All things FASHION !

With New York kick starting the biannual Fashion Calendar on the 9th of February, we are in for one month’s endless stream of “new” looks, re-invented looks and “classics with a twist”.In the Fashion Calendar, hot on the heels of New York follows London [17-22 February], Milan [22-28 February] and a grand finale with Paris [28 February to 7 March] with the Autumn Winter 2012 collections well at least with the current weather the fashions will not look out of place, sadly we will have to wait a few months to get out hands on them … From our very beautiful Lucca based Villa Rental  - La Collina del Sole, you could go to Milan see the “pick of the bunch” show and come home to rest and tranquillity, on the other hand if you would like to check out what the Italians really wear, many of which have an innate sense of style and can look chick while going to milk the cow!   then sit by a café and watch the world go by, in Castelnuovo  di Garfagnana we would suggest a couple of places: Bar Ariosto, Piazza Umberto - This bar has a good selection of breakfast pastries and paninis. Delicious fresh juices, ice creams, cocktails with complimentary nibbles and much more. It is very central with very Pleasant service, it is run by a couple of very helpful young men, with its outside seating you can enjoy the Castelnuovo buz.

Bar Centrale, Piazza Umberto, Also on the main piazza Umberto. Good to sit with a different vantage point and watch the Castelnuovo world go by ... literally.

Florence  is close to La Collina del Sole and has THE best boutiques, it is the home of Ferragamo, The brand Cavalli has one of its main headquarters just outside in Sesto Fiorentino, and many Couture houses use textiles from Prato and Furs from Santa Anna, so you can shop to your heart’s content knowing that you are close to the marrow of Fashion. Then you can always check the sites out -  Florence needs no introduction, it is beautiful, timeless, serene, interesting and above all inspiring.  A few highlights are Ponte Vecchio, Piazza de la Signoria [where the duel scene of “Room with a view” is filmed, the Baptistery, famous for its bronze doors by Ghiberti, the Duomo, the Medici Tombs in the Church of Santo Stephano, and the Street market that is adjacent to it, their mark up is very reasonable, so stock up on silk scarves, cashmere scarves and leather goods. There is a fun Ferragamo Hotel called “Gallery Hotel Arts” telephone 055 27263 it is almost at the beginning of the Ponte Vecchio with a lovely terrace bar where you can sip cocktails and see Florence from the rooftops. Off the beaten track there is the Church of San Miniato a Romanesque church with the most beautiful Mosaic at the back. The BEST gelato of all time must be that of the Gelateria dei Neri, on Via Dei Neri,  close to the church of Santa Croce. Florence has many well know sites, the Uffizi Museum for example is amazing but you must book and arrive ON TIME for your slot otherwise it is gone, there is another Museum Museo del Opera del Duomo which houses monuments of the Duomo and works which Michelangelo’s progression as an artists, it is located behind the Duomo, and is one of our favorite museums, then there is the museum of the Academia where the original statue of the David is housed and the beautiful marble “prisoners”.  There are SO many beautiful sites in Florence if you are up to it stay there into the evening and watch the Arno you will feel like Helena Bonham Carter in “Room with a View”. If you would like to eat in Florence check out our Restaurant section for the Trattoria 4 Leoni, whci hwe wrote about a couple of weeks ago

If you are driving rather than going by train, a trip to Fiesole and in particular the Hotel San Michelle - a converted convent designed by Michel Angelo is a “must” especially near sunset on a hot day, have a Belllini Cocktail at the bar, but do remember they expect smart attire. SO YOU SEE Fashion IS important after all …