The author’s Neapolitan novels and the TV adaptation My Brilliant Friend have brought attention to Naples’ Rione Luzzatti district, where a dramatic mural will become a major draw
Elena Ferrante fever spread across the globe with the release of the author’s Neapolitan novels, but it took the success of the acclaimed TV adaptation, My Brilliant Friend, for the hype to come full circle back to Rione Luzzatti, the neighbourhood east of the city centre where the bildungsroman unfurls.
As the eight-episode series, which ended last night, gripped viewers, locals felt compelled to harness the attention Ferrante has brought to their once-disregarded corner of Naples. In keeping with the Neapolitan tradition of street art, a mural is to grace the walls of the neighbourhood’s fascist-era public library, Biblioteca Andreoli, behind the central station.
From a bedecked Zagreb to twinkling Turin, here are the best places to spark your festive spirit
With an ice-skating rink, a huge ferris wheel and an attractive Christmas market (7 December-6 January), Ghent offers no shortage of opportunities to get into the Christmas spirit. But beyond the baubles and twinkly lights, there’s plenty to keep winter visitors to this Flemish city happy, from browsing the bric-a-brac stalls of the Bij Sint-Jacobs flea market to hanging out with the hipsters at the Holy Food Market, a cocktail bar and food hall in the beautiful 17th century Baudelo Chapel. 1898 The Post is a cosy and cosseting boutique hotel in a former post office building. Doubles from £160 (zannierhotels.com)
A trip to Piedmont, famous for its truffles, cheese and fine wine, is a robust test of anyone’s appetite – especially a vegan like our writer
If you venture out on to the cobbled streets of Acqui Terme between the hours of one and three in the afternoon, you’d be forgiven for thinking the town had been evacuated due to some dreadful contagious disease. The Roman spa town is unnervingly still, the only sound coming from the sulphur spring that gushes out of a fountain in the piazza in little puffs of steam, exuding the faintest whiff of rotten eggs. The town folk have not been wiped out by an unprecedented bout of bubonic plague. They are, in fact, eating lunch. And lunch is not an activity the Piedmontese take lightly. Here at the foot of the Alps, where Italy kisses France and Switzerland, meal times wait for no one.
Piedmont is a province of northwest Italy that remains relatively unknown, despite a rich and important history. It played a key role in the Napoleonic wars and later in the country’s unification, which saw Turin become Italy’s first capital city. Unlike flamboyant Venice or Florence, Piedmont’s capital Turin – home to Fiat, Italy’s first cinema and most notably Nutella – is known more for its industrious spirit. Nutella, one of Italy’s most beloved exports, was created accidentally by Piedmontese pastry maker Pietro Ferrero in 1946. Owing to cocoa shortages following the war, Ferrero supplemented cocoa with hazelnuts, forming a precursor to the sweet, nutty spread we know today. The Ferrero factory in Alba is notoriously secretive about its headquarters, but it’s said that the aroma of chocolate can be smelled from over a mile away. Turin and its chocolate history is worth exploring, but hire a car to uncover Piedmont’s real hidden treasures – most of them edible.
The sunbathed slopes of ‘Rome’s larder’ make for a perfect food-lover’s getaway – and for those after more of Italy, we’ve picked four more culinary trips
Abruzzo is a rugged region east of the Italian capital, which has for centuries been known as Rome’s larder. And, as we head towards September, the next few weeks make a great time to raid it. It’s soon the start of the olive picking season and the last summer tomatoes hang heavy on the vines.
The scraggy, sunbathed slopes are surprisingly fertile, and are ripe with Abruzzese culinary traditions – perfect for a foodie weekend. I stayed at Fireflies and Figs, a small retreat in the Maiella mountains, an hour inland from Pescara airport. Hosts Fern Green, a food writer and stylist, and her husband Jono, worked as private caterers in Corfu, Fez and Spain before settling on this steep slope five years ago.
A new walking trip in north-west Italy showcases the jagged peaks and wooded gorges of the little-known Valle Maira, as well as warm hospitality and fabulous regional cuisine
The first day of my hiking trip in the Valle Maira in Piedmont, north-west Italy, begins with a hot, lung-bursting, heart-pounding three-hour slog up a steep path. I should have expected as much. The tour operator classes its new circuit in this Alpine wonderland as “Grade 3: Challenging” – and my one-day training hike along the Devon coast hadn’t prepared me.
Discovering Trieste also means discovering The Carso, a steep limestone plateau that follows the Gulf of Trieste and the Slovenia border, is perfect for picnicking, hiking, biking (including e-biking) and rock climbing or just picnicking. There are half-a-dozen trails, but the Strada Napoleonica is the perfect introduction. Take a number 4 bus from Piazza Oberdan to the Opicina obelisk and begin a bracing 5km clifftop hike to the village of Prosecco (it gave its name to what is now one of the world’s most popular wines, though production is now concentrated 100km west in Veneto). Like all Carso hamlets it has an osmiza, a pop-up cantina serving vino for under €1 a glass. Prosecco’s Osmiza Verginella is one of the rare ones open throughout the year, with incredible views down the wild coastline. • discover-trieste.it