All Posts from November, 2015

The Falconries around Parco San Marco Lifestyle Beach Resort

November 10th, 2015 | By Paola Mazzo in Activities, Parco San Marco, Surroundings, To know more about | No Comments »

Discover the ancient tradition of falconry and the fascinating world of birds of prey – guaranteed fun for visitors of all ages! There are two attractions of this type in the vicinity of Parco San Marco: the “Falconeria di Locarno” and the “Falconeria of the Castle of Vezio” in Varenna on Lago di Como.

Falconeria di Locarno

Rapace 1This is about an hour’s drive from Parco San Marco in the direction of Locarno. The story of how this ancient practice fulfilled an important role in history for many years will transport you back in time. In fact, the ancient art of falconry started life as hunting on the highlands of the Asian steppes about 4000 years ago. The falconers, who were known locally as “Berkuci”, rode horses and hunted foxes, rabbits and even wolves with their eagles. To hunt in the vast steppes without firearms was certainly not easy, and so the eagle became man’s best ally. During the winter months, the falconry show takes place at 2:00 pm every day except Monday and Tuesday. The show consists of an exciting demonstration of the flights of the different birds of prey that are housed at the Falconry; eagles, vultures, falcons, and owls will fly just a few feet from you. Between performances, you will discover many interesting facts about the world of these majestic birds. At the end of the show, children can take a free ride on Prinz the pony and also have their photograph taken with a bird of prey on their arm. During the winter months pillows and blankets are available so that visitors can experience the excitement of the shows even in bad weather. There is also a heated marquee available for parties and events. The Falconeria di Locarno is open all year round. For more information you can visit the website http://falconeria.ch/. Have fun!

Falconeria of the Castle of VezioCastello di Vezio

The Castle of Vezio, a 5th century Roman fortress, can be found in a small village of the same name, above the town of Varenna overlooking the eastern coast of Lago di Como. The ruins of this military outpost were used as a watchtower during the days of Queen Teodolinda. A stone staircase will bring you, via a real drawbridge, to the top of the tower from where you will have a breath-taking view of Lake Como.

For some years the Castello di Vezio has hosted a welfare and training centre for birds of prey and it provides an opportunity for the public to understand, appreciate and support this ancient art. The magical atmosphere of the location, and of course the falconers and their birds, give visitors to the Castello di Vezio the feeling of travelling back in time. Training sessions are held in the garden of the castle to give visitors the chance to take photographs, to see the birds up close, and to be entertained by the falconer who provides information about the history of falconry and its modern use, and about the biology and the training of birds of prey. The “Castle Falconer”, dressed in period costume, introduces visitors to the birds of prey living in the castle: barn owls, owls, buzzards, hawks and others. At certain times visitors can also admire the spectacular flights of these birds. For more information: http://www.castellodivezio.it/.

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Written by Silvia Crosta – Reservation

Italian “Grappa”

November 7th, 2015 | By Paola Mazzo in Parco San Marco | No Comments »

Grappa is derived exclusively from the distillation of pomace from grapes that are grown and vinified in Italy or in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. The name probably derives from the word “graspa”, the local name for the drink in Triveneto, which itself comes from the word “graspo”, meaning vine shoot or stalk in Venetian.

Grappa is made by distilling the pomace that is obtained after the racking of red wine. In this case the skins are already fermented and ready to be distilled immediately. However, there are two other types of grape pomace which are used to produce grappa:

• semi-fermented grape pomace, produced during rose wine vinification; the same result is obtained from the pomace of sweet wines;

distillato-di-grappa

• virgin grape pomace, produced during white wine vinification, is separated from the must, immediately after pressing. In this case, the pomace has not undergone any significant fermentation.

Virgin or semi-fermented pomace must be fermented before distillation can start as grappa is obtained solely from fermented grapes.

Grappa can be classified according to refining and /or subsequent distillation techniques:

• Young (eg. Nonino Merlot)

• Aromatic, derived from aromatic grapes such as Muscat, Gewürztraminer (eg. Po’di Poli smooth);

• Aged, minimum 12 months in wooden barrels, under the control of the Italian Customs Agency (eg. La Scura);

• Very Old/Reserve, minimum 18 months in wooden barrels, under the control of the Italian Customs Agency (eg. Passione Barrique);

• Flavoured, with the addition of natural flavouring, herbs, roots or fruits, or a combination of these (eg. Poli Licorice)

Of course classifications can overlap. For example, a grappa can be both young and aromatic.

A second way to classify grappa is based on how grappa is distilled:

• monovarietal grappa, if the grappa comes from a single variety of grape (eg. Nonino Merlot)

• multivarietal grappa, if the grappa is distilled from a variety of grape pomace (eg. Diciotto Lune)

grappa con uvaHow to taste the grappa:

By analyzing the colour, it is possible to understand if we are dealing with a young grappa, which is always perfectly transparent and colourless, or a grappa that has been aged in wooden barrels, when the colour can range from a light yellow to a beautiful intense amber.

In the bouquet test, to avoid anaesthetizing our sensory capacity by saturating the nose with alcohol, the grappa should be kept slightly away from the nose and sniffed briefly, in order to perceive the delicate nuances.

A young grappa shows clear hints of fresh pomace or floral or fruity notes if it is aromatic. A grappa aged in wooden barrels will be rich in spicy notes of vanilla, cinnamon, liquorice, cocoa or even tobacco. Tasting the grappa will complete this sensory experience. Grappa should be tasted in small sips, ensuring contact with the palate lasts just a few seconds.

Our Bar San Marco offers a range of grappas for you to try, whether you are already a grappa lover, or whether you would like to learn more. It is the ideal environment in which to enjoy this drink, relaxing after dinner by the fire in the Lounge San Marco, or at the end of a romantic candlelit dinner in our Ristorante “La Terrazza”. We look forward  to welcome you soon!

Lounge San Marco