Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vacation. Show all posts

Monday, April 10, 2017

Birthday Weekend Recap

Last week I turned 35... I was dreading this day because as of April 5th 2017 I am in an entirely new age range...Let me explain: I am a huge fan of Sex and the City and I own the entire dvd collection and never get sick of the show even after all these years.  I also know for a fact that Carrie's actual house is not really where they say it is and I know this because I dragged my mother and my boyfriend all over the Upper East Side looking for it last summer thus eventually finding out that the actual brownstone is located in Greenwich Village on the complete opposite side of the city...  Needless to say they were pretty mad at me by the end of the day and I had to listen to my mother say over and over again that I was trying to kill her by making her walk so much... ANYWAYS, I distinctly remember the episode (Season 4 - episode 1) in which Carrie turns 35 and she talks about checking the age box when filling out forms.... and that was all I could think about for the entire week... Yeah so, I switched boxes. Not cool. 

Anyways... aside from some temporary tears and depression... my sweetheart made a real effort in trying to lift my spirits and for this I will be forever grateful and he booked a one night stay in a Relais & Chateaux Luxury Hotel. :-)  It was truly magical! We had a spa session when we arrived and a three course candlelit dinner for two.  The Resort is located in the province of Perugia in the Umbria region.  Borgo dei Conti Resort is an estate that originated as a fortress in the twelfth century and was later inherited by Count Bernardino Rossi and his wife Countess Angelina Scotti of Perugia in the second half of the 19th century. It includes a 50 acre park with trails for hiking, a gourmet restaurant, outdoor and indoor pools and a wellness center. 

   This is the entrance to the hotel. 
Below is a picture of the entrance to the park/forest and some other pictures I took of the external grounds. 






This is the fitness area with huge windows overlooking the park. 

Inside it was a mix of modern and classic.  I personally thought that they should have stuck with the classic decor but that's my humble opinion.  I'm not too into mixing modern with baroque. However it was beautiful nonetheless. 


I absolutely fell in love with this mirror. There were so many beautiful antique mirrors. 


We stayed in the Countess suite.  At the time the Count and the Countess slept in separate rooms. The room had a gorgeous fireplace and original fresco's all around the room. 


There is also an adjoining library which was connected to the Countess and Count suites. The door pictured below is the entrance to the Counts orginal bedroom while ours was on the other side. 


The library had Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy transcribed on elephant folios which you can see pictured above. Each book contains one of the three canticas: The Inferno, The Paradiso and The Purgatory. 







This is the fireplace in the library...swoon!!

Pictured above is the restaurant which was originally the ballroom in the 800's. I had a squash risotto with truffle and pistachios. It was seriously exquisite...like I literally have no words to describe it other than amazing.


Then as a second course I got grilled lamb chops with an olive tapenade over sauteed zucchini...also amazing and cooked to perfection. 


I had a magical time and while I was there I forgot about all my problems and of becoming older and just enjoyed my time with my sweetheart.  We really needed a nice romantic getaway both as a couple and for each of us individually. A little TLC is necessary at times.

...And for one day I truly felt like a princess in an enchanted castle...
(no matter what age box I'm in)


Have a great week friends!

xoxo, 

Silvana

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Summer Vibes - My Favorite Vacation Spots in Italy

I am SO excited about summer vacation approaching! I'm really looking forward to visiting some new places this summer.  My mother will be here for the month of August and this year I wanted to go somewhere different from our usual vacation spots. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but if not my mother is from the Puglia Region specifically from the town of Brindisi which is basically located at the heel of the "boot"...I know, I'm so geographically technical LOL...

So our vacation spots are usually down south that way my Mom can get to visit all of her family and relatives in the short time she's here. This year we want to switch things up a bit. I would love to take a cruise over to the Greek Islands.  I still have yet to go to Greece and every year I say I'm going to but I never do so hopefully this year I'll get a chance to.

So in case any of you are interested in visiting Italy any time soon, I've picked out some of my favorite summer vacations spots you can consider that are not your usual touristy places like Rome, Naples or Milan but that are really worth a visit.

Porto Cesareo 

Porto Cesareo is located in the province of Lecce on the coast of the Ionian Sea and is famous for its long beaches and sandy bottoms that remain low for many meters.  Since it is located in the gulf area, it really has a Caribbean type vibe and is just a spectacular vacation spot...by far my favorite in Southern Italy. It's relatively close to Brindisi, where my family is from so it's where we usually go on the weekends when the weather is nice. The best time to visit is between May and July and in September. In August it is PACKED with people so be prepared to book early because waiting 'til the last minute is not that great of an idea if your planning on visiting Porto Cesareo in August.  
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There are many places to stay in Porto Cesareo but if I had to recommend a Resort I would definitely suggest Le Dune Suite Hotel . It is located right on the beach and it is a relatively new hotel with a beautiful Spa and private beaches for their guests. It also has 3 restaurants within the hotel.

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Santa Caterina al Bagno


There are so many beautiful places to visit if you are in that area. Just a few kilometres away is a small town called Santa Caterina al Bagno which is a lovely beach town with lots of shops to visit. While there really aren't that many sandy beaches here as it is more of a reefy area it is still a sight to see and great for snorkeling and fishing.

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Porto Selvaggio

There is also a very secluded "secret" beach... which is not so secret anymore... called Porto Selvaggio which is also in the same area as Porto Cesareo and Santa Caterina al Bagno.  It is a natural reserve and can only be reached by taking a long ass hike which kind of sucks because if you are going there to take a swim it's probably like 100° outside and you're most likely trucking along a beach umbrella, bag, toys, etc. etc. and you probably will be really uncomfortable. This is a picture of the hike from Santa Caterina al Bagno to Porto Selvaggio:

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But once you get there.....YOU'RE IN PARADISE...

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The places I've listed above are all pretty close to each other and it is by far my favorite place to be in the summer and I highly recommend it to anyone.  The entire Puglia region is breathtakingly beautiful but this spot here takes the cake in my opinion.

Moving up to central Italy my second favorite place to visit is ....yes...Tuscany. The colors, the wine, the people, the FOOD... to die for.  Obviously you are already aware of the more famous Tuscan cities which are Florence, Pisa and Livorno and I love visiting them all. The people in Tuscany are the sweetest, very generous and friendly and I have seriously considered moving there because it is one of the most beautiful regions in Italy. Mr. Amore and I frequently visit Tuscany on long weekends because it's not that far and we have found that one of our favorite places to stay is:

Montepulciano

Montepulciano is located in the Province of Sienna and it is a medieval town situated of a limestone cliff about 40 miles from Sienna. Montepulciano is known world wine for its wine and you can be certain that whenever we go there we stock up on our vino rosso!

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We buy our Red rigorously at the Cantina Contucci located in the heart of the town. It is a family owned winery and the owners are the nicest people. The Contucci family has been producing wine since the Renaissance period! We're talking 1700's so they know what they're doing! 

It's a tiny little hole in the wall when you see it from the street


But then you walk it and it's like...BAM...

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When we visit Montepulciano we always stay at Villa Poggiano.  It's a very cozy hotel with great service and offers lots of activities including a cooking class as well as hiking and backpacking tours. 

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The Alps - South Tyrol

Moving further up the peninsula...(I feel like a weather hostess)...another AMAZING place to visit in the summer are the Alps in Trentino Alto Aldige specifically the South Tyrol area.   We stay in a small town called Ahrntal which is very close to the Austrian border. It's funny the first time I went there I was surprised as the people living there speak a German dialect that is typical of the area and many don't even speak Italian. 
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We love visiting each year and I always leave feeling so refreshed and relaxed. We get lots of exercise when we go here as it is a place where you do lots of bike riding and hiking. So if you're into sports and wellness this is the place to visit.

It has a very "Sound of Music" vibe. It's gorgeous in the summer as well as winter.

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It's definitely not as hot in the summer as it is in the south and the air is so pure and clean from pollution and smog. We hit all the trails whenever we go and get a great workout. Here are the maps we use which are available at the location.  This particular mountain is called Speikboden





Whenever we go we stay at the Schwarzenstein Resort & Wellness Center.  This is an all inclusive resort with a premium Spa area that has 10 different saunas that are included in the price and that you can use whenever you want. This place is truly good for the soul. 

So those are the places that I have very much enjoyed and I wanted to share them with you because they are not your usual touristy cities.  This is more of an insiders perspective to some beautiful Italian places to visit that aren't that well known to tourists but that are definitely worth the visit if you get a chance. 

Hope you are having a great week! 

xoxo

Silvana

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

On the Isle for a While - Capri

This past weekend we took a quick trip to Capri. What an amazing place to visit! If you've never been there I hope that with this post you are able to see what a magical Island it is through these pictures.


The boat ride from Naples to Capri takes about 40 minutes. It was kind of cloudy that day but at least we didn't get any rain. Below is a picture of Marina Grande, the main port of the Island of Capri.


Once we arrived, we hopped on the "funicolare" a sort of cable car which takes you to the top of the Island where all of the upscale hotels and shops are.



It's a quick ride which lasts about 10 minutes or so and gives you a chance to really get a good look at the island on your way up. He are some pictures I took from the funicolare. 




Once we arrived at the top we stopped to have a bite to eat. Obviously all of the seafood is fresh and is the specialty of the area so this is what we ordered and it was exquisite to say the least. 


This is what I had - Spaghetti in a garlic clam sauce. You can find the recipe here.  


This is "Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare" which is basically home made pasta with mussels, clams and shrimp in a tomato basil sauce. Similar recipe here. 


And fisherman's risotto, a recipe which I've shared before but my version is without tomato sauce. In Capri, they typically add some tomato. Here is my recipe for Fisherman's risotto

After all that deliciousness we did a lot of walking and window shopping. Capri is filled with so many original shops and the merchandise is like nothing I've every seen anywhere else. 





Needless to say everything is mad expensive and of the highest quality...

...And the JEWELRY...UUUHHHH...





A girl can dream, right?



I saw these boots in the Roberto Cavalli window display and I had to take a picture of them.  


They reminded me so much of the boots Madonna wore in the movie Desperately Seeking Susan.  Do you remember that 80's movie? It's funny how fashion comes back in style. 


So we made our way past the Piazzetta where all the upscale Hotels are located and up Via Krupp towards the Gardens of Augustus. 


I had to take some pictures of the gorgeous Villas that are located along the main street.


I love these wrought iron gates.


Once you reach the Gardens you see the Carthusia Perfume shops which Capri is also famous for. 


The fragrances are all very fresh and citrusy and they fill the streets with their scents which are diffused outside the shop windows. 





Once you reach the Gardens you are exposed to the famous view of the Faraglioni of Capri which are the 3 large rock formations on the side of the Island.


The gardens are very well kept and they even have a little "dog bar" for our four-legged friends :-)




Unfortunately we weren't able to visit the Blue Grotta that day which was unfortunate because it is a Sea Cave on the coast of the Island which passes through an underwater cavity where the sun shines through creating an electric blue reflection that illuminates the cave. 

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So that concludes our trip to Capri. It's a magical and very romantic place to visit.  I hope you can see it for yourselves one day if you've never been there before. 

I'll leave you with the lyrics from one of my Grandmother's favorite Frank Sinatra songs that she would sing when she visited Capri many years ago... 

"Isle Of Capri"

It was on the Isle of Capri that I found her
Beneath the shade of an old walnut tree
Oh, I can still see the flowers bloomin' 'round her
Where we met on the Isle of Capri

She was as sweet as a rose at the dawning
But some how fate hadn't meant her for me
And though I sailed with the tide in the morning
Still, my heart's on the Isle of Capri

Summertime was nearly over, blue Italian sky above
I said, "Lady, I'm a rover, can you spare a sweet word of love?"

She whispered softly, "It's best not to linger"
And then as I kissed her hand, I could see
She wore a lovely meatball on her finger
It was goodbye at the Villa Capri

Summertime was nearly over, blue Italian sky above
I said, "Lady, I'm a rover, can you spare a fine word of love?"

She whispered softly, "It's best not to linger"
And then as I kissed her hand, I could see
She wore a plain golden ring on her finger
It was goodbye on the Isle of Capri
It was goodbye on the Isle of Capri
It was goodbye on the Isle of Capri