For the fashionable pair Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, their beloved Sicily is an endless font of inspiration. With several collections on a row from New York to Milan Fashion Weeks they take us on a tour to rediscover Sicilian traditions, architecture, and history through Fashion.
The 2013 Fall/Winter Collection is all about Domenico Dolce’s homeland, honoring the materials of homespun craft (needlepoint, tapestry) the faded baroque splendor in the palaces and basilicas of Southern Italy, an invitation to look deep in to our lost traditions and beliefs, no matter what they are.
With a private and impeccable event the French Luxury Maison Hermès opened the doors of its new Milan flagship store on Via Montenapoleone 12, Milan’s fashion “quadrilatero”. The Neoclassical palace was dressed up in the famous “giallo ambrosiano” the characteristic yellow color of the city and the exhibition of Pégase d’Hermès, on display in the city’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
The choice of Pégase statue it was inspired by the bronze sculpture ‘Eloge du Cheval’, which was also built by Renonciat for the famous Ecole National d’Equitation in Samur, France. Made of beautiful handcrafted wood, the wings represent the free spirit of Hermès.
Older than Louis Vuitton as a brand, Hermes is the epitome of elegance and style. An Institution in the “savoir fare” (know how to). In 1837 Hermes was already the leader in saddle horse making, requested by Royal Houses. Today; from the hands of the same family, the tradition continues, evolving in smaller accessories and luxury objects of desire, the must have: bags, foulards, belts, etc.
I finally arrived to the Sorrento Coast and my first stop is at the cliffs of Vico Equense, of Etruscan origins this little town has a lot to offer from the dramatic panoramas to pizza by the meter or Michelin Guide Starred Restaurants. The Sorrento Peninsula is definitely an unforgettable culinary experience.
But who where the Saracens and why they came to this part of Italy? Around the 455 AD the coast was invaded by Arab tribes, many watchtowers can still be seen on the cliffs to prepare the inhabitants for further attacks. Saracen was a term for Muslims widely used in Europe during the Medieval Era.
Now a brief tour of the tasting menu at The Saracen Tower, enjoy!
Juicy and red tomatoes, creamy white mozzarella di Bufala, ricotta and fior di latte, fragrant green basil, topped with a swirl of olive oil. The mix of intense flavors and vivid colors, is characteristic of a cuisine that reflect the region’s Mediterranean climate. Dishes rely on their success because of the freshness of the local ingredients. Getting the fish fresh from the harbor is still part of the local life; sword fish, anchovies, mackerel and sardines; clams, mussels, octopus, squid and cuttlefish are served in dozens of ways including pasta.
But when in Sorrento, don’t forget to try the “Gnocchi alla Sorrentina”, the “Delizia al limone” and a sip of “limoncello”; you are on your way to a longer and healthy life. Salute!
Going to the Amalfi Coast is certainly memorable and a unique experience, the story of Amalfi is linked to the nymph Melphe, the apple of Hercule’s eye and the legend says that he built a city so high on the cliffs to buried her when she died but there is another theory; when Romans lived here in the IV century named it Melfi.
Suspended between the sea, sky ad earth the state road 163 twists and turns in an almost never ending path around the Coast, it has stunning views from every corner. In the 19th century access to the Amalfi coast was very difficult and possible only by the mountains in mules. By the 1900’s the isolation of this part of Italy attracted many travelers. In Edwardian times the coast became a destination of choice by British aristocrats, later actors such as Humphrey Bogart, Greta Garbo and Sophia Loren brought fame to the area.
You can find some of the best well kept secret restaurants of Italy (Michellin stars and local eateries) with amazing menus that are well worth the narrowed roadside trip and the headache.
Italy keeps inspiring most of us over and over, it is everything from the Arts to the Music, from the Architecture to the Fashion, from the History to the wine and food.
Naples is one of the cities that fascinates me with incredible characteristics and the magnificent views of the Vesuvius, wherever your position is, you will be able to have that postcard illusion. Here you need to take your time, to eat and drink like a local, don’t bring your watch, time here seems like it never goes by, it is the perfect way to feel that “La Dolce Vita” style.
Borgo Marinaro, Marecchiaro and Santa Lucia
One of the romantic walks around Naples is by the Lungomare in the Santa Lucia neighborhood, with plenty of restaurants to choose from surrounded by colorful sun kissed boats lining around the “Borgo Marinaro” (the fishermen’s quarter). Naples inspired also the most romantic Italian songs (canzonettas) and it’s here in this quarter where they were born. In Naples everything is about love, food and the simple life, just experience it for yourself.
The Lungomare was frequented by Sophia Loren and Salvador Dali and you can still have the same taste and get your inner diva and glamour do the rest, just put on some huge sunglasses with a little black dress and enjoy a glass of Falanghina wine which is the perfect pair with any of the local seafood dishes.
The legend around the Castel dell”Ovo and the particular name first appears in the XIV century and it talks about a magic egg that was hidden in the castle. Today the castle with his particular tufa walls is home of art exhibitions and retrospectives that can be visited by the public.
After lunch at the Borgo Marinaro or Santa Lucia a short walk to the chic Chiaia neighborhood it’s a must for the designers stores and the majestic architecture.
Naples can be a city with many contradictions, narrowed claustrophobic streets full of Vespas and chaotic traffic or wide avenues with the most glamorous shops and ladies covered in fur and designer handbags. While in Chiaia experience both sides, take a look at the Fascist era architecture and monuments and don’t forget it’s time for an aperitif, our version of Happy Hour, Italian Style, somewhere around 5 to 7 pm. Chiaia gives many options when it comes to aperitif, the difference is that with one drink most bars offer a full buffet of appetizers and nibbles, all self service but with moderation, remember soon will be time for dinner.
Well, I think has been a long day and you need some rest because tomorrow you will be visiting more wonderful monuments, eating amazing food and tasting excellent wines, what a wonderful life!!!
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco. All pictures by me taken with an IPhone 4, 4S and Sony Cybershot