Danny Hooper Productions

A Perfect Summer In Italy

My girlfriend Brenda is a high school math and psychology  teacher in Victoria, BC. Her last day at work was on June 28, and hours after emptying her desk we were at 40,000 bound for Italy. It was her first trip (and my third in as many summers) to this beautiful country.

Hard to say what we enjoyed most about Italy…everything was perfect. Of course the food and wine are top-of-mind. Italians sure know how to celebrate the good life. It’s actually hard to find bad food there- as somebody told us, if you open a restaurant in Italy and the food isn’t excellent, you’re out of business the next week.

And wine…let me tell you. Some of the smaller towns and villages produce outstanding product, but not in enough quantity to export. So, they serve their finest as table wine which we were able to buy for around $10-15 a litre in most trattorias.

In Montalcino we found an amazing wine shop that carries 275 different labels of the region’s famous Brunello…compared to the dozen or so labels you’ll find of this big bold red in our local wine stores at home – if you’re lucky.

The highlight of our trip was spending time at Castello di Casole, an ancient 4800 acre estate property once owned by a famous Italian movie director. The villa we stayed in rents during the peak season for a jaw-dropping $30,000 a week! Thank God we were the guests of friends! Quite the place though; cooking lessons on the wood-burning pizza oven in the afternoons; bicycles delivered to your door each morning with their baskets filled with warm wine, bread, and cheese…mmmmm.

Italy is a wonderful place to visit. Getting around is easy, prices are very reasonable, and the people are very hospitable.

Already making plans for next summer…Ciao for now!


A local chef in Monterosso on the Cinque Terre



And I thought we had big steaks in Alberta!



The seafood is unbelievable. Here we’re enjoying an octopus salad in the seaside village of Vernazza on the Cinque Terre.



Brenda really wanted to see the famous sights.



The kitchen of our Tuscan villa at Castello di Casole. They’ll even arrange for a hot air balloon to pick you up outside your door and fly you over the vineyards, lemon & olive groves on the 4800-acre estate.

Next time!