Three reasons we’d rather be in Florence right now: flaky cornetti, bracingly strong espresso, and that inimitable Italian sensibility. Here, how to fit in—plus a few places to get your fix.
The Locations: Take in the scene at Chiaroscuro, home to 30-minute coffee-tasting classes; the wood-paneled Caffè Cibrèo, where Isidoro Vodola has been perfecting his drinks for 25 years; and Caffè Florian, which recently added an airy art gallery.
The Look: Leather handbag by Salvatore Ferragamo. Cashmere-and-silk scarf, Loro Piana. Leather iPad case, Etro. Cat-eye sunglasses, Persol. Calfskin wallet, Bulgari. Lipstick in Scarlett, Dolce & Gabbana. Nine-karat rose-gold ring, Pomellato.
Ilaria Venturini Fendi may be a scion of the Roman fashion dynasty known for its leather handbags and furs. But for her, luxury is I Casali del Pino, the organic farm she owns 30 minutes from Rome, where she’s opening an agriturismo this fall. The cozy inn’s 19 rustic-chic rooms are furnished with wrought-iron beds, salvaged tiles, and under-floor geothermal heating. The eco ethic is nothing new for Fendi: her accessories company, Carmina Campus—which is also run from the farm—creates totes out of “upcycled” materials (venetian blinds; mosquito nets). There’s a restaurant serving dishes such as lemon-ricotta ravioli with pine-nut pesto. And the pecorino cheese on the menu? That’s courtesy of Fendi’s own flock of Sardinian sheep. 39-06/3089-5688.
Bygone craftsmanship and modern-day charm come together at these storied spots in Milan, Florence, and Rome.
Wrought-iron lamps and checkerboard tiled floors have set the scene at Cappelleria Mutinelli(5 Corso Buenos Aires) since the late 1800’s. Men about town still visit for sporty leather caps and narrow-brimmed fedoras, while women love the 1930’s-style cloches.
The 83-year-old cutlery shop G. Lorenzi(9 Via Montenapoleone) overflows with mother-of-pearl caviar spoons, bone-and-carbon-steel knives, and ladles made of deer antlers.
The architect and designer opens her (well-edited) suitcase.
“The less I pack, the more relaxed I feel,” says the Spanish-born, Milan-based designer, known for her punchy Modernist style in hotels from Puerto Rico (W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island) to Barcelona (Mandarin Oriental). “I’ve lost my luggage several times, so I only take a carry-on”—usually a well-worn Globe-Trotter cabin bag with leather trim (price upon request) and a roomy Céline tote (from $2,400). Whether she is traveling to Berlin (where she is working on the Das Stue hotel), Istanbul, or São Paulo, Brazil, Urquiola chooses a simple look that can be dressed up or down. One fail-safe outfit: a vintage Marni jacket, V-neck sweater from Cos($87), and slightly faded Acne jeans ($250). Accessories include comfortable Robert Clergerie brogues ($495) and a Rolex Air-King watch. “Telling time using my cell phone just isn’t as reliable.”
What’s in Her Bag:
“A reversible silk and wool scarf by Pierre-Louis Mascia is great for converting day to evening wear, and doubles as a wrap.”
“I pack Prada heels and jewelry in case I need to make a quick change in the taxi for a work party.”
“Before getting off the plane, I apply YSL’s lash-lengthening Volume Effet Faux Cils mascara and Chanel Teint Innocence face powder. They’re my armor.”
For his fifth property, Francis Ford Coppola goes back to his ancestral roots.
“Bernalda bella.” Those were the words Francis Ford Coppola’s grandfather used to describe his birthplace, the quiet hilltop village of Bernalda, Basilicata, in southern Italy. The Godfather director first visited 50 years ago—and has now opened the nine-room Palazzo Margherita(64 Corso Umberto, Bernalda; 39-0835/549-060; doubles from $430), where his daughter, Sofia, was married last August. The interior of the 19th-century estate was dreamed up with the help of French interior designer Jacques Grange, whose clients have ranged from Yves Saint Laurent to New York’s Mark Hotel. Rooms feature restored frescoes, claw-foot tubs, and Juliet balconies overlooking a courtyard garden. In the brick-vaulted kitchen, guests learn to cook regional dishes such as spaghetti with bread crumbs and anchovies. There’s also a screening room with a library of 300 classic Italian films—all selected by Coppola himself.
Italy’s top chefs seem to agree that all roads lead to you-know-where, with a clutch of new restaurants relocating to the Eternal City.
Chef Oliver Glowig was the first to make the move to Rome with his namesake restaurant at Aldrovandi Villa Borghese(dinner for two $250), serving inventive Mediterranean dishes, including spaghetti all’amatriciana with prawns and tomato sorbet.
Chef Lucio Sforza relocated his renowned L’Asino d’Oro(73 Via del Boschetto; 39-06/4891-3832; dinner for two $160) from the historic Umbrian town of Orvieto. Tables at the 40-seat restaurant—known for rustic regional specialties such as wild boar—have become the most requested in town.
Up-and-comer Giuseppe De Rosa made a shorter journey—just across the city—to open the sleek Brò Porta Portese(2-3 Largo Alessandro Toja; 39-06/581-3500; dinner for two $140), which showcases his distinctive takes on local favorites such as smoked eggplant with roasted octopus and crisp Parmesan chips.