Photo by Pavel Rezac / Shutterstock
Welcome to MARK-itecture, a collaboration between ICONIC LIFE and Mark Candelaria, founder and principal of Candelaria Design, whose award-winning designs, visionary architecture and international reputation make him an expert voice on architecture, food and travel when you bring them all together. He will share his travels and perspective as a regular contributor right here.
We wrap up our two-week journey by saying farewell to Umbria and driving roughly four and a half hours to the northern Italian region of the Veneto. There we arrive at our final of the trip at the Hotel Cipriani in Asolo.
Why Asolo? I visited Asolo and the Hotel Cipriani in 2008 and was taken by the beauty of the area and the lack of tourists. I was happy to find that upon our arrival, the hotel had in fact been improved with the addition of a new pool, pool terrace and bar. The charm of the hotel was still there, and the village of Asolo was still undiscovered by the tourists.
We checked in and had a fabulous welcome dinner at the hotel which was stellar. We were the only diners and had the full service and attention of the staff finishing with a tour of the kitchen and an introduction to the chef.
Palladio is truly one of the classic master architects of the 1500’s and inspired the works of former president and architect, Thomas Jefferson, with his design of his home Monticello.
Villa Emo - Photo by Mark Candelaria
The next day, Sunday, was a free day, and Isabel and I explored a couple of the Andrea Palladio villas in the area, first Villa Emo and then Villa di Maser. Palladio is truly one of the classic master architects of the 1500’s and inspired the works of former president and architect, Thomas Jefferson, with his design of his home Monticello. The craftsmanship, proportion and detail are so inspiring. It leaves you imagining what this must have been like in its day and time.
Isabel and I then returned to Asolo for some shopping, and we stumbled onto a fabulous rooftop restaurant, the Ristorante Bistrot for a leisurely lunch featuring lobster, squid ink pasta, roasted rabbit and potatoes. Of course, we are in the prosecco region of Italy, and so a fabulous bottle of the Italian bubbly rounded the lunch off in perfect style. We all relaxed and enjoyed a quiet Sunday and got ready for our final day of the tour.
We finished the tour with a wonderful visit of two prosecco wineries compliments of my good friend and window rep, Flavio Cassagrande. Born in this region of Italy, Flavio teed us up with a morning tour and tasting at Cantina Borgoluce, which included a fabulous lunch and then a drive through the Veneto countryside. Our prosecco adventure concluded at the Carpene–Malvolti Winery, where prosecco was first created and where we made it a point to enjoy plenty of it on our final day in Italy.
Our trip finished with a farewell dinner, this year at the Ristorante Bistrot in Asoslo, where Isabel and I had enjoyed the rooftop lunch. It would be our final time together in Italy. We all shared our memories of the tour, relived our moments of laughter, the best wines we had enjoyed and the best meals of the journey.
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Photo by Mark Candelaria
My travelers had made it! Two full weeks of wining and dining our way through Italy in Candelaria style! Next year our Candelaria Design Tour will finish at Lake Como and the Villa d’Este, where Isabel and I were married in 2013 at the end of that tour. Next year we will celebrate my 60th birthday, and so it will most definitely be a special milestone journey. Each tour is special, and this year’s journey was definitely special. I love Italy: the memories, the flavors and the new friends each tour bestows upon us. Ciao for now, Italia! Grazie for reading!