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Nino Di Costanzo
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Grand Chef at the Terme Manzi Hotel and Spa
My Route de Bonheur ... in the footsteps of the great travelers of the Grand Tour: a journey of fascination between the Gulf of Naples and the Amalfi Coast.

I was born on the island of Ischia and I started working as a young waiter in a pizzeria. The passion for cooking was born watching my mother and grandmother in the kitchen: they have always sought the best products for their dishes perpetuating the traditional recipes of the island. This explains the love I have for this land, a love that that goes beyond the territory and the authenticity of its products. It’s the love for the tradition itself, deeply felt by the islanders. For many years, I have worked and traveled in summer and winter. Travelling is a time of great reflection. Therefore I thought of a route that traces a modern itinerary of the Grand Tour, a journey of personal growth and training made by the European aristocracy between the ’600 and ’700, and which considered the Campania region a must.

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a eight-night stay from €1886*
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
First stage: 3 days, 2 nights

Il San Pietro di Positano

Superb location overlooking the sea
Il San Pietro di Positano
The San Pietro is one of the most amazing hotels on the Amalfi Coast. All rooms have a private terrace with sea view for a personalized relationship with the fascinating sea of Positano. An elevator descends into the rock to gain access to a private beach from where the hotel’s yacht departs for a complimentary 2-hour ride from May to September, giving them the most authoritative point of view from the sea. Two restaurants, Zass’s with one Michelin star and Carlino on the sea, are the most genuine expression of the high culinary tradition of this region. The Spa, cozy and discreet, keeps you fit under a typical Amalfi lemon grove. Although the hotel has a relatively recent history, you can find many signs of love for the classics, of which the founder Carlino Cinque was a great admirer. Among them I remember the reproduction of a statue of a Pompeian hermaphrodite in the pink marble bathroom of one of the suites, or the copy of the fresco from the Villa Arianna in Stabiae displayed in the lobby elevator. Vito Cinque, maître de maison, with his brother Carlo and their mother Virginia, granddaughter of the founder, welcome guests with the warmth that only a residence of great charm may hold.

Close to the property...

The sight of Gods

It’s definitely the most spectacular pathway (and the most famous) on the Amalfi Coast. It starts from Agerola or Praiano and reaches the village of Nocelle in Positano in about 3 hours walking with breathtaking views over the Coast until the Faraglioni of Capri. To fully understand the name that it has been given, the Path of the Gods, you have to go through the entire route where cliffs are interspersed with towering limestone precipices, winding in a bucolic landscape of great beauty. The feeling that pervades most is that of being suspended in the air, closer to heaven than to earth.

Amalfi and Ravello

Amalfi aparece inúmeras vezes nas imagens ilustrativas do Grand Tour. Os traços de seu passado como potência marítima permanecem muito evocativas. O Arsenal da antiga República (usado hoje como espaço de exposição) ou a espetacular Catedral com o seu Claustro do Paraíso fazem dela um lugar ideal para visitar. Eu recomendo uma paragem na Pastelaria Pansa - considerado um dos pontos históricos na Itália- onde se pode saborear o bolo "Delizia al Limone" com os perfumes dos limões, motivo de orgulho da Costa. Ravello, a poucos quilómetros mais acima, é um local bem conhecido pela maravilhosa beleza dos seus monumentos, entre eles: a Catedral e o seu museu, a Villa Rufolo, o Festival de Ravello e a Villa Cimbrone com o famoso Terraço do Infinito

On the route...

Visit to Pompeii

If you have at least two hours enroute, I highly recommend a visit to the ruins of Pompeii, featured in Travel and Leisure Top 20 most visited archaeological sites in the world. Essential stopover in the Grand Tour, when they were recently discovered, the ruins still offer a powerful image of daily life in the first century AD Roman Empire. Details are surprisingly alive. A unique, fragile and touching site. On the way to Positano I suggest a stop at Cremeria Gabriele in downtown Vico Equense: the epic fame of his Monte Faito strawberries cup or his homemade ice cream have long crossed the boundaries of the region. Around the corner is La Tradizione, perfect place for reinvigorating the pantry with typical products from Campania with the tasting of different cheeses and salami production.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

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Second stage: 2 days, 2 nights

Bellevue Syrene 1820

A discreet, luxurious and friendly hotel in one of the most evocative settings
Bellevue Syrene 1820
At the Bellevue Syrene is still intact the spirit that permeated the distinguished visitors on the Grand Tour, when enthusiasts, they looked out on the spectacle of one of the most praised bays in the world. Moreover, the privileged position of the hotel, which opens to embrace the sea and Vesuvius overlooking the coast, is unparalleled. The Bellevue combines an eclectic variety of styles, from a mild to a radiant modern classical, evoking the origins of the site (the villa stands on the foundations of a wider Roman villa of the second century BC.: among the others, emperors Augustus, Tiberius and Antoninus Pius and the writer Virgil stayed here). The experience of a widespread hospitality (guests do not come to a reception but the staff meets and greets them) perfectly returns the idea of an attentive service and character. A visit to the cellar, expertly converted from a Roman cistern, is an experience that I strongly recommend. The elegant promenade at the entrance, spacious rooms with sea view, excellent cuisine and a sophisticated and stylish spa make it a jewel of Sorrento’s hospitality.

Close to the property...

The charm of the inlay wood

The production of Sorrentine inlaid reached its maximum splendor in the XIX century, but its origins date back to the fourteenth century. The inlay is then evolved into the wooden inlays, a genuine art form which creates landscapes or portraits with the use of thin sheets of wood of different colors alternated with thin layers of other materials (ivory, mother-of-pearl). There are many shops offering this production, but to get an idea I suggest a visit to the beautiful Museo Correale di Terranova, a quiet spot not far from the shopping streets. A beautiful, noble residence with invaluable collections and a wonderful terraced garden overlooking a unique view of the gulf.

On the route...

Relais & Chateaux Don Alfonso 1890, Sant’Agata sui due Golfi

True icon for enthusiastic gourmets, Don Alfonso 1890 is a restaurant and now also a Relais having as its interpreters Alfonso and Ernesto Iaccarino which are incessantly in search of quality, art, history and gastronomical culture. It has always played a leading role in Campanian gastronomy, becoming over the years a passionate supporter of the Mediterranean diet in Italy and abroad. The Vesuvius of rigatoni, a classic of this restaurant, is so nice and original to seem like a Neapolitan gouache of the 1700’s. The decorated tile with chili peppers bearing the inscription “ Entrata degli Artisti” – Artists’ Entrance- discloses the kitchen show. The Iaccarinos’ devotion for the organic farming is confirmed by the estate Le Peracciole in Punta Campanella, definitely a place I suggest to visit as well as their cooking school, an occasion that cannot be renounced to worm the precious secrets of the Mediterranean cuisine. This Relais Gourmand offers to its guests the opportunity to stay in comfortable and refined rooms.

Don Alfonso 1890

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

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Stage 3: 2 days, 2 nights

Caesar Augustus

Capri, the Blue Legend
Caesar Augustus
The Island of Capri has always been very popular among travelers, most of them attracted by its lush Mediterranean vegetation. Also Tiberius chose to live on the island and even ran the Roman Empire from Capri, until his death. in the latter half of the 19th century, the island became a haven for the many artists and writers who made Capri their hideaway. The Caesar Augustus , set high on top of the quiet village of Anacapri , is a mansion where elegance and class unite ; in each single corner of the hotel the XVI century’s furniture and the ancient paintings representing the Gulf of Naples creates an historical curiosity and fascination . The stunning view on Capri , the Bay and the Amalfi Coast remains impressed in the hearts of visitors. The Life-size statue of Caesar Augustus, pointing out to the sea and set on the very end of the main terrace by the first owner of the house , Price Emmanuel Bllak of Russia , increases the majestic character of this place.

Close to the property...

The Swedish taste for the Mediterranean

Capri is home to many luxurious residences like villa San Michele, home to the Swedish doctor and writer. The narrow road that from the piazzetta, (first called Via Capodimonte and then renamed Via Axel Munthe) leads to the Villa is dotted by several , typical, local shops . Among those it is worthwhile stepping in “Limoncello di Capri” where the famous limoncello is locally produced with the juicy and perfumed lemons of Capri. Here you can buy a bottle to take home and, if you like , have a taste of it beforehand. The Villa is named after a small chapel built during the Medieval time and located at the end of the Scala Fenicia (the Phoenician Steps). The Landscape dominated by the Egyptian Sphinx creates a mysterious , though fascinating atmosphere. Surely a “must “ stop that has to have a place in your itinerary agenda , when in Capri.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

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Stage 4: 2 days, 2 nights

Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa

The beneficial waters of the Gurgitello springs healed already the Romans
Terme Manzi Hotel & Spa
The first thing that strikes you on arrival at the Manzi Hotel is the plot, almost poetic, of architectural styles that evidence the various eras and cultures that lived on the island, from the Etruscan to the greek-roman, until the Bourbon. I consider this house as a creative workshop where it is possible to combine the traditions, to whom I am very close, with innovations that fascinate me. The 2 Michelin stars that I got for Il Mosaico restaurant, are of strongly inspiration in my daily life. Casamicciola Terme, certainly one of the most peaceful places on the island, at the time of the Grand Tour had attracted the French travelers who came and discovered Ischia. The family Polito has recovered this historic building to make a treasure chest in which keep precious moments of history of the island. On the highest point of the hotel, the panoramic swimming pool is an invitation to embrace the lush vegetation that gives to Ischia the denomination of green Island. At the lowest point, another pool, fed by the famous source of Gurgitiello completes the essence of this unique reality and that is proud of 1,600 square meters SPA, among the most beautiful and famous of all the island.

Close to the property...

La Colombaia, residence of Luchino Visconti

Visconti came to Ischia in the middle of Forties, he was impressed by beauty of the island and bought La Colombaia a beautiful white mansion between Lacco Ameno and Forio. A lightning strike for the director who made refurbishing and decorating with great passion giving it an interesting liberty imprint. Today, in this historic home is located a museum and a literary café next to the Fondazione La Colombaia that promotes the culture of communication and entertainment, and promotes the formation and specialization on these arts. In the beautiful garden, under a rock, are preserved his ashes and those of her sister Uberta.

The nectar of the gods of Casa D’Ambra

Viticulture in Ischia has ancient origins: already on the beautiful cup of Nestor (VIII cent.), which was found in the necropolis of San Montano Lacco Ameno, we celebrate the good local wine. The cultivation technique relies on the Greek traditional and differs from that Etruscan of the inland areas of Campania. In the wine house owned by Andrea D’Ambra innovation is seen as a research of the tradition, rediscovering some of the practices of the ancestors to revisit them properly. A break on his estate Frassitelli, tasting a good glass of Biancolella and enjoying the breathtaking view is a must that I recommend without hesitation.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : COSTANZO

Calling from another country ? Click here

Texts : © Guides Gallimard