The Beauty Of Friuli’s Vineyards And A Family History: A Day At Lorenzonetto Cav. Guido Wine Estate

Entrance of the Lorenzonetto wine estate

Last month I was in the Italian region of Friuli to spend some time with part of the family and during those days I had the pleasure of visiting one of the largest wine estates in the area because during our lunches at home we always drink the red wine produced by Lorenzonetto, buying it directly from them.

The Lorenzonetto Cav. Guido wine estate is located in the municipality of Pertegada, near the town of Latisana; the wine business is entirely run by the Lorenzonetto family, where winemaking and vineyard cultivation have been handed down through generations (they have been winemakers in Friuli since 1968).

Although the company retains the ancient traditions related to winemaking, it has also embraced the technological innovations of our time for the production process. The area of the Friulian plain where the wine estate is located makes the development of vineyards particularly favorable because the soils are well endowed with micro-elements. The area is also favored by a microclimate because of its proximity to the Adriatic Sea (about 11 km from the coastal town of Lignano Sabbiadoro) and its currents of warm and salty air, which facilitate the creation of tasty and fragrant wines.

Friulian vineyards and trees in the fall
Inside the Lorenzonetto store
Wine barrels

It all started in the 1960s, when Guido Lorenzonetto, together with his wife Ornella, arrived in Friuli and immediately started crafting fine wines which were greatly prized by local residents and tourists (Friuli is one of Italy’s most visited regions and the vineyard clientele is also international because the area is very close to Austria and Slovenia).

The running of the estate founded by Guido Lorenzonetto and his wife is now handled by their sons Mara and Marco, who have always been committed to improving and expanding wine and prosecco production and vineyard cultivation. I had the pleasure of meeting Ornella and Mara and was very impressed by their kindness and the professionalism with which they run this wonderful family business. They welcomed me to their wine estate and showed me around the wine production areas, allowing me to explore the surroundings and take photographs.


A Day In Bergamo, Northern Italy

Città Alta (Upper Bergamo), Italy

As some of you may already know, I was born and raised in Milan so I have often visited the city of Bergamo over the years because it is less than an hour’s drive from my native city.

The high plain of Bergamo gives way to the last hills of the pre-Alps of Bergamo, midway between the Brembo and Serio rivers. The ancient core of the city was founded right on the hills.

As with all the cities in the region of Lombardy, Northern Italy, the climate is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter (sometimes it is even colder than Milan), so it is best to visit mid-season, especially in the spring time.

My last visit to Bergamo was in September 2021, when the days were still warm but not excessively hot, so it was very pleasant to walk around the city on foot and discover all the historical sights it has to offer.

Once part of the Roman Empire, at the beginning of the 13th century Bergamo fell under the influence of the Visconti of Milan, who fortified the citadel.

From 1428 Bergamo became part of the dominions of the Republic of Venice. The Venetians rebuilt the old city, erecting strong defensive walls. Venetian rule continued until the Napoleonic era, but with the Restoration Bergamo fell into the Austrian sphere under the Lombardo-Venetian Kingdom. The Austrians were the forerunners of the first industrialization of the Bergamo area, with the planting of textile factories. Bergamo took part in the Risorgimento (Resurgence) by supplying much of the Thousand, who belonged to all social classes except the rural world (nowadays the city is still known as “City of the Thousand”). The place was also fortunate enough not to suffer any bombing during World War II.

Bergamo is characterized by two parts: “Città Bassa” (Lower Bergamo, which is the modern part and includes the city centre and the railway station) and “Città Alta” (Upper Bergamo, the most iconic and interesting part of the city).

I spent the morning exploring Città Bassa, which is home to the city hall and to the headquarters of the prefecture and the Province of Bergamo. Lower Bergamo’s main avenue is called Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII; it connects the railway station to Porta Nuova, adjacent to the city centre, which is very ancient, since it was created in the first years of 1900. The city is also home to a lot of museums, like the Archaeology Museum, the Modern Art Gallery and the Museum of Natural Sciences.

Porta Nuova is a monumental gateway to the city of Bergamo which was built in the Neoclassical style in 1837, on the occasion of Emperor Ferdinand I of Austria’s entry into the city the following year. It is located in what is one of the central areas of Bergamo, along with the Torre dei Caduti (Tower of the Fallen); the tower is part of Bergamo’s History Museum and it is one of the most symbolic monuments in Lower Bergamo, as it was built on the patriotism wave that followed World War I, not only in honor and memory of Bergamo’s fallen soldiers but also to consolidate the idea of unified nationalism. In the city centre, close to the railway station, there is also the Church of Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie, which is located on Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, the main avenue in Lower Bergamo that connects the city to Upper Bergamo.

The new church was built between 1857 and 1875 in place of the old basilica dedicated to Our Lady of Grace and it features a beautiful cycle of frescoes, especially the miraculous fresco of the Holy Jesus.

Tower of the Fallen(Torre dei Caduti), Bergamo, Italy.
Torre dei Caduti (Tower of the Fallen), Lower Bergamo
Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie, Bergamo, Italy.
Santa Maria Immacolata delle Grazie, Lower Bergamo

Five Places To See In Pavia, Northern Italy

Vicolo dei Longobardi, Pavia, Italy

I have visited Pavia on various occasions, mainly because some of my friends are from this town which is located about forty minutes from Milan, in Lombardy (Northern Italy). Gaia, one of my best friends, comes from the province of Pavia, while a couple of our friends were born and raised there. However, I first visited Pavia seven years ago because I used to spend some winter afternoons with my above-mentioned friends, especially during the weeks approaching Christmas. My friend Alice’s sister also had her bachelorette party at Demetrio, one of the most famous restaurants and lounge bars in town.

What probably characterizes Pavia the most is its historic center, which contains much of its artistic heritage, including places like Castello Visconteo (a large castle built by Galeazzo Visconti II in 1360-1365 that is now home to the City Museums), Broletto (a palace built between the 12th and 13th centuries that used to be the city hall and now hosts temporary art exhibitions), Teatro Fraschini (the opera house) and dozens of churches like San Michele Maggiore (a Lombard- Romanesque architecture church), Santa Maria del Carmine (a great example of Gothic brickwork architecture) and San Francesco d’Assisi (a Romanesque church with a restored Gothic façade). The most famous church is probably the Duomo di Pavia (Cathedral of Pavia), which is the third one for size in Italy and whose construction began in the 15th century during the Renaissance, on the site of two pre-existing Romanesque cathedrals.

There is also the Monastery of San Felice, which was built in 760 and now houses various departments of the University of Pavia. The University is one of the oldest worldwide and its buildings and facilities are located in different parts of the city; this makes Pavia a “city campus” that includes ancient, prestigious colleges like Ghislieri and Borromeo, which have historical heritage.

It is best to visit Pavia in mid-season because the weather is very hot in the summer and very cold in the winter, a time when a dense fog also usually descends upon the city and its surroundings and makes the weather even harsher. There are also some out-of-town places that can be visited, where many artisanal activities are based, especially the ones related to agriculture. The Certosa di Pavia (Carthusian Monastery) is definitely worth a visit; it is a historic monumental complex that includes a monastery and shrine, located about ten kilometers from Pavia. There are also some urban parks and natural areas nearby if you want to spend some time in nature, like Parco del Ticino and Bosco Grande.

Below I have rounded up five locations worth seeing when visiting Pavia:

Duomo - Pavia, Italy.
Cathedral of Pavia and Regisole Statue

1) Duomo di Pavia (Cathedral of Pavia) : it is the most impressive church in Pavia and an important Renaissance building. It was named after St. Stephen and St. Mary of the Assumption and in some ways its structure is reminiscent of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome.

The beginning of work on the Cathedral dates back to the 15th century, although the construction went on for a long time until the 20th century and it is still unfinished where the marble coverings are concerned.


Traveling To Calabria And Staying At Residenze Cassoli In Lamezia Terme

aerial view
Aerial view of Calabria’s Tyrrhenian Coast

A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to Calabria to visit some friends. I hadn’t been there for quite a while but during my childhood and teenage years I would spend long periods of time in this beautiful region of Southern Italy, especially in the summertime, because my father is a native of Calabria and my maternal grandparents are from the region as well ( they all emigrated to Milan when they were young).

I traveled by plane to Lamezia Terme, a city on the Tyrrhenian coast that is home to the region’s main international airport. If you enjoy flying as I do, the flight to Lamezia is an experience in itself; on a clear day you get amazing views of the coast and it almost feels like landing on the water, as the airport is very close to the seaside.

While most of my family comes from the Northern part of Calabria (mainly from the province of Cosenza), I spent a few days in Lamezia Terme to visit a dear friend of mine who was born and raised there and we had not seen each other for years.

Lamezia Terme is an Italian city in the province of Catanzaro. The municipality of Lamezia has a large territory that includes the former municipalities of Nicastro, Sambiase and Sant’Eufemia Lamezia. The origins of Nicastro, which is now considered the center of the city, trace back to the 9th century, when Calabria was part of the Byzantine Empire; this brought to the creation of a fortress called Neo Castrum (“New Castle”); it was built by the Normans and enlarged by Emperor Frederick II, but it was destroyed after an earthquake in 1638.

Once home to the thermal baths, the area of Sambiase became an exporter of farm products in the 7th century, when Byzantine monks were teaching the farmers to read and write. They also built numerous monasteries and churches, and five of them still exist to this day. Sambiase was a very important place for the economy, since it was exporting its own products (mainly olives, grapes and wheat) to the whole Byzantine Empire and it was allied with other major Byzantine cities like Taranto and Naples.

Sant’Eufemia Lamezia, where the international airport is located (some of you travelers may have noticed that the airport code SUF stands for Sant’Eufemia), is the most ancient part of the city. The territory of the municipality of Lamezia, near Gizzeria Lido, is home to the bastion of the Knights of Malta, called so because it was assigned to the Knights of Malta, who owned a fiefdom in the Gulf of Sant’Eufemia. Along with Nocera and Gizzeria, Sant’Eufemia is still devoted today to the figure of St. John the Baptist, protector of the Order of the Knights of Malta.

When in Lamezia, I stayed in the area of Nicastro, right in the city centre, at a beautiful facility located less than a minute from the main street, home to various boutiques and commercial activities; the location is pretty great because it allows you to move around on foot and in the evening you can easily reach bars and restaurants for dinner or an aperitif.