Monday, August 22, 2011

Up the Garden Path

I recently discovered for myself the beautiful town of Ravello while attending my friend Seyhan Ozdemir of Autoban's wedding.  Perched above Italy's Amalfi coast, life here is sublime . . . the architecture, the gardens and views, the airy villas and palazzos.  I found myself quite happy inside the fairy tale setting.  After arriving by boat, I wandered through the town, and was instantly charmed by its subdued glamour.  The wedding took place in the gardens of Villa Cimbrone, best known for once being owned by Ernest Beckett, who hosted so many famous guests including T.S. Elliot, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, D.H. Lawrence, Greta Garbo, and Jean Piaget.  The elegant wedding and dinner echoed the talents and intrigue of all those visitors past . . . a wonderful summer experience, as the season soon draws to a close . . .

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Caffè Break

A visit to Venice isn't complete without a stop at my favorite cafe, Caffe Florian.  Yes, two coffees do cost 30 Euros here, but one willingly pays to be surrounded by beautiful art, super smart waiters in white jackets, live bands, and a pulsing history of famous visitors, including Charles Dickens, Marcel Proust, and Casanova.  Opened in 1720, it is a contender for oldest coffee house in continuous operation, and yet still feels fresh and eagerly accepting of new patrons.  While the interiors are stunning, when the weather is nice, I like finding a table outside and sitting under the colonnade on St Marco Square, watching the beautiful world pass by.  If you haven't experienced the superb service and the tasty coffee and treats you own it to yourself to pay the piper and bask in one of modern Venice's oldest traditions.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

God is in the Detail: Hotel Bauer

I'm raising a glass to my favorite place to rest whilst in Venice, the Hotel Bauer.  Its combination of old Venetian palazzo and fantastic Gothic architecture (designed by the 16th Century architect Andrea Palladio), combined with a mixture of opulent details, including eclectic doses of Art Deco, makes for a dazzling spectacle for the eyes.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sweet Nothing

I've lost count of how many consecutive summers I've spent in Capri.  It remains one of my favorite locations in the world.  And a visit is incomplete without multiple reservations at the restaurant and beach club La Fontelina.  One can arrive early in the morning and hope to stake a claim to a spot along the rocky beach, but better in high season to call the concierge and book a seaside mattress a couple of days in advance.  Fresh mussels, handmade pasta, and house sangria between morning and afternoon swimming and sunning make for an unforgettable authentic Italian experience, la dolce far niente: the sweet of doing nothing.  I come for the crystal clear blue water against stunning rock formations, the brilliant colors meshing with subtle earth tones, the impeccable service, the perfect fresh food, and the most beautiful people in the world.  I hope you have some time to get away this summer, either to one of your favorite places, or off to explore somewhere entirely new.