“There’s a common misconception that when you go to Italy, all there is to eat is pizza, pasta, and gelato,” says Sydney-based coach, writer and speaker Melissa Ambrosini about the destination she and husband Nick Broadhurst chose for their recent honeymoon. “But you know what? That couldn’t be further from the truth. The whole trip we ate gluten free, sugar free and dairy free. Everything was local, fresh and some was wild. Most places even pick the veggies straight from their organic garden. You can’t get fresher than that.” We asked Melissa to reveal the secret healthy haunts and luxurious experiences she uncovered in Venice, Ischia, Positano and Capri.
“This is a beautiful hotel, and the staff were so lovely and helpful. They even upgraded our room because we were on honeymoon. It had a gorgeous rooftop terrace where we did yoga and soaked up the afternoon sun, plus a steam room where we snuck in some extra detox sessions.”
“This restaurant is part of a beautiful five star hotel right on the Grand Canal. The staff were so lovely and the food was amazing. Quite possibly one of the best meals I have ever had. The tuna steak, liver, squid and beef tartare were incredible.
“This beautiful castle was an old monastery with its own extensive organic garden and incredible views. It was beyond anything I have ever experienced before in my life. I felt like a real princess staying here.”
“We stayed here for eight days to really unwind and relax, and it was like staying at your Nonna’s home. There are only seven rooms and you literally have Nonna Maria in the kitchen cooking for you all day. Her food was amazing and once we explained we don’t eat gluten, she was bringing out some of the best food I have ever had. Fresh seafood caught that day, wild rabbit, eggs, grilled sardines, veal, fresh crunchy salads, organic veggies and herbs straight from the garden out back.”
“The castle has one main restaurant and a cafe open during the day. We ate at both! All the veggies and herbs are from within the garden walls, so it was incredibly fresh and tasty. For dinner, we had wild rabbit, seafood chowder and cooked vegetable salad. Eating our evening meal in the castle with that breathtaking view was truly an experience. We also had a delicious fresh tuna salad in the cafe for lunch.”
“This place was like an outdoor thermal day spa. Hidden deep in the canyon, away from the beach and foot traffic, you wouldn’t even know it existed. After the long hike through the canyon, you are rewarded with a real sauna inside the mountain heated from the volcanic rocks. There are Roman baths carved into the stone which are filled with spring water and mud body masks to help detox your body. Definitely a must if you visit Ischia!”
“This cute B&B has a beautiful garden and is very clean and quiet with only three rooms. It’s away from the hustle and bustle of the main town and had great service.”
“La Fontelina is the best beach club in Capri. It’s situated on the water in front of the Faraglioni. You can either get to it by boat, or walk down hundreds of stairs to get there. We did the stairs, of course! The food was incredible and the atmosphere awesome. You can hire a bed and umbrella and chill out all day. The water is crystal clear and you can even go snorkelling. Absolutely a must do.”
“This was our favourite hotel of the trip. We had breathtaking views from our massive balcony and the staff were so helpful. It’s a bit of a walk up from the port, so don’t bring a lot of bags!”
“A car will pick you up from your hotel, as it’s really high up and you can’t walk. It is a little slice of heaven — so cute and quaint with amazing food. We had a massive seafood chowder, meat balls in Nonna’s homemade tomato sauce, grilled veggies and fresh olives. This is must if you come to Positano.”
“Da Adolfo is a restaurant and beach spot only a short boat ride from the main port. We went there every day because the food was so good and the vibe was awesome. You have to reserve a table and chairs, as they book out very fast. Grab the free boat with the red fish from the port at around 11:30am and get the last boat back at 6pm.”