January 25 2013
“On Friday night my wife, Francesca, and I usually leave Como, where we live, straight after work. We follow the lake up to the top end, where we pick up the fairly tortuous Strada Statale 36, which we’re on for almost two hours. If we’re late leaving, we’ll stop in Mese, at a restaurant called Crotasc, where the owner is a great cook and there’s always a nice big fire. But if we’ve left early enough, we’ll head straight to St Moritz and go out to eat with friends. We tend to favour Chesa Veglia at Badrutt’s Palace hotel, although sometimes we’ll just go to the bar there for some pasta or a paillard, and a drink. You can also ski the Corvatsch on Friday nights; they will have worked the snow really well and open it up from around 7pm – it’s fantastic.
On Saturdays, what we do depends on the weather. If it’s sunny, I’ll go down into town to have a coffee and read the papers in one of the cafés – usually Hanselmann – and wait till the temperature rises a bit. Then, around 11am, I’ll take the funicular up to Corviglia and ski for a few hours. At around 2pm my wife and I will lunch at one of the many great places up in the mountains – either with friends we’ve run into, or just the two of us. El Paradiso is a favourite for having a nice bite with an amazing view. Or if we’re in the mood for proper Italian, we’ll go to Salastrains, before skiing for an hour or so more.
If the morning’s dark or foggy, however, I’ll do some cross-country skiing, which is always scenic regardless of the weather. Then, after a late breakfast, my wife and I might go to the spa at the Palace to use the Jacuzzi; it’s a beautiful facility, with a very good gym, too. There’s also plenty to do in and around town. I like to stop at Haus des Jägers, a very traditional store that has great kit for mountaineering – beautiful old-fashioned clothes and shoes – and handmade hunting guns. There are galleries we visit, too; a good one is Karsten Greve, which has other outposts in Cologne and Paris, and represents artists such as Cy Twombly and Jannis Kounellis. And sometimes, at around 4pm, I’ll go over to the Cresta run; there’s usually something fun happening there.
Dinner is often with friends; there’s a community of people who are always in town at the weekend, and if we don’t go to one of their houses, we’ll go out. There’s an embarrassment of choice, from low-key trattorias up to Nobu, which is in a gorgeous wood-panelled room at the Palace. Or we might go up to Val di Fex, which you can reach by a carrozza in 20 minutes. It’s lovely because you’re on another level, with a tiny village, just four or five houses and a restaurant or two. It’s fairy-tale like. At around midnight, we may end up at a club called Dracula’s – sometimes just for a quick drink, but if we run into friends, we might stay longer.
Sundays are calmer. I’ll get up a bit later if we’ve been to Dracula’s, maybe do some more cross-country skiing and perhaps go to one of the neighbouring villages, where we often stop in a rifugio for a relaxed lunch. I like Hotel Bellavista in Silvaplana-Surlej and nearby Clavadatsch; they don’t necessarily serve the finest cuisine in the world, but are really cosy, with big tables where my wife and I and my kids – Romeo, 20, and Pietro, 23 – and their friends can pass a snowy afternoon eating and chatting.
Later, it’s a quiet dinner at the house before we leave, or sometimes we’ll stop at Murtaröl, down on the lake, which is a sweet place that only serves fish. It opens in the early evening, which is good for us as we can be home by 10pm, ready to start the new week.”