Mikaela Bandini's insider Italy http://urbanitaly.com The travel guide to contemporary Italy Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:35:31 +0000 en-EN hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Orgosolo | Sardinian Street Arthttp://urbanitaly.com/art-design/orgosolo-sardinian-street-art.html http://urbanitaly.com/art-design/orgosolo-sardinian-street-art.html#comments Fri, 02 Dec 2016 15:32:24 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=5189 Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 17.05.23Perched under cliffs in the mountainous wilds of central Sardinia, an area as far-flung and sparsely populated as any in Europe, is an unlikely hub of street art: the village of Orgosolo. With a resident population of at least 4200 (including infants) a traditional costume in every wardrobe, ongoing practices such as silkworm breeding and tenor …]]> Screen Shot 2016-10-14 at 17.05.23

Perched under cliffs in the mountainous wilds of central Sardinia, an area as far-flung and sparsely populated as any in Europe, is an unlikely hub of street art: the village of Orgosolo.

With a resident population of at least 4200 (including infants) a traditional costume in every wardrobe, ongoing practices such as silkworm breeding and tenor choirs dating from time immemorial and the grave observance of manifold religious festivals, it hardly sounds like the sort of place unsanctioned-art pilgrims would flock to. Mind you, for hundreds of years it was also a hub of brigandage (no longer ongoing), and the locals have a bit of a reputation for resisting authority when it threatens their sheep-herding livelihoods.

Anyway, the story goes that a group of Milanese anarchists signing themselves Dionisio left a mural there in 1969, and wall-paintings multiplied a few years later when a left-leaning art teacher originally from Tuscany, Francesco del Casino, took to the streets with pupils and palettes to commemorate an anniversary of the Italian resistance movement.

After that, it was practically a free-for-all, with artists of some renown as well as ad hoc local groups contributing to the singular, and more or less professional, decoration of public and private buildings and even the rocks on the outskirts of the village.

There must be at least 200 scenes by now, in a broad range of styles and regularly restored, the majority still conveying a political and/or social message on issues from specifically local to global. Collectively, they’ve put this backwoods village on the map and spawned imitative phenomena in several other parts of the island – definitely more a case of jumping on the Orgosolo bandwagon than any age-old Sardinian street art tradition. 

On the map but still remote and relatively pristine, this inland area known as the Barbagia. Stunning hill and mountain landscapes, flora and fauna surround Orgosolo, revealed in all their glory from hiking or biking trails; venerable local customs and crafts still abound; prehistoric remains are two a penny; mutton, cheeses, sweets and wines are to die for. So there’s more to do, once you’ve got there, than just figure out the murals. 

08027 Orgosolo (NU)

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Cisternino | Rosticceria L’Antico Borgohttp://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/cisternino-rosticceria-lantico-borgo.html http://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/cisternino-rosticceria-lantico-borgo.html#comments Wed, 09 Nov 2016 16:09:39 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=5187 Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 16.42.06Back on that unbeaten trail of authentic eateries with no frills but no end of flavour, how about a meaty meal straight from a charcoal oven in a butcher’s shop? And that means Apulia or thereabouts, and particularly the little towns in the Itria Valley (also renowned for their trulli, their olive oil and their wines), and …]]> Screen Shot 2016-09-12 at 16.42.06

Back on that unbeaten trail of authentic eateries with no frills but no end of flavour, how about a meaty meal straight from a charcoal oven in a butcher’s shop?

And that means Apulia or thereabouts, and particularly the little towns in the Itria Valley (also renowned for their trulli, their olive oil and their wines), and foremost among these CisterninoFor Cisternino - though expect this to be hotly contested by the citizens of, say, Martina Franca or Locorotondo - probably gets the Oscar in the category fornello pronto, as these butcher’s-cum-rustic restaurants are called locally.

With just a few tables and fewer formalities, some will serve you a matter-of-fact platter of cured meats and cheeses and/or a pile of steaming orecchiette with a homemade ragù, maybe tripe, and a donkey or horse meat stew according to local custom.

They may not be suited to the gastronomically squeamish, by the way. 

Whatever’s cooked has been simmering slowly in the same wood-fired oven in which mouthwatering sausages, gnumeredd’ and bombette, ordered by weight, are then roasted on skewers.

Meaning? On the gnumeredd’, sometimes gnummareddi and indeed a score of other denominations depending on the local parlance in various parts of the South, you may prefer to pass, as I do: they’re little lamb or kid offal rolls tied up with gut. But no carnivore passes on the bombetteThese little bombs are the legendary delicacies, the true protagonists, definitely the Best Actors of the whole Apulian street food tradition: slices of pork wrapped around a chunk of provolone cheese. Just that, or, in the really classy joints, flavoured with sun-dried tomatoes or mushrooms.

All to be washed down generous gulps of an unassuming local red, of course. 

Of the 12 or so fornelli pronti scattered among the charming, narrow streets of historic Cisternino and around its fine central square, probably the best, the best-known, the one where you really need to book to get a table, is Rosticceria L’Antico Borgo, owned and run by larger-than-life Piero Menga and his lovely wife Giovanna.

Rosticceria L’Antico Borgo
Via Tarantini 9
72014 Cisternino (BR)
+39 080 4446400 / +39 346 1323000
info@rosticceria-lanticoborgo.it

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Mantua | Cà delle Erbehttp://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/mantova-ca-delle-erbe.html http://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/mantova-ca-delle-erbe.html#comments Wed, 02 Nov 2016 17:37:49 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4863 Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 19.15.47Luxury design suites in surely the finest square of what Aldous Huxley called the most romantic city in the world. Mantua is that city, a sleeping beauty that’s barely changed since the Middle Ages. The handsomest of its four exquisite squares is Piazza delle Erbe, the marketplace fringed with colonnades and dominated by the Clock …]]> Screen Shot 2016-07-31 at 19.15.47

Luxury design suites in surely the finest square of what Aldous Huxley called the most romantic city in the world.

Mantua is that city, a sleeping beauty that’s barely changed since the Middle Ages. The handsomest of its four exquisite squares is Piazza delle Erbe, the marketplace fringed with colonnades and dominated by the Clock Tower. And Residenza Cà delle Erbe is where you’ll find those seductive suites, as contemporary as the context is antique.

This particular building dates back to the sixteenth century, and it’s right next to the majestic Basilica di Sant’Andrea. The Cà delle Erbe suites are spacious or even huge and renovated to enhance original frescoes, terracotta bricks and exposed beams. All the rest is cutting-edge design and technology with a minimalist bias, rendered almost entirely in creamy-buttery tones. Mattresses are conceived for the sweetest of dreams. Pale wooden flooring is spot-on and nifty lighting solutions add to the aura. Bathrooms too are up-to-the-minute and striking. What’s more, every one of these prestige suites has a balcony overlooking the Piazza. 

And so overlooking thirteenth-century Palazzo della Ragione and beneath it the restaurant called Osteria delle Erbesame hosts as our boutique B&B, traditional Mantuan cuisine and background jazz. 

This is where you need to go to check in. The suites across the square have no reception of their own: smart card locks let you into the building and your rooms. Breakfast too is taken out, included in the high-end price but served in one of the local cafés. You might also note there’s no lift in the building, just stairs and lots of them if you’re on an upper floor. And that not all the 10 rooms at Cà delle Erbe are the new luxury suites we’ve just described.

Mantua is a must in northern Italy, around 160 km from Milan and about the same from either Venice or Bologna. The whole compact city, with its fairytale skyline and the lake-fortifications on three sides which become a floating garden of lotus flowers in summer, is a gem. And a gem which happens to be particularly dazzling this year as Italy’s Capital of Culture for 2016

… a world asleep in a warm light

     Charles Baudelaire, on Mantua

Residenza Cà delle Erbe
V
ia Broletto 24
46100 Mantova
+39 0376 226161 / +39 393 3556479
info@cadelleerbe.it

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Milan | Premiata Milanohttp://urbanitaly.com/architecture/contemporary/milan-premiata-milano.html http://urbanitaly.com/architecture/contemporary/milan-premiata-milano.html#comments Wed, 26 Oct 2016 18:18:26 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=5281 Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 14.01.20Swanky and splendid, as befits a boutique in the heart of the Lombard capital’s fashion district, is the new Premiata Milano flagship store. Opposite their original Milan boutique in Via Sant’Andrea, this one – architecturally speaking – carries the prestigious signature of Vincenzo De Cotiis Architects, much sought-after in high-end retail and not only in Italy. The …]]> Screen Shot 2016-11-22 at 14.01.20

Swanky and splendid, as befits a boutique in the heart of the Lombard capital’s fashion district, is the new Premiata Milano flagship store.

Opposite their original Milan boutique in Via Sant’Andrea, this one – architecturally speaking – carries the prestigious signature of Vincenzo De Cotiis Architects, much sought-after in high-end retail and not only in Italy.

The ample space is ultra contemporary, clean-cut, angular and sparsely furnished. Metal plates of various sophisticated finishes make up a complex, reflective ceiling, while the walls, with minimal transparent shelving, are panelled in stone or roughly plastered. There’s just a hint of vintage in essential seating, but it doesn’t stray much from the white/brass/grey-green palette of the metals, mirrors and marbles. An artistic light feature is the focal point.  

Therein, the whole Premiata range of footwear, leather jackets and accessories, strictly made in Italy. From the iconic men’s francesina (the original Oxford with no laces) to the latest in technical sneakers, they ooze quality and glamour. 

The Mazza family company based in the Marche region dates way back to 1885, but its greatest successes – including a massive expansion beyond Italian borders –  have come in the last few years under the leadership of Graziano Mazza. The concept of what is now a group of companies merges research and cutting-edge innovation – in processing and finishing hides, in the use of ground-breaking technical materials and in design – with a time-honoured obsession for superb artisanship. Today’s products reflect a global 21st-century spirit still rooted in a venerable region-specific manufacturing tradition.

How about Premiata Milano as a stop on one of our guided shopping itineraries? For more info and contacts, visit Milan Experience Tours

Boutique Premiata Milano
Via Sant’Andrea 12
20121 Milano
+39 02 55901164 (Premiata SRL)
premiata@premiata.it

 

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Chianti | Art of the Treasure Hunthttp://urbanitaly.com/art-design/chianti-art-of-the-treasure-hunt.html http://urbanitaly.com/art-design/chianti-art-of-the-treasure-hunt.html#comments Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:14:48 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=5270 Zaha Hadid Avia e AriaChianti, the domain, is 300 years old. The first ever wine region was delineated by the then Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’ Medici in late September 1716. He wasn’t a particularly nice chap or successful ruler, and he may have been a little biased, hailing as he did from Florence. But we can only assume …]]> Zaha Hadid Avia e Aria

Chianti, the domain, is 300 years old. The first ever wine region was delineated by the then Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de’ Medici in late September 1716. He wasn’t a particularly nice chap or successful ruler, and he may have been a little biased, hailing as he did from Florence. But we can only assume he’d done his homework (paintings show a large red nose) and congratulate him on his foresight when he set the boundaries and declared this area of central Tuscany particularly suited for the production of fine wines. 

Art of the Treasure Hunt celebrates the anniversary. It’s an exhibition of contemporary art spread over 7 Chianti Classico wineries, meant to be enjoyed with a glass in your hand.

Produced by Luziah Hennessy (of the H in LVMH), curated by Kasia Redzisz (of Tate Modern then Liverpool) and dedicated to Zaha Hadid, Art of the Treasure Hunt is a highbrow event. It features installations, sculptures, films and photographs by acclaimed artists from 9 countries, of the ilk of Zaha Hadid herself, Anselm Kiefer, Mark Handforth and Alexandra Sukhareva -  just for starters. And the idea is to find and see them all, exhibited in ancient cellars, in contemporary visitor centres, indoors and out at some of the most hallowed sanctuaries of Chianti Classico (several of which also offer superb hospitality, by the way)All the while savouring the magnificent landscapes, the historic winery buildings and of course their excellent products.

A multisensory treasure hunt, in short.

If you needed an excuse for a winery crawl in the Chianti, there it is. Until the end of October 2016.

Just beware of Stendhal Syndrome.

Art of the Treasure Hunt contact

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Venice | Fondaco dei Tedeschihttp://urbanitaly.com/architecture/contemporary/venice-fondaco-dei-tedeschi.html http://urbanitaly.com/architecture/contemporary/venice-fondaco-dei-tedeschi.html#comments Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:05:05 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4934 Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 19.03.36The latest deluxe whopping shopping gallery to open its doors in Italy is not on Via Montenapoleone nor anywhere in the vicinity of the Spanish Steps. It’s not an outlet just off a motorway junction either. Amazingly, you’ll find it on the Grand Canal, inside one of the biggest and most photographed buildings in the whole …]]> Screen Shot 2016-10-08 at 19.03.36

The latest deluxe whopping shopping gallery to open its doors in Italy is not on Via Montenapoleone nor anywhere in the vicinity of the Spanish Steps. It’s not an outlet just off a motorway junction either. Amazingly, you’ll find it on the Grand Canal, inside one of the biggest and most photographed buildings in the whole lagoon: the Fondaco dei Tedeschi.

If Venetians and visitors remember the historic palazzo for the good old-fashioned Post Office under the ground-floor colonnade and for public events in the grand courtyard, until 2008 at any rate, not everyone’s aware its foundations date back to the 13th century. Burnt down, rebuilt in Renaissance style and painted by Canaletto, for centuries it housed German merchants and their Venetian trading posts – whence its name – and later became a customs house under the Napoleonic occupation.

Well, business is booming again. The Fondaco dei Tedeschi has become a DFS (of airport fame) luxury department store, or T Galleria as they call their new retail complexes not in departure lounges but in select city-centre locations. 

It opened not two weeks ago to reveal the finished job of conserving and restoring the iconic building while adapting it to a radically new kind of use. The Benetton family owners entrusted conservation work to local company TA, and the rest to OMA in the persons of partners Rem Koolhaas and Ippolito Pestellini Laparelli, with Francesco Moncada and Silvia Sandor as project architects. It wasn’t an easy ride.

The new gallery was modelled on the luxury department stores of European tradition, offering lavish experiences while communicating global trends and tastes, say the OMA architects. Significant historic elements remain intact, while the most notable additions are new entrances and design escalators for ease of movement through the four floors of the building, and a glassy rooftop area including a terrace, styled like the traditional Venetian altana, with stunning views over the lagoon city. Both courtyard and rooftop are public spaces, accessible at all times.

Hong Kong-based DFS launched their T Galleria concept in 2013. T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS – to give it its full title – is already number 17 and the very first in Europe. There, in 7,000 square metres hard by the Rialto Bridge, travellers and Venetians alike will be awed, one way or another, by a unique setting, all the ritziest brand names, and a dizzying profusion of goods in DFS’s ‘three pillars of luxury’: perfumery and cosmetics; fashion clothing and accessories; and sundry wines, spirits, foods and gifts which include Venetian arts and crafts. 

The store promises cultural events and exhibitions too.

Images are courtesy of DFS. 

T Fondaco dei Tedeschi by DFS
Calle del Fontego dei Tedeschi
30100 Venezia
+39 041 3142000

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Florence | Milu Hotelhttp://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/florence-milu-hotel.html http://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/florence-milu-hotel.html#comments Wed, 05 Oct 2016 12:57:59 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=5231 Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 16.49.03Brand new in Florence is Milu Hotel. An utterly contemporary design establishment packed with serious modern artworks, and yet light-hearted and thoroughly engaging. Interior-wise, that is. What you see from the outside is a stately historic palazzo and the Florentine branches of international houses of haute couture – whichever come to mind, they’re all there or thereabouts …]]> Screen Shot 2016-11-20 at 16.49.03

Brand new in Florence is Milu Hotel. An utterly contemporary design establishment packed with serious modern artworks, and yet light-hearted and thoroughly engaging. Interior-wise, that is. What you see from the outside is a stately historic palazzo and the Florentine branches of international houses of haute couture – whichever come to mind, they’re all there or thereabouts for Milu is on Via de’ Tornabuoni. Florence’s noblest. 

A small hotel, Milu, with 22 rooms sharing themes but individually designed. The décor is strictly contemporary, lively and colourful. Furniture, lighting and accessories hail from illustrious, mostly Italian design brands of the likes of Minotti, MDF ItaliaMoroso, Molteni, Magis, and even some that don’t start with a M like Bonaldo, Gubi, Desalto or Rimadesio. On bare wooden flooring. 

The Superior variety of room lacks absolutely nothing in the way of style or comforts, from Egyptian cotton bedlinen and big fluffy towels in the Deco-look bathrooms to an espresso machine. But a Deluxe will give you a bit more space and a bit more design, and a Deluxe with Balcony, on the fifth floor, includes, well obviously, a balcony, with a dizzying view over that elegant thoroughfare named after the blue-blooded Tornabuonis, and the charm of exposed beams and terracotta tiles for ceilings.

Five floors, you might have noticed: connected by means of a grand, early 19th-century stairway which serves, among other spaces in the palazzo, as an ever-changing art gallery, and by an impressive panoramic lift in the stairwell.

An excellent breakfast buffet is spread in the library-cum-lounge, or up on the rooftop terrace with its magnificent vistas over the city and surrounding hills. 

Milu doesn’t have an in-house spa but is partnered with a luxury establishment a stone’s throw away. This, and just about any other service you can think of, can be arranged by the hotel’s expert concièrge.

And by the way, at least for now and in spite of its five-star location, Milu is affordable.

Milu Hotel
Via de’ Tornabuoni 8
50123 Firenze
+39 055 217103
info@hotelmilu.com

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Milan | Rebelot del Ponthttp://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/milan-rebelot-del-pont.html http://urbanitaly.com/food-wine/hot-spots/milan-rebelot-del-pont.html#comments Wed, 28 Sep 2016 17:15:12 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=5219 Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 18.41.53Creative dining in Milan comes in infinite variety yet Rebelot rings the changes, in more ways than one. A singular sort of bistrot and/or a sophisticated tapas bar which makes unorthodoxy its mission, it’s the rebellious little sister of Michelin-starred Al Pont de Ferr. Indeed it shares an address with that venerable institution, right on the Naviglio Grande. …]]> Screen Shot 2016-09-28 at 18.41.53

Creative dining in Milan comes in infinite variety yet Rebelot rings the changes, in more ways than one.

A singular sort of bistrot and/or a sophisticated tapas bar which makes unorthodoxy its mission, it’s the rebellious little sister of Michelin-starred Al Pont de Ferr. Indeed it shares an address with that venerable institution, right on the Naviglio Grande. And naturally gets its share of the immense talents and charm of revered owner, hostess and sommelière Maida Mercuri.

Just two rooms, one of which has counter seating facing directly into the open kitchen, preserve the bygone-days rustic style of the canal-side building: lots of exposed brickwork and lots of wood, the gaps filled in with iron and glass. It’s warm and welcoming, with attitude. There are the usual tables outdoors too.

Food and drink, on the other hand, are distinctly less traditional. To start with, servings are small and customary courses irrelevant. You can choose your immaculately composed tasting portions à la carte, but Rebelot would really like you to order a gastronomist’s menu of 4 or 5 dishes or a tasting menu over which you have no control at all: chef Matteo Monti (who grew up at Combal.Zero) decides what you get and in what order. And if you’re prepared to venture still further into unknown territory, he then pops his head round the corner to consult with mixologist Oscar Quagliarini (a Top World Bartender) who’ll concoct perfectly-paired cocktails. Neither the dishes nor the cocktails will be in any way ordinary: cuisine at Rebelot is haute and more than a tad nouvelle; combinations are judicious but original. It’s meant to be fun but also a gastronomic experience.

The menu‘s online, or is it? It changes, you see, according to the seasons, according to the finest raw materials available, according to the whims of the chef. In a year, they say, they go through 250 different small plates

As you’d expect from a place owned by Ms Mercuri, there is also a list of meticulously selected Italian and international wines, many available by the glass. And for real connoisseurs, hundreds of more precious bottles not on the list (some are one of a kind) but yours for the pre-booking. 

Rebelot means pandemonium in Milanese dialect, but no worries: it’s an orderly kind of free-for-all at this Rebelot.

Rebelot del Pont, or indeed its big sister Al Pont de Fer, could be a stop on one of our expert-guided Milan walking tours: for more info and contacts visit Milan Experience Tours

Rebelot del Pont
Ripa di Porta Ticinese 55
20143 Milan
+39 02 84194720 / +39 342 1933607
rebelotdelpont@gmail.com 
 

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Forlì | Totally Lost 2016http://urbanitaly.com/architecture/modernist/forli-totally-lost-2016.html http://urbanitaly.com/architecture/modernist/forli-totally-lost-2016.html#comments Wed, 21 Sep 2016 13:28:36 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=5209 Kamren barlow monument BGThis post should be starred. It’s important because you only have a few days left to see an extraordinary architecture exhibition. Totally Lost 2016 belongs to a project of the same name and runs until September 25th (but only over the weekend) in three venues in Romagna. The Totally Lost plan is to map abandoned totalitarian architecture in …]]> Kamren barlow monument BG

This post should be starred. It’s important because you only have a few days left to see an extraordinary architecture exhibition. Totally Lost 2016 belongs to a project of the same name and runs until September 25th (but only over the weekend) in three venues in Romagna.

The Totally Lost plan is to map abandoned totalitarian architecture in Europe by means of an open call – actually two to date – for photographic or video testimonies. That such buildings have an eerie magnetism is no surprise, but still the first open call of 2013 yielded an amazing number and variety of submissions: over 200 photographers and video makers from 11 countries uploaded their testimonies of industrial plant, private homes, leisure facilities, monuments, hospitals, bunkers, seats of power and so forth, originating a remarkable online archive. 

Spazi Indecisithe association curating the project under a Council of Europe cultural route having the unwieldy title Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the XXth Century in Europe’s Urban Memory, mercifully known by the acronym ATRIUM, showed off the results in Forlì back then, took the exhibition to Luxembourg the following year, and rightly wanted more of the same.

Totally Lost 2016, then, is the update, from the second open call in 2015 which mapped 500 different constructions in 25 countries. The stunning photos and videos – many are prodigious works of art per se –  are on display, for this final weekend of the event, at the Casa del Mutilato in Forlì

The members of Spazi Indecisi have been taking a close look at all kinds of derelict spaces in their part of the world (they’re based in Forli) since 2009. They plan new, temporary uses for such places, transforming them into centres of research for architects, urbanists, artists and whoever might be interested in giving some thought to their past, their present state and future urban regeneration. They took the ATRIUM cultural route and came up with the Totally Lost project in the same spirit of exploration and valorisation. 

Totally Lost 2016 - 23-24-25 September
Casa del Multilato
Via Maroncelli 8
47121 Forlì (FC)
info@totallylost.eu

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Modena | Il Fonticolohttp://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/modena-il-fonticolo.html http://urbanitaly.com/sleeping-around/modena-il-fonticolo.html#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 15:50:41 +0000 http://urbanitaly.com/?p=4788 Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 16.15.30With unique rooms on one of Modena‘s loveliest squares – and that’s saying something – Il Fonticolo is quite a find.  To begin with, though it modestly refers to itself as a room-and-breakfast establishment it’s actually much more than that. Each of the three rooms is more like a small apartment, including a living-sitting area …]]> Screen Shot 2016-10-27 at 16.15.30

With unique rooms on one of Modena‘s loveliest squares – and that’s saying something – Il Fonticolo is quite a find. 

To begin with, though it modestly refers to itself as a room-and-breakfast establishment it’s actually much more than that. Each of the three rooms is more like a small apartment, including a living-sitting area and a kitchen equipped with all you could need if not to throw a dinner party at least to throw together a meal for two.

But it’s not the kitchens that make Il Fonticolo so singular – they’re functional but pretty nondescript. It’s the room décor. For each is carefully and lovingly appointed to a precise period theme, inspired by and dedicated to a specific Italian artist (in the broad sense) – and that includes the bathrooms.

On the first floor, Jacovitti, vintage 1970s with a hefty nod to graphics in honour of the great and prolific comic artist. On the next landing up, D’Annunzio, after that extravagant writer, military hero, political leader and decadent of the turn of the last century; a room with a literary feel, brimming with the paraphernalia of the era. That one was mine for a few days and I revelled in it. And up at the top of the building, with the best view over the rooftops and monuments of the town centre, and the biggest with an actual living room, cinematic Fellini: dreamlike interiors blending Baroque and fantasy. 

It’s all there down to the last detail, in the original furniture and lamps, the unusual artwork and the vintage bric-à-brac, and many of these objects have a price tag attached, should they take your fancy.

A generous continental sort of breakfast arrives on a tray, preceded by the scent of warm croissants and a knock at the door, at your stated time. The kitchen is already equipped with the wherewithal for tea and coffee.

And the location? The Via Castelmaraldo address is effectively on the perimeter of Piazza della Pomposa, a broad, mostly 18th-century square with an imposing church, rectory and the rectory garden right in the middle. The distinctive little fountain itself, il fonticolo dell’oste, is on the outside of the garden wall, right opposite Il Fonticolo of the rooms. By day it’s charming and quiet but within shouting distance of Piazza Roma and barely 5 minutes from incomparable Piazza Grande. By evening it’s the place to go for nightlife in the centre of town, buzzing with a young, trendy crowd hanging out in and outside the umpteen bars and restaurants.

The rooms are soundproofed, by the way: if you’re not out there carousing, you’ll sleep like a baby. 

Il Fonticolo 
Via Castelmaraldo 65
41121 Modena 
+39 059 8751790 / +39 320 3010089
info@fonticolo.com

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