Attilio Di Fabrizio, chef de cuisine for both the Villa San Michele in Florence and the Hotel Splendido in Portofino, was born in the town of Abruzzi. He studied at the Villa Santa Cookery School, cradle of many of Italy’s most outstanding chefs. Di Fabrizio followed formal training with apprenticeships in Italy, France, Great Britain, and Switzerland, developing his skills and broadening his knowledge, before returning to Italy to the world-famous Hotel Cipriani in Venice. From 1975 through 1983 Di Fabrizio worked the Americas, then returned to Italy to the prestigious Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence. In 1984 he joined the Hotel Splendido, and in 1997 added Villa San Michele to his responsibilities.
In 2000, the Great Chefs crew arrived at Villa San Michele to film Chef Attilio preparing an etree “Beef in win” and a Dessert “Puff Pastry with Raspberry’s”. In 2013, he rpespares Fiesole Style Potato Dumplings with tomato & Basil.
Both the Hotel Splendido and Villa San Michele are Orient-Express Hotel properties, part of a collection of luxury hotels, trains, and cruises around the world. The setting for Di Fabrizio’s fine cuisine, Villa San Michele, stands in the hills of Fiesole overlooking Florence. Replete with Etruscan ruins, Villa San Michele is a 15th century monastery with an impressive facade designed by Michelangelo. It is on Italy’s National Trust list. While only 15 minutes from Florence, it is a serene haven, retaining Florentine features dating back to the 1400s‚ the interior courtyard with the Davanzati family crest carved in the stone dates to 1416. The monastery was owned by the Franciscans until they were displaced by Napoleon in 1808. Parisian Lucien Tessier restored Villa San Michele after World War II, changing it into a luxurious inn. Guests now enjoy drinks in the Cenacolo Bar, with its “The Last Supper” fresco, and dine in the Cenacolo Restaurant or outdoors on the Loggia with its views of Florence. In such a setting it is no wonder Di Fabrizio cites “fantasy” as well as “fresh ingredients” as his major inspirations. He fell in love with cooking from the time he started in the field at the age of 15. And what does he make at home? Ah, he says, his wife Fulvia cooks at home!