Out of Italy

La Dolce Vita, they say and without a doubt, it is true. Italy has it all.
Fashion, style, food and art.
We started our two week holiday from Venice, stepping straight into a water taxi, and for the next two days it was our only way of transport beside walking, and the Gondolas.

Water is everywhere and anywhere in Venice.

After a taste of the best espresso in Piazza San Marco while listening to
masterpieces played on the Piazza,

I quickly discovered an avenue filled with luxury and exclusively Italian fashion boutiques. Side by side proudly stood the bold labels Fendi, Versace, Dolce & Gabana, Gucci, Prada, Moschino to name a few, Louis Vuitton and Chanel being the only exceptions, I didn’t need to wonder why Karl Lagerfeld had chosen the glamorous Lido (one of Venice’s 117 islands) for Chanel’s 2009 resort fashion show.

It wasn’t difficult to find a place for dinner as the city is filled with lavish seafood restaurants, but from our hotel receptionist, we’d discovered a hidden gem. A miniature restaurant right next to a bridge not too far from the Piazza, packed with local Venetians, an added taste of true Italian culture was the presence of many old ladies with pretty unsuccessful plastic surgeries. Nevertheless, we didn’t have to look for another place to dine for the next night.

Starting with a glass of prosecco, followed by the most delicious marinated seafood (what else should we expect in Venice) as starters, my personal favorite was the pickled sliced onions with capers as a side dish, a match made in heaven (I couldn’t leave Venice without having the recipe, a request which had many middle-aged servants look surprised at first, however, I still returned to the hotel with it). Then your pasta dishes (second course) are served, followed by the main course, which will preferably be fresh fish and you can’t be finished without a tiramisu or gelato.

We left Venice after a night of wonder filled with a magnificent fireworks display, celebrating the Festa del Redetore (one of the reasons to visit Venice in July although it’s extremely warm and humid), heading towards Lucca, first city on our route into Tuscany.

Arrived in one of the many agritourismo farms in Italy, where the owners, produce their own organic food, you will then have the honor to eat what the owner’s wife cook for dinner from the shelves of her own kitchen, like these little Bay leaves fritters.

Here visiting Pisa is a must although extremely crowded.

Florence was our next stop,from the unusually high ceiling hotel rooms, covered with baroque paintings“this is a standard in Florence Senora”,our journey in the art and fashion started here.

The next day visited the Uffizi, and marveled around the Piazza del Duomo, but wanted absolutely not to miss the Gucci and Salvatore Ferragamo museums.
Guccio Gucci was born in Florence among many other world famous designers such as Roberto Cavalli and Emilio Pucci. The museum http://www.gucci.com/ae/worldofgucci/articles/gucci-museo-the-permanent-exhibition, was a journey into his lifetime. I was transported, from the day that Guccio worked in London Savoy Hotel, as a luggage boy, to the day when Blake Lively wore the gold studded dress, for the Gucci Premiere Perfume, and could almost touch Cameron Diaz’s pink dress she wore for the Oscars, all set into an elegant 3 story house (unfortunatly no photos were allowed inside the museum).

Ferragamo’s museum was a story of the birth of a shoe,

where we could see Florence’s craftsmanship and creativity turning anything into beauty and style.

Admiring the sunset on Florence’s most famous bridge Ponte Vecchio is a must before dinner and another reason to enjoy a bit of cool breeze at the end of mid-July hot day.

Unfortunately, we had to leave to our next destination, Siena, that will lead us to the part two.