June 2000

THE PERFECT TUSCAN VILLA FOR YOU AND 20 OF YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS

NOTE: THESE ARE LOUSY SCANS OF LOUSY PICTURES FROM A LONG TIME AGO, CLICK THE LINKS TO SEE PRETTY PICTURES FROM THEIR SITE: [MONTAIONE, TUSCANY] — Let the hoards of English, Germans and Americans crowd the overly popular Under The Tuscan Sun areas south of Florence and the tourist-choked villages of Montepulciano. To me, I loved staying on the western edges of Tuscany centered around the cool and undiscovered town of Montaione. The geography of this area is more farmland than grapes and a prime hunting ground. And Villa Cerretello is the perfect villa. Part of a larger private farm that includes other agriturismo villas, hunting grounds, the massive Villa Cerretello is the perfect base for entertaining lots of your friends. While it’s big, when you

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A trek into a secret hidden civilization in the Sardinian mountains

(Tiscali, Sardinia)  — If you’ve ever seen the old movie Lost Horizon, you’d think hidden ancient civilizations are a thing of fiction. But the long-abandoned Tiscali nuraghi settlement is just such a magical place.  Invisible from the rest of the world for hundreds of years until it was rediscovered in the 1900s, this ancient civilization was a whole village tucked into a deep caldera that sinks into the ground on top of a mouton ridge, accessible only by a hidden crevasse that cuts through the rock, then descends hundreds of feet into the caldera.  Protected there, a whole community thrived, with animals, orchards, olive trees and a totally isolated prehistoric society. It is just indescribable. And once you cut down through the trails, see the

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A DISCREET HIDEAWAY, TUCKED AMIDST THE ROCKS

(Costa Smeralda, Sardinia) — You won’t hear much about the Hotel Pitrizza, but a few people have. As part of a trio of Luxury Collection hotels scattered around the tip of Costa Smeralda development, it might be the most exclusive.  With just a handful of rooms, extremely understated architecture and extremely private bungalows, it’s long been a secret hideaway from celebrities and titans, far from the prying eyes of the paparazzi. But its “rustic simplicity” design was intended from the start to blend in to the natural beauty of the Costa Smeralda, small bungalows built of rock, with low-slung landscaped roofs that make the view from every room unobstructed. Its a really cool visual trick and add even more to the privacy and seclusion.  It

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LIVE LIKE JAMES BOND IN SARDINIA

Porto Cervo, Sardinia) — The Hotel Cala di Volpe is consistently voted one of the world’s top-rated (and most expensive) hotels.  Incredible architecture, great restaurants and incomparable people watching.  When you see pics of stars on vacation in Sardinia, they are usually staying here. It’s a Starwood Luxury Collection hotel, so you know it’s good. Great beach that a launch takes you to around the bay. The waters and beaches of Sardinia are the best Italy….none of those pebble-strewn beaches, pure, pure sand, ice blue water…you can see clear to the bottom. The architecture is really something unusual: James Bond meets Planet of the Apes. Kindofa Arcosanti in the sand. They actually filmed a James Bond movie here.              

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THE GRAND DAME OF HOTELS ON CORSICA’S SOUTHERN COAST

(Porto Vecchio, Corsica) — Just above the lower tip of Corsica is an excellent, in the big broad bay around Porto Vecchio is the romantic hotel Grand Hotel Cala Rossa, one of the most famous and fanciest hotels on Corsica. Quiet beaches, swanky atmosphere, nice staff.  And because it’s a Relais & Chateaux, you know they have an incredible restaurant, which is Michelin starred.  Cala Rossa has been around for decade, ruling the roost of southern Corsica.  I don’t have a ton of pictures because the last time I was there, digital cameras hadn’t been invented, so these are scans of my old print film. But, you can get an idea of how beautiful this place is. When you first pull up, the outsides of

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