As far as holiday destinations go, you just can’t beat Italy. If you want your streets spotless and your trains on time, then you might have better luck a bit further north in one of the schnitzel-loving nations, but if you just want to kick back and live well then Italy’s the place. Here the locals place a high value on ‘La Dolce Vita’ — literally translated as the sweet life.
Here the locals place a high value on ‘La Dolce Vita’ — literally translated as the sweet life.
Other than football, sex and creative tax-dodging, the top national priority is eating. Naturally we attempted to embrace the local culture, and wound up spending at least a third of the trip in a food-induced coma. The lighter (yet potentially more dangerous) option is the Italian ‘apéro’, the practice of heading straight from the slopes to the bar, but there’s still just no getting away from the food. All of the watering-holes in the beautiful village of Courmayeur, where we stayed, have the truly excellent policy of giving out free grub when you order your drinks. Never mind the classic bowl of peanuts and stale crisps – we’re talking fine cured meats, local cheeses, small sandwiches, fresh vegetables, delicious anti-pasti and hot focaccia.Checking out the local flavours… Photo: Ahriel Povich
For those of you who don’t follow international politics, Italy has been dominated for nearly two decades by a dirty old man named Silvio Berlusconi, whose in-office exploits made Prince Harry look like the Pope. When a nation keeps re-electing a dude who has become synonymous with multiple sex scandals, fraud cases and corruption charges, it’s a good indicator that they’re down for a good time. Interested in a wine tasting by candlelight? How about boning up on your Roman history in the small medieval village? Or perhaps you want to find out just what goes on at a ‘bunga bunga’ party? Whatever your speed, a trip to Mont Blanc’s bountiful backside is certain to be memorable.