Strolling the night of Venice with Emi…
Venice was the very first place where Emi and I took a real trip to. 20 years have passed since then. We were just starting to date with Emi’s very little English and my almost none in Italian. We carried my little yellow covered pocket sized dictionary everywhere. So I always remember Venice romantic. It was November then? Venice was sitting firmly under heavy mist and feeling sort of mysterious and so beautiful. We held our hands and walked every little streets getting lost countless times. We stopped for a glass of wine and some good food. Little shops and canals… I remember the first time stepping into Piazza San Marco. Ahhh, a complex beauty, I recall. Thousands of pigeons and little children’s giggles chasing them. Gold trims and the most luxurious contrast of Black against to it then aged grey wash showing long history of the city where the last and the most enduring immigrants came to Venice in year 568. It felt so magical. It felt like I was a heroine standing in a scene of old historical film. I’ll never forget.
After amazing time visiting 55th Venice Art Biennale , We knew what we have left to do. Stroll through little streets and get lost again in Venice…!
The only way to get around in Venice. Water bus/ Water taxi. There are about 118 small islands in Venice and what’s in between islands? Water divides them and foot bridges connect them. There is no such Cars existing in Venice.
How would it be possible to build a such city above the water? It’s unbelievable.
Typical isles and streets. Years of history drips down.
Emi stopped for 2 minutes of GPS. Completely by chance, we stumbled into a very little street we had one of the most amazing Venetian food 4 years ago ( totally going back for dinner!). Next time we come, we have to remember to bring just a small back pack. Quite of walk to get around in the city and you will face constant bridges with steps.
Here we are at our 2 night home base. It’s in the quiet and residential part of the city, which is something always what we are looking for. This is a historic castle turned into a bed and breakfast. It’s so beautiful.
Loving the neighborhood! Low key and so authentic at the same time. This old wine shop is just perfect.
Only in Venice.
You will get into plenty of narrow alleys in Venice. We had passed through even much narrower than this one. We are heading out for bit of walk and dinner!
You MUST Eat Here! Enoiteca Mascareta. A typical Venetian Cusin. We are talking about sardines, fresh cods and so much more.
Love Love Love the leather aprons servers wearing! Apparently locally made and hand made. Can we talk about the quality and the style! And the Classic Chambray shirt is a just perfect match.
Baccala Mantecato & Alici Marinate. Anchovies marinated in olive oil and vinegar. And couple scoops of soft Cod spread. And young and bitter rucola leaves. So Delicious! Cicchetti ( Chi-Ket-tii) is must try in Venice. Cicchetti is tapas of Venice. Little dishes.
Sarde in Saor ( cipolla) : Pan fried fresh Sardine with sauteed onions and vinegar. It’s SOOOO GOOOD!!!!
Emi sitting in front of wall full of small drawings. Portraits of owner done by regular customers and local artists.
Tortellacci ripieni al Branzino: Oversized Tortelli filled with Brazino ( Italian Sea bass). It had lots of fresh black pepper which I thought went so well with it!
The night came down. It’s peaceful.
Piazza San Marco.
Caffe Florian in San Marco. Italy’s the oldest Caffe. Caffe Florian was open in year 1720.
LOvE VEniCe, LOve U, Emi
Arriving at Isola Capraia, Italy
This small and beautiful Island Capraia is one of the seven sisters of the Tuscan Archipelago belonging to the province of Livorno (62KM) and the third in sizes after the Elba and Giglio and is also close to Corsica Island ( 30KM). The small port is full of little boats that work as ” daily water Taxi ” if you don’t have your own since there are no specific beaches on this island to walk to. So you need to rent one kind ( either that is 3 m boat or a rubber boat for some skin diving in most amazing crystal water rich in life and oddities) to get around the Island to do swimming and sight seeing.
Just 2 hour ferry ride from our home, Livorno ( 30 euro for both way), you can have an amazing day trip here even though I thought it would have been much better we stayed at the Island for one more day to also check out the little village on the top of the island. We only planned for a day trip in time for the return ferry. Well…now we have an excuse to go back to this little perfect Island next summer…!
Such a classical looking Bar/Gelateria at the dock. Blue awning is just perfect for the beautiful summer port…
Just right amount of people visit here. Not crazy touristy as Capri or Portofino. Low key and just beautiful.
Getting a day taxi (boat).
Woo Hoo! Leading the boat…! It feels amazing! Emi driving…! and the safety first for Gael even though he lost the vest half an hour later. Why? Caz we are swimming..!!!
This volcanic Island Capraia also produces wines and is a center of the anchovy fishery. It is small yet packed with flourishing vegetation and full of Mediterranean species such as oleanders, asphodels, daises…
There isn’t any sand beach here on this Island and it makes Capraia quite special and it really encourages for you to have the boat for the day and just hang out on the boat at your perfect spot you love. It was a whole another kind of experience for me and Gael. Don’t forget to bring a cooler packed with paninis, fruits and chilled drinks. It’s literally a day picnic on the ocean!
We don’t even own a car so it feels very far away from us, but it wouldn’t be bad to have a yacht or even a tiny little boat for us one day. Go swimming with a picnic basket. Watch the sunset…. I think my brother would have really liked it….
That’s me jumping into the water, My hair standing… hahaha!
It’s deep deep water but its so crystal clear in this most amazing inky blue shade, you can see all the way down to the sandy bottom. The water is so amazing here. It’s different kind of transparency that you see from the Caribbean ocean. It’s crystal clear then also very silky and smooth then again so so clean. It feels like this… If you make sea salt out of this water, you would only get super fine sea salt not the rock salt… This extra salty Mediterranean water almost feels like sweet fresh water from a lake from a mountain somewhere…
I am so proud of Gael. Look at him how good he is at swimming in this deep Mediterranean ocean. He mastered swimming this summer! I didn’t swim until the 4th grade!
Too bad we didn’t think of bringing a underwater camera. There are ton of beautiful fish, more fish, Medusa….! SO amazing!! Medusa scared us bit then we were fascinated by them too. So beautiful!
Warm sun caresses your back and the gently rocking boat is the best situation you can fall in a sleep. Sweet delicious nap…. Ahhh… it is so relaxing hearing birds, clear sea breeze… It’s quiet and so peaceful…
My Beautiful Family on our New Summer Jeep, Munga in Livorno, Italy
It has been almost 4 weeks, I haven’t seen Emiliano and Gael. Me in NY and Asia traveling working for new a company and finally back in Italy for precious 10 day vacation ( I have left Gap and joined Armani Exchange), and Emi and Gael in Italy busy among renovating our little home up on the hill, Ocean and Family… I find we have created our Life very civilized and so beautifully independent and respectful to each others. We are so Complete and Whole wherever we are, either that is all together physically or not. We learnt how to let the others ” Be” and “Free”. This takes trust and absolute love for each others.
There are more to talk about when we finally get together, and the longing-ness finally bursts into extra hugs and full attention to listen to and converse. Happiness is one big result of all of us of way of being such.
Emi has been busy renovating our country home in Livorno. Fixing roof and entire ceiling from inside. New coat of fresh white paint… He had added new window up on the bedroom. Found an amazing vintage wood fire oven and gas range from 50′s. It is an absolute beauty! I always get so impressed and inspired by Emi’s passion and his actions to live it..!!
One of biggest surprise to me was Emi tracking down to an old school Jeep and he ended up getting our new big fun and all Summer Car in Livorno, Munga: “Audi’s Multi Purpose Universal Cross Country Car with All Wheel Drive, 1957″ We still need to finish up getting it all come to a life, but we can’t get enough of driving it around in town, to breakfast, to the beach and wherever that is! My in laws together on the car, We all felt like little kids and I am not going to lie, we had well enjoyed all the attention and shout outs to us on the street.
Here, I like to share a few pics from first night ride in our Audi, Munga!
We bumped into our beautiful niece and nephew and her friend Rino form Bologna.
Glenda, now 26 years old, our niece. I have met Glenda and Denny, when they were 6 years old! Look how beautiful they are now!
Wooo I love these simple details!
Beautiful Gael. Mommy Missed you So much!
My favorite pic here. Emi holding mother Livia next to him on the Jeep in striped Livia top I made for Emi’s last birthday. Mother and Son. I love this moment so much!
So many more rides to come for all these years of summer in Livorno. Nothing like sharing rides with family and friends to beaches and aperitivi with sunset with fresh sea breeze hitting your sun kissed face…!
Jaehee’s Hit List for Milan. London. Paris
Les Arts Decoratifs
Livorno, Ligurian Sea on the west coast of Tuscany is home where Emiliano and the family is from and live very special life by the sea. And it continues through Gael living the sea life every summer. Delicious and bit emotional lunch ( always this Love is there among all of us in many different ways during meals together, it slightly breaks my heart in a good way) with Livia and Luciano, Emi’s parents, then we have little nap that is very hard to wake up under the quiet ceiling fan… Then we will be off to our little spots along the coast. We much prefer spots after Calafuria where is much rockier with mazing crystal clear cool water with ton of little fish and sea urchins… The locals are real. Jumping in the sea after blazing sun slightly baking you is just so delicious. You will say “Ahhhh Be-Ne…!” which means Ahhh it’s so greeeat…! The water so blue, the sun so perfect, it brings your tears out and make your heart all bit pumped up. When you thought there’s no more new here, Gelataio, an ice cream man will arrive with small coolers containing iced water bottles and ice cream bars ( I love classic Cornetto : the crispy sugar cone one).
In these moments, you are completely perfect.
After long day on the coast, you will be off to home to shower and change. There’s this sleepy tiredness on a way home. Legs are bit heavy feeling salt on your face. Soon amazing sunset will be waiting for you with aperitif by the water. Friends and locals are swarming in with their fresh outfits and high heels are out. Great music is in the air and the refreshing feeling after cool shower and see breeze under your arms and ears is just so amazing. Then you will say one more time, ” Ahhhh Be-Ne…!” and I see ocean turning into Liquid Gold behind Emi’s beautiful face…
And you know you are Completely Perfect. Again.
Ben and me at Va Beh’ Brooklyn.
I heard mixed reviews on this film, but in general I throughly enjoyed the film. A perfect Summer movie. The scenes totally brought me back to my second home, Italy and it got me all missed Emi and Gael who are in Italy for the moment, and it put me in those sexy fun filled summer traveling vibe. Ahhh Beautiful Rome! Then there’s always Woody!
And after many laughs and roaming around Rome, here we are at a small Italian restaurant in Park Slope, Va Beh’ for little bites.
You can see a grand view of new Sport Arena, Barclays Center Brooklyn from the inside of the restaurant and I have to say, it’s quite interesting. I do think this area is turning out to be way more handsome than what I expected.
The signature detail of the Restaurant will be this white marbled wall at the Bar area. This totally brings me back to Italy. The Current cities. It reminds me of those bigger cities in Italy. Milan, Rome… The owner of the place is from Milan if I am not mistaking. The most of small appetizers like crostini, panini and cold cuts are all prepared right in front of you at this open bar.
And my favorite detail of the restaurant!
The Built in ever flowing wine fountain! House wine, chilled Prosecco that is in place of White wine for summer and Aqua Naturale and Frizante. I just Love this Idea! Brilliant! Va Beh’ also offers a fine list of various Italian wine.
Yes they are for Ben and Me!!
OK. Start with Classic! Crostini al Pat’e di Fegato! Perfetto!
You will enjoy quiet yet right amount of details at the restaurant. Everything seems just about right and cozy.
Paper wrapped Oven roasted Orata. After share of Crostini and delicious Arugola salad, here’s our main. Peeerrrectly cooked juicy Orata was one of the best one I ever had! Capers, lemon and touch of cherry tomatoes. All boned but head on. My kind!
Grilled Zucchini as Contorno. (side) Yum Yum Yum.
And homemade Ravioli with Salmon and light tomato sauce. It was one of special dish for the night. I have to say, Orata was the winner!
And… I Bel ragazzi, friendly Va Beh’ staff.
Super airy, fluffy, melt -in-your-mouth Va Beh’s Tiramisu!
Happy belated Birthday Ben!
We were the last few till the end. Leaving feeling full and happy…
For little taste of excellent homemade pastas and all other Italian good eats,
Va Beh’ 446 Dean Street, Brooklyn 718)678-4200
Ben, happy belated Birthday again and Cheers to our good times, Love you!
Entrance at Osteria Terra Masci , Santa Maria di Leuca, Puglia
After a long day of swimming and a rewarding refreshing outdoor shower, it always comes down to one important question, ” What’ for dinner?!!” As we are making our lunch at home or grab something easy to go to move forward our days, fabulous local dinner is always a hot topic when we are traveling. As much as we love all those Prosciutto and Specs and all, let’s not forget that Italy is a one big Peninsula. Yes, the blessed rich country is surrounded by all that gorgeous water , especial saltier one. Is that why any fish and seafood tastes way way better in Italy than many other countries? The rich ocean life is something you can’t just pass in Italy and we are totally up for a big feast of freshest local fish and seafood for the night right here in Santa Marina di Leuca!
Our 2 bedroom rental home base during this trip, friendly homeowners had given us a few tips regarding good restaurants. The top of the list was this place “Osteria Terra Masci” which is located at the borderline of Santa Maria di Leuca on Via Castrignano , Tel 0833 758224 ( You MUST make a reservation). It was so wonderful , we ended eating here twice during our 6 day trips. With Beppe and Dani then one more dinner with Philipp and Kit. 100% sitting this time around at their front garden. It is true an experience dinning Al fresco. With perfectly pleasent evening temperature down her at Leuca, it would be shame if you don’t dine somewhere outside with romantic dimmed light at a delicious glass of wine…
Anyway, Here I like to share our wonderful dining experience with you at Terra Masci, so come follow me!
It’s about 9:30 pm weekdays. Calculate this. After the ocean, shower, change… Apperitivo. People are ready to eat by 9-9:30. Lightly washed in pale blue wood trims and white outdoor parasols are bit shabby and bit Greek like. You can definitely feel this is a place for seafood.
Our super professional and friendly waiter for both dinners showing off the freshest stock ups for the night. Such a classic way to serve the customers. Even the stake houses sometimes will bring out their proud cuts for the night to show what they are serving to customers.
For our main course in a family style, We ended up choosing a handsome big fish over the lobster. It will be roasted with thinly sliced potatoes and herbs on top.
The waiter will take care of portioning for the size of the group and just bring arrays of Appetizer dishes. It feel almost like Tapas. Here Shrimp Crudo (Raw) with herbs and fresh olive oil and salt. Delicious!
Lightly grilled Branzino with herbs, fresh garlic, Olive oil and lemon.
I believe this was Sole. Sort of Ceviche, but much lighter on amount of lemon juice. Super delicate. The Olive oil can just kill you. So amazing!
Grilled eggplant stuffed with fresh tuna and olive oil. “The” local veggie. Any restaurant you go, they will have good 5-6 different ways to serve egg plant as an appetizer.
Breaded and fried fish balls. Yum!
Peperonata Picante. Slowly cooked down mixed peppers with tomato. Peppers are also one popular veggie down here and these are always spicy not like ones in Tuscan area. I love this!
Oven baked Stuffed Razor clam. Honestly, I had much better ones in Barcelona. Straight up grilled in open fire with dash of white wine. Sorry Terra Masci…!
The first dish. We chose Spaghetti with shrimps tomato and fresh bits of spicy red and green peppers and touch of bread crumb on top. Perfectly cooked pasta and delicious sauce. The sweetness of Shrimp comes through well and it was well seasoned. I did like the spicy bits of Green and red peppers. See you don’t need ton of thick sauce on any pasta if you make the sauce right like Italians do. You have to make it packed with flavor not runny blend ton of sauce.
This was the main dish at the first night. That big fish was roasted with thinly sliced potatoes over. Fish was beautifully cooked with right amount of texture and saltiness and the potatoes were crispy and sweet. So delicious!
This was our choice of pasta for the second dinner at Terra Masci. Calamari rings and Calamarata pasta. The Pasta literally looks like a ring of Calamari. Yum!!!
Our second dinner at Masci main course for 5. A whole grilled fish with fresh tomato, potato and black olives.
Now watch how to handle and clean this mega fish before you serve!
Philipp serving us.
Another delicate gorgeous dish. Clean delicate flavor straight out from the ocean! Perfect potato and sweet cherry tomato and earthy and salty black olives make a perfect harmony…. Here we added drizzle of spicy first pressed Pugliese Olive oil. YUm YUm YUm!!
Gael always falls a sleep by the half way the dinner…
After the dinner, they always served us ” Finochietto”. Fennel digestive liquor, sort of Limoncello but made with Fennel instead. So fragrant and Ssooo yummy!
We were like the last 2 tables left…
Proud, genuine, generous and Simpaticissimi owners of absolutely amazing “Osteria Terra Masci”, Rino and Sabrina!!
If you are ever in the area of Santa Maria di Leuca, You must stop by here for ultimate experience of delicious seafood feast from the appetizers, amazing pastas, gorgeous fish and professional, efficient and much friendly staffs. You would be completely satisfied. Don’t forget to make a reservation, they get quickly filled up as you can imagine the place is very popular with authentic local dinning experience!!!
The typical coast line of South of Puglia. Here we are at Santa Maria di Leuca, the lowest point of the geographical “Heel” of Italian Peninsula.
About 3 hours of car ride down south from Beppe’s home, Bitonto, We are here at Santa Maria di Leuca, the very final point of Italy, the very tip of the heel of Italy and also the meeting point of the waters from Adriatic Sea and the Ionian Sea. Is that why the reason the water looks particularly gorgeous here? Or is that just Italy is the land that much blessed with rich soil and sun, and enviously beautiful ocean and the ocean life… Anyway you will see this most gorgeous view of Ionic ocean from literally any point of the town of Santa Maria di Leuca and along the coast of the Southern Puglia.
Here I like to show you the map of Puglia so you have a good idea where we are traveling through this time!
The green dots show where we are starting and where we will end at through this trip. Bari is the main airport we had landed also because of our friend Beppe’s Home, Bitonto is literally 10 minutes away from there and Beppe and Dani are on this trip with us for the first 3 days. 2 years ago we had already traveled through “Brindisi” area such as Alberobello, Ostuni and all as you can see in this map. So if you go on a main highway from Bari, it would take about 3 hour car ride to get to the very final tip of Italy, Santa Maria de Leuca! We are now based here for 5 nights and 6 days to travel through by running, swimming, boating and dinning at near areas and planning to drive through and do town hopping and snapping pics of the most gorgeous coast line of Puglia.
Let’s start with the town of Leuca! No this is not where we stayed at but this was one our favorite typical Italian home in the town. The warm yellow wash and perfectly placed 2 palms and the most beautiful garden just melted our hearts. Apart from Olives, Cypress and Pines are maybe the 2 best known trees when it gets to Tuscan area but down here in south, you will see more of Palms and all different kinds of palms. And exotic Fig trees and tons of Oleanders, ” The” flower tree you may call Italy’s National flower trees through out the country. That’s Gael on the front!
Rundown but gorgeous. As Leuca actually means ” White” in old Greek language, you can see white washed homes dominate the town.
I realize any hot weathered places share one thing in common. Simple lines in Architecture. Despite of strong presence of Baroque style down in many parts of south of Italy such as Lecce and Sicily, you can see majority of homes of public are built in simple lines as in Yucatan Mexico or Greek.
A small beach front right in the heart of the town of Leuca. Whenever passing by the beach in the morning, I felt like I was in one scene of old Italian Movie. Sofia Lauren running into Marcello Mastroianni! Also Bit San Tropez..? Did we swim here? Naaa, wait for something better. Much much better!
More palms in town.
Now we are in the car hunting the perfect spot to swim and spend all day in the ocean. 5 minute ride from our base in Leuca, we find a nice big parking lot in front of this cute Trattoria. Also great for after swim Apperitivo!
Approaching the tip of coast line. Dying to know what’s ahead of us!
What else do you really need?!!!!
Need a throw down with Caribbean ocean!
With our Casarosa’s adventurous spirit, No rocky cliff is hardly any obstacle for us! Gael well trained by Emi in Livorno, we are just 2 seconds away from climbing down and jumping into to this sweet gorgeous ocean!
Yeap! That’s my 8 year old son Gael from NYC! I mean who would think he’s from the middle of the crazy city? Gael fits right in with tough locals!
In the water with Dad. Gael earned a nick name during this summer: Il Lupo di Mare. The Wolf of Ocean!
From left, Beppe, Gael, Emi and the far right, Dani. Did I swim too? Of course!!
Now the 4 boys from Rome.
They are showing us off Sea urchins they collected. They said they would it raw with a piece of bread.
We loved it all. We loved it so much, the next day, we had rented out a small boat for 7! Now Gigi, Beppe’s brother and Vivianan, Gigi’s girl friend had joined us for today’s adventure! Captain Emi launching the boat!
Gigi and happy Gael!
Approaching one of million caves along the coast!
It reminds me of Cenotes in Tulum!
Viviana and me.
Sail, stop, swim, lunch, prosecco and sail, stop, swim , snack, prosecco. Now repeat !
Beppe and Dani. What a hard life we live..!
The Light House of Santa Maria di Leuca. The second most important light house of the entire Italy after the one in Genova.
Special thanks to Captain Emi, the man capable of so many things in every way. I love you so much Emi! And Gael, my brave proud son who keeps up with anything and everything that is ahead of us. And dear friends carrying on amazing friendship that is becoming family-ship now… I love you all and thanks for the one of the most beautiful day of life…!