Tag Archives: Italy

Celebrate Ferragosto With Refreshing Italian Cocktails

August 15th is Ferragosto and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate this Italian holiday than with some refreshing Italian cocktails.

Ferragosto is a big national celebration that marks the height of the Italian summer, and includes concerts, outdoor festivals and many feasts with friends and family before they head away on vacation. 

These cocktails will make you feel like you have been transported to Italy to partake in the Ferragosto celebrations this year!

Download both the Italian Spirits and the Italian Spirits Recipe Booklets below the cocktail slideshow at bottom of post.

Ferragosto is a public holiday celebrated on 15 August in all of Italy. It originates from Feriae Augusti, the festival of emperor Augustus, who made the 1st of August a day of rest after weeks of hard work on the agricultural sector. 


Strega Daiquiri


  • .5 ounce Liquore Strega 
  • 1.5 ounces white rum
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • ⅔ ounce brown sugar


Shake, strain, pour over ice

Paloma Bianco


  • 1 ounce Tequila Blanco 
  • 2/3 ounce Luxardo Bitter Bianco 
  • 2/3 ounce Fresh pink grapefruit juice 
  • 1/3 ounce Fresh lime juice 
  • ¼ ounce Luxardo Maraschino Originale 


Shake, strain, pour over ice

Nicola Scattola’s Amaro and Stormy


  • 45 ml. Amaro Nardini
  • 100 ml. Ginger beer
  • 15 ml. Lime juice 
  • 1 fresh mint sprig 


Build in a tall tumbler and mix gently. Garnish with fresh mint leaves.

Amber Martini


  • 2 cl whitehouse bitter wine
  • 4 cl London Dry Gin 


Stir and strain cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon peel 

Content provided by
Italian Trade Agency’s Italian Spirits Promotion Project

San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel Welcomes Holidaymakers Back to Sicily

The storied hotel is now flying a Four Seasons flag, with beautifully restored spaces filled with historic details, a stunning clifftop infinity pool, world-class dining, signature Four Seasons service and only-in-Sicily experiences

Just in time for the much-anticipated return of the high season in southern Italy, a landmark hotel is debuting a fresh new look and an invitation to experience it all.  San Domenico Palace, Taormina, A Four Seasons Hotel is now open. Slideshow at bottom of article.

The legendary San Domenico Palace was already very well known to us at Four Seasons,” notes Christian Clerc, President, Global Operations.  “It is an exceptional property in every way, and we are honoured to have been chosen once again by our owner-partners Gruppo Statuto to manage such an important property, and to add to our growing collection of transformed historic hotels in Italy and around the Mediterranean.”

With spectacular views in every direction, San Domenico Palace is uniquely situated between the majesty of Mount Etna above, the deep blue waters of the Ionian Sea below, and the beautiful south-eastern coast of Sicily as far as the eye can see.

“Everything past guests have always loved about San Domenico Palace has been restored, with familiar faces and vistas at every turn,” says General Manager Lorenzo Maraviglia, who has returned to his home country following years abroad to introduce Four Seasons to Sicily for the first time. 

“It’s been a meticulous evolution that honours the site’s past while elevating every aspect to a new level of personalised service, extraordinary experiences, and the opportunity to create memories to last a lifetime. We are incredibly grateful to Gruppo Statuto for their investment and proud of the fact that it’s an Italian company that undertook this massive renovation project using only local craftspeople. This is Italy at its best.”

Bentornati : Welcome Back

With just 111 guest rooms and suites, the atmosphere is intimate, as though returning to a treasured friend’s seaside home each year.  The most coveted room is the Royal Suite, with principal rooms all opening onto a large terrace and plunge pool with views of Mount Etna, the ancient Greek Theatre and the Ionian Sea.  Terraces are lined with glass for infinity views, and in all, there are 19 rooms with private plunge pools.

Built on the site of a 14th century Dominican convent, the San Domenico Hotel first came to life in 1896 with the addition of a new building in Italian Liberty style (today’s Grand Hotel Wing) adjacent to accommodations converted from former quarters in the Ancient Convent Wing.  It soon became a highlight on the Grand Tour, favoured by royalty and nobility and increasingly, a colourful cast of artists, writers and Hollywood stars.  Set amid lush gardens reimagined by acclaimed Italian landscape architect Marco Bay with sweeping sea views, the Hotel pairs contemporary art with antiquities and architectural relics throughout.

This Summer in Sicily

Travellers will find that most of Sicily has reopened, from the designer shops and charming outdoor trattorias in the town of Taormina to artistic venues such as the steps-away ancient Greek Theatre, where a full calendar of musical performances are planned throughout summer. Beach clubs are open, with guests of Four Seasons receiving special access to one of the most popular clubs.  The concierge team is happy to offer recommendations or arrange bespoke itineraries for guests who wish to explore, including wine tastings, scenic hikes, architecture and history tours, and boat excursions to the famous Grotta Azzura of Isola Bella with a chef-prepared picnic spread to enjoy along the way.

“We’ve also created a number of very special experiences for our guests, including day-long helicopter and yacht tours of the fascinating Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, including Panarea, Stromboli and Salina,” says Assistant Chef Concierge Roberta Maria Cariola.  “Within the Hotel, our Art Concierge will take guests on a journey through 700 years of art, architecture and fascinating stories.  Our Sala della Grande Madia, the former convent’s refectory, is now a gallery displaying San Domenico’s most important treasures.”

More to look forward to:   San Domenico Palace opens annually from April through to the end of October, with spring and fall offering milder weather and fewer crowds.

“The annual wine harvest on the Etna is always cause for celebration, and our concierge team can arrange opportunities for guests to join in the fun,” says Roberta.  “In addition to trekking on Mount Etna, we recommend spring as the ideal time to explore other towns along the coast.  In the port city of Catania, food lovers won’t want to miss the weekly fish market and the surrounding seafood restaurants.  Further down the coast, Syracuse is known for its ancient ruins, with the Archaeological Park Neapolis in the centre of town being a great place to start.  Another lovely day trip – don’t worry, we’ll pack a lunch for you! – is Noto, with its historic palaces and Baroque cathedral.”

Buon Appetito: San Domenico Palace as a Culinary Destination

The rebirth of the San Domenico Palace also heralds the return of Principe Cerami to Sicily’s thriving culinary and viticulture scene, where Executive Chef Massimo Mantarro’s menu is inspired by the very land where he grew up on the slope of Mount Etna.  True to his roots but always experimenting, Chef Massimo’s genius can be savoured best in his #FSMasterdish, pasta e seppia.  This clever combination of fresh ingredients marries sea and earth in marinated cuttlefish tagliatelle perched atop homemade spaghetti with cuttlefish ink afloat courgette blossom fondue. Paired with a glass of local wine selected by Head Sommelier Alessandro Malfitana, it’s Sicily on a plate.

Additional dining experiences include Rosso, where a large terrace affords panoramic views of Mount Etna and Taormina Bay as a setting to enjoy local specialties and international classics; and the poolside Anciovi, where the menu celebrates the bounty of the sea, and where creative cocktails can be enjoyed long after the sun goes down.  In the garden setting of Bar & Chiostro, drinks are best paired with light fare, including the must-try pennette served in the local “Norma” style with aubergine and ricotta cheese.

Not to be missed are the exquisite creations of Chef de Patisserie Vincenzo Abagnale, who joins Four Seasons following four years with Chef Mauro Colagreco at three Michelin-starred Mirazur in France, that was ranked #1 on the list of World’s Best Restaurants in 2019.

Memorable Events at Four Seasons

In the captivating setting that combines hundreds of years of history with the drama of an active volcano, events at San Domenico Palace are always memorable.  Now, with the expert touch of Four Seasons event planners and the catering team, it’s a fantastic choice for inspired corporate retreats, fairy-tale weddings or simply gathering family and friends for a much-needed reunion in the sun.

More than 1,700 square metres (18,300 square feet) of indoor-outdoor event spaces can be tailored for gatherings from a dozen to several hundred guests. Wedding couples, event hosts and meeting planners are invited to contact catering.sdh@fourseasons.com to beginning planning.

Join Us in Continuing to Write the Story of San Domenico Palace

In celebration of its rebirth as a Four Seasons experience, the Hotel is presenting several exceptional offers, including the Sicilian Indulgence package, which features luxurious accommodations, daily breakfast and a six-course tasting menu for two by Chef Massimo Mantarro himself.  Additional packages can also be booked online or by calling +39 0942 613111.

Insider Tip:   Consider booking ahead for 2022 to secure a room during the famed Taormina Film Festival, or the always-popular Taormina Book Festival, both taking place in early summer each year.

Follow and share @FSTaormina.

About Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts

Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts opened its first hotel in 1961, and since that time has been dedicated to perfecting the travel experience through continual innovation and the highest standards of hospitality. Currently operating 120 hotels and resorts, and 45 residential properties in major city centres and resort destinations in 47 countries, and with more than 50 projects under planning or development, Four Seasons consistently ranks among the world’s best hotels and most prestigious brands in reader polls, traveller reviews and industry awards. For more information and reservations, visit fourseasons.com. For the latest news, visit press.fourseasons.com and follow @FourSeasonsPR on Twitter.

Introducing ‘Melissa’s Tea Room’

‘Melissa’s Tea Room’ – Italy’s Rustic, Traditional Hidden Gem; Owned by a Woman Who Embodies the Spirit of Riviera Culture

Tucked away in the medieval Italian town of Liguria, ‘Melissa’s Tea Room & Cakes’ is a small and cozy oasis that not only oozes the smell of freshly-baked, traditional sweet treats, but also captures a snapshot of bygone Italian history and culture. It’s owned by Melissa Forti – a fearless world traveler passionate about sharing the best of her native Italy. And it’s been a huge success – with visitors from all corners of the globe joining her for a cup of tea, a slice of cake and an experience you won’t find outside of her four walls.

melissas-tea-roomIf there’s any country still known for holding onto its cultures and traditions – it’s Italy. And nobody is more passionate about her country than Melissa Forti – a renowned baker, businesswoman and author who quite possibly owns the most unique tea room in the world.

It’s called ‘Melissa’s Tea Room’, an apt name for this small yet unforgettable café nestled in Liguria on the northwest Italian Riviera. But this isn’t just any old café – it’s an experience that people come from around the world to savour, creating memories they’ll never forget.

“My goal is to embody the world in a single café,” explains Forti, who has travelled around the globe collecting experiences, recipes and techniques that she employs in her tea room. “You experience the best of Italy the second you walk through the door, when you’re greeted by historical and traditional Italian artefacts that have been passed down through the generations, and see my paintings on the wall. If you could show someone one room that captures everything Italy and its heritage stands for, then this would be it.”

Continuing, “And that’s before you even get to the food! I wake up and bake by what inspires me the most on that particular day. It starts with me going out and hand-selecting the freshest, most apt in-season ingredients from local vendors, before locking myself in at the early hours to bake fresh goods ready for sale that day. Everything is always 100% fresh and, if ingredients are out of season or not of the very finest quality, I simply don’t incorporate them. You can taste the freshness of my cakes and other baked goods with every bite – you’re literally tasting everything that’s great about Italy.”

Forti first started to bake a decade ago, starting a cupcake and wedding cake business before opening up her tea room in 2010.

“I can’t believe how things have grown in just six years!” Forti admits. “I never imaged such a small tea room could be so profitable, or become so well-known around the world. As mentioned, it’s also inspired me to travel across continents and oceans to collect inspiration for my “one world” vision for the place. I’ve also branched out, too, into writing. My debut book, ‘The Italian Baker’ is currently being published by Quadrille Publishing in the UK, and shares many of my recipes as well as familial history and cultural showcases. It’s an extension of the tea room and is yet another chapter in Italy’s boundless beauty and heritage.”

Melissa’s Tea Room can be visited at: Domenico Fiasella, 33, 19038 Sarzana SP, Italy.

Purchase her book, here

About the Author:

the-italian-bakerBorn in Rome and having lived in Los Angeles and London, Melissa Forti taught herself to bake and started to collect baking books old and new to learn about the art of baking through the ages and throughout the world. After settling in the magical town of Sarzana, situated between Cinque Terre and Tuscany, she opened a boutique bakery and tea room, Melissa Tea Room and Cakes, where both locals and visitors enjoy her incredible, freshly baked cakes every day.

Content and images provided by Melissa Forti

Villa Massa Limoncello from Sorrento, Italy

Villa MassaSorrento is famous for the production of limoncello, a digestif made from lemon rinds, alcohol, water and sugar. Limoncello of Sorrento is one of the typical products of the local culture. Tradition has it that, in the early twentieth century, the great families of Sorrento never failed to offer their guests a taste of Limoncello, the liqueur produced at home using the finest lemons from the family lemon grove.

The Massa family was one of those families and, today, the Villa Massa company, in the heart of the Sorrento peninsula, remains true to the tradition of the Limoncello of Sorrento.

Villa Massa Limoncello is based on a family recipe dating back to 1890. Below are the Villa Massahighlights of why Villa Massa is such a superior and unique Limoncello:

  • Villa Massa is made from lemons that are organically grown, in Sorrento, Italy, on shaded hillside terraces, in volcanic soil, overlooking the Gulf of Naples.
  • The superior quality of the Villa Massa products is due to the exclusive use of the raw materials cultivated in the Sorrento peninsula, among them the lemon “Ovale di Sorrento” stands out.
  • Made exclusively from only 100% fresh Protected Geographic Indication (PGI) Sorrento Oval Lemon peels, top quality cane alcohol, pure water and refined sugar.
  • Villa Massa uses only 100% natural ingredients—no preservatives, flavorings or artificial coloring.

Villa MassaThe versatile flavor lends itself to be served before a meal, as an after dinner drink, in cocktails, with espresso or coffee, over ice-cream, fruit salad or with any dessert. One taste of this Limoncello and you will feel the taste of tradition and part of the Massa family!

For more information, images or about the Villa Massa history, please be sure to visit http://www.villamassa.com/