Today is a very busy day! After being woken up by 2 little bandits who attacked me in bed, it’s off for a swim in the pool and breakfast with the Kass family. I’m really exited to be spending the day with both my childhood BFF’s: Fabrizio Malfanti and Gigi Nasoni, with whom I’ve been friends with since we were 15 years old; we even shared an apartment during our college years in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Morning wake-up by local little bandits
One of the best things to do in summer in Lugano, is take a boat on the lake for the day and have lunch in one of the few amazing Grottos around the lake. Today Gigi is taking Fabrizio and me on his boat for the day and we are having lunch at Crotto del Lago (www.facebook.com/pages/Il-Crotto-Del-Lago) in Porlezza, in the Italian side of the lake. Crotto del Lago specializes in local fish dishes so the three of us have a field day gobbling up all sorts of specialties, not to mention a few bottles of “plonk”. After lunch, it’s time for calm and digestion, so Gigi takes us to his secret lagoon, somewhere on the lake, where you can swim and relax in total seclusion…except the curious swans and ducks. Swimming in a lake is so different from the ocean; the sweet, cool, green tinted water and the lush landscape around you, really create a unique experience.
Finally, it’s time for a tour around the lake and a peek at Campione d’Italia’s relatively new Casino designed by the famed Swiss-Italian architect Mario Botta. What strikes you about this building is it’s sheer size; so disproportionate to it’s small village environment; there’s big money at work for you. It’s time to go back to shore; tonight I’m having dinner with my family’s old butler: Ettore. Ettore worked for my family for 20 years and pretty much helped raise David and I in both our Swiss and London home; he is one of the most charming and kind Italian man with whom I have so many fond memories. I haven’t seen him in 15 tears so I’m really exited…he must be in his 80′ now and I can’t wait to hear all the tales from my youth, my parents, The Beatles and other icons that were hanging around the house in those days, London, etc… I remember that when I was little, I would blackmail him into paying me money to do the things that my mom and dad had asked him for me to do; I knew that he would get in trouble if I didn’t, so scalping a few pennies seemed like a perfectly reasonable idea…lovely child I was.
Boarding Gigi Nasoni’s boat for the day
Captain Gigi Nasoni
Approaching Crotto del Lago in Porlezza
Table with a view
Crotto del Lago’s Menu
Nothing like a swim in sweet waters
Stunning lake villa
Small lake village
Refurbished old farm house
The very large Casino di Campione by Mario Botta
We are having dinner at Osteria la Palma (www.osterialapalma.ch) where they serve the BEST risotto al Barolo in the universe; I’m telling you, this dish is simply insanely good!!!! And I know… I’ve been around!!!! Barolo is an Italian, bold red wine, which is what they use for this local specialty. Jonathan, myself with family in toe, pick up a slightly frail Ettore at his home and off for dinner. Ettore is definitely emotional and overwhelmed by the whole situation; after all, it has been so long since our last encounter.
After a little time to adjust, the stories start flowing out one by one like a gift that keeps on giving; hilarious stories about the Beatles at our home, the Rolling Stones, Rod Steward, Alice Cooper, Joan Collins, Edgar Bronfman, Roger Moore, Michael Caine, the Bee Gees and so much more. You see…at the time of Ettore’s employment, my dad was a very successful music executive: President of Apple Record (the Beatles own Label), President of MGM music, head of Warner Brother’s music for the UK, etc; so having all these music icons around the house was a normal, daily event; that is why Ettore has so many tales about the shenanigans at 30 South Street (our home in Mayfair, London). Good Lord, most of them I cannot even repeat they are so scandalous…maybe on my Biography when I’m much, much older and most of these people are dead!
Osteria la Palma
Osteria la Palma entrance
Jonathan Kass, our old butler Ettore and yours truly
All good things come to a close and it’s time to leave the family and join my Brazilian friend Wesley Torriani at the Harley Davidson Music Festival in the center of town; an unusual event for Lugano given the rough and tough demeanor of the Harley Davidson brand in comparison to the very conservative and quiet nature that is Lugano. Perhaps they are finally coming out of their shell…but Harley Davidson??? Who’s making the decisions around here??? The center is packed with Harley freaks from all over Europe, not the American rougher kind, more the gentle, old and bohemian European type…Oh no he didn’t!!! The rest are young locals, thrilled that there is finally some activity in their town. My generation? Nowhere to be found…they rather stick needles in their eyes before part taking in such a mundane event.
Of course here I am in the middle of it with my friend Wesley looking so out of place without our black leather HD outfits. No matter, 5 Vodka Tonics later, no one cares anymore! What next? Since I am leaving tomorrow, I promised my brother’s employees at his restaurant Etnic that I would join them at a local night club for my last “Hurrah” in Lugano…how bad can that be?
Seven Restaurant in Lugano
The amazing risotto Milanese
The main square: Piazza Riforma
Big stage in Piazza Riforma for Harley Davidson’s concert event
Crousing the Piazza with my Brazilian buddy Wesley
Final “hurrah” at Club Chocolate with Jonathan’s employees
3AM, dying to get home but to drunk to drive…why do I do this to myself? I guess it was worth it, I had an amazing day, an amazing night and I am ready for bed and even more ready to leave in the morning for my beloved Istanbul!! Loving my life…ZZZZZZZ