Travel Design Tips & Inspiration
Europe, Food + Wine, Italy
April 23-30, 2016
I just returned from a week in Tuscany, traversing the gorgeous green and yellow patchwork of the Val d’Orcia, Tuscany’s UNESCO World Heritage area renowned for its Brunello and Vino Nobile, as well as it’s fabulous properties. I was lucky enough to stay in a few and tour some others, while fitting in wine tasting to practice for my upcoming WSET Level III course. Not bad for a week’s work. Below are some of my more wistful scenic shots, though sadly none of them quite do it justice. Tuscany, and really, all of Italy, is impossible to capture in an image. It’s not just one single sensorial experience – it’s all five of them, at maximum tilt. And that is why I will return as often as I can, forever.
Beach, Hideaways, Hotel Reviews, Italy
This June my mother, young son and I all traveled to Italy. It was an adventure, to say the least, during which we indulged in some robust Hideaway Hunting. Our hunt took us up and down the boot, from Sorrento to Umbria and even over to Capri, each of which yielded some memorable Italian gems that I was happy to add to my list. One of my new favorites is La Minervetta in Sorrento. A remarkably charming boutique property nestled into the cliffside of Sorrento, La Minervetta is a spot you don’t easily forget. It’s simply that good. My young son was particularly taken with this spot as well. It didn’t hurt that our room was filled with model boats ideal for him to tinker with and line up along the sparkling picture windows.
As you can see, the hotel’s cheerful decor hardly lacks for color and the result is a wonderful lightness felt amongst the guests. We chatted with almost every other guest, likely due to the sunny weather and small pool area, but also because the spots welcoming design simply encourages friendliness. Furthermore, the to buy semenax breakfast buffet, pictured at top, was truly one of the best, particularly as this is a small hotel. The two women chefs in the kitchen were not only supremely talented, but so warm and friendly. I chatted with them easily and happily, of course this also gave me ample time to graze so as not to stockpile my plate like a typical American. Everything though, and truly everything, was delicious and homemade and oh so fresh. It was one of those times where everything just came together so beautifully and the essence of European travel, particularly Italian, reached its pinnacle: gorgeous scenery, excellent fresh food and a warm and inviting setting. I can assure you, I will go back.
Sure, it helps that the sparkling view of the Sea and the Italian coastline is mesmerizing in its own right, but with a colorscape so fun and flirty inside too, it makes the whole stay feel just as it should – like a giddy holiday. And do let me know if you’re interested in going yourself, I’ve got a few room favorites that are absolutely stunning.
There comes in time, usually monthly, where my mind drifts to the magnificent scenery of Italy. I’ve been fortunate enough to have called the country home on two occasions, though neither stint dampened my ardor to return – rather the opposite, albeit with some added qualitative measures.
Rather than earn a living in Italy – an endeavor I wholeheartedly not recommend, unless your clients are foreigners, like you – I now prefer to find a way to enjoy la bella vita the way it is meant to be enjoyed – sans responsibility. And I am eager to help you do just that, should Italy be calling you helen willetts pokies lately too: please visit my travel consulting business at Friend of a Friend Consulting.
Below are some photos from my first book, Italian Hideaways, that were sent to me recently for an upcoming promotion with my recent addiction: Home Design site, One Kings Lane. And yes, they are the cause of this recent spate of wistfulness.
The path at Castello di Vicarello at dusk
Villa Cimbrone’s gardens
The silver bed at Villa Mangiacane
A guest room at Il Falconiere – an Italian Hideaway in Tuscany
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