|FISTS, FEMALES AND SAILORS|
Rome. Via Veneto. Kick-off for “Reality Dinner”, my new TV format, broadcast on Sky 897. A sea of cameras surrounds the table where I’m sitting with Gegia (the more you have of her the more she cheers you up, just like Nino Manfredi whom she partnered in a celebrated ad), Giada Di Miceli (the best loved by the Japanese present but also by Italians that count, since her former VIP boyfriends are beyond counting) and Jessica Morlacchi (ex member of Gazosa, not to mention the youngest participant at the Festival of Sanremo), when Mario Zamma (a pillar of the Bagaglino company, well known for his imitations of Ciriaco De Mita, Antonio Di Pietro and Rosy Bindi) comes out with absolute certainty that “the Aeolian Islands are the best place for a holiday, Stromboli to be precise”. A thunderbolt.
A confirmation, if ever one was needed, of the innumerable aficionados of this delightful archipelago off Messina. And it isn’t out of place to speak of Stromboli as a top-notch location, given the sempiternal charm of that strip of land in the shadow of the volcano and the clamour aroused last year by the opening of Megà, what many defined with pomp as the biggest disco in the Aeolians, thanks to its four terraces overlooking the waters of Scari. Thus the local nightlife started to get highly interesting, because the music selected by Neapolitan DJ Luca Pellegrini turned out to be a rival attraction to the radical chic aperitifs at Barbablù, the VIP dinners at Ai Geki and the free & easy sounds, including the curious choice of the Italian national anthem as opener, offered at the Tartana by Messina DJ Leo Lippolis who, in winter, is operational amid the snows of Moritzino, in Alta Badia. And of course the Tartana Club and the Locanda del Barbablù have long been dear to me, as borne out by the fact that I have often, and willingly, mentioned and praised them in various articles, including the space I am allowed in this guide.
As for the restaurant Ai Geki, well it certainly deserves a personalised flashback because the arrival of Valeria Marini will be remembered till the end of time. On an island where understatement reigns supreme and where being has an easy win over appearances, the vamp turned up on the threshold accompanied by her then boyfriend Vittorio Cecchi Gori and wearing a flashy double-veil dress, glittering make-up and 5 inch heels. That evening the place was besieged by a wave of incredulous people, to such an extent that they still talk about the event as if it had been a surge of madness... But coups de théâtre, in the form of gossip at the limits of impossibility, are not lacking either in Panarea where the Bridge Sushi Bar didn’t hesitate to refuse a table for eight booked by Roman Abramovich for the cocktail hour. Of course the Russian millionaire is used to it by now since in the past, again due to late booking, he was unable to dine at the Bistrot in Forte dei Marmi. The fact remains that things are getting worse: dinner is one thing, but an aperitif… On the other hand we can only praise our venues for putting professionalism before cash, the large amounts of cash that the owner of Chelsea FC (coach Carlo Ancelotti) usually spends in restaurants with his friends. Anyway the former Bridge Circle has hit the jackpot once again. Not only due to a fundamental philosophy based on Jap-food and a pleasant terrace with a panoramic view of the port but above all to the loving care of Angela Mascolo who was long since called “The most beautiful girl of the Mediterranean” by Carlo Rossella. Obviously, aside from this, the editor and his friend Diego Della Valle would get a table. Ca va sans dire. But the women operating on the island have their ideas quite clear: such as Giovanna Mandarano, a chef whose creations should not be missed at the highly popular restau-fashion Da Pina, and the emerging Mariantonietta De Corato, an enterprising and imaginative hospitality & sales manager at Quartara, a hotel with craft furniture in teak, Caltagirone lavic stone floors and hand decorated tiles from S. Stefano di Camastra.
Still on the subject of hotels, and above all wanting to extend the tourism-play viewpoint to equally delightful Salina, I would advise the radical-chic to check out the area of Malfa, if not by staying over then at least by frequenting four watering holes for exclusive aperitifs: Signum, Capofaro, Ravesi and Santa Isabel are decidedly different but equally worth a visit. You won’t regret it, thanks respectively to music, quality, surprises and panorama! For lovers of VIP watching at sea, in assault-paparazzo style, it is fundamental to know the names of the luxury vessels to be monitored according to taste. Naomi Campbell travels with her powerful Russian boyfriend Vladislav Doronin on the Negra. Fashion designers Giorgio Armani and Alberta Ferretti plough the waves respectively aboard Main and the former icebreaker Prometej. Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen sails his beloved Octopus, while Banca Mediolanum president Ennio Doris lives like a lord aboard Principessa Vai Via, formerly owned by Silvio Berlusconi. Talking about politicians we certainly can’t leave out Massimo D’Alema’s yacht Ikarus or the Aicon 85 aboard which Ignazio La Russa makes his Aeolian forays. As for the world of soccer, watch out for the Askari 63, owner Roberto Mancini, and the Open 86, owner Marcello Lippi, two coaches who might have something to celebrate, although we Italians are more interested in any successes enjoyed by the latter… Obviously the list wouldn’t be complete without the gigantic Proteus belonging to Roman Abramovich (him again!) who however has a surprise up his sleeve: he intends to arrive in the archipelago with the brand new yacht Eclipse which is equipped with a custom designed laser system that creates a barrier against privacy-invading photography. Pro photoreporters maintain that the defensive beam can block digital cameras but is useless up against a roll of film. In brief, the declaration of war has already been signed and fists may fly.