After exploring the Cinque Terre, Verity and I travelled south to the beaches of Forte dei Marmi.
Forte dei Marmi is meant to be the St Tropez of Italy. Andrea Bocelli lives here; Giorgio Armani has a villa here – you get the gist. Have I made your eyes glitter in excitement? Thought so.
Whether it lives up to the expectation of St Tropez, I’m not quite sure. (But then again, St Tropez does not really live up to its own hype.) The town is glamourous enough and packed with beautiful Italians clad in designer goods, but the beaches and clubs kind of resemble an outdated postcard from the seventies.
No matter, because V and I are very talented at disco. We even got a chance to pull our Saturday Night Fever moves at the Club Pennone White Party.
We were also lucky to have Danny and Fabrizio show us around town.
Starting from the most important things first – the beach.
For Italians, the beach holiday is a sacred ritual. Every summer, families flock to their seaside holiday homes with migratory precision.
And every day of the summer, they follow the same routine:
Wake up late, have an espresso at a cafe in town, then head to the usual spot at the beach to say ciao to the family.
Next – go back to the beach club facilities to get changed and leave your belongings in the private change room.
Then, strut back out to the beachfront in your luxury bathing suit.
I used to hate the concept of restricted access and private clubs on the beach, but I must admit that I’m a total convert. Having a private change room, exclusive showers and your own little territory of umbrellas and deck chairs on the beach is totally awesome.
Not to mention the excellent bar service.
Some Italians choose beach clubs depending on what’s in vogue that summer, while others like Fabrizio’s family are loyal to the same beach club for generations.
The girls discussed fashion (in Italian, so I smiled and silently sipped my Spritz…).
While Fabrizio and the grown ups played cards. Cigars optional.
And as for Danny, he splashed around showing off like a trained seal.
The rest of the day whiled away like this.
That is, until we started to feel a bit peckish.
Under Fabrizio’s instructions, we went back home and freshened up for dinner at a mystery location.
The boys picked us up and drove away from town until we reached the top of a small mountain.
We got out of the car and there we were, in the tiny medieval walled town of Monteggiori.
It was basically a ghost town except for people walking in the same direction as we were – to Le Tre Terreze.
As you can probably guess, the restaurant is set up on three terraces. We were led up to our table on the second terrace with this panoramic sea view of the port of Viareggio and the Isle of Tino.
The place was completely packed (and on that note, advance bookings are essential).
Tuscany is famed for having Italy’s best food and wine, and the kitchen at Le Tre Terrazze did not let us down in the slightest.
We let the boys order. And they may have ordered just about every item on the menu with matching wine for every dish.
For starters: mixed hors-d’oeuvre, Tuscan cold cuts, crostini and grilled vegetables in oil.
Speaking of cold cuts, I was introduced to ‘lardo’ for the first time which is made from curing strips of fatback with rosemary and other herbs and spices.
Not good for the heart, but absolutely delicious for the tastebuds.
For the mains, we shared a few pasta dishes.
Ricotta and spinach ravioli with fresh tomato and basil.
Meat tortelli with traditional bolognese sauce.
And a beef ragu tagliata.
And for dolci, a few homemade cakes.
I liked the lemon tart, but I LOVED the chocolate tart.
And to top it all off, Limoncello for a night cap.
It was the best meal I’ve ever had in Italy. Honestly, it was that good.
Here is the website with details for Le Tre Terrazze – bookings essential.