In survey after survey, over a long span of years, Italy has consistently emerged as the favorite country of Andrew Harper members. So it is a particular pleasure to be able to introduce an entirely new region. The remote southern region of Basilicata now offers a number of superior small hotels, as well as a dramatic and unspoiled landscape, a sandy coastline, a distinctive regional cooking style and some excellent little-known wines. And in the ancient town of Matera, one of Europe’s two Capitals of Culture for 2019, it has a true gem. Continuously occupied for more than 9,000 years, Matera’s old town is an extraordinary troglodyte settlement, with cave dwellings bored into the soft vanilla-colored limestone of a bluff.
Elsewhere, in the town of Bernalda, we particularly enjoyed our stay at the Palazzo Margherita, an exquisite nine-room hotel owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola. We ate memorably well throughout our trip, but lunch at chef Federico Valicenti’s country auberge, La Luna Rossa, near Terranova di Pollino, was perhaps the gastronomic highlight of our journey. His cavatelli with walnut sauce and black truffles, followed by beef fillet with chestnuts, honey, mint and local Aglianico wine, will not soon be forgotten. And we will continue to reflect fondly on a sunny day spent in the Aglianico wine region that extends around the Monte Vulture volcano in northwestern Basilicata, where the richness of the soil and the elevation of the vineyards combine to produce some of the finest red wines in Italy.
In this issue, you will also find an account of our recent visit to Nantucket, another destination long favored by Andrew Harper members. We stayed in three new properties, two of which we are happy to recommend, and discovered some diverse and lively new restaurants. Despite the exponential growth in the number of huge mansions, strict regulations have ensured that almost half of Nantucket is protected from development. And when the summer crowds have gone home, it remains a romantic place, with stretches of wild and untouched coastline, a tiny fragment of land seemingly close to the edge of the world.