Monday, October 5, 2015

Italia is love....

Should we start out the week with a touch of whimsy and glamour Italian style? Before landing on our next island, let's look at the fabulous fun that was had at Dolce & Gabbana's show of their Spring and Summer 2016 collection, Italia is love. 

They focused on the home country, the things that compel tourist to endlessly flock to their shores, and the souvenirs they like take away. 

A bundle of shifts flaunted postcard designs, and models played glamorous modern~day~tourists~at~large, snapping selfies that were flashed on the big screen at the show.

Scenery from top tourist destinations were sequined upon a variety of dress designs. 

From simple shifts to elaborate lace caftans, the dress designs varied but each one reflected the heart of Italy using embellishments we've all fallen in love with from the postwar days when Italy started stepping into the fashion arena using Italian craftsmanship, bright colors and simple materials like cotton, raffia and cork. 

Silk scarf prints, depicting popular ports-of-call were stylishly tied around on top and draped on the body with ease.

Kitchy bucket baskets were back in abundance. 

The back drop was a traditional produce stand

and the countries citrus crop was front and center on sunglasses, dresses and headresses. 

Let's strut out and have a great week, mie belle ragazze et ragazza.

photos are from Reuters and Vogue, click on the links to see more great shots and a behind scenes video.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fall flourishes....

 I thought I'd take a little break from the Aeolians to share some things I'm savoring this fall. These Japanese Anemones (hupehensis japonica) come to me every year, in growing quantities, their poppy-like petals and the bright green centers that remain after the petals drop always make me smile. They grow in abundance here and I love how they brighten the house as the days begin to darken a little earlier. 

If you've been reading SM for awhile, you probably know that another thrill for me each fall is collecting Osage Oranges or Hedge Apples to pile in bowls around the house. These oddly beautiful orbs offer a fresh glimpse of green and the most refreshing grassy, citrusy scent. Not only are they a natural room freshener, but they are also supposed to repel spiders and insects. 

They look lovely and lively around the house and they also make great Halloween decorations. My kids always call them "monkey brains", which gave me the idea to put them in jars with slightly red tinted water to look like laboratory specimens. 

Osage Oranges can now be found on Amazon

What are you enjoying this fall?

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Isola di Panarea, Hotel Raya, Italy....

We spent a lovely afternoon meandering the streets of Panarea, popping into boutiques on the winding and climbing Il Vecchio Magazzino, and getting little glimpses into how the locals live on the side streets. 

We saw several enticing restaurants along the way, but once we settled in for a drink on the  incredible rooftop terrace of the Hotel Raya  any notions about going elsewhere dashed from our minds. 

The view of Mt. Stromboli, which has been erupting for over 2000 years and the boats and ferries coming and going before it engrossed our attention as we found the perfect position.

The wide open view of sea to sky blues can be enjoyed from a number of rustic~chic perches.

It's no wonder this island and, in particular, this hotel, restaurant and hillside disco is the jet setters favorite destination in the Aeolians. But you don't need to have private wings to get here, you can take a ferry or hydrofoil to many of these islands.

As the sun set, the full moon began to rise, causing an absolute frenzy of clicking and posing on the deck and the perfect excuse for another glass of wine. 

It was hard to leave the amazing array of azures on display, but I did venture down to the powder room. Here the eye feast continued with these classic walls of hand painted blue and white tile from floor to ceiling, the rough gaps and cracks only added to the authentic charm. 

Our table below was waiting for us, but we didn't go until the skies were full of stars and the candles were calling. 

As darkness fell, we were all hoping to see a flash or two from Mt. Stromboli, but we had to settle for some serious puffs of water vapor and ash, if you'd like to see some exciting explosions click on Stromboli for a fiery and informative little video from an explorer up on the crater.

A fuoco!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Aeolian overview, Limpari and beyond....

The Aeolians are a rustic and volcanic archipelago on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Lipari is the largest of the islands and where our adventure began. We visited the expansive Archaeological Museum set up on a rugged ledge above the sea. Here we were able to envision these islands through the ages, learning about how the earliest human inhabitants and the immense volcanoes shaped and molded them, physically and culturally.

Of course, the sea played quite a role in the history of these isoles as well, in fact the name of the islands comes from Aeolus, the god of winds, who early traders on the routes around the islands hoped would be kind to them. We had a boatload of old and young salts, so displays on these sea going vessels were especially interesting to us all. I think some of our young pirates, who were preparing to dive the next morning, were especially excited over the bounty on display that came from shipwrecks that lie off the Panarean coast; some of which was surely taken by the feared and famous Liparese Pirates from days gone by.

Here was one of my favorite displays, can you guess why the bottom of these amphora's are pointed? After filling them with wine or olive oil they would be loaded on to the trade boats and pushed into the sand that filled the hull of the boat for ballast and to protect and stabilize the precious goods. Once the boats arrived to their destination, the amphora's would be unloaded and nudged into the buyers sandy beach.

Brilliant simplicity, no?

The next day it was time for a little dive just off the coast to explore this looming rock shard sticking out of the sea, Pietra Lunga 

Pietra Langa
I loved the "map" the dive operation provided for an overview of the diving opportunities around the islands. They had drawn it on a plastic table in front of the shop, so everyone could point and talk and plan more easily. I'm guessing they were tired of unfolding paper maps.

Again, brilliant simplicity on the I'île de Limpari!

It's believed that these islands were the home of the sirens in Homer's Odyssey, so siren imagery abounds here.  The sirens on the local fishmongers truck look pretty scary, I wonder if has ever caught one in his net? 

After the dive we set back to the boat to enjoy final views of the sunny wine growing hills of Limpari.

We were rewarded with plenty of frutti di mare

and beverages in simply lovely Murano glasses.

Next stop, Panera.

Buon appetito!