We visited three beautiful cities in my beloved Italy, each so different, each with its own history, culture and differences in food. All so wonderful: Milano, Forte dei Marmi, Torre del Greco, Napoli, LOVED IT ALL!
A metropolitan city in Northern Italy, of the Lombardy region. Its strengths are in the fields of art, design, entertainment and fashion, also finance, as it hosts Italy’s stock exchange. Met our dear friends Ron & Lucille and spent two lovely days and evenings with them.
Two recommended hotels are: Hotel Principi Savoia (a boutique hotel with wonderful service, accommodations, lobby bar and location) or Excelsior Hotel Gallia (high tech, large hotel with great service and beautiful suites)
Fine restaurant with traditional Milanese food: El Tombon de San Marc, excellent food, friendly service, lovely recent renovation in keeping with the traditional décor.
Cavallini Antica Osteria – a large restaurant with an outdoor area. Specializes in meats, truffles and seafood.
Nightclub – gets busy and fun at midnight.
Major sites to see are:
- Il Duomo, the 5th largest cathedral in the world with 3,500 statues around the cathedral
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – shopping gallery with fine designer boutiques
- the original mural painting from 1498, the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
Forte dei Marmi:
We drove 3 hours from Milan to Versilia, a lovely stretch of seaside towns. Forte dei Marmi is the Hamptons for Italians, an extraordinary vacation spot along the coast of Tuscany, a symbol of La Dolce Vita. Lovely accomodations at The Grand Hotel Imperiale, an elegant boutique hotel with a Wellness Spa; I recommend the Royal Suite. It’s walking distance to the center of the town with beautiful shopping, outdoor dining and beach clubs, one after the other along the Ligurian Sea. The population of about 7,000 people triples in the Summer, when Italians from various regions vacation here. Andre Bocelli’s family beach club, Alpemare offers wine tastings & exquisite lunch & dinner “Bocelli” experiences. His family home is behind the secure gates across from his beach club and we were fortunate to see Matteo drive out of the gates in his white Tesla.
Bocelli family Beach Club
The next town over along the sea from Forte dei Marmi, you can bike along the promenade, many more beach clubs, restaurants and another quaint town, mostly locals.
We had a special dinner at Filippo, an open kitchen and great presentation of various courses and specialities.
A 45 minute countryside drive from Forte dei Marmi, Pisa is most noted for its iconic Leaning Tower, which took 200 years to complete in the year 1372. The tower leans because of the unstable foundation which began during the first phase of construction. Also in the Piazza dei Miracoli is the Duomo, the Baptistry and the Campo Santo (the monumental cemetary).
Definitely its leaning, the Leaning Tower of Pisa
A medieval city, has long been an important musical center, was the home of the composer Puccini. High quality olive oil is exported from Lucca and silk fabric has been manufactured here since the end of the 11th century. A picturesque city with the Apuan Alps to the north and west Lucca sits on the Serchio River, a home of Renaissance at and historic walls.
Torre del Greco:
A small town in the city of Naples, has a population of about 85,000 people. Most known for being the major producer of coral jewelry and cameo brooches since the 17th century; coral diving and harvesting of red coral from the Mediterranean Sea ever since Roman times. Pompeii is right there and Mt. Vesuvius rises above the Bay of Naples and is the backdrop to the city. We spent our time in Torre with the Vitiello cousins, who are fun and very welcoming. The day we arrived we met at cousin Salvatore & Miele’s home and were greeted by Irena & Davide, Chiara, Eliana and many other cousins, some of whom we met for the first time. We had a traditional buffet dinner starting with cheeses & meats, olives, peppers, taralli and then eggplant, casatelli, pizza rustica, lasagna, sausage & broccoli rabe and more. Cousin Antonio baked a special cake dressed with the American flag and Italian flag on top. Our hotel was the Villa Carafa de Cillis, in the outskirts of the city. It was a classical and historical estate for the Carafa family, renovated over 10+ years, with very high ceilings and antiquities from many areas of Italy. Our king suite had a church confessional box as a piece of furniture in the room.
We had a wonderful lunch in a fine restaurant on the Bay of Naples. The food was traditional Neapolitan and was delicious. A lovely end to a terrific time in Italy!!!
Lunch with our cousins
Cousins: Dino, Salvatore, Irena
Polpo over potato puree Calamari - the best I've ever had
Spaghetti alla vongole - no sign of garlic Rigatoni with pesce sauce