The Taste of Emotions

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Monzù: cuisine with view, a terrace overlooking Faraglioni rocks :  multi-sensory experience (taste, smell, sight ..). Gourmet restaurant of the luxurious Hotel Punta Tragara, between its lines designed by Le Corbusier,  sticks out the kingdom of Chef Louis Lionetti : 32 years old, he  already boasts an impressive curriculum.

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“Everything begins at age of 15 years, in Pescara where I was pursuing my childhood dream, to be a football player. Unfortunately, due to an injury I had to give up this passion.”
But Luigi did not lose heart and started chasing  another passion.
“I attended the hotel management school” De Cecco “, who organized me an internship at the restaurant” Da Paolino “Capri.” The beginning of an everlasting love : the one for cooking. “To be honest, from a very young age, I have alway been enchanted to see my grandfather preparing delicious meals and I still remember the fish lunches  in the best restaurants of Naples, when my father took me with him to see the football matches of our favourite team .”
But let’s start from the restaurant Da Paolino:
Essential experience, “I have lived there (he really used this verb!) seven seasons working hard.
paolino.jpgI learned what are sacrifice, respect for colleagues and hierarchies. Lino De Martino is one of the greatest restaurant manager of the Island. I owe my personal growth to Nando Arcucci, Chef of the restaurant at that time, a very nice person that immediately pushed me to continue working in that field. “
Luigi is eager to learn new things and more and more passionate about cooking: features that will make him a “next door” Chef .
In 2007 at the age of 23,  he has the opportunity to join the team of the prestigious hotel “Punta Tragara” of Capri, as a sous-chef, and from 2011 as Executive Chef. “Here I was lucky enough to work with the starred chef Gennaro Esposito of  Torre del Saracino. Gennaro revolutionized my career. I feel enriched, both professionally and personally, I have learned how to recognize raw materials, to respect and value each product during its specific season. “
Your career as a Chef led you to travel and challenge yourself with other realities, but yet in your menu is always recognizable our local raw materials. There’s always a piece of Capri with you. Tell us about this mix  and your relationship with the island.
“The cuisine is my playground, my second home. It ‘a place where I feel particularly at ease and free to express myself in so many ways.
esternogiorno.jpgI never forget our territory, even when I cook modern dishes:  at Monzù we are sustainable from all points of view, innovative, and we are open to all the possibilities that the gourmet world of today offers us.
Travelling in many different countries, questioning  yourself with other colleagues,  enriches your professional background.  No coincidence that some influences grow from these experiences, that I then put into practice.  But what makes the difference today is knowing how to be authentic.
monzuCapri is omnipresent, even in certain experiences and events  I took part, I always carried with me this beautiful island, especially in 2013 when I ran as best emerging chef , for Luigi Cremona Award, in 2013. The dish that I presented was a  ” Mozzarella ice cream” , I am proud of it: a basil soup and a biscuit with tomato.  I called it “Unusual Caprese” , revoking the caprese salad,  the same ingredients used in a sweet way.
In my menu , I will never miss:  tomatoes, lemons, extra virgin olive oil, fresh fish . Today we can be good, very good, but without great raw food we can do very little. The products must always be respected and never stressed. “
During the era of health-consciousness, you propose dishes like pasta with potatoes, or eggplant parmigiana ..Do they work? How could  you make  the Mediterranean cuisine lighter without betraying its taste?
I belong to a land of great products, the most linked to our tradition, often the simplest dishes, are the winning, so in my menu there will be always dishes like spaghetti with clams.
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The future is  make the  cuisine as light as possible : always keep an eye on vegans and vegetarians, they are growing more and more and we are happy to receive and satisfy them in the best way.
I can consider myself obsessive about work, because I love the constant research for taste.
A dish comes from a thousand memories, talking to an old person, a fisherman, with my grandfather, dealing with colleagues; it is crucial to give value to what the season offer us..Then the Inspiration can come even listening to a song or looking at my children ..
Questioning yourself, keeping up-to-date is the spice of my life the real secret of this work.
I try a recipe million times before it reaches an excellent standard and has something to tell. And for this I am very pleased that most of the customers who come to Monzù, tell us that they find the cuisine tasteful .. it makes me even more happy when the same client return to eating that particular dish..That’s a real satisfaction.
Your brigade, what does it mean to you to be Chef? Leader, or active part of the group? Your rules in the kitchen?
“Chef” … I have always considered it a buzzword, “cook” sounds better, but having such a big responsibility overjoys me,  I know I have a huge duty because I certainly can not go wrong nor let down anybody.
Luigi loves the team working: “The key to success is a right brigade: make sure that the people you work with are valid and adequate first of all as person, then comes the rest. In our kitchen we are all part of this wonderful job, we are a team of which I’m proud : Antonio my sous chef, Riccardo , we worked together for six years .. we are friends as well as colleagues. The all have hearts of gold. A fundamental  part of this fabulous team are our three dishwashers who follow me everywhere. They are never mentioned but behind us there are them .. We could hardly do well without them.
Michelin, what does it represent for you this world?
Michelin to me means a stage not a goal.
It might me reached with specific standards of quality, raw materials and definitely an impressive cuisine.
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I would lie if i would say that we do not believe we can achieve it…
The road is still long,  but we are a beautiful property, perhaps one of the most competitive on the Italian and international scene. I consider myself extremely lucky to be part of it.
The cook with his dishes tells stories and if you manage to transmit them  it is a great collective success
In the kitchen I can not stand who doesn’t have  passion in what he does.
If a dish, when I taste it, excites me then yes , it is ready to be part of the menu.
Gourmet addresses you would recommend.
Among the great Chef  I have met in my path, I want to mention Giuseppe di Martino, sous chef of Gennaro Esposito, now Chef of Postrivoro, Faenza; Rocco De Santis, Chef at Vistamare ( Latina), Cristian Torsiello in Valva, who recently won his first star, a very humble guy, grown up with Niko Romito. It  is rising more and more  the skill of women in the kitchen: I can name Fabiana Scarica with her restaurant in Vico Equense “Villa Chiara.”
Capri have made great strides, see the work of Capri Palace..Salvatore Elefante, or “Mammà” with my friend Salvatore La Ragione.
Keep an eye on  Da Tonino Restaurant, not to be underrated.
While on the Coast, I might be biased, but when I sit a at the table of Torre del Saracino of Gennaro Esposito is a thrilling experience, all the time. I am a person who can be satisfied easily, oddly my favorite dishes are the simplest ; what  I can not resist is  pizza and I always run when I can go to my sister and my brother in law in London, at the  restaurant “Addomme“. It ‘a place where in winter I often stop by, also because the hotel in Capri is closed.
In the gourmet world, you represent a rare exception, being very reserved person. What do you think of the of  Chef as part of a star-system ?
Everyone tells me you’re very humble, and I should expose myself more..But I’m what I’m, so I prefer that my dishes speak about me.
I would not judge those who decide to appear on TV or be part of shows, I just think that if something is made wisely and can help the gastronomic circuit, then so be it.

AnnaChiara Della Corte

Italian version: http://www.capripress.com/site/?p=7334

Jewelry Design made in Capri

VozzaStore.pngVia Fuorlovado  can be ironically defined the “little shy sister” of Via Camerelle: central hub that connects the main square (the so called “Piazzetta”), world’s most glamorous “salotto”, to the residential area par excellence, from the time of Tiberius to nowadays.

Typical, authentic, but always  looking ahead, here during the last 10 years  stood out family Restaurant like Aurora, which has  recently been enriched by an elegant lounge bar, tailor brands like Farella or Isaia, and the Jewlery design “Grazia and Marica Vozza“, which owes its name to the talented twins of Capri, creators of jewelery and accessories one of a kind.

Just a few steps away, as a younger alternative, the brand “Finestre di Luce”, up with with the coolest trends,  an idea of Carolina, Grazia’s daughter , a fresh look, like the one of Carolina, but already recognizable and precise.

With its characteristic Moorish windows, Grazia and Marica Vozza, it’s much more than a store . It is an atelier: “A living room where we “snuggle” our customers. We focus our work primarily on human relationship, we know our customers very well and our first interest is to fulfill their creative desires. ” Say the sisters.

vozza.pngRegarding the brand identity: Grazia is the creative part of the company while Marica follows the commercial side. Carolina, instead,  takes care of  the  business “strategy”: “I love photography and fashion, when I think about our jewelery I want our style be distinctive. I like to play with the mix match of gold and silver  with the inclusion of freshwater pearls and precious stones. I would say that I am the synthesis of my mother and my aunt, I consider myself a creative mind but I’m also attracted by the world of marketing and that’s the reason why with my aunt and I are starting to work on the e-commerce of  Finestre di Luce, that will soon be online. “

jewel.pngMediterranean declined in Jewelry: “Our source of inspiration is first of all Capri, with its landscapes, lights, colors.”

During winter time, Grazia is used to go out for long walks surrounded by  nature and intimacy that the island boasts in “low season”. This allows her to fantasize and think of the pieces of the new collection.

A successful example of Made in Italy (or even better Made in Capri). Maniac about details, ready to meet the most demanding and extravagant requests. Can you briefly describe the techniques and processing phases of Vozza jewelry?

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Most of our jewelry is designed by Grazia, and then created by our goldsmiths, while others are entirely made in our laboratories after buying the raw material such as ebony, ivory and amber.” Explains Marica: “Made in Italy for us is Love, Passion, and a touch of Originality. For us it is a guarantor of craftsmanship quality . ”

A brand that embodies a history of nearly two decades: can you tell us about its story?

“It all started in a small hidden shop in Via Li Campi where we were discovered by an American tourist (still one of our best customer) : she bought almost everything and put in a good word about our brand. Our clients are mainly  Americans: they are the biggest  fans of  made in Italy, handmade products and everything that is original on an island like Capri, which has always represented the wanton luxury. Talent, determination and luck led us to inaugurate the atelier in Via  Fuorlovado . We feel very well positioned in this area of ​​Capri, we are surrounded by many craftsmen. It is ‘the “bohemian” alternative to  Via Camerelle, it responds with elegance and craftsmanship to  the big names of fashion. “

Capri is an international window of incomparable prestige, which deserves space beyond its natural borders. And that is why  Vozza jewels have landed in the Big Apple: “Linda Fargo (store manager) discovered our store in 2010 and allowed us to sell our jewelry to Bergdorf & Goodman, exclusive luxury hot spot.”

Between Capri and New York, therefore, it only remains to choose where to shop!

AnnaChiara Della Corte

Italia Version: Capri Focus

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Learning how to cook with Lauren

Cooking Vacations was written up as the most trusted culinary tour company to Italy by National Geographic Traveler and featured among the leaders in culinary tours to Italy:

To paraphrase a famous quote by Virginia Woolf: behind every great project there is (always) a great woman.

laurenLauren Birmingham comes very often to  Capri, for work and pleasure. Italian American, Italian husband, she spends half a year in Boston and the other half (the summer season) in Positano.

Not bad, isn’t it ? I decided to interview her to see Capri through the eyes of a conscious visitor, and especially to learn more about her profession, focussed on Mediterranean flavors and traditions.

Lauren Birmingham, how is living half-year in Positano and the other half in Boston? You can find a balance between these two different realities? 

Yes for myself, an Italian American, living between two great places is the perfect combination.  Italy is a place of ancient culture, tradition and food; and in summer there is no other place I would rather be.  We work hard from sun rise and then take early evening to go for swim (the beach is a short walk and we overlook it every day while cooking and writing).

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Living day-to-day with my Italian culture and tradition that I was raised with, having great parents, grandparents and parents, who kept and keep the Italian way of life alive, has been instrumental for me.  On the other hand, Boston is a place of culture, education, competition and ideas.  With all of the museums, colleges, universities and more, it is a hot bed for learning and succeeding- there is an incredible energy in this city.  The city of the Patriots who carved American history battling for their freedom.  I am very proud to be a Bostonian.  We have a great cosmopolitan city that is the headquarters of American history, freedom – it was were the US Constitution was signed and ratified.

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Regarding Capri, I love every part of this enchanting Blue Island.  Each little corner offers something special and different.  I love going to Santa Sophia and seeing the statue of Sant’Antonio who seems real.  It’s a joy to walk through the gardens of Villa San Michele at sunset when the crowds have gone, the flowers sway in the breeze and quietness is very special.  I also love walking along the via Matermania to via Dentecala for a romantic dinner at Da Tonino, one of my favorite restaurants.  Another dreamy place is Monte Solaro, you feel like you are walking in the heavens. I visited Capri when I was a young girl, after reading about it in many great books by the old world writers such as Axel Munthe, Oscar Wilde, Grahm Green along with Shirley Hazard.  And of course, I love Peppino di Capri songs, its an old music era that will never go out of style.

Capri expresses its beauty in all four seasons, spring and summer the best, and winter too.  Spring and summer’s hustle is wonderful and so electric while winter’s bluesy atmosphere is cozy and intellectual.  Among my favorite restaurants in Capri: L’Olivo, Il Riccio, Da Tonino, Grottino and Da Giorgio, all for different reasons.

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Tell us about your passion for food and gastronomic traditions? Which are the “must-try” ingredients of the Amalfi Coast? What makes them so special?  I grew up with my Italian grandmother and mom.  I make everything from scratch:  brodo, bread, pasta and desserts.  I grow my own vegetables and make our own olive oil.  I advocate organic vegetables, fruits, and grass fed – non hormone- fish and meat.  I almost no meat, and am fortunate enough to have the best fish on the Amalfi Coast.  Boston seafood, with its cold water fish, cod, lobsters, scallops and clams is good quality as well.  I love olive oil, lemons, basil and garlic.  With these few ingredients you can make just about anything.

citrus.jpgHow would you explain the importance of eating local food?   Eating good food and local is so imperative, and most do not understand this idea and overlook it completely.  Also eating in the season is a natural rhythm that our body needs and knows instinctively.  If your body is in a natural balance and well-being state, it will crave winter or summer fruits and vegetables, in their proper season and  when they are in season.  Read labels, read ingredients and stay away from white flour, sugar, pasta, bread and salt.  These are the 5 killer whites. Could you pick some of your favorite Italian ingredients?  Extra virgin first cold pressed olive oil  first cold pressed olive oil, lemons, garlic, basil and rosemary from the Amalfi Coast, then truffles from Savigno, Parmigiano Reggiano from Emilia Romagna, Ricci and Pistachio fromSicily, artichokes from Roma.

Do you think we ( in the Amalfi Coast) have  a wide range of good/healthy food at supermarket? ( Sometimes in big cities the choice is greater, even if the flavors are not the same)  Yes.  In Boston and across America, we are lucky to have Wholefoods.  This high end boutique super market works with natural growers of organic foods and from local artisans.  They advocate non GMO and buy foods without pesticides.  This is so important for our bodies and health.  We need to know what we are eating and eat clean!

My favorite market in Italy is La Tradizione, in Vico.  Owners Annamaria and Salvatore are the most talented purveyors of everything in season, high quality and made by caring artisans.  The cheese selection is amazing, their wood oven baked home made breads are works of art, a carefully selected wine collection and gourmet section from olive oils, teas, pasta, spices, and select products from Campania and all of Italy make it my absolute preferred market.

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How would you educate people to choose the right food products? My first rule of choosing the right food produces is know your source.  Buy non GMO, foods without pesticides, and be aware of eating foods in season (non waxed vegetables and fruits, never farm raised).  Become familiar with food combining.  Personally, I have always followed the organic and well-being way of life along with incorporating lots of exercise and meditation.  At Cooking Vacations, we offer hands on cooking classes, food trips, market and wine visits and excursions to interesting food places.  Our cooking tours are a unique approach to Italian culture.  You will work alongside qualified chefs, cooks, bakers and pastry makers who share their Italian recipes, hospitality, traditions and culture with you in small groups of 2, 4, 6 or 8 people.

cooking2.jpgWe carefully respect your food allergies, likes and dislikes-along with your cooking level catering to vegetarian, gluten free and any special request.  Following each cooking class, everyone enjoys the foods that were prepared in the kitchen together at our table.

Our tours are unique and authentic because I continually travel throughout Italy to create each one with our family of chefs, food artisans, cheese and wine makers and certified guides. I am an Italian American who lives Positano, Italy with my Italian husband Rino.  Together with our professional team, we welcome guests from around the world, personally meet you upon your arrival at the airport or train station ( together with my husband company Italy Car Drivers) and are with you throughout your cooking program from check in to departure.  We are at your service all along the way, for questions and streamlining so you can enjoy your trip!

You’re writing your first book, could you give us a taste of it?

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My first book, which will be out shortly, and is a compilation of short stories on the artisans, chefs and local people, with folkloric stories on food and the artisans who continue to make them.  Featured in my book, will be stories and recipes, with the leading feature story on Executive Chef Andrea Migliacco Michelin Star Chef of Capri Palace.

The story of how the Capri Cake was the island’s most fortunate mistake;  the nuns who made the first sfogliatella, how cheese dates back to ancient Pompeii over 2000 years ago, Italy-s premiere wine maker, Marisa Cuomo, and how her husband gifted her the vineyard as a wedding gift, Ravello’s ancient trattoria and the v.i.ps they served their poor man’s food to, sfumato lemons and how they got here;  eggplant and tomatoes are not Italian at all, to name a few.andrea.jpg

In cooking, good ingredients are essential, but chefs make the difference. In Italian we say “mettere il cuore” ( you have to put your heart into it ). How would you recognize a passionate Chef?

Mettere il cuore, is a term that we cannot really translate to English.  I see the feeling immediately in a chef when I meet and interview them.

I immediately sensed Chef Andrea Migliacco’s passion, dedication and determination on my first interview.  As I got to know him, I mentioned my book idea and he responded, “Che bello!”  I said when you have a question, who do you go to.  He responded, “I go to my Nonna.”  I said, ‘I wish I still had my Nonna to ask.?  He invited me to Ischia, his home town and from there the conversation lead to  a collaboration of him offering his recipes for my book..

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We just have to wait for the date of publication and presentation of the book to immerse ourselves in the best gastronomic tradition Campana, remembering that the stories of our dishes are made of people, work and passion, as saying: Pane, Amore e Fantasia.

AnnaChiara Della Corte: acdellacorte@capripress.com

MEDITERRANEAN REVISITED. A glocal architect and designer: from the vineyards of Anacapri to the international scene

PortraitArchitect, artist and designer, Francesco Della Femina is an eclectic and creative spirit. Born in 1966, from modest origins: “My father was a bricklayer, I miss him , my mother is a housewife, a woman whose strength equals an entire nation.”

While attending High School, every summer since 14 years of age, Francesco used to help his father. “I always liked to build.” A Degree in Architecture from the University Federico II of Naples, during his early twenties he worked with Livio Talamona, an experience to remember. After finishing his studies, Francesco started working on his own: “From the beginning, I realized that working in Capri is an opportunity to develop your skills, not just exploiting the fact that I come from there .” Two children, 7 and 9 years, an Irish wife, Barbie Ryan, expert in Marketing & Communication.

Square Chair

Square Chair

One of a kind style, Mediterranean by heritage, he finds inspiration in the traditional historical beauty designing original spaces using clean contemporary lines.

“The architecture of Capri, and Mediterranean architecture in general, has always fascinated me, architecture without architects made by farmers and fishermen, elementary volumes, wisely built , with unprecedented solutions; organic, measured, elegant, sinuous and sensual architecture: a sort of archaic track marking even my current projects.”

Familiar with creating original interiors he began designing bespoke furniture to suit clients’ needs and hence began his foray into furniture design.  After attracting attention in the media for his interiors and design, he launched his first public collection in 2014 which was very successful.  Elements of geometry create a delicacy and symmetry rendering even the grandest structures graceful (chairs, tables, lamps, candlesticks …).

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FDF Studio

Each piece is personally overseen by Francesco and made by skilled craftsmen ensuring the highest quality.

StudioViaNilo 03I met him in his studio, in the heart of Spaccanapoli. More than an office, its a living room, cozy and informal, an inspirational calling card. “Natural” but refined Materials, handmade furnishings. In short, it encompasses his style, and often includes selected works of art and craftsmen.

It was 2006 and Francesco decides to compete on a different scale and to build a bridge in the mainland, where he finds the perfect location at Palazzo Monte Manso, in Via Nilo 34, the historic center of Naples . “A place where I had lived as a college student, impossible to describe, full of immeasurable human energy and able to inspire me as much as the beauty of Capri had done until then.”

The space has an inherent atmosphere rich in creativity, a Seventeenth-century palace,  that houses many laboratories and art galleries as well as a beautiful Seventeenth century church on the third floor , in whose perimeter there is one of the most precious jewels of Naples, the San Severo Chapel.

“My studio reflects the idea that I have always had: a place dedicated to the development of ideas and projects, I started working very young in Anacapri, at the Atelier of Via Vigna (maybe someone can still remember it) , there I used to paint, and I often hosted friends and visitors. My studio in Napoli is a creative workshop and at the same time gallery / showroom for design production, exhibitions or site specific” works of art ” .

It is like stepping into a classic Neapolitan apartment revamped with modern style, closer to the idea of ​​a house than that of an office, but at the same time adaptable to various uses and decor. “Consisting of three main rooms – all with high ceilings, it contains everything that helps us shape our plans, samples of different materials, colours, fabrics, magazines, books, objects of art , common objects and -why not? – Flowers . When I imagine a place I like to think about it in its entirety.

 

Why did you move your studio from Capri to Naples?“I think that being an architect (like Interior and Design work) is a global activity and not purely local, and I always looked for the opportunity to work outside of Capri where I was born and raised and even outside of Italy.

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Capri Chair and Barstol at Il Riccio Anacapri

I never considered this shift as a migration, rather a process of “osmosis” useful to enrich and qualify the work that I still follow on Capri. Vice versa my “Caprese” heritage enriches the projects that I follow elsewhere; today I think the same with regard to Naples from which I start moving to other destinations (Milan, Paris, New York, etc.), places where I can confront new realities, bringing the experience and energy of my land, and returning with a new vision rich in suggestions. ”

 

 

Your works are inspired by the Mediterranean. A Mediterranean-ness revisited, with sophisticated materials and furniture. Everything seems to be in its right place. How do you strike this balance?

“The Mediterranean spirit of my projects has never been paraded or contrived, it is a kind of genetic code that clearly belongs to me having been born and raised in the middle of the Mediterranean. Capri, from this point of view has given me so much, and I must say that many islanders do treasure this kind of pedigree: the habit of being surrounded by beauty , if cultivated with respect and supported by a solid foundation of knowledge, is certainly an asset, although unfortunately today we use the name of Capri or the adjective Mediterranean only for commercial purposes … “Mediterranean Style is like a language and it is the language that belongs to me, but it is not the only language that I like to talk, I have always been attracted by other cultures, influenced by different styles, as well as loving to travel and learn other languages ​​mixing them with my own accent.

In all my works I always identify pre-existing starting points, from the beginning I always try to fall in love with a place or a space, to possess it as much as possible, I like to measure it in person, going alone, listen to everything that the space itself has to tell me, and at the same time I need to know the people who live there, understanding their needs, preferences and hopes. At this point, comes the invention, the idea that guides me to develop what has already been suggested to me by the so called “genius loci”.”

Architecture from Capri: many iconic villas of yours on our island boast your imprint. Tell us about some of them.

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Villa Le Scale

I ‘m going to talk about two of them: Villa Le Scale, one of my first projects, and about Casa Dabu, one of the last.

Regarding Villa Le Scale, I was commissioned to restore this historic villa of Anacapri, famous also for its garden and its impressive staircase which gives the name to the place. The main challenge was to design a stylish, scenic swimming pool , nestled into the rocks of the garden as if it had been part of the house since the time of its construction.  I did so by using a pre-existing cistern located under the steps that ran the length of the garden that used to be an eye-sore in the otherwise scenic garden. The result was surprising: the pool was constructed without interrupting the natural architecture of the  villa by keeping the steps as the entrance to the pool, making them a feature as opposed to a limitation. Later I redesigned the interiors making independent individual rooms, furnishing them with unique pieces thanks to the collaboration with the owner who provided many antiques and works of art .

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Villa Dabù

With this transformation,Villa Le Scale regained its former glory and has become one of the most popular and exclusive residences of the island, photographed and reviewed in numerous books and international magazine. It is now part of the famous chain “Relais & Châteaux “and “Residenze D’Epoca “.

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Villa Dabù- Bed with view

Villa Dabù is instead a relatively small project, but with a global approach: indeed I took care not only of the architectural aspect but also the interior and the decoration. Also, I personally designed many of the furnishing elements ( beds, tables, chairs, lamps, sinks, etc.). The owners were looking for the ideal location to create a home away from home to escape the hustle and bustle of their chaotic lives.  Their requirements were clear: it had to be simple but not rustic, modern but not sterile, provide a familiar environment where they could feel comfortable and enjoy what they appreciate the most – the ocean,  and above all it had to be peaceful, relaxing and exist in harmony with the locale, wherever that would be.

So I proceeded to redesign the layout of the rooms, maximising the opening to the outside space and ensuring the spectacular view of the sea from every room in the home.   At the same time I furnished the space with the essentials, never forgetting good taste and attention to details , by adopting a style obviously Mediterranean but very modern. Some of the items of furniture designed for this home then became  pieces of design of my current collection, while others are unique pieces of great impact ( the bedroom “Bed with view” , whose headboard is a printed photo of the actual sea view behind that wall); or the dining table “Tablock” with the chairs that are hidden when closed within the table ).

Most of the furniture was designed and handmade by me to optimise space: such as the Kitchen Table (Tablock), both a table and sculpture  – the 6 chairs close into the table so that it becomes a sculpture block.

AD Russia Marzo 2015

This project has been rewarded with many accolades, and above all with a considerable article featured in the popular magazine ADRussia in March 2015, obtaining its cover!

Selected materials and traditional working techniques are the result of a careful and meticulous research. What are the criteria you adopt when selecting the raw materials and fabrics?

 Materials are paramount, “I work with solid brass, wood, stone, antique ceramics, iron as well as exceptional fabrics.” Each piece is custom made by skilled Italian artisans who work with Francesco to ensure the finest quality and finish.

 

In a world where the techniques and materials of construction have dramatically increased, we need a constant commitment to be updated .”

Francesco is an architect who can ‘t just stay behind his desk:

” I like to draw and design, just as I love to spend hours in the shops of the artisans who make my pieces or on construction sites with bricklayers to look for the right curve of an arch or develop the performance of a scale, analyzing their methods and developing them in new ways. It helps to involve people who collaborate with me, in order to give things an added value. “At the same time, it is essential to attend fairs, visit showrooms, antique dealers and junk shops looking for vintage pieces, frequent markets (one of my favourites is the fabric market of Paris’ Marché Saint-Pierre” ), art galleries, exhibitions etc…Consequently it’s easy to get confused by the multiple products on offer, so before doing research for a project I always try to establish a sort of framing. This means that, along with those working on the project and the client, we build a “mood board” where we outline briefly the style, the colour palette, the feelings, the tone, and all the features that can help us later on, in design choices but especially for furniture. Then of course comes your own taste: matching materials, colours, fabrics etc… never predictable, every element has to contribute somehow without losing sight of the overall harmony.

 

Every project is bespoke. Have you always enjoyed free hand? What happens when the demands of the customer does not fit your vision?

“The very fact of conceiving each project as “tailored” guarantees me, almost always, the opportunity to achieve something that suits customer expectations. In short , the design of a house or any other space for me has to be “tailor-made”, and just like a dress, a custom home will perfectly meet the needs of the customer.

On the other hand, it often happens that clients do not really know what they want and ask for unsuitable things. In this case I try to understand what are their wishes and needs by providing subliminally compatible solutions… After a few days when the client asks me for what I had (covertly) suggested then I know I’m on the right path!

You seem to have understood, ages ago, the ‘importance of being ahead of the game with digital communication and printed magazines. Tell us about this aspect.

“Since childhood I’ve never been a great communicator, I have learned through experience that communication is essential to the success of a project and especially to assert your professionalism. Until a few years ago communication was a prerogative of those who boast great communication skills or who had political and economic power. Today; things seem to have changed.

In my opinion, the first fundamental condition is to offer a good product that is able to attract people for its own characteristics, then communication does the rest.

For example, in 2014 I put together a collection of home accessories produced by me, initially I invested in the quality of these products, then I tested their value by taking them to some important trade fairs (Homi, Milan Furniture Fair, ICFF New York, etc… ): the result was successful. I noticed the interest of experts and the press. In parallel, I have always supported a growing business communication in the network, I have already re-done my website twice, trying to keep it up to date as much as possible, I’m quite an active user of social networks, especially on Instagram, FB and recently Twitter, but also Pinterest and other portals linked to architecture and design. I’m currently figuring out the world of blogs, its just a matter of finding the time!

All this takes time but certainly bears fruit: some of my projects have been featured in The New York Times Style Magazine and Elle Decor America and I am sure that this interest will continue to grow until I am able to ensure a constant and effective communication with products and images capable of catching real ( and not only virtual) interest.

Achieving these results has been possible thanks to a constant commitment, but above all because of the great support I have received from so many friends and associates, first of all: Barbie, my wife, and others such as the Architect Paolo Maria Russo, the photographer and friend Umberto D’Aniello, the stylist Antimo Assuntore, photographer Antoh Scotto, and many others.

 When I ask him the provocative question ” Which Villa of Capri you would have liked to include in your portfolio?” ( I would have expected a response like “Casa Malaparte” or “Villa Lysis,”) Francesco replies thus: ” I have restored many Villas and I keep on receiving new commitments, but the entire building heritage of Capri should be restored. After years of speculation and unauthorised development I think it’s time to understand that Capri should mainly invest in quality and thus on the building renovation.

As a new challenge, he adds, at this time I’d like to make a contribution in the field of hospitality , a hotel or restaurant, also because in my recent projects we are developing the “format” and “concept” for the adjustment of “luxury hotels”, according to customer requests from Europe and the USA, from the new high target tourism (Russia, Middle East, Asia and South America).

 Capri, an icon of style of unquestionable value, nostalgically linked to the glorious 60s. A megabrand that can generate much more value. How do you decline this aspect in architecture and design?

“The immeasurable and evident value of Capri requires a great effort to preserve the primacy which luckily it still holds. But since the wheel of fortune does not always turn on the same side, we need to go the extra mile to give visitors more than what they expect.

Many entrepreneurs have realised it and are investing a lot in their facilities and services because they know that discerning requests must be met by offering the best of what Capri has to offer.

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When I had to choose a logo for my design products, I preferred to choose my name, Francesco Della Femina, using the name of Capri would have seemed a useless trick. My aspiration is to make a product of quality, regardless of the fact that I am “Caprese” or “Milanese”, and I think that putting your signature on a product is synonymous with a personal guarantee.

After that, the quality of the product will show its uniqueness, origin and features.

Last summer we conducted a survey of a small sample of regular tourists of Capri, especially foreigners, for an upcoming project, trying to figure out what qualities they most appreciate on the island: why they come back every year, staying in expensive hotels always re-doing the same vacation? Well, what really matters is the direct and personal relation they have with the people of Capri, that makes them feel part of this island, not the thousand products and boxes with “Capri” written on them. ”

 

AnnaChiara Della Corte

acdellacorte@capripress.com

Italian version: CapriFocus

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver Glowig: Tradition always wins

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Some people are born with a silver spoons in their mouths, others with a white double-breasted jacket. The career of Oliver Glowig, among the most renowned and competent Chef of the international scene, is a kind of predestination.

“ When I was a child, my parents took me out to eat, we used to have dinner in prestigious restaurants. Even then, I was fascinated by this world.

Oliver attended the hotel school in Düsseldorf, “here it began my passion for cooking”. After the military service, he moved to Munich in the French restaurant of Otto Koch, Le Gourmet, one Michelin star.

“I learned French techniques applied to traditional Bavarian cuisine.”

The fist culinary contrasts that will influence Oliver’s path.

“Then I worked for a year as a chef de partie at the restaurant Acquerello (in Munich), where it started my curiosity for Italian cooking. But I was interested to know the true Italian cuisine and not the one that was in Germany.”

Then, in ’96, thanks to Gualtiero Marchesi, I arrived at the Quisisana (historic and iconic grand hotel of the island). During the winter I was in Erbusco with Marchesi, I learned so much about Italian cooking and about the importance of raw materials.

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In Capri Oliver consecrated his success, but above all, he found the love: “My wife Paola is caprese, I fell in love at the same time with her and the island .” When I ask him to name people crucial for his career Paola comes first, “she stands by me all the time and respects my profession despite its crazy rhythms: I often travel abroad, I work almost every evening, bank holidays included.

To follow: Otto Koch – “he linked French techniques with traditional Bavarian cuisine”.

Gualtiero Marchesi – “a superb chef , with a revolutionary philosophy.”

Ermanno Zanini – “the greatest manager I’ve ever met in my career. “ He says, without hesitation.

But let’s step back to Oliver’ life: in ’98 married Paola then left the Quisisana and moved to Munich at the restaurant Acquarello, where he did his first experience as a Chef. The 2000 is a lucky year: “I got my first Michelin star and my daughter Gloria was born,” he reminds with emotion.

 

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“The following year I went back to Capri with Paola for personal reasons and I started working in a small restaurant, the Biberius. Then I was proposed to be the Chef at L’Olivo, Capri Palace. Again one Michelin star in 2004 and the second star in 2007.

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Oliver and his team at L’Olivo, Capri Palace

During these three years, Oliver has the opportunity to celebrate the best of our Mediterranean flavors.

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Ravioli Capresi

Typical Capri recipes you’ve revisited and made famous to the Michelin clients?

“Ravioli capresi. I tried to change them at the beginning. Eventually, I realized that the original ones are the best. Ravioli are worldwide in my menus , I’m proud to present them in the most traditional way .

And then, to complete every meal, potato doughnuts , learned by my mother-in-law Anna. They are in Toronto, Bahrain, Cairo and Saas-Fee menus. The biggest success!

My relationship with the island is very deep, I’d say total. I love nature, its wild herbs, sea … I could go on endlessy .. I prefer it in the spring or autumn, when it is less crowded and even beaches are more enjoyable.

A place I’m particulary fond of is Bagni di Tiberio. The restaurant there is very good.

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Bagni di Tiberio

Also, I find very good Tonino, at Piazzetta delle Noci ( Nord-East side of the Island).”

No coincidence, two areas of Capri that Imperator Tiberio liked most.

From 2010 until a few weeks ago Oliver was the Executive Chef at Aldrovandi Palace, where he ran a restaurant that bore his name. “An important achievement. Shortly after the opening, I immediately regained two Michelin star.” The first case in Italy.

IMG_9808-2.jpg“Now I work as consultant at the Ritz Carlton in Toronto, Bahrain,  in Cairo and at La Capra in Saas-Fee, Switzerland. My aim is to bring the true Italian cuisine around the world. Ravioli caprese are always part of my menus!

Most of my dishes come from tradition.”

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Eliche Cacio e Pepe

In Campania the so called “married soup”, or the baba etc.

In Rome, cheese and pepper (but with sea urchins).

“Good cuisine is always based on dishes that have a story to tell.. ”

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Pesce Rombo in Vignarola

Has the target of Michelin restaurants changed over the years? “Yes, but it is still very high, considering the prices. I also see young people begin to appreciate good food. Perhaps thanks to the TV, and its various Masterchef .. personally I am a bit contrary to these reality shows. They do not sell to the public the truth. They just try to capture attention, making everything a show.”

Staff: how do you choose your brigade?

“I do not need a great CV. Essential is the desire to work and learn. The rest comes by itself. I saw guys with no experience that are now chef in starred restaurants. I am very proud of my “children”. He used exactly this word, I swear.”

Capri Palace 2007

The new consultants abroad. Tell us how you can decline your kitchen, based on careful research of raw material quality, with foreign products and different flavors?
“When I cannot find the raw materials that I like I do import them from Italy: Pasta, olive oil, tomatoes etc. I try to contaminate these tastes with local products. For example, making a fish in crazy water with the Hamour , in Bahrain, (similar to our stone bass), I find it interesting.

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Oliver and Ritz-Carlton Bahrain Brigade

The Italian regions that have the most significant influence on your training are Campania that offered you the raw material of traditional cuisine, and Lazio, the fifth quarter kitchen, you’ve always loved. But there is one ingredient other Chefs often envy , especially to the Italian ones, it is often said that that they”put their heart into their jobs”. What does it mean for you “mettere il cuore”?

O.GLOWIG“Joy of cooking. Not just stay in the kitchen, for me it is a constant delight, a sort of rapture: it all starts from product selection, continues with the creation of the dish, and ends when the customers at the end of evening thank me for having eaten well. It ‘a huge treat when they tell me that they liked my cuisine and also the service.

Create a dish from a high-quality product is for me the greatest satisfaction.”

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Maintain high standards of starry restaurant is essential, how can you succeed in all your challenge?” It’s increasingly important to recognize what you find in your dish. The flavor and raw materials count more than anything else. I don’t mind about excessive decorations and I don’t like to have a dining room “heavy” and stiff . I prefer more informal waiters, without forgetting their professionalism, of course. What matters it’s the food, not having a perfectly ironed tablecloth. Better not having it at all as happens in many restaurants in the world like London, Berlin, NY. Then there is a increasingly predominant trend of healthy cuisine. Seasonal vegetables and high quality meat and not farmed fish or from organic farming. I think about the meat of Chef Paolo Parisi.

I’m not a trend person.

Tradition always wins, with some small and wise retouching … even better.”

 

SHOOTING IN CAPRI

Capri is an open-air set, it is no coicidence that many producers, directors, actors from all around the world choose it not only as a holiday destination but also for work reason.

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ELLE FRANCIA 2013- PH: BEN MORRES

Masterpieces such as the Bay of Naples, Le Mepris or Toto movies, to the most recent glamourus spot by Dolce & Gabbana have been all shot in Capri.

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Michela Giovinetti

Let’s discover this “set into the set” with an expert , Michela Giovinetti, Neapolitan origin and Caprese by adoption. Passionate about Cinema from a very young age, Michela began working in Naples with great directors like Martone, Corsicato, Sorrentino, then moved to Rome where she graduated in Film and Television Production.

 

Since 2004 Michela lives in Capri where she works steadily as Location Manager for film and advertising productions shooting on the island and Amalfi Coast. (www.caprilocationservice.com)

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D&G for Vogue Japan

Among the latest customers: Louis Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, Gant, Zegna, but her portfolio also boasts feature film and educational projects with the schools of Capri.

Michela doesn’t like to be under the limelight, I struggle even to snatch a photo of her. It is predictable with people working behind the scenes.

She is the opposite of the clerk office , it’s quite rare she can plan a vacation, especially before December , and it often happens that she has to work at Villa Damecuta at sunrise or at Casa Malaparte at sunset .. Tough life, isn’t it?

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Fiction Capri

But let’s step back to her background in Cinema: “Having attended the Experimental Film Centre gave me the opportunity to learn a lot, to acquire a method, as well as to deepen my passion for the seventh art” Michela says with conviction, adding,”but without paying my dues on the set I would have never had the technical knowledge essential for my job, that you learn in depth only with experience. Even today, although I do this job for a long time, I am surprised that there is always something new to discover!”

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Ralph Lauren SS 2014

Watching it all from behind the camera, we realize that when you’re shooting a movie or a commercial two worlds meet and Michela must then mediate between two subjects, satyisfing customers needs and acting as guarantor for the owner of the location.

The skill of a location manager lies in find balance beetween the client demands (which often become pretensions) , and those of the owners (or managers) of the location.

“Hosting a crew is a real invasion of space, I prefer to be very clear from the beginning, explaining in detail what are the pros and cons. I aim to establish a relationship of trust with the owners of the venue, who feel then somehow reassured by my presence. But if I understand, for example, that a person is very jealous of his house, then I keep it out, it would be a hell for us and for her/him …

Working in an area normally open to the public, such as a bar, a restaurant or a beach resets a number of logistical difficulties, although sometimes it is not granted an exclusive use, and so we have to be careful not to disturbing customers of our host.

Working in a private villa, however, allows us to move freely, using the space as required by the director or the photographer.

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Zegna – Casa Malaparte

How can you meet client requests, often (almost) impossible, operating in an island quite restrictive in terms of logistics?

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Ralph Lauren- Jk Place

Contrary to what you might think, once arrived on the island for the first site-inspections, the crew understands the inevitable limitations of a small territory as Capri, especially with regard to the transport of technical equipment and difficulty of moving from one location to another.

That is why, requests reduce by themselves immediately ..!

Although I’ve had to deal with absurd claims and explain: No, the director can not have a private car waiting for him at the entrance of the hotel (even if it’s written in his contract) simply because, no car goes around on the narrow streets of the center of Capri, which by the way is only for pedestrians!

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LOUIS VUITTON PH: MARK SEGAL

What it’s essential to establish good interpersonal relationships in the area?

It helps a lot to have the ability to understand who you are dealing with. Working most of the time during our peak season, when stress is at the highest level, you have to be clever in mediating to obtain what the client has in mind. Personally I must say that, after more than 10 years living and working in Capri, I have excellent human and professional relations with all the people I involve when we shoot. Now we are a real team!

Dream locations and perfect partnership: could you tell us some names?

One of the reasons why I still love this work is that it opens doors to places not normally accessible to the public.. sometimes I even didn’t know they existed!

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SPOT GRIFFON TAIWAN- ROYAL PALACE OF CASERTA

I worked on a shooting in the Royal Palace of Caserta, on their closing day, and therefore had the entire Palace at our disposal, or in Villas or wonderful hotels in Capri and the Amalfi Coast, such as the JK Place or the Excelsior Vittoria in Sorrento.

I’m just coming from a site-inspection for an American project, we stayed for a whole week in a villa of the Eighteenth century overlooking Positano, which will also will be used as a set. An amazing location!

Among my favorite locations there are definitely Casa Malaparte, where I had the privilege to access several times, the Lighthouse of Punta Carena, where we shot some scenes of the fiction “Capri”, and Il Riccio, nestled on a cliff just few steps from the Blue Grotto, last summer we interviewed Chef Salvatore with House of Peroni.

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How important is creativity in your work?

Working closely with the director or photographer and art director. I must be able to interpret their ideas and make them real. Be a the location manager is a very creative job . It ‘a great satisfaction when I can find the location that the director had in mind.

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GANT- PH ALEXI LUBOMIRSKI

How important is it to be discreet, especially when it comes to shoot exclusive private location? The discretion in my work is crucial, both as regards the location, in particular to safeguard the privacy of the home owners that host us, both as regards the project itself. Think of the advertising campaigns, which are shot the year before. If photos were published before the product release, you have wasted a lot of time and have to re-do everything from the beginning..

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SS 2015 SHANGHAI TANG- PUNTA TRAGARA

For this reason, on set is FORBIDDEN to take pictures and especially disclose it. You could be denounced.

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SS 2015 SHANGAI TANG- PH: RICHARD RAMOS

Michela, next step?

I can tell you that after so many fashion shoots, I’m following a film set entirely in Anacapri, by a famous French director and an American television series directed by a couple of famous Hollywoodian directors.

I cannot say more..privacy rules!

CAPRI IS IN THE AIR…

If you were to choose three words to describe the Isle of Capri, probably the most popular would be: magnetic, romantic, blue.

Looking at Capri through the eyes of a resident is a very complex art, because they are at the sametime proud and critic of the place where they live.

Listening to the testimony of people like Mario and Charlotte, who made Capri theatre of one of the most memorable days of their life, however, it seems unanimously heavenly.

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I meet them at the Connaught hotel bar, Carlos Place, luxury chest in the heart of Mayfair.

CharlotteCharlotte Hamson, Canadian artist based in London, with a Master at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, 29 years old: a bright smile and honey-blond hair radiating her face. She is still excited when she talks about the wedding in Capri with Mario: a few more years, Italian charm and elegance, originally from Milan – you know the characters of Vanzina movies? – says ironically with his subtle British humor. Mr Ortelli is among the leading luxury goods analyst of Bernstein (therefore of the world).

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“Mario has spent many summers travelling to Capri and he took me for the first time in summer 2014. I fell in love with both him and the place in the same long weekend.

 

 

 

I remember we had a memorable evening looking out over Marina Piccola and I told him if we do get married I want it to be here. So there you go almost one year later exactly we were married in Capri!

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I had travelled around Italy quiet a few times but had never made it to Capri before Mario took me in 2014. My expectations were blown away there is something magical about the island. I am always happy to return home after a holiday but with Capri I don’t want to leave. Its simply wonderful” ,Charlotte declares. “Two friends of us met for the first time during our wedding suddenly fell in love in Capri, so maybe Love is in the air!

Charlotte and Mario were engaged for just under a year, first discussed getting married in Capri and a few weeks later Mario proposed on his Birthday in Milan with some of their closest friends.

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But let’s listen to the newlyweeds’tale of their “ Caprese “wedding .

“We arrived 1 week before, in order to organize last details for the wedding. We stayed at Hotel Della Piccola Marina – as it was central and made doing last minute errands easy.

Then we had a family dinner on the Thursday evening at Panorama: it was fantastic as we had a large group of both Italian & Canadian family members. Our parents only met for the first time at this dinner! The Service was charming. Although we must say it tends to be so in most restaurants on the island.

Then we finished with cocktails at Salotto 42. We spent a few evenings there in the lead up to the wedding. We love Luca and had a rather memorable “Turban Night” on the wednesday in the lead up to the wedding.

Friday we had a welcome cocktail that turned into a party at Smeraldo. It was great fun and the perfect location as many guests came straight to after arriving from the ferry.

We were very touched that our family and friends truly made an effort with some guests travelling all the way from Australia, America, Canada, Thailand ( via Moscow *) and Turkey to name a few.”

“Whether they were coming for us or Capri I can’t say.”Charlotte adds smiling.

We started at Smeraldo at 7, for the sunset ,and ended up staying till about 12. Fantastic food, cozy fun sailor hat party with good music. Others who wanted to continue the party went to Anemaecore.

During the wedding we stayed at Caesar Augustus: top romantic view!

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Therefore on the Saturday we both got ready there and the boys had cocktails on the beautiful balcony whilst the ladies dressed.

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We had the old fiat of the 60’s – owned by Lorenzo De Gregorio- that took the boys to the church then came back and picked up my dad and myself.

fiat.jpgThe bridesmaids followed by car.  We also had these american style cans that had been painted by friends & family who could not make it to the island. Lorenzo was so kind to attach them to the back of the car.

We were then married in the central Church by the piazzetta.

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Afterwords we took the same car to Faro whilst the guests followed behind in transportation greatly organized by Capri Eventi. They chose for us also 2 exceptional hostess!

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We had an aperitif at Faro followed by dinner, cake and dancing! We were very impressed by staff professionalist at the Light House and Nello D’Esposito was fantastic. I would recommend his incredible spot to anyone for weddings parties etc. Great vibe, beautiful view and impeccable service. Thank you Nello!

We really wanted a low key affair (as far as possible from something “institutional”) with close friends and family and I think we were able to make that happen.”

I saw a picture depicting  an old woman making “pizza fritta”, which is part of Capri’s  tradition. Were you looking for an authentic Mediterranean style wedding? In other words, something real and genuine?

“Yes we were” , Charlotte replies, “and I have to say the woman making “pizza fritta” was a touch added my Nello that was unexpected but very memorable for the guests. Its one of the things they still talk about.

I think in general things went better than I expected. I was a little worried at times as I was planning things from London and did not always know what the outcome was going to be. But in almost every occasion things were better than expected and people seemed to enjoy going the extra mile to make things special.

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The one thing I would say I was worried about was decoration and then trying execute what I wanted from London was difficult. So I decided not to worry about it and go with a more natural vibe and I believe this was the best choice. Capri is so beautiful that you don’t need too do much.”

Which was the most touching moment of your wedding, when you felt the magic?

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“Coming out of the church into the Piazza was very memorable as the emotion of the moment is pretty special. Although we discussed this later and it was hard for us to pick a moment really we had such a memorable time from the Thursday from our Parents first meeting to Friday’s party and the wedding on Saturday. We loved it all. If we had to do it again there are few things we would change and the little mishaps that happened along the way are often what make you laugh later.”

You will think, you know, a couple in love and happy.. they see the life as a bed of roses.

Well , then it will surprise you to read the impressions of Charlotte father, remembering his stay on the island:

Being in Capri is likened to  the initial giddy weeks of being in love .All your senses are heightened .The sea is ridiculously turquoise .The cloudless sky is impossibly blue with somehow a suffusion of canary yellow.The air is crystal clear,coming straight off the ocean and just far enough away from civilization .The temperature is perfect .That crazy feeling of being six feet in the air is reinforced by the fact a lot of the time you are looking 2000 feet straight down. The Italians may not know how to govern themselves but they sure know how to live.

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AnnaChiara Della Corte

acdellacorte@capripress.com