My Life In Travel: Antonio Carluccio

'I love to sit in the shade, caressed by wonderful silky air, whittling away at my sticks'

Where did you spend the summers of your childhood?

Where did you spend the summers of your childhood?

We lived in the north of Italy, and practically every year would go to the south, near Avellino, where my grandmother lived. The seaside at Salerno was not far away, and I would be taken there for the day. At the time, there were no tourists. There was one big hotel called Lloyd's Baia, which had a lift to go directly to the beach.

Where did you go on your first independent holiday?

Laigueglia. It's a small spot on the Italian Riviera, and it was my first holiday after getting my first pay check. Funnily enough, it is also the reason I went to Vienna to study years later, because I met a Viennese girl there.

What has been your best holiday?

Bali, about 10 years ago. I spent the whole advance from one book. We stayed at the luxurious Amandari and Amankila hotels. You get up from a chair and your towel is changed without you noticing it. You take a fruit from the pile in your room and, five minutes later, it has already been replaced. But you are left completely alone and in peace.

Are you a frequent traveller?

I've travelled practically all my life. Filming for the BBC, I travelled a lot - to Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Morocco, Egypt and, of course, Italy. And I've been to India many times. We've just come back from three weeks in Goa.

What is your favourite place in the British Isles?

Hampshire, near Petersfield, where we have a house. It's beautiful, really wonderful. I like Scotland for the wildness, but there's still so much of it that I need to explore.

What are your top travel tips?

In Kerala, the Coconut Lagoon, a hotel on a lake, is lovely. My favourite beaches are in Sardinia. They're small and the sea is emerald. And in the Seychelles, on an island called Silhouette, there's a deserted beach two or three miles long.

Who would be your ultimate travelling companion?

My wife. I could mention others, but she would be upset. Heroes? I would like to have travelled with Ulysses on his journey back from Troy.

Are you beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

I'm a "leave me alone" chap for the first two weeks, then I'm reasonable. I enjoy the sun once I have become acclimatised to the temperature. It's lovely to sit in the shade and be caressed by wonderful silky air. I try to carve my sticks, which gives me great peace of mind. First, I hunt for the sticks in the countryside, then I cut them with my little knife, and then I'm very happy.

Do you go on organised tours or package holidays, or do everything yourself?

We go back to places that we've discovered, or to places that people recommend to us, and generally organise it through the internet.

What luxury would you never travel without?

Money. I travel equipped with cash and credit cards. Everything can be bought. Well, maybe not everything - you can't buy atmosphere.

What do you read on holiday?

Not much. I whittle. I write, sometimes. I still have bits and pieces to do on my book, and I use holidays to do them.

Where have you lost your heart?

I was in New Zealand last year, on South Island. I was invited there by the Christchurch Food Festival. The panoramas and the light were fantastic. I would have liked more time there, but I left something to come back to.

What is the worst thing that has happened to you on holiday?

I was in Greece on holiday when my mother passed away. I went to the funeral, but then I had a few days of holiday left, so I went back to Greece because I didn't want to be in London, which was full of pain.

Where would you never return?

The places where tourists have taken over, where there are busloads of them. We organised a holiday by ourselves on Kalimnos, flying to Kos. On the plane I thought, "Oh God, lager louts!". And it was a bit like that, but luckily they were staying in Kos. We had to travel another hour by boat, to the extreme corner of Kalimnos, and it was fantastic.

Where is the most overrated place that you have visited?

I was in Provence with my brother-in-law Terence Conran. We went for a New Year's Eve dinner to a three-star hotel, Oustau de Baumanière, and were presented with a bill for £2,800 for four people. The food was indifferent. We went home and we were still hungry. We hardly drank anything, certainly nothing extravagant. But £700 each?

Where is the most underrated place that you have visited?

The South Island of New Zealand. I hope it stays "underrated", and that the charm and the character remain. The people are lovely.

To where would you consider emigrating?

I'm quite happy here now, after peregrinating in Europe. I left Italy at 20, then went to Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, and then here. I've reached the point where my interests, friends and love life are all here, so I've no desire to emigrate.

What, for you, would be the trip of a lifetime?

I would like to do a televised journey similar to the one Michael Palin did, but on the subject of food. I tried to interest the BBC, but they didn't want to know. Food is always given the Cinderella role. There are so many places where it would be interesting to see what they eat, how they eat, what their life is like. A real cultural film, not a travelogue.

The world ends tomorrow - where do you regret never having been?

Kashmir, for one reason: I get morels from there. It's a very sought-after mushroom, and there is an entire village collecting for me. I'd like to see how they do it. And there's a lot of Africa that I don't know - I'd like to see Ethiopia.

Where are you going to travel next?

I don't know. Usually, we take a holiday in August and decide at the last minute. But certainly somewhere in the sun.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
tech

Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download

Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Life and Style
Alexander McQueen A/W 2014
fashionPolitics aside, tartan is on-trend again this season
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
Sport
Joel jumps over the board...and into a giant hole
footballFrom joy to despair in a matter of seconds
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pointless host Alexander Armstrong will voice Danger Mouse on CBBC
tv

Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason

Arts and Entertainment
Meera Syal was a member of the team that created Goodness Gracious Me
tv

Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama

Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist

Life and Style
i100

Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week