Tag Archives: doug sassi

Good Things Afoot On The Arts Side Of The House

Look for an announcement in coming days on a piece that Raphael Sassi is presenting that is quite remarkable (we of course get sneak peeks in advance of the public).  Painting!  One of the best reasons to visit Italy with us.  In the meantime, consider the exquisite rendering of hands he did here–drawn with ballpoint (yes, really) pen, in this you see muscle, adipose tissue, skin, hair, sweat…the hands of baker hard at work.


Fun With Google Earth And Wine, Badia e Coltibuono Edition

One of the more lovely treats Doug Sassi brought home with him from recent set of tours was a bottle of Badia e Coltibuono’s Chianti Classico.  The 2010 is a perfect expression of the Sangiovese/Canaiolo blend style and the strong nose is instantly transportative, reminding the taster of the sights, smells, and tastes of Italy.  Not content to just imagine?  Let’s dig in via Google Earth:

Badia 1

As you can see they enjoy a woodsy area of Tuscany northeast of Siena and south of Florence–the heart of the Chianti region.  This is the sort of place that has made traveling authors swoon for generations, and end up finding a way to move there.  It’s not an accident.  Scrolling in:

Badia 2
Italy isn’t a huge country (about the size of California), but it still makes more wine than any other country by a long stretch, and it is because they still respect the old ways of doing things while managing to incorporate them and improve upon them with modernity.  Because they live predominantly in well developed and livable urban centers, they can preserve these large swaths of wine producing country nearby the big cities–they have managed to avoid suburban strip mall sprawl in a way that we Americans have not.  Moving in:

Badia 3

To get there from the main road, you have to navigate through that lush Tuscan forest.  Does not sound like a chore to me in the slightest.

Badia 4

Now you’re talking.  I love the pool nestled on the property by the entrance to the woods.  As you can see from the higher up shots, most of the grape growing appears to happen a bit further out.

Badia 5

Well, that’s awful.  Cannot imagine any of our clients will want to go here.  🙂  But just to make sure, we will go inspect the place personally to make sure it is up to snuff and report back shortly.  If we are not heard from in six months, send risotto, porcini mushrooms, prosciutto, and help in the form of wine fund replenishment….as we’re likely to offer to pick grapes and handle the landscaping for free and possibly sell off everything we own in order to get to live here.  Wow.

Badia 6

Imagine touring this place, tasting their wines, and then taking a bottle for a walk in the woods here.  You too will be looking for a black market organ harvesting operation to sell a kidney to in order to expatriate yourself here.  It looks that amazing.

The kicker:  they offer a cooking school and overnight accommodations, and a restaurant that opens March 15th and runs through early November.  Sounds like a place worth investigating.

Venice Too Crowded?

Some think so (I suspect the cruise ship problem is relevant here).  As long as you’re not there in June, July, August, or September, it’s generally not.  But even if you are, one of the perks of traveling with Doug Sassi is how deftly he can show you the Venice found not just on the Rialto and in Piazza San Marco, but also off the beaten path that takes just a bit of adventuring to find.  It can feel easy to get lost and waste time hunting around there, but we’ll get you where you can see the *real* Venice with ease and avoid the crowds.

Venice Quiet
(Doesn’t look too crowded does it?  And not that far a walk from major tourist attractions you can find quiet romantic corners like this to explore and take in the Venice Venetians know and love, if you know where to look.)