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Tag Archives: Prosecco

A Room With a View

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Image credit: A Room With a View, 1985

Spring has sprung, my orchid is blooming, and you know what that means—it’s time to watch a gorgeous movie about travel. I get the itch to watch beautiful people gallivant through Europe around the same time every year, and while this normally takes the form of yet another Talented Mr. Ripley viewing, this week I decided to abandon Mongibello to venture up the coast and inland to Firenze. A Room With a View (Disc/Download) is a Merchant Ivory masterpiece that will have you longing for sun-soaked days staring at the Duomo and passionate kisses among the flowers.

Like Helena Bonham Carter as Lucy Honeychurch, I was nineteen the summer I lived in Florence, Italy. I still remember laying on my lumpy twin bed in a tiny, rented flat, reading E.M. Forster’s classic novel, swatting mosquitos and waiting for my George to appear. My view was not of the Arno, but of terracotta rooftops and other peoples’ laundry. Still, at the time it felt romantic.  The thing I loved about the book then, and still love about the movie now, is how it portrays the emotions of frustration, desire, and indecision. Lucy wants to rebel against the life prescribed for her, but she doesn’t have the faintest idea how to do that, or what she wants as an alternative. Then somebody comes along to shake things up, providing the catalyst for the fire inside her. I love angsty stories about women in their late-teens/early-twenties because it’s such a fraught but important time. This is when the big decisions get made, when the forks in the road appear. I love the direction this story eventually takes because although Lucy does choose one of her suitors, she chooses herself first. Isn’t that how every great love story should begin?

If you’re looking for a cinema vacation, this film provides a perfect one. From crowded Florentine squares, to the rolling hills of Fiesole, to the bucolic villages of England, this whole movie is a sun-dappled work of art. However, my favorite scenes are the ones set in Florence, which is why I’m pouring a refreshing spritz cocktail, perfect for sipping on a balcony of the Pensione Bertolini. While watching A Room With a View, I recommend drinking this Elderflower Spritz.

Elderflower Spritz

½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Fresh Mint

4 oz Prosecco

2 oz Club Soda

Muddle mint with St. Germain in the bottom of a glass. Let it sit for a few minutes, then add ice. Top with Prosecco and club soda, stirring gently to combine.

Speaking of elder, Maggie Smith does a terrific job in this as Lucy’s spinster-cousin and chaperone Charlotte, and I adore Judi Dench as the saucy romance novelist they meet in Italy. A Room With a View is a movie world to get lost in, and that feels pretty good right now. Summer, and all its adventures, will be here before we know it. Cheers!

Roman Holiday

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Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1953, Roman Holiday

Image credit Paramount Pictures, 1953, Roman Holiday

For those lucky enough to be on spring break this week, I have one thing to say- I’m jealous! Although I do not have the week off, I am choosing to live vicariously through Audrey Hepburn by watching the movie Roman Holiday (DVD/Download). For anybody that wishes they had just one day off to do whatever they want, this is your movie.

Roman Holiday stars Gregory Peck as reporter Joe Bradley, who stumbles upon Princess Ann (played by Audrey Hepburn) after her escape from a rigid palace life. Upon meeting her, he thinks she’s just a drunk on the streets of Rome, but chivalrous, upstanding man that he is (this is Gregory Peck after all), he takes her back to his apartment and lets her sleep on his couch. The next day, he discovers her true identity, but in order to get a juicy newspaper scoop, he pretends he doesn’t know the truth. He and his photographer friend (played wonderfully by Eddie Albert) spend the day taking the Princess around Rome. They ride a Vespa, drink champagne and espresso, eat gelato on the Spanish Steps, and stick their hands in the Mouth of Truth. Watching the princess and Joe fall in love with each other and with Rome is pure fun, and Audrey Hepburn is absolutely radiant in her Oscar-winning role.

After Princess Ann is given some sleeping medication, she sneaks out of the palace by hopping in a Cinzano truck. Of course I have to use this brand of vermouth in my drink, along with Princess Ann’s favorite beverage- champagne (or Prosecco in this case). I plan to sip this drink and pretend I’m sitting at a sidewalk café in Rome, smoking a cigarette and genuinely enjoying life (I don’t really smoke, but she makes even this look adorable). While watching Roman Holiday, I recommend drinking a Sant’Angelo Sunset.

Sant’Angelo Sunset

½ cup blackberries

3 oz Cinzano sweet red vermouth

1 tablespoons sugar

6 oz Prosecco

Stir together blackberries, vermouth, and sugar. Let stand 1 hour until juices are released and sugar dissolves.

Spoon 2 tbsp. blackberry juice and 2-3 blackberries into a champagne flute or coupe. Top with Prosecco.

sant angelo sunset

This drink gets its name from the wonderful scene in the film where Audrey Hepburn visits a barge party along the banks of the Castel Sant’Angelo. I was lucky enough to walk these same banks on my honeymoon to Rome, and stumbled on an old film poster for Roman Holiday from a street vendor. Of course I had to buy it. This movie brings back memories of sweet gelato, soaking in the sun on the Spanish Steps, quietly traversing the Colesseum, and listening to the lovely sounds of the Italian language. Like Princess Ann, I will cherish my visit in memory as long as I live. Cheers!