Fool January 2014

Arriving here is like landing on the moon – not the kind of landscape you associate with Italy. No houses, just nine kilometres of emptiness crossed by lines of fir trees reminiscent of airport landing strips. This is the heart of one of Italy’s remotest, rockiest and most stunningly beautiful regions. Unspoilt nature, glacial winters and green Swisslike summers. Metres of snow and below-zero temperatures from November to February (it is almost 1,300m above sea level); heather in bloom and herds of sheep grazing on pastureland in the warmer months. Descending towards the Valle del Sangro, 15 kilometres past Rivisondoli we reach Castel di Sangro, known to Italian football-lovers for one reason only: the small local team once managed to climb its way up to the “Serie B”, the second-highest division of the Italian football league system. In the last two years, however, Castel di Sangro has become famous as the home of Niko Romito, the chef whose enchanting cuisine has brought him a third Michelin star in the space of just seven years…

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