Naples – a great city worth a visit

Naples is an amazing city. Not to be missed.

We travelled to Naples in Summer so it was hot. But we always felt safe and thoroughly enjoyed the diversity the city has to offer

With almost 4 million inhabitants it is one of the largest cities in Europe and indeed one of the oldest continual inhabited cities dating back to 200BC

It has a flourishing port with many international cruise liners docking in the port.

 In the 19th century it formed an alliance with Sicily prior to becoming part of the unification of Italy

 The people are outgoing and the traffic chaotic

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 Waiters at Mare Chiaro waiting for the first guests of the evening. Mare Chiaro is an upmarket  seaside area just outside the city of Naples. Most restaurants overlook the sea.

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The view from a restaurant in Mare Chiaro

Palazzo Petrucci restaurant, on Piazza San Domenico Maggiore n. 4 is a must.

Regarded as one of the best in Naples the food and service is outstanding….and it will not break the budget

Seaside with restaurants

There are many fine hotels in Naples. This is the one we stayed in. Palazzo Alabardieri not far from the ocean. Great value and well located.


November/December wine offers

November/December Offers

Package 1 Bubbles for the festive season

Franciacorta is a small wine-producing area in Lombardy,northern Italy. It is famous for its high-quality sparkling wines, which are made in the Methode Champenoise tradition (secondary fermentation in the bottle). Franciacorta is regarded as Italy’s finest sparkling wine.

As a high-quality sparkling wine Franciacorta is clearly Italy’s answer to Champagne. We believe it is just as good if not better

•3 Bottles of Mirabella Franciacorta Brut (One of the great producers of Franciacorta.
•3 bottles of Mirabella Franciacorta Saten (bland de blanc)
Normal retail $282. This offer $249

Package 2 Summer Whites
What a great way to taste a selection of great Italian whites. Six of the best.

•1 Carbone Fiano 2012 from Basilicata
•1 Capolino Fiano 2013 from Campania
•1 Civitas Pecorino 2012 from Abruzzo
•1 Villa Patrizia Sciamareti 2013 from Tuscany
•1 Portinari Ronchetto Soave 2013 from Veneto
•1 Fugnano e Bombereto Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2013

Normal retail $180. This offer $150

Package 3 Rose’- perfect for a summer aperitivo

•2 Civettaio Chiu Rosato 2013 from Tuscany
•2 Villa Patrizia Helios Rosato 2013
•2 Sassotondo Rosato 2013
Normal retail $174. This offer $150

This offer is valid through to end of 2014.
Also for our full portfolio go to:

and quote the line number. We will arrange an invoice to be sent to you prior to delivery.
•Line No. CC93. Villa Cigliano Chianti Classico 1993. $95 per btl (5 bottles only)
•Line No. CHCR01. Villa Cigliano Chianti Classico Riserva 2001. $87 per btl (4 bottles only)
•Line No. LFBDM00. La Fornace Brunello 2000. $89 per btl. (4 bottles only)
•Line No. LFBDM01 La Fornace Brunello 2001 $87 per btl. (4 bottles only)

Odd Bins from the IWI portfolio

From time to time we have odd bins representing lines that are about to finish. We are pleased to offer these at great value

Let the harvest begin – Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Harvest time has arrived in Montalcino. Over the next two weeks all the sangiovese will be de-stemmed, softly crushed and start its journey to eventually becoming wonderful Brunello di Montalcino

Here are some pictures from Donatella’s vendemmia.
Vendemmia 2014 Sangiovese Fatoria del Colle Chianti

Gently does it

21 settembre 2014 Casato Prime Donne Monatclino

The grapes are quickly transferred to the press after picking

Vendemmia 2014 le donne sul trattore al Casato Prime Donne



Vendemmia 2014 Montalcino Casato Prime Donne Donatella Cinelli Colombini

La donna herself, Donatella Cinelli Colombini

Piedmonte – Barolo country – Italy

Piedmonte is in Italy’s far north west and believes it is the wine and food capital of Italy.  More English was spoken than in other parts of Italy and far more northern European languages could be heard, particularly German as it is so close to Switzerland and Germany.  The architecture and cities we visited were also markedly different to Toscana and other parts of Italy.

Piedmonte is the second largest of Italy’s 20 administrative areas (after Sicily). It borders France and Switzerland with over 40% of the land covered by mountains.

It is a fertile agricultural area producing a substantial amount of Italy’s grains. In addition it is an acknowledged wine producer – primarily it is well known for its Barolo vino rosso.

And home to some wonderful white tartufo (truffles) particularly around Alba.

This is the hilltop town of La Morra which is centrally placed in the wine growing district.

Piedmonte has two wines which it calls the king and queen of Piedmonte wines. These are both made totally from Nebbiolo grapes with the king being Barolo and the queen Barbaresco. The only difference between the two is the area where the grapes are grown. Both are grown under strict DOCG guidelines. The Barolo must not be released for four years and the Barbaresco for three years. Most plot holdings are relatively small with the exception of a few major growers such as Gaja. Below are just a few pics of the various vineyards.

Some grape pickers.

It looks like another great vintage!

Well someone has to do the work!

French barriques.

More bariques…..what an amazing cantina (cellar).

Piedmonte is also known for its food including the famous white truffle from Alba.

Street markets are prominent with local and national produce from around Italy.

Street market in Asti.

Sundried tomatoes


fava beans

Restaurants in general were very good with excellent food outcomes.  Below are some examples of the food produced in Peidmonte restaurants.  Specialities of the area include Risottos, Taglionini pasta, truffles (black but especially white), raw sausages from Bra, veal, pork and more pork and of course all washed down with a spumante from Asti to start and then magnificent Piedmontese vinos followed by our favourite Saracco dessert vino.

mmmmnnn…tartufo bianco (white truffle) shaved over al dente taglionini pasta

asparagus risotto with raw egg stirred throughout

vitello(veal) stew

stuffed vegetables with ricotta mixture and a tomato coulis

local cheeses including ewes, cows and goats

Piedmonte is well worth a visit. Towns are not as “antica” as in other areas such as Toscana but they do have an appeal. Here are just a few snaps of some of the towns…

Alba Cathedral

A typical Alba street

Part of main Square in Alba


La Morra Cathedral

Bra Townhall

Ostica Antica – Ancient Roman port city

One of the hidden treasures of ancient Rome…Ostica Antica

Ostia was the port city of Imperial Rome, situated about 25 km from Rome Central.

At its peak it housed about 50,000 citizens

The city was very important to Rome receiving all the produce coming from other parts of the world or indeed Italy. It became the most important seaport in the Meditteranean. The area was occupied from the fourth century BC but really came into its own around one century BC when the walled elements of the city were constructed

 It was well planned with a parallel and vertical road grid

The city was quite wealthy and stylish and was almost fully self contained. The word Ostia comes from the latin word Ostium which means river mouth. At the time it was at the mouth of the river but today with floods and river changes it sits some 3 km from the sea

Note the Neptune mosaics that are in amazing condition considering they were laid some 2000 years ago

This particular bath house had a cold pool, two imtermediate temperature pools and one hot pool and they were usually utilised in this order

Also in the bath houses were change rooms, massage rooms and entertainment areas. Most homes at that time had limited facilities so bath houses were particularly popular

Signage for the shops was by way of a mosaic on the footpath outside. This one was clearly a seafood providore

What is surprising with this fish shop is that the table, fish tank and oven are in original condition

Even bars and restaurants were prevalent. This one was well preserved with the bar and servery in tact. The bar was built some 2000 years ago and its condition today is remarkable. Even the barmaid is in good condition

The city was impeccably presented with open courtyards, fountains and piazzas

Here are examples of some

We love this photo of a young girl drawing amongst the antiquity of Ostia

Of course every city must have somewhere to place the deceased

Pre christian days people were cremated and their remains placed in wall urns. Here is a street named in accordance with its inhabitants and the place where the urns went

Well, enough of the city. It is well worth a visit. By train just one Euro and we were surprised by the lack of people there. It was so pleasant just meandering around the ruins.

Opera at the Spanish Steps in Rome

Every now and again you unexpectedly come across an event which excites. One such occassion was at the Spanish Steps.

Was it the atmosphere or was it a great performance? I suggest both.

The first performance was from a dance group. They were fantastico.

They were followed by four fabulous opera singers who sang wonderful renditions of some of our favourite songs.

Provence – France

Provence is one of the treasures of France. A great area to visit and enjoy.

The main street of Cours Mirabeau in Aix en Provence.

Just an interesting photo outside an antique shop in Aix.

Street market every day at Place Richelme in Aix en Provence.

Fresh colourful fruit and vegetables.

And even the odd sunflower.

Aix En Provence is famous as the home of Cezanne. This is the studio where he was actively painting at the beginning of the 20th century.

Garden surrounding the studio.

Restaurants in Aix were excellent. Food superb.

Here we are with the chef/owner of Le Formal restaurant in Aix situated at Rue Espariat

The country outside Aix en Provence is a combination of mountains and valleys with rugged outcrops.

Of course, the lavender fields near the “lavender town” of Sault are beautiful.

Many interesting towns in Provence. This one is Monts de Vaucluse.

This town has an amazing spring which is reputed to be one of the most powerful springs in the world.

The spring emerges at the foot of a cliff and from this a beautiful river with cold crystal clear water emerges. The spring comes from a number of mountainous sources covering over 1100 square kilometres and this is the only outlet for those sources.

The spring emerging as a river in the town.

Town centre with the crystal clear spring waters.

Another interesting town was Rousillon which is surrounded by Ochre hills, a colour typical of the region. This area was mined until more recent times. It is now a conservation area. Brilliant colour.

Another town was Beaux which was an old fortified town that was the military centre of the region for some time. Old turrets, and military equipment still exist.

Well, that’s all on Provence, for the time being anyway.