A country where love and passion flow through every aspect of food, culture and language.
Within moments of landing in Italy I loved the delicate balance of historical roots running so deep yet, placed in modern times. There was ancient familiarity I could feel as if I’d been there before.
Architecture litters the land from churches to castles to common streets, so overwhelmingly beautiful with a voice of ancient times long before us. Many still stand with such immense conviction and grace, as if history was unfolding before you. Whether lunching in Verona in quaint cafés against the backdrop of ‘Arena di Verona’ built in 30 AD, its mere greatness commanding respect in the heart of the city, or later enjoying an Operatic Musical within its great walls, it evoked true emotion and awe within my curious Gypsy Soul.
The Italian Renaissance, inspired many of the greatest artists of our time and as I wandered through the busy streets of Fashion Week in Milano captivated by the ease of Italian style with every click of a Choo on cobblestone, to floating the magical canals in Venezia and onwards, the very sources of design inspiration like Louis Vuitton’s Monogram or Versace’s Baroque prints were ever present. From the delicate craftsmanship of detailed paintings decorating simple ‘Appartamentos’ with hand painted shutters to gothic cathedrals and museums, or the intricate stonework designs of the many famous ‘Piazzas’ or city squares, this attention to detail seemingly left behind as reminders of the beauty in creation continuing to inspire through history.
Like the ancient grapevines rooted deep in the Italian countryside, the antiquity of food itself, wraps up the simplicity of fresh ingredients, with the perfect ‘al dente’ bow tie pasta!
For Italia, food isn’t just about fueling the body, as much as it’s the very fibre of the culture- food and wine in Italia is for the soul.
It’s a ‘Pasticcino’ relished with an Espresso for breakfast and an ‘Appertivo’ of Aperol Spritz to whet the appetite before dinner. The cured ‘Bresaloa’ from the Lombardy region, the ‘Amarone’ grape varietal from Valpolicella and the Pesto from Genoa. The recipes and their ingredients from the land have defined ‘famiglia’s’ and generations in regions for lifetimes. With every drip of olive oil drenched bread or slurp of fresh pasta, the flavours represent a history boasting a true culinary adventure.
With every city, town and region we explored, ‘La Dolce Vita’ adopted us as if we’d lived that way all along, the Italiano way of life falling naturally within our rhythm.
This way of living “The Good Life”, is evident in the shops that close in the afternoon for friends and ‘famiglia’ to rest and then gather together over food and drink. The simple yet complex way of dining as ‘Appertivo’s’ and ‘Antipasti’s’ lead way to delicately portioned First Courses of fresh pasta, Second Courses typically of ‘carne’ perfectly paired with Chianti, followed gallantly with a ‘Digestivo’ accompanied by ‘Dolce’ and of course, Espresso! It’s in the quaint countryside begging to be pinic’d in with good cheese, grapes off the vine and a delicious ‘Pino Nero’ whilst watching the sun set on a country more beautiful then there are words to describe. It’s in riding a scooter down the coast of Como de Lago or Portofino with Andrea Bocelli serenading you and seemingly also, the colorful villas of the Italian Riviera, so picturesque with every curve of the shoreline.
I went to Italy in search of fashion inspiration, instead I found inspiration in living a life full of beauty beyond the eye. Beauty you can feel, in how you live, in the quality of how you eat and the ritual in which you do it. But most importantly, the beauty of life you feed your soul. For this, is the quintessential cultural expression that is truly Italia.