Giorgio Locatelli: Why Rome Is the Most Inspiring Place You'll Ever Visit

The Colosseum in Rome, Italy at sunrise
Photo by vwalakte/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

by The Telegraph, January 17, 2018

Giorgio Locatelli, the Italian TV chef, reveals where to have the best food in the world, why it's good to fast, and the one item he can't go anywhere without. 

I don't like being on my own 

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...when I’m travelling for pleasure; I need a companion. I’m on a plane about once a month and I aim to get as much holiday time as possible – at least five or six weeks a year. 

I felt like I was at the edge of the world

...on the Cape of Good Hope – one of the most remote places I’ve been. I drove there while visiting Cape Town. I also went on a safari at the Inverdoorn Game Reserve, where I saw rhino, giraffes and elephants.

Cyprus is incredibly underrated

...as Limassol is brilliant. Sardinia in August, to me, is rather overrated. It is too hot, too windy and not to my taste at all.

My most exhilarating trip

...was during a period of soul-searching when I didn’t want to be a chef any more. My friend and I did a motorbike journey around Europe. 

The 20 destinations you must visit in 2018 

I fell in love with food again on the road

...eating simple foods in small cafes. It made me realise how wonderful food could be. We rode Honda XL600 bikes, and from Italy we travelled to Morocco, Spain and Sweden, eating some amazing dishes. 

Now that I'm over 50

...I need and appreciate having plenty of physical downtime to recharge my batteries in somewhere like the Maldives, where I went for a relaxing break at the One&Only Reethi Rah hotel, after spending the festive period in Mexico and New Year’s Eve in Dubai. 

My parents rarely took us abroad

...so family holidays were mainly in Italy, where I was born and raised. I remember going to the seaside town of Sestri Levante in Liguria, on the Mediterranean coast, as well as family breaks in Rimini on the Adriatic coast. 

When I was five I learned to ski

...for the first time in Mottarone in Piedmont, at the foot of the Alps. But these days I usually go to Alta Badia in the Dolomites. But going somewhere warm in winter is always good too, so my family and I love getting winter sun in the Caribbean.

The most inspiring place anyone can visit

...is Rome, where I filmed the Rome Unpacked TV series with my friend Andrew Graham-Dixon. After digging deep into the city’s culture, I realised how much I absolutely love it. A great way to explore the city is to hire a scooter. Rome and Palermo are at the top of my list of must-see cities in the world.

Sicily has a special place in my heart

...as it is where we bought an olive grove, renewing and replanting it for many years to make olive oil. I visited Sicily annually for 20 consecutive years for that work. It really was an incredible chapter of my life because I had never been to southern Italy before I was 30. 

You'll have the best food in the world

...at Da Vittorio Ristorante in Porto Palo di Menfi, Sicily. It’s an Italian restaurant with a handful of rooms, and so unique.

The 10 dishes you cannot leave Italy without eating 

My favourite destination in Italy

...has to be Castro in Puglia. I loved it so much we bought a house there about two years ago. 

A new experience for me

...was seeing Britain by rail, which I did in 2016 for the show The Big Family Cooking Showdown when I visited different contestants in their homes.

London is the best city 

...for nightlife and bars such as Bar Termini Centrale in Marylebone, one of my favourites. I love having access to so much culture, such as the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, which I went to in 2016. It was amazing, the sound of the orchestra was incredible.

The joy of flying has been vacuumed out

...of Alitalia, which I don’t enjoy travelling with. I don’t like flying with Emirates; they think they’re a bit above other airlines. 

It is good to fast sometimes

...so I tend to eat before I board a flight and only drink water when on board. And I like night flights, as I always manage to have a good sleep on them. 

I can't go anywhere without

...my blue pashmina. If I want to sleep, I can just slip it over my eyes – it is very comforting. I generally wear several layers too whenever I’m flying, so that I can just easily add to them or pare them down depending on where I’m headed.

In the bag | Giorgio Locatelli's favourite travel accessories 

I've been pretty lucky 

...on my travels but I do remember one unfortunate journey. I had an accident and hurt my leg just before going to film in Sicily. Travelling while on crutches wasn’t easy but my luggage also got lost, and the hotel didn’t have any hot water when we finally arrived.  

I am keen to see

...India and Australia, which I have yet to visit. I’d love to explore both places at some point in the next few years.  

Rome Unpacked begins tonight at 9pm on BBC Two. Catch up with it on BBC iPlayer. 

Interview by Roz Lewis

 

This article was from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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