Gino D’Acampo reveals his holiday hotlist, including what not to do in Rome and the best place for skinny dipping!
BEST PLACE TO EAT?
As a chef, this is where I like to escape. Wherever you go, there’s good food everywhere. I’ve never been to a city that is as food-oriented as Bologna. If there’s one thing you must try when you visit, it’s a ham called mortadella, which is at its best here. Mortadella has the texture of spam, but it is very, very thinly cut, it’s very velvety to the touch, salty and then sweet, and it’s got a lot of grease in the middle.
BEST PLACE TO RELAX?
The best place to go in Italy for a summer holiday is the island of Sardinia. I first went five years ago, and couldn’t believe it was only two hours away from where I grew up. It’s a paradise island – the beach, the sea, and magnificent food. You’ve got the ocean and the mountain – the best of both worlds. Since finding Sardinia, I don’t have to travel any more. It’s also my favourite place to fish. I love the relaxation and the contact with a rod, the world and the water. Mainly I go with my best friend, Marco. We like to do naked boys’ trips… It sounds kind of weird, but that’s what we do. We get into the boat, and as soon as we find a place, take all our clothes off completely. When in life do you get the chance to spend 24 hours without your clothes on, unless you’re stuck in a hotel room? My boat is quite big, there are rooms, a kitchen, a toilet – we’ve got everything that we need!
BEST CITY FOR A ROMANTIC BREAK?
If you want to go for a romantic break, or a quick break in Italy, it has to be Venice. You will be really blown away by it all. Venice is incredible. Although you may have seen it in pictures, you can’t grasp how beautiful it is until you visit. Don’t waste your time on a gondola – go for a walk, instead. While here, you must experience cicheti, the local way of snacking. These little nibbles are usually served with alcohol, and could be toasted bread with cream of artichoke and a grilled prawn or toasted bread with a few rocket leaves, a little mini steak, and balsamic glaze. It’s the coolest way to enjoy a drink.
BEST PLACE FOR ADVENTURE?
Naples is the city where all the crazy Italian people are born, including me! Vesuvius, in the east of Naples, is one of the largest active volcanoes in the world. The island of Capri is dose by, and is the most beautiful and glamorous island in the world, and the super-cool town of Naples is on the Amalfi coast – one of the most poetic and celebrated coasts in the world. Vesuvius last erupted in the 1940s, and is known for destroying Pompeii 2,000 years ago, but people can still go and look into its mouth. I take my kids whenever we visit and they love it. The volcanic soil means fresh ingredients. In Naples, you really understand what a tomato should taste like, what a mozzarella should taste like and what pizza should taste like.
BEST PLACE FOR SHOPPING?
If you like to shop, you must, must, must go to Fidenza Village, a fashion outlet between Florence and Milan. This is where all the young Italian boys and girls go to get fancy handbags and designer labels under beautiful arches. Everybody is so flipping glamorous here, it’s unreal! I don’t even think I’ve ever seen anybody in jeans or a t-shirt here. Even the postmen wear suits. The shops sell cool jackets, cool handbags, cool shoes and cool belts. Everything is really, really good. There are places in the world where you’re allowed to spend money and Florence is one of the
BEST PLACE FOR HISTORY?
This is the city that everybody should see before they die, no doubt about it. Rome is the capital of Europe; it’s as simple as that. You need to see what Romans did 2,000 years ago. They were so advanced compared to the rest of the world. They showed us how to make roads, toilet seats, how to do irrigation and more. When you see the Colosseum you won’t believe it was built so long ago. Plus, the people are fantastic in Rome and the food is great. One thing you must eat here – pasta alla carbonara. They don’t use cream, they use pig cheek and pancetta and it tastes completely different. The hotels aren’t very expensive and the transport is second to none but the best way to see it all is to walk because you need to smell, you need to see and you need to feel – just don’t go around touching Romans!