CHIARA | GENOA ITALY

CHIARA, FREDERICO & PIETRO aka THE VIELLOS (Bello + Vieceli)

Genoa is one of Italy’s most intriguing, yet lesser-known, cities. It’s often overseen by tourists heading straight for the Cinque Terre. Genoa was one of the world’s greatest trading powers in medieval times and the birthplace to Christopher Columbus. It still is the major Italian seaport in the Mediterranean Sea together with Marseille and Barcelona. The wealth and prestige of the influential families who ruled the mercantile Republic during the height of its power can still be seen in the city gates, the decadent palazzos and the austere churches they constructed. It’s a city on a human scale and walkable for those with good legs to cope with neighborhoods that spread up not just steep hills but sheer cliffs.

Personally, I have never visited Genoa and was surprised by the rich history, the mixture of old and new and not to forget the excellent food of this city. Genoa still seems to be Italy’s best kept secret. But Tourism in Genoa is growing rapidly, since this charming city has a vast range of things to see and do. So I was lucky to meet Chiara who lives with her husband Frederico and their son Pietro in Genova since a couple of years. She shares her best addresses and secret places to go when you are in Genoa.

Chiara and Fede are originally from Turin, a city in the North of Italy and have lived most of their time separately in different cities like Zurich, Milan or London. Last but not least they found each other again on a ski slope in Bardonecchia, in the Italian Alps. When Chiara was pregnant with Pietro,  they decided to find a place to live together and settled down in Genoa. It’s the perfect Headquarter and the ideal place for Frederico who works as an engineer in the shipping sector. Chiara mainly works at home as a Visual and Innovation Design Consultant for start ups with clients in Switzerland and Italy.  As a side project, she launched recently her jewellery brand Chic PigShe is also interested and passionate about the science of Happiness and started together with Fede, the First Happiness Course in Genova from a movement called Action for Happiness . This couple is really filled with energy, and I was curious to find out more about their daily life in the charming city of Genoa.

 

Chiara, can you describe your typical day?

Chiara: We don’t have a typical day because we travel a lot especially on weekends….but we usually try to wake up and have breakfast all together. Our super nanny Carla comes to take care of Pietrino while Fede and I are starting our working day. Fede has only 5 minutes to walk to his office and my office is at home, including a beautiful view on Genoa’s roofs.

Some mornings, Fede or I go to the gym very early, to be back when Pietro wakes up! During the day, our nanny Carla explores the city with Pietro. She is a real and proper Genovese woman and knows every corner in the city. We love her! We organize our workday, in order to have lunch and dinner together and in the evening sometimes we do planned activities with Pietro (Music, swimming, art etc) or just chill at home.

What are some awesome places to go (or things to do) in Genoa with kids?

Chiara: The seaside lifestyle is amazing! In Genoa you can enjoy nice, summery weather from April to October. We are always in a kind of seaside mood, spending the day at the beach until dawn or just strolling along Corso Italia. This makes Genova a really great place for kids!

  • The Aquarium in Genoa is very well known and the largest in Europe. It is obviously a must visit with kids. But there are many more great places and activities for kids, some of them known only by locals. But  I am happy to reveal them here:

  • Spending an afternoon at Porto Antico: you can find many playgrounds and cool outdoor activities at the seafront

  • Piscine di Albaro: has a very nice outdoor and indoor pool. A great place to spend a relaxing Summer day.

  • La Locanda delle Favole: it’s a very small bookstore with books and toys for toddlers and kids. They have also really nice cakes!

Can you tell us what makes your city unique?

Chiara: The amazing weather, the original and unique look of the small historical shops in the narrow streets of “Vicoli”, in the center of Genova….where you can get lost in time.

The great variety of fresh and tasty food that you can buy at any local market. Genoa is simply a fantastic city situated at the beautiful coast of Liguria.

Describe a traditional meal that you prepare on special occasions.

Chiara: The Focaccia is a must! Genovesi are obsessed with a proper warm just-made focaccia. You can’t eat a Focaccia in the afternoon which was made in the morning.  It would be seen as too old! The Genovasi eat focaccia with Cappuccino for breakfast.

The Pesto is another big tradition. There is even an International Pesto Competition which is held once a year in Genova!

Then Polpettone. It’s a mega meatball in a shape of a salami, made of potatoes pesto and beans.

Minestrone alla Genovese: a Minestrone with Pesto (Pesto is everywhere here!)

And any type of fish with olives, pines, olive oil and potatoes (this is the way you cook fish in Genova).

With each Portraits we ask the family  to give us a typical recipe from their region or country. Below you can download Chiara’s favourite Pesto recipe:

Sunday is Pizza day | homemade by Pietro

Can you reveal your favorite restaurants in Genova?

Here is a list of our favorite ones. Some of them don’t even have a website!

 

  • Il Marin | Edificio Millo Porto Antico Calata Cattaneo 15  | 16126 Genova  ||  A restaurant with a fantastic view on the Porto Antico. The protagonist of the kitchen is undoubtedly the fish prepared in either a traditional way or with a creative touch of the chef Marco Visciola.

 

  • Trattoria Da Fede | Via Eugenia Ravasco 8 | 16128, Genova || Situated near the Sant’Agostino Museum and the historic center, this Trattoria offers excellent homemade pasta and fresh fish dishes.

  • Da Ugo | Via Dei Giustiniani 86r | 16123, Genova || Trattoria Ugo is a authentic Tratorria in Genoa’s old city.

  • Vico Palla | Vico Palla 15 red | 16100 Genova || It’s a historical restaurant that has its origins since 1500 when sailors and poets passed through the streets of the ancient port of Genoa, stopping to eat the famous stockfish.

  • Vittorio al Mare | Belvedere Edoardo Firpo, 1 | Boccadasse || This restaurant directly overlooks the unique scenery of the charming village of Boccadasse and serves typical local recipes based above all on seafood specialties.

 

  • Michelaccio Via Innocenzo Frugoni, 49 | Genova || The Michelaccio is a Gastronomic Bistrot led by Fabio Fauraz (director of the homonymous Cooking School). It proposes a cuisine of great taste and personality. The menu offers both traditional dishes and memories and suggestions of international and exotic cuisine. Always present vegetarian and vegan proposals. The Michelaccio also offers a selection of 10 Classics from the world Cockteleria and a range of absolute level spirits and liqueurs.

  • Le mura di Malapaga | Via del Molo, 57r | 16128 Genova || Lovely friendly staff welcomes you to eat amazing meat (just steaks!) The beef is antibiotic and hormone free and super tender.

  • Molo21 | Via del molo 79  | Genova 16121 || Great pizza and farinata (rgional speciality) and very special atmosphere: local, and funny staff. The walls are all decorated by drawings made on the paper table mats!

Do you have any other cool addresses you like to share with our readers?

  • The Mercato Orientale: it’s a huge covered market with fresh fish, fruits, vegetables and handmade pasta. It’s a very colourful place and we love to go there and do our shopping

  • Bagni Santa Chiara. We enjoyed this place very much as a couple and before Pietro was born. And we come back now with him. So if you are brave enough to go down the cliffs with a carrier (no buggies!) you can enjoy one of the most beautiful places in Genova with an amazing sea view. We even did outdoor yoga there while Pietro was sleeping.

  • We love the website www.welovemoms.net/ . It’s an amazing mapping of Genova with activities for families. I know the founder Francesca Posenato. She is one of the coolest person in Genova

  • Don Paolo: you can get the best Granita ever with croissant yummiiii

  • I discovered many small Chocolate factories inside the Vicoli, one of my favorite is La Cioccolateria Viganotti

You can easily check out Chiaras’s hotspots on the Google Map below and keep them saved for your next trip to Genova, Italy.

Ryohei | Tokyo

WITH RYOHEI, NANAKO, YUKA & CHIHIRO

 

It would take a lifetime to get to know every facet of Tokyo. The Japanese capital is a fascinating city of opposites, floating between the latest technology and traditional arts, overfull stations and quiet backstreets and parks. No one leaves Tokyo indifferently, but with a mixed feeling of just having scratched the surface.

Big cities are fascinating and have a mysterious side but are also full of clichés, especially Tokyo. Is the story of the ever-working Japanese true? Images of full commuter trains, people working long hours in the office with little time for family life? We asked Ryohei who works for l’OREAL Japan and lives in the heart of Tokyo with his wife and 2 kids:

Ryohei (34), his wife Nanako and their beautiful girls Yuka (5) and Chihiro (2) live near the Meguro river, in a quiet neighborhood where in spring, hundreds of beautiful cherry blossoms bloom along the Meguro. Ryohei met his wife during College time just after he came back from a 8 years stay in the USA. They decided to settle down in the Meguro neighborhood, on the edge of the hypercentre. This neighborhood attracts Tokyo employees, families and artists whose common point is the love of calm and the subtle charm of this district. Organic coffees, renowned izakayas, vintage shops and unforgettable bookshops make this area a cool place to live .

RYOHEI, CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY?

On week-days, we all wake up around 7 am, have breakfast together and prepare for the day. The morning is the only time I can spend with the girls. I usually get back very late from work and the girls are already in bed.

HOW DO YOU SPEND THE WEEK-ENDS IN TOKYO AS A FAMILY?

I usually work on Saturday morning and very often it is difficult to wake up. Not only because I have to work but normally Friday nights, I go out with friends and work mates for diner and some drinks. So my week-end start Saturday after lunch and then it’s all about family. I love cooking with my older daughter Yuka. We decide the menu together and cook all meals for the week-end.  Yuka is learning to ride the bicycle. She also loves to swim, so we have a lot of fun going to the indoor swimming pool. Normally I am the teacher and my wife and Chihiro are the coaches watching and advising from the stands.

Every once in a while, we visit Hakone to enjoy the nature and the hot springs. It’s only a 1.5 hours drive from where we live and we can dive into another landscape and rebalance ourselves from the busy city life. Hakone is a onsen town with great views of Mount Fuji and it’s also known for its old hiking paths lined with 400 year old cedar trees. Hakone is also a hive for arts. Numerous museums are scattered all over the region taking advantage of its already poetic scenery (check out our Hakone tips in the map below).

 

TELL US ABOUT THE FOOD IN TOKYO. CAN YOU RECOMMEND US SOME RESTAURANTS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?

Everything is delicious in Tokyo, not only the Japanese food but also the Italian, French or Chinese food are of a very good quality. Since we are surrounded by sea, the seafood is absolutely amazing and with the four seasons, the freshness of fruits and vegetables are incomparable. Here is a list of restaurants we visit often and I can recommend highly. Nothing fancy or expensive but with fresh and delicious food nearby Meguro.

Kushiwakamaru  (yakitori) | 1-19-2 Kamimeguro, Meguro, Tokyo | Phone +81 3-3715-9292

Kawasemi (soba) | 2-17-23 Shimo Meguro, Meguro, Tokyo | Phone +81 3-3490-5959

Iki (sushi)3-1-1 Kamiosaki | 1f, Shinagawa 141-0021 Tokyo |  Phone +81 3-5437-1228

IS THERE ANY SPECIAL FOOD OR DESERT THE KIDS LOVE IN TOKYO (LIKE LES CREPES IN FRANCE)?

Foodwise, the kids usually love sushi. For desert, my girls like all kind of desert, of course. But to pick one very special “Japanese” one, I would say “TAIYAKI”. Taiyaki (literally “baked sea bream”) is a Japanese fish-shaped cake. It imitates the shape of the Tai (Japanese red seabream). The most common filling is red bean paste, made from sweetened azuki beans. Other common fillings are custard, chocolate, cheese, or sweet potato.

Naniwaya Cafe1-8-14 Azabujuban | 2fMinato 106-0045, Tokyo

 

 

With each Portraits we ask the family  to give us a typical recipe from their region or country. Below you can download Ryohei’s favourite Taiyaki recipe:

TELL US ABOUT SOME GREAT PLACES TO GO WITH KIDS IN TOKYO?

Tokyo, known as one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world, has beautiful parks. This city is always busy and can get very stressful and the parks are like green calm islands. Many of them are huge and a perfect place to spend some quiet time with friends and family. The Rinshinomori Park is only 10min walk from our place. I can also recommend the Arisugawa Park where my daughter’s cousins live. Those are the two places we visit very often on week-ends.

You can find  Ryohei’s Tokyo and Hakone tips in the below map and save it for your next Japan trip:

INES | SIFNOS

WITH INÉS, DAVID, ANDRÉS & PEDRO
Inés is originally from Barcelona where she worked as an Accessory designer for a big fashion company. Recently she made the decision to change her life entirely and moved with her family to Greece. But not the mainland or the capital…but to small charming island named Sifnos, which is part of the Cyclades. David, her husband owns and runs a small hotel on the island together with his brothers. After too many summers going back and forth, the decision came naturally to join him with the kids and build a new life on the island far away from the busy day-to-day routine she had in Barcelona. As an architect, David has many projects on the island and Inés found herself stock in the same company for years, so she needed urgently a change and reset her life. Sifnos sounded like the logical decision and would be a paradise for their 4 and 1 year old boys. After they found a new home and enrolled Andrés to School (a full greek school) they moved with only (!!) 8 suitcases to Sifnos.
This was 2 month ago. When I contacted Inés for the interview, I could feel the difference in her voice. She told me how her kids are running free on the streets of Artemonas and about the never ending beach afternoons they have all together! “It all feels more natural, less stressful” Inés told me , “and on top of it, I forgot to say how beautiful everything is. The landscape is astonishing with its white buildings scattered through the valleys and mountain tops, the blue church ceilings here and there, all surrounded by the beautiful blue of the Aegean Sea. It’s a dream, sometimes I have to tickle myself.”

INES, YOU QUIT YOUR JOB IN FASHION IN BARCELONA AND MOVED WITH YOUR FAMILY TO SIFNOS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE MOVE?

The move came quite naturally. We thought first of Athens, but then both of us wanted a more dramatical change, not only for us but also for the kids. It was the right time because later on, the kids have their own friends and a such substantial change would be more difficult for them.

COULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TYPICAL DAY?

I wake up very early (our 1 year old is an early bird) and get Andrés ready for school. Once he leaves with my husband David on his vespa, I stay with Pedro and play with him until his art teacher comes. I try to cover everything up because Pedro can make pretty much a big mess. Later in the morning I go to pilates or take greek lessons. After that I am heading for a coffee to Apollonia with my laptop where I work on the hotel bookings. People here are very open and friendly with foreigners and I sometimes the girls from the Pilates lesson are joining me. I also started hand weaving and try to practice on a daily basis at home. I really enjoy my free time with creativity. At 1 pm I pick up Andrés from school and we all have lunch together (school is a beautiful 5 minute walk from our house in Artemonas). In the afternoon we go to the beach, let the kids run wild and meet with friends. At home after after everybody showered we have diner and go to bed. Twice a week I go to this ceramist workshop who stays over his schedule to teach me his technic. I am learning day by day and it brings me closer to find my path in life. David works in the hotel but always comes home for lunch and then often stays with us in the afternoon too. We finally have all the time we want as a family. When the beach season will be over, we plan to go fishing with our small boat. Other things we do in the afternoon, is feeding the goats, hiking through the Monopatis (ancient paths spread all over the island), watching animals or work on our garden. Everything happens outdoor and time flies compared to my time in Barcelona, where I used to spend it with the kids on the playground.

CAN YOU REVEAL SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS ON THE ISLAND?

There are so many places I love, but here is my top selection:  Kastro, it’s an ancient village is a very special place to walk through. Nearby is the Seralia Beach where you can have a swim and eat lunch at Captain George.  The Lembesis Ceramic workshop in Agia Anna has some of the most beautiful pieces on the island. The workshop is joined to the shop and you can watch them work. Walk through the ancient greek path, the Monopatis, is the best way to discover the island at its essence. There are so many of them and they bring you from one end of the island to the other. That’s it so far but I will update this list when I will have been here for a longer time.

DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIAL ACTIVITIES YOU DO WITH KIDS HERE?

It’s all about nature and finally go back to the essential. For the kids living so close to nature is life changing. The nature is the biggest playground. We go see and feed the donkeys, goats and chickens and during summer, we spend most of our time at the beach. When you come here with kids, I can recommend the beaches Vathi and Kamares, they are very nice and have an easy access for kids. During wintertime the variety of activities are large as well. Andrés is playing music, learns traditional greek dance and plays tennis after school.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE SWIMMING SPOTS?

The rocks down in Poulati Beach are a beautiful place to go when the sea is not too rough. But it’s not very kids friendly because of the rocks. With the kids my favourite spot is the Vathy Beach. On the right side your can swim and seat at this Taberna. They have tables and chairs in the sand and it is easy to have an eye on the kids when they play at the beach. Cheronissos is a small fisherman’s town on the north of the Island. It needs a longer drive to get there but it’s totally worth a visit. You may find some nice rocks to swim or good snorkel spots.

DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER RECOMMANDATIONS FOR OUR READERS?

Foodwise, the island is blossoming with new places: Omega 3 is my favourite fish bar. I do love traditional greek food, but this place is just amazing. The chef lives half of the year in Brazil where he experiments and create the new menus for the next season. My best-loved Tabernas are: Drakakis in Apollonia, Tsicali in Vathi and at the Chrisopigí beach.

David’s hotel is called Kamaroti and it is located in the eastern part of Sifnos island. From the hotel you have a magnificent view of the charming village of Kastro with the blue background of the Aegean Sea. It’s beautiful.

Otherwise you have the Verina hotels or Elies which is probably the most luxury hotel on the island. Or if you like it more personal, you do it like Scarlett Johansson and rent a vacation house for your stay.

You can easily check out Ines hotspots on the Google Map below and keep them saved for your next trip to Sifnos.

DELPHINE | BONIFACIO

WITH DELPHINE PERRIN-BEAUMONT & ÉVARISTE

A longing to be elsewhere, a longing for something different, a longing to reinvent her life…

This is what Delphine did three years ago, when she made a U-turn and left Paris with her son Évariste. For him: oxygen at last, the natural world that he is learning more about every day, the constant and soothing presence of the ocean that naturally became his playground. For her: no more racing against time, no more stress, and a welcome to life on a human scale!

Delphine used to work for several ready-to-wear brands in Paris. She is specialized in knitwear, and later set up her own brand of deco objects for children, called Grampa Paris. She is currently working on a new project which she will reveal very soon. I’ve known Delphine since we were both students at Studio Berçot. I was immediately attracted by her gentleness and ultra-chic style. Today, a good decade later, I was eager to find out about her new life in Corsica. When I arrived, it only took me a few seconds to understand her decision to leave Paris. Delphine, still just as radiant, welcomes me to her home with its contemporary, chic decoration, located in the heart of the old town with a terrace overlooking the famous Strait of Bonifacio.

DELPHINE, TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST WEEKS IN BONIFACIO?

Corsica is a long family love story and it is natural that I met there from the beginning an exeptionnel welcome even if it is never easy to create new landmarks. Today I feel like every day passed, every encounter I have made brought me closer to this place and to the people here, who, by the way, welcomed me with open arms.

WHAT IS A TYPICAL DAY IN YOUR LIFE HERE?

In Paris, I felt more and more frustrated because I was living in an environment that was against my convictions. I still feel the same when I visit Paris for work and I try to spent very little time in the city. When I go back to Bonifacio I know that I have made the right decision to move away.

My typical day in Bonifacio is probably very similar to those of many mothers around the world, but with that additional life quality, to live near nature and close to the sea. My day usually starts early and quiet, with a breakfast facing the Strait of Bonifacio and the familiar sounds of a village that wakes up. Then I bring Évariste to school and on my return it is according to my daily planning … I organize my time between work, daily obligations and pleasures. At 16:30 I get my son from school and it is not uncommon that we finish the day at the beach nearby. My living environment has become a top priority to me. Everything is optimized and chosen carefully.

CAN YOU REVEAL SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PLACES?

I love to sit at Émilienne’s Café Niçois: it’s an institution and a real return to the past. Or to philosophizing and remake the world with Ange (Café Chez Ange facing the church), a delicate and cultured women who welcomes you in her poetic and refined universe.

Another beautiful place it the Hotel Version Maquis Citadelle where my mind wanders in front of this sublime view. Here, my thoughts wander and I free my mind for new ideas.

A very rare place in the middle of nature is the Sapa di Calle in Trinity. Here I enjoy the absolute calm and the view with a nice cold drink.

Café Niçois: 15 Rue Saint-Jean Baptiste | 20169 Bonifacio | France

Chez Ange: 3 Rue de la Loggia | 20169 Bonifacio | France

L’Hôtel Version Maquis Citadelle: Quartier Brancuccio Lieu dit Padurella | 20169 Bonifacio | France 

Sapa di Calle à la Trinité: Route de Sartène | 20169 Bonifacio | France 

THERE ARE MORE THAN 25 BEAUTIFUL BEACHES IN THE SOUTH OF CORSICA, WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE ONES?

The Paragan beach is a real small jewel, bordered to the right of red rocks and on the left of limestone. It’s a very magical place! But I can recommend also the Bombardier beach with its small path and crystal clear water facing the island of Cavallo.

DO YOU HAVE OTHER TIPS FOR OUR READERS?

Spend a day at the Sperone golf course which is one of the most beautiful places in Corsica.

Take a windsurfing lesson at Windsurf in Piantarella.

Eat an artisanal ice cream at the Rocca Serra Glacier (our favorite: Organic Lemon with Wild Mint).

A day trip to the Lavezzi Islands. But don’t forget to take a picnic and a cooler with cold drinks and a lot of water (there are no shops, no fresh water on the island).

Visit the caves and the the cliffs of Bonifacio by boat, it’s a classical but always a great adventure for children.

Golf de Sperone: Domaine de Sperone | 20169 Bonifacio 

Bonifacio Windsurf: Hameau de Piantarella | 20169 Bonifacio 

Glacier Le Rocca Serra: 17, Quai Jerome Comparetti ou 17, rue Doria | 20169 Bonifacio 

For excursions to the Lavezzi Islands or to visit the caves of Bonifacio, you can find boat excursion at the port of Bonifacio. http://www.spmbonifacio.com/

WHAT DOES YOU VALUE MOST IN LIFE?

Love in every sense of the word, but also the beautiful things and detail, people we work with, the one who nourishes trust. Love makes you deeply honest.

You can easily check out Delphine’s hotspots on the Google Map below and keep them saved for your next trip to Bonifacio.