Jamming with Buddhists on a gong, divine detours and spectacular hospitality … our tipsters share their most memorable unexpected discoveries
I helped a group through check-in en route to Bologna. On landing, one thanked me, introduced himself as Massimo and asked my plans. My mum and I had none, aside from ambling around Emilia-Romagna. Massimo Bottura, then proprietor of the world’s top restaurant, proceeded to piece together an itinerary of his favourite spots to eat and drink in the region, calling ahead and making sure we were looked after like locals at each turn. We topped it off with a visit to his Osteria Francescana and balsamic vineyards in Modena. For a lover of food, this was both unimaginable and unforgettable.