Unlocking the World

Italy's weight loss secrets, the man who built a plane and more

Maureen O'Hare, CNNPublished 22nd October 2022
Limone from the Gardesana Occidentale, the highway on the western shore of Lake Garda, Italy
Editor's Note — Sign up for Unlocking the World, CNN Travel's weekly newsletter. Get news about destinations opening, inspiration for future adventures, plus the latest in aviation, food and drink, where to stay and other travel developments.
(CNN) — In travel news this week, the Italian village whose residents boast of a "fat-killing gene," the man who built a plane for his family in his garden and the woman who asked a stranger for directions then got engaged to him two weeks later.

The town with a health 'elixir'

On the shores of Italy's Lake Garda, there's a fishing village with a secret: Many of its residents claim to carry a special gene that kills fat and cholesterol, which has made them a medical marvel.
But in another Italian tourist center, Amalfi, an Englishwoman shed weight this week the old-fashioned way: by stripping naked. Unfortunately, she chose to disrobe on the cathedral steps, and the local police were less than impressed.
One region giving a warm welcome to (fully dressed) sightseers is Friuli Venezia Giulia, in Italy's northeast, which is paying people just to visit. You need to stay there two nights, and in exchange, they'll reimburse your travel from anywhere in the country.
And this week, Stanley Tucci visits Puglia -- a beach lovers' paradise located in the heel of Italy's boot. "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy" airs at 9 p.m. ET Sundays on CNN.

Build your dreams

An England-based engineer got his private pilot's license in 2019 and then built a plane for his family right in his own garden. Makes those shelves you put up last year look pretty lame, doesn't it?
Then there was the Welshman who bought a former movie star's home in the French countryside and spent $300,000 restoring the swimming pool to its former glory.
And in Sicily, a group of Argentinian doctors is facing one of their toughest resuscitation challenges yet: They've been drafted to help reverse the fortunes of an Italian village that has been selling dilapidated homes at bargain €1 prices.

Matters of taste

Hong Kong -- now reopening to tourism -- has one of the world's toughest dining scenes. There are the sky-high rents, the expensive food imports and most important of all, the knife-sharp competition. An insider reveals secrets direct from its beating heart.
Mushrooms are popular in food cultures around the world, but alongside the likes of olives and cilantro, they're also among the most likely to be pushed to the side of the plate by certain diners. Why are some foods so polarizing? Experts explain.

Love across borders

French Canadian Rachel Décoste traveled to West Africa's Republic of Benin in 2018 to explore her history. On her first day, she asked a stranger for directions, and it was a move that would change her future, too. Two weeks later, they were engaged.
That's the kind of love story many young Western women are hoping for when traveling to South Korea, in a social phenomenon dubbed "the Netflix effect." Disappointed with the dating cultures of their home countries, they come in search of the cultured, romantic Korean men they've seen portrayed on screen. But they find fiction needs to be weighed against reality.

Animal antics

A gentoo penguin tells his friend to talk to the flipper.
A gentoo penguin tells his friend to talk to the flipper.
Jennifer Hadley/Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards 2022
Sure, sometimes it's great to see a majestic deer stag or elegantly poised coconut octopus, like in the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. But in a week when the news cycle got particularly chaotic -- hi, Liz -- it can be good to take a moment to laugh at an exasperated penguin or some roughhousing meerkats. Step forward, the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards finalists.

In case you missed it

Ritz-Carlton's $6,400-a-week superyacht cruise has finally set sail, more than three years behind schedule.
Now that's what we call fashionably late.
A Boeing 747 is set to launch a rocket into space next month.
And a whale-shaped Airbus Beluga just delivered a satellite to the Kennedy Space Center. Watch here.
Disney recently hiked prices at US resorts.
"We suffer for what we love," says one theme park expert.
A Brooklyn restaurant tested a robot cat against a human waiter.
Who did the better job? Watch here.

Best sleeping bags

Sleeping bag technology has been striding forward in recent years, so if your model is getting a little outdated, it could be time to upgrade before your next big camping adventure. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have selected 26 of the best on the market, according to camping experts.