. My hotel of choice is the grand neo-Renaissance Regina Baglioni on the tree-lined Via Veneto, the glorious main drag of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. It has that special … Continued


Perched on a clifftop, Taormina dominates all around, valleys of almond, olive and cypress trees that sink into the dancing Ionian Sea. On clear days, the view is to Italy’s tip, the peninsula of Calabria, and behind, the looming smoky presence of the majestic volcano, Etna. There you stand with a truly momentous feeling between … Continued

Il Melograno, Puglia

Il Melograno is one of Italy’s hidden treasures in the sun-soaked province of Puglia. The solid white-washed masseria is set around a large square, with giant cacti, glazed urns and ancient olive trees. Furnished with antiques, richly coloured rugs, and valued paintings, it exudes a cool airy elegance. I loved the indoor and outdoor pools, … Continued