Hotel Review: Palazzo Margherita, Bernalda, Italy

There is no sign out front announcing the hotel. Just a discreet street number, 64, marks the address. Once visitors pass through the front gate, the grandeur of the two-story home becomes more clear. The palazzo wraps around an interior courtyard and opens onto an adjacent garden, which is manicured in that lush, shaggy-chic style typically associated with Italy’s finest rural villas.

Crystal Symphony: Feast on the High Seas!

Food dictates where I travel. I book restaurant reservations before I buy plane tickets. I choose hotels based on their proximity to where I will eat. I also like cruise ships. But I’ve learned over the years that my passion for food and my love for cruising are not always compatible. I’ve found myself on …

One night in Florence, for a steak

“Where are you headed today?” the front desk manager asks as I’m checking out of my hotel in London. “We’re headed to Florence tonight, for a steak. Then we’re off to Southern Italy first thing tomorrow morning,” I say. “What an extravagant life you lead,” the manager says. I hadn’t considered how extravagant my answer …

Quick Review: Gallery Hotel Art, Florence, Italy

Gallery Hotel Art, Florence (photo by Brad A. Johnson) Overview: The family who built Italy’s Ferragamo shoe empire also owns a cluster of hotels called the Lungarno Collection. They operate several intimate hotels in Florence, all on the same block, including the brand new 36-unit Portrait Suites, which opened in April. But that one didn’t …

Hotel Review: Rosewood London

Overview: Opened in October, the 306-room Rosewood London is United States-based Rosewood’s first European hotel, and the luxury hotel group has made quite a splash. The posh, residential-style rooms and living room-like lobby were designed by Tony Chi (Stonehill Tavern in Dana Point; Mandarin Oriental New York).

Where to Eat in Pantelleria, Italy (the other Sicily)

There’s a tiny volcanic island in the Mediterranean where Giorgio Armani spends every summer. It’s called Pantelleria, one of the lesser known islands of Sicily. It is actually closer to Tunisia than to Sicily. It was previously conquered and inhabited by Arabs, and much of that Arabic influence remains. The architecture brings to mind Marrakech, …

Where to Eat in Bernalda, Italy

Bernalda probably doesn’t ring a bell. Most Italian guidebooks fail to mention it. Or maybe the guidebook authors just wanted to keep Bernalda to themselves. But thanks to Francis Ford Coppola, Bernalda is now officially on the map, if not quite yet on anyone’s radar. It’s a quaint agricultural village on a hilltop in the …

Quick Look: Pantelleria, Italy

Pantelleria, Sicily (All photos by Brad A. Johnson) I just returned from Italy where my first stop was Pantelleria, a small volcanic island located halfway between Sicily and Tunisia in the Mediterranean Sea. (It???s actually closer to North Africa …

Photo of the Week: Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy (Brad A. Johnson) I was walking down the street in Rome, Italy, when I saw this scene. I laughed outloud.The people looked like giants next to the tiny car. And the car’s been through hell and back, as if it were a toy Matchbox car. I …