I am tickled with excitement and disbelief to announce that my baby blog will turn one year old in February! When I reflect on the past year, I think it’s only appropriate that I celebrate in a HUGE way… something that is fitting for the occasion but that also takes my passion for Italy and Italian fashion a giant leap forward, but what good would a celebration be if it does not include you, my readers, friends and supportive family?? 🙂
This got me thinking and literally wrecking my brain trying to conceive a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that would allow me to share my la dolce vita experiences with you, not just online but in person! Bubbling at the top of my thoughts for the past few months was the idea of actually managing shopping tours to Italy as often as possible and the more I thought about about it, the more I thought that this will be an exciting opportunity to meet my readers and together, we can indulge in our love for beautiful Italian fashion, the romantic cities and it’s charming inhabitants. I want you to see Italy through my eyes and fall in love with the land as I have. I want you to pinch yourself at the sight of old Venice from the Rialto Bridge, marvel at the sunflower fields of Tuscany, feel like an ant at the door of Milan’s majestic Duomo and eventually, flip a coin into Rome’s Trevi Fountain in the hopes that you may return again and again.
I eventually pulled out my photo albums and put pen to paper, remembering every breathtaking, funny and magical moment of my trips to Italy since July 2009, to conjure up a standard itinerary for my shopping tours to Milan, Rome, Venice and Florence (typed out below). So instead of just reading about my travels, you can actually join me for two whole weeks of fabulous food, fashion and scenery 🙂 Don’t confuse me with a tour guide, because I am just someone who has experienced the best of each city first-hand and is aching to accompany you to the cities’ most prestigious shopping streets and tourist attractions while taking shelter at the most affordable and comfortable hotels that I have actually stayed in. We won’t waste a minute of precious time. We will soak up every bit of Mediterranean culture and you will get to know this land, not just as a tourist but as a thread of it’s cloth.
Think about it… gather your friends and family in groups and know that I am more than happy to assist with organising your trip. You can walk my path travelled, max out your credit card in boutique stores and if I have it my way, you may even get to meet VIP’s along the way. Don’t be afraid to submerge yourself in the beautiful culture, roam the cobbled streets, eat gelato every single day and most of all, don’t hesitate to own every exquisite designer item that begs to to be bought.
Read my itinerary and let me know what you think… Have I covered it all? Does this vacation appeal to you? Have I left out an important sight? Should I have included another city? Does it seem too rushed?
Stai bene 🙂
Tour & Shop in Italy!!
Day:1- Arrive in Milan
Let’s dive right into Italian culture by ordering pizza at a small trattoria in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele at the heart of the city. Marvel at the gothic church, the Duomo, while you feast on real gelato and then it’s time to head off to bed. You will need to rise bright and early for a fun, fabulous day of fashion, food and art.
Day: 2 – Visit Lake Como
We have to catch the early train to Lake Como, an hour and a bit away. This place is magical with mountains surrounding the mass of water. We’ll take a lake cruise so that you can snap away at the scenery, the majestic hotels and villas. While you’re at it, give a special wave to Mr Clooney whose holiday home is also around here. Let’s walk to the town’s main piazza where we can grab a bite to eat and do some shopping! We’ll head back to Milan late in the afternoon and take a chill pill for the rest of the evening.
Day:3 – The Castle to Duomo and Brera
Let’s visit the Sforzesco Castle near Parco Sempione. Beautiful Renaissance art awaits, followed by lunch at the Da Claudio Pescheria. A calm stroll back to Duomo, via Cairoli, will help to settle your tummy. There are amazing shops along the way like Guess, Swarovski and Nadine.
The Duomo is exquisite on the inside too. We’ll join the queue to enter this church. Try to be respectful, so if your shoulders are bare, keep a thin scarf in your bag to cover up.
It’s time to put your feet up…. Let’s catch the metro back to the hotel where you can get some R&R, watch some TV (not that you’ll understand a word) and sip a cuppa tea. Tonight, we head off to the quaint Brera district. Luxury apartments rest above the boutiques and restaurants that line the cobble-stoned streets of this artistic area.
Day:4 – Via Montenapoleone, the Quadrilatero and the Navigli
Today is meant to be both a treat and an education. We will visit the artery of the Fashion capitals’ heart, Via Montenapoleone, where flagship stores of top luxury brands await; YSL, Gucci, Bulgari, Loro Piana, Venini, Sergio Rossi and much more… Go wild if you can afford to but save the best for last when we will be given a tour of the exceptional Larusmiani concept boutique. We will move on to the Rubinacci Workshop to see the tailors at work before stopping at the historical Caffe Cova for gourmet sandwiches, Cappuccino, pastries and celeb-spotting.
After lunch, take your time to explore the the remaining streets within the Quadrilatero Della Moda; Via Manzoni, Via Della Spiga, Corso Venezia and the shorter streets that run between. The afternoon is yours to do as you please. Continue walking to Corso Vittorio Emanuele or take time out in your room.
Tonight, we connect with the youth in the City’s Navigli area. We will catch a tram from Duomo to the student hang-out where we can eat dinner, relax amongst the ancient pillars, Le Colonne di San Lorenzo, and then end the day with ice cream and strawberry-filled crépes at the famous CioccolatItaliani.
Day:5 – Depart for Rome; sit on the Spanish Steps and marvel at the Fontana di Trevi
Sit at the fountain while eating pistachio gelato while the sound of falling water calms your soul and the sight of the Trevi leaves you speechless, but don’t forget to make a wish and flip a coin into the water so that you may make a return trip to Roma.
We will explore the surrounding area including the prestigious shopping street, Via Condotti. Climb the Spanish Steps to overlook the city and then let’s eat at the picturesque trattoria, Tritone where an underground dungeon intrigues and charming waiters fold napkins into roses and chickens 🙂
Day:6 – Vatican City and a city bus tour
Today is the perfect day to visit the magnificent Vatican City, but it will not be complete without admiring the collection of art and tapestries inside the Vatican Museum which ends with a shoulder-to-shoulder squeeze through the Sistine Chapel.
Lunch is served at the Universal Bar, a stone’s throw from the Vatican and then we’ll enjoy a seated tour on a double-decker bus through the city. Hop off the bus to see the ruins of the ancient mega-structure, the Colosseum.
Tonight, it’s fish and chips on the menu along the banks of Rome’s main water supply, the Tiber River, an area referred to as ‘Trastevere’.
Day:7 – Europe’s biggest mosque
We will take it slow and easy today. At Piazza Del Popolo, we’ll take a train to the Campo Sportivi stop. From there, we will navigate to Europe’s biggest mosque. The rest of the day is yours to roam free in Rome.
Day:8 – A day trip to Florence
We will travel to Tuscany’s most bustling city and Pinocchio’s birthplace, Florence. The famous statue of David stands tall in the Galleria D’Academia, the old bridge ‘Ponte Vecchio’ still houses jewellers across the River Arno and the palace, Palazzo Pitti is also a must see. The best leather comes from Florence, so this is the only place to buy great quality leather bags and jackets at reasonable prices.
Day:9 – Sunday Mass and Sunday at the beach
No matter what your faith, it will be incredible to observe a Sunday at the Vatican for one reason: Sunday Mass when the pope appears at his window to lead the crowd in prayer.
In the afternoon, let’s get out of the city and soak up some sunshine in Lido on the coast. This is a wonderful time to dip your toes into the Mediterranean Sea…
Day:10 – Depart for Venice, ride a gondola and be serenaded by candle-light
We’ll have to catch our train to Venice early. Arrival in this museum-like city is something to remember. The train seems to glide over the water and you have to pinch yourself when you step out of the train station. It’s exactly like it is in movies and the ferry to the Zachariah area will leave you windswept and loving it!
We’ll settle in and take time to explore the water’s edge bustling with hawkers of Venetian masks, lace and Murano glass jewellery. Take pictures with doves eating out of the palm of your hand in Piazza San Marco where we can order lunch.
Let’s take a gondola ride through the alleyways and all the way to the Rialto Bridge. This will help you to make sense of the maze of canals. In the evening, candle-lit dinner with romantic live orchestra’s serenading the crowds will be the perfect ending to a perfect day.
Day:11 – Glass-making at Murano, the Rialto Bridge
We’ll visit the Murano Island and witness the glass-blowers create beautiful vases, bowls and ornaments. In the afternoon, we can do lunch where the gondoliers eat and then walk over the Rialto bridge to shop at the many amusing stalls and boutiques along the way.
At night, take it easy… Sit at a corner cafe, visit the casino or take another gondola ride past Casanova’s residence.
Day:12 – Swimming at Lido
The weather should be great, so let’s make the best of a sizzling summer day. Take out your swimsuit and ferry over to Lido for a day of sea, sun, sand and thousands of washed-up seashells.
Day:13 – Depart for Milan
Back in Milano, the afternoon is yours to do as you please… Consider exploring the area around the hotel, get one last glimpse of the Duomo and at night, visit the party hang-out on Corso Como or watch an Italian movie in their theatre-like movie houses.
Day: 14 – All good things come to an end… It’s time to return to home…