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A Tale of Due Città

It’s research week at Trufflepig, with so many of our Pigs arriving home or departing soon for their specialty destinations. Rudston has just returned from an unlikely combination of Italian cities you may not have paired on your own.

Before we talk nitty gritty on our latest Italian conquests, however, a few words to properly introduce Rudston Steward, our pasta-bearing wonder-planner. Rudston was hired as our lead Italy Trip Planner in February 2011, and we’re only just cracking this enigma of a world traveller. It’s tough to pin down a man who speaks five and a half languages (Afrikaans among them), has worked in both the New York publishing world and as a Tuscan farmer, and lived in an Italian villa with no heat or running water for a year. And this is all the swear-on-our-passports truth, unlike some questionable fiction we have published in the past. That Italian home has since been connected to a water main, but Rudston has no regrets about the winter lessons he learned during that rather medieval year in Maremma. “Nothing can ever go wrong as long as you have enough wood and red wine in Italy.”

With such a fine motto in mind, Rudston just spent a week and a half attending a travel conference in Rome, and exploring Portofino and Santo Stefano de Sessanio (in Abruzzo) on his own. The two newly visited cities could not be more different, but both are worthy destinations for travel. On the Ligurian Coast, Portofino is the very picture of a ‘grand dame’; exclusive, beautiful, and bursting at the perfectly-tailored seams with historic luxury. The Hotel Splendido is the winner in town, with unrivalled views and cuisine to match.

To experience a completely different side of the country, Rudston also visited the Sextantio, a hotel distributed across several historical buildings in the 16th century town of Santo Stefano de Sessanio. All of the modern comforts are present, but the architecture of the buildings themselves has been restored and maintained just as it was hundreds of years ago. In this remote and seldom-visited mountain area (just two hours by car from Rome) there are opportunities for all kinds of interesting active trips… or you can simply allow yourself to live like an ancient Italian—yes, we offer time travel too.

While not necessarily the pairing for every traveller, we now have quite a taste for Italian opposites—perhaps that’s why we love the stories of Rudston’s many past lives so much.

Rudston Steward continues to smuggle all manner of Italian foods back into France with him after each trip. Amy Smithers is our Sounder Editor, Pig Profiler, and all around opposer of using the word “sublime” in travel writing.

Nothing can ever go wrong as long as you have enough wood and red wine in Italy.

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