A wander through Positano’s pretty, pastel streets

The morning we set off for Positano was one of indecision and false starts. In the end, we found ourselves bundling into two separate cars and, with the windows rolled down, carefully hugging the via Nastro Azurro all the way along the coast using bright, white Atrani shining in the distance like a beacon as our waypoint. As we neared Positano we played peekaboo with the town as the road concertinaed in, then out, then in again in line with the deep folds of the cliff face. Then, pulling around the final bend, we commenced mission: find somewhere to park.…

View Post

The best of Rome

Visiting the cultural, historical, gastronomical, architectural behemoth that is Rome without a plan of attack would be a fool’s errand by any stretch of the imagination. With a blow-by-blow itinerary that included tactical naps, pre-booked, timed tickets, backup bars and restaurants and backups for the backups, there was no way I was going the Eternal City slip through my fingers on my very first trip. I know — I sound like the tourist of nightmares. But I’d like it to be known this is not my preferred approach to a city break. Ideally I’d like to stay for a month,…

View Post

Wild swimming in Puglia’s hidden coves

Crunk! Like distant cannon fire, the thunder bounces long and menacing around the rocky rounded inlets due south of where we stand. The sky is split in two as starkly as a half moon cookie, and Porto Selvaggio sits on the dividing line. Just as we settle ourselves on an outcrop to the north of the bay where the sky is still pale, lightning slices through the sky above the squat, square Torre Santa Maria dell’Alto. There is nothing for it, we must turn on our heels and retrace our steps to the car with everyone else on the beach.…

View Post

St Regis Venice: a palatial private island hideaway

As the pale waters of the lagoon licked the sides of the speeding boat, it was easy to forget that only moments ago I was caught up in the pandemonium of St Mark’s Square. Squinting in the heat of the early afternoon sun, I searched out the right jetty through a rainbow of bobbing, bundled-up umbrellas, held aloft by patient tour guides. I passed underneath the Starwood-emblazoned arch and onto the boat, immediately entering into a more peaceful, more elegant world. Our path to the St Regis was not straightforward and as we zigzagged across the lagoon, I made several…

View Post

My enduring love affair with a city called Siena

If I were to write what I know, as they say they should, I would tell you that it is February and London is not at its best. It is a few months yet until the people pour out into the streets at 6pm or thereabouts, and upon seeing the sun still lingering in the sky, feel that the day is still full of possibilities. Instead then — especially what with it being Valentine’s week and all — I shall write what I love. I shall tell you how at the age of 18 I found myself falling for a…

View Post