Ah! La dolce vita! Italy is one of the most charming places in Europe … How about some ideas for your next trip? I made a selection of alternatives for this special visit … let’s go:
For that once in a lifetime treat, charter a boat to spend the day or two sailing between towns on the Italian Riviera, and stop to do some shopping in Portofino – This is certainly the ideal way of visiting this beautiful area, but another great alternative (and less expensive) would be to hire a small cabriolet car and drive along the coast.
In addition to the very scenic ocean route, there are very nice villages to see inland that are not too touristic and believe me, have some of the finest Italian rustic cuisine you could imagine. The best boutiques in Portofino are the jewellery stores – they’re just wonderful!
Walk around the iconic fashion district in Milan – especially the streets in the centre of town where a selection of the most prestigious brands and boutiques can be found in a square known as the Quadrilatero d’Oro (the Golden Rectangle). Start in Via Montenapoleone, and follow on to Corso di Porta Venezia, Via Manzoni, and Via della Spiga. My favourite shop – Gucci. I always feel that Gucci is just so “Italian”. It’s new range of bags is just fantastic – especially those with the famous bamboo handle. Of course, its range of clothes is to die for, expensive – but if you have the budget, the summer collection that is actually in their stores is absolutely so original, so Italian, and so very Gucci.
There are other options to consider as well. Milan is a great cultural city and perhaps one of the highlights in my visits there was attending the world famous opera “La Scala”. Just remember to book well ahead in advance.
Discover Tuscany and the beautiful town of Florence. If you are coming from Milan, just hop on the new high-speed train – that reaches speeds of 300km per hour. You will arrive in less than 2 hours and see some true dolce vita scenery on the way! With all the security and delays at airports, travelling by train is now the option to take, if you can.
Take a private tour of the Uffizi in Florence—and pay extra to walk through the Medici’s secret passageway that travels above the city. The famous Via Tornabuoni is where all the smart shops are (in case you have any regrets about not buying something in Milan!) and why not be tempted by the very best of fine Italian jewellery? The best place to find the biggest and most wonderful selection is on that unbelievable medieval bridge called “Ponte Vecchio”
An alternative for me while visiting Florence is to do some shopping for food to bring home to impress family and friends!
For a true Italian experience, you must go to the markets of San Lorenzo and Sant Ambrogio. Finally, but not least – make sure you buy some fine Italian Tuscany wines. They are among the best in the world, so pack them in your bags and have a feast when you get home in memory of Tuscany.