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The Pleasures of Italy

200710_ss_italy_1-article
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Photo: Oberto Gili

Lorenza Sebasti Pallanti

Wine Producer/Tuscany

In Chianti—more specifically, in Ama, near Gaiole—Pallanti and her family live surrounded by olive groves, vineyards, and contemporary art. Here they make a fabulous wine, Castello di Ama, named for the estate, which is also home to works by Anish Kapoor, Carlos Garaiçoa, Daniel Buren, and Giulio Paolini, among others. The sculptures and installations are the result of a continuing series of yearly commissions, and, Pallanti says, "they make the place more beautiful." The permanent installations—including a new one by Bulgarian artist Nedko Solakov called Ama Doodles—can be visited by appointment. Castello di Ama, Località Ama, Gaiole, Chianti; 39-0577/746-031; castellodiama.com.

Tuscany Favorites Sebasti loves Chiasso dei Portici (1 Chiasso dei Portici, Radda in Chianti; 39-0577/738-774; dinner for two $85), a restaurant in a town near the estate, run by two women who bake their own bread and make their own pasta. For a day's outing, she suggests Monterchi, near Arezzo, to see Piero della Francesca's fresco Madonna del Parto (1 Via della Reglia; 39-0575/70713).

Franco, Antonio, and Carla Sersale

Hoteliers/Positano

It would be worth traveling to Positano just to meet a galantuomo (gentleman) like Franco Sersale, dressed in white linen trousers and shirt, sitting on the terrace of his hotel, Le Sirenuse (30 Via Cristoforo Colombo; 39-089/875-066; sirenuse.it; doubles from $684). The rooms here feel like someone's house, with objects assembled over time. That is the key sensibility of the place—that it did not happen overnight. Sersale's son Antonio runs the property with his wife, Carla, and they all present themselves as modestly as the rippling waves that come ashore at the beach below the hotel.

 

Positano Favorites The Sersales like Don Alfonso (11–13 Corso Sant'Agata, Sant'Agata Sui Due Golfi; 39-081/878-0026; donalfonso.com; dinner for two $275), where chef Alfonso Iaccarino—who also has a restaurant at the hotel—"combines Neapolitan cooking with nouvelle cuisine lightness." Next 2 (242 Viale Pasitea; 39-089/812-3516; dinner for two $138) is a lively meeting place, and Music on the Rocks (51 Via Grotte dell'Incanto; 39-089/875-874) is a "fabulous discothèque on the beach." A number of restaurants are accessible by boat: Lo Scoglio a Marina del Cantone (Nerano; 39-081/808-1026; dinner for two $110) is "the best for style, atmosphere, and quality of food." The family also recommends La Conca del Sogno a Recommone (9 Via San Marciano, Nevano; 39-081/808-1036; dinner for two $138), where you can sit outside, and Da Adolfo (40 Via Laurito; 39-089/875-022; lunch for two $124), where the specialty is grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves.

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