By Be MyJourney founder Andrea Martina Specchio
“A short letter to my land and the locals who enhance it, making it known to the rest of the world.” Andrea
I must begin by saying that I am part of the club of “those who left” a long time ago. And what I left was the greenest region in Italy, with the endless landscapes of the three national parks, lakes surrounded by mountains like Campotosto, but also a rich artistical heritage with towns like L’Aquila and little known churches that hide incredible frescos like Santa Maria ad Cryptas, in Fossa. To be fair, I could have come from anywhere in Italy and still mention such a wide heritage of beauty and treasures, but to me, Abruzzo is like nowhere else.
A place that is so stunning, so rich, so diverse that the green and the sea and the mountains are never too far. And yet a place that I have started discovering in-depth just over the last years, thanks to Be MyJourney. So here I am, writing a love note to the place where I was born, where I grew up as a kid and that I left as a girl. The place that now I think of as a woman whose heart beats faster every time the moment to go back home approaches.
Abruzzo was the first destination I was sure I wanted to include within my selection for Be MyJourney and the one destination that I can’t get tired of discovering and exploring every time I go back. And, most importantly, a destination that is full of excellences that make us locals proud and to whom I want to dedicate this note. Starting from *** Michelin stars chef Niko Romito and his sister Cristiana, sharing their story and my experience at Casadonna Reale.
My journey began with a drive through some of the most beautiful landscapes of the region, part of the Abruzzo National Park, where Casadonna Reale is nestled. As soon as I got into the restored monastery that hosts the hotel, I remember feeling wrapped by a pleasantly soft atmosphere, elegant and simple. A minimal design and big windows bringing inside the surrounding nature.
The dinner at Ristorante Reale was a sensorial experience that I would define as a “food happening” rather than just a meal. Not surprisingly, a month ago, the place was nominated among the 50 best restaurants in the world. What Cristiana and Niko Romito were able to create here goes beyond remarkable. A story that began years ago in the bakery of their family, in Rivisondoli, that was then turned into a trattoria, and today – having moved to Casadonna, a *** Michelin stars restaurant. A genuine ‘laboratory’, where materials, research, simplicity and taste dialogue with one another to bring the Italian cuisine of tomorrow to life. Then, I wish I could find the words to praise Casadonna‘s gourmet breakfast. I still remember the enthusiasm of waking up to have a morning meal that I heard to be incredible… And I swear it was!
To fully share with you this sensorial experience, I decided to dedicate the first Travel Experience by Be MyJourney to this destination. A weekend escape that I would recommend to gourmands and travellers passionate about food culture.
And a GOOD NEWS! Until December 2021, Be MyJourney travellers get a discount on their stay. Learn more about it here.
Moving from the Abruzzo National Park to the area of Chieti, I want to share with you the story of locals Alessio and Matias, natural winemakers behind Ruvido Wines. They do not have a long history linked to wine or agriculture, they do not come from generations of winemakers, they have not collected a family inheritance, but they have an endless passion for wine…To the point of dedicating themselves to it, making wines that represent all the nuances of Abruzzo.
A land that they also share through a video project called LAND OF RUVIDO, where their story blends with the beauty of our territory that is hard, but fascinating, defined by a blue sea, gentle hills, high mountains, all elements that can be found in the Ruvido Wines logo. Their blends are difficult to tame, not always elegant, but strong, pure and direct. Like the territory, but also like the local people, known to be “strong and kind”, apparently suspicious, but “give them time and they’ll open up”, uncovering a caring, warm and attentive soul. And it is this unique “rough” or “Ruvido” side that they want to represent through their literally handmade raw wines.
Alessio and Matias draw from past techniques and cultures, contaminating them with modern awareness and taste. Ruvido Wines is all about grapes grown without systemic products and pesticides, and the vinification and refining processes are conducted without any chemical-technological aid.
Ruvido Wines is one of the winemakers I selected for the Winter Itinerary by Be MyJourney. A one-week journey idea dedicated to good-wine lovers to discover the low intervention landscape of Abruzzo and meet Alessio, Matias and many more passionate local winemakers. Learn more about it here.
I close this love note by saying that even if I left, with Be MyJourney I chose to dedicate myself to Italy. A country where I want to help you travel better, letting you discover it in its raw and genuine beauty by designing journeys that fit your passions and interests.
With tanto amore