The Italians may have a chequered political history, a national debt second only to Greece and high levels of unemployment but if they do one thing really well, it is luxury hotels. Italian luxury hotels are acknowledged worldwide as among the best for style, service and food: they are the standard bearers that others try to follow.
Autumn is an important time in the Italian region of Piedmont. Unlike the neighbouring region of Liguria with its plethora of coastal towns, Piedmont comes alive with activity in the colder months. There's one delicious thing at the centre of this energy: truffles. In particular, the White Alba truffle, which is available nowhere else in the world.
With Mario Balotelli misfiring and Giuseppe Rossi out for the foreseeable future with yet another knee problem, Conte's top quality options up front are somewhat limited. Di Natele's goalscoring exploits are unrivaled in Serie A and there would be little doubt that he could transfer this form onto the international stage.
Italy, in my humble opinion, is one of the most glorious countries in the world. Florence and its rich artistic history. The winding streets and hidden underground wonders of Naples. Cinque Terre and all its coloured, seaside glory. The iconic rolling hills and olive groves of Tuscany. Venice, a mystic floating playground. Stepping back in time in Sicily. Rome, just Rome.
Stepping into Borgo is like stepping into an episode of Game of Thrones...It boasts oodles of cloisters, bountiful high ceilings and sweeping staircases. A noble house in itself, it may be large, but there is a sense of regality and exclusivity here. The biggest dilemma you will face here is whether you are want to be a member of the Baratheon, Lannister, or Stark family.
Fortuitously, it was mostly thanks to my geographical location that my whimsical flirtation became transformed into a more solid 'marriage' and I was finally restored to terra firma, even if it meant descending from Botticelli and Caravaggio to that less glamorous level of my fellow mortals where gunfire has raged and soldiers once fell for the highest stakes.
The cork pings up to the ceiling like a bullet and those of us around the table cheer. This bottle - cuvee brut - is the Italian version of champagne, a light and fruity sparkling wine that's a few notches up from prosecco. In the two days that I've been eating in and around Rimini every meal apart from breakfast starts like this.
The food was excellent, as expected. The wine was even better, again as expected. It was however the cities, the intricacies of their designs, the details of their architectures alongside the views witnessed from the hilltops in Chianti that really stole the show. I thoroughly recommend you all take a Tour of Tuscany.