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The Globe and Mail

In Tuscany, enjoy five-star service in a centuries-old castle

Castello di Casole features five-star amenities in a restored, centuries-old castle.

Events and openings from around the world.

Tuscany If classic rustic interiors don't entice, try one of the swank suites at Castello di Casole. Located about 45 minutes outside of Florence on a nearly 1,700-hectare private estate, the crumbling 18th-century-castle-turned-posh-resort boasts 41 guest rooms decked with fine Italian-made furnishings, wrought-iron beds, wood-beam ceilings, exposed stone and claw-foot tubs. Stroll the grounds for incredible views of vineyards, olive groves and lemon orchards, or spend the afternoon at the spa getting rubbed down with Mediterranean oils. More intrepid travellers may want to explore the countryside on horseback or partake in mushroom foraging and truffle hunting.


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Los Angeles MessHall, a new eatery in Hollywood's hip Loz Feliz neighbourhood, serves up an eclectic mix of organic comfort food and stiff cocktails. The menu features such hearty dishes as smoked corn fritters, lobster mac 'n' cheese, hog chops and steak tartare tacos. James Beard-nominated bar director Erik Lund's inventive concoctions include the Downtime (Between Euphoria Or Bitter Disappointment), a mix of whisky, Cynar and orange bitters, and the Boss's Wife, made with cachaca, berry liqueur, lime and champagne. Even though the restaurant is situated on the site of the legendary 1920s era Brown Derby, there is nothing old and dusty about the place. Grab a seat at the slick oyster bar, at a white oak-topped communal table, or by one of the fire pits on the outdoor patio. A breakfast and brunch menu is in the works.


Nashville More than 200 pictures, installations and videos by Carrie Mae Weems, an American artist best known for projects that tackle issues of race and gender, are on display at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts until January 13. Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video is the first major museum retrospective of Weems's work and includes a never-before-exhibited photographs. Fans of her early work can take an unprecedented look at documentaries from the late 1970s and early 1980s, while such better known works as Family Pictures and Stories are also on show. Weems herself is the focal point of the famed Kitchen Table Series, a riveting tale of a woman and her many emotions.


London Leave the pub grub and pints behind and fuel up on smoothies and gourmet raw cuisine at 42° Raw. The new café, a Danish import set inside the Royal Academy of Arts, has a health-minded menu made exclusively from plant-based ingredients cooked at a max temperature of 42 degrees. Raw noodles of carrot and zucchini are served in curry, red chili, ginger and coconut. Avocado sandwiches are dressed with baby spinach, tomato, marinated red onions and raw chili mayo. For dessert, try the chocolate cake that's made with cashews, dates and cacao butter. Just don't expect to satiate extreme hunger pangs: Make it a stop for a light post-exhibit snack.

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