Italy: Rome & Florence, 2013


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I am currently enjoying a trip with some special girl friends in Italy. My cousin and I had great start with one short night at the new JK PLACE ROMA . Like its sister hotels in Capri and Florence, the JK  PLACE ROMA offers a new hit of elegance. This ultra swank boutique hotel  houses 30 stylish, spacious rooms , state of the art bathrooms and some with balconies overlooking the Roman rooftops.

This is a seriously sophisticated hotel that has been touched by architect and interior design guru Michele Bönan’s style stick! It is only minutes from the iconic Spanish Steps and Via Condotti and this beautiful addition to Rome is a picture-perfect example of old meets new… where the 17th century exterior gives way to thoroughly modern, ultra luxurious interiors.

We also experienced the ultimate insider’s taste of Florence with a private exclusive food and wine tour with Armando Manni, the owner of the exclusive Casa Manni in Rome and well known olive oil producer. He has access to the best “black book” and tailored experiences in Rome. An experience that will give you the ultimate Roman lifestyle experience. Can’t wait to share all…now off to Florence!


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Hunting Truffles is like hunting buried treasure.  However, with our trusty leader, Luciano Savini, and his energetic and stocky white dog, Giotto, with years of truffle training, we were sure to have success. The Savini name is synonymous with Truffles in Tuscany. Their passion for truffles began in the early 1920’s and has continued to grow over the last four generations. Luciano has such a strong passion that he jokingly said, ” I have truffles in my veins not blood!”

We departed Florence later than most around 10 am and drove to Montanelli which is located halfway between Florence and Pisa. This beautiful place is world-famous for its truffles. The right trees and shrubs grow here, the climate is ideal, and the whole area presents a perfectly pristine natural environment.

Giotto and Luciano took us to a beautiful forest near their headquarters where we started the hunt! We were warned that we might not be able to find any truffles today since the conditions were not optimal (Giotto does his best work on cool mornings when he isn’t distracted by competing scents and it was currently warmer and late morning), so I tried not to get my hopes up.

When we arrived, Giotto immediately took off as we chased behind him through the trees, hopping over large tree limbs that had fallen and ducking under branches. Occasionally, he would stop at a tree trunk, wag his tail and start digging, looking up at Luciano when he had found something.

After a few false alarms, we all cheered when Luciano triumphantly pulled from the ground a small mud covered truffle that would have gone undetected by the untrained eye. Not basking too long in his success, Giotto quickly went back to work and led us to another few truffles before the day was through. Bravo, Giotto!

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