Today marks the day that I release brand new images to my La Dolce Vita collection. It is amazing to me that 6 weeks ago I was back in Italy where this series was born. To revisit the same places and explore more was both surreal and thrilling. To document this once in a lifetime trip, I kept a Travel Journal, which I'm excited to share with you all throughout this week.
My husband Jeff is accompanying me on this trip and it’s the longest time we’ve been able to travel together- 3.5 weeks – even longer than our honeymoon. Jeff is a quarter Italian and has always dreamt of coming so I am excited to share in the experience with him.
Waking up in Milan, we showered and headed down to breakfast and looked at Accuweather and though the weather wasn’t looking perfect, I knew we just had to hope for the best and stay on track. We picked up our rental car and set out on the first day of our adventure.
Three hours later Jeff was feeling confident behind the wheel and I was taking one of those drowsy car naps where your head is cocked to the side and you may or may not be drooling when we started to slow down off the highway and exit into San Remo – the first stop for LDV part two.
The last large rain clouds were blowing northeast and the sun was finally out welcoming us to this charming town very close to the France/Monaco border. Taking advantage of the weather, we headed straight down to the beaches and parked along the promenade right in-front of a beach club named ‘Euro Nettuno”.
It felt so good to be back looking out over the strip of colorful beach clubs. I forgot how perfectly charming they are, forever frozen in a 1960’s glamour that warms my soul to the perfect degree. As I took my first few images, I couldn’t help but smile standing back in one of my favorite places sharing in the moment with my best friend.
We ended the day driving to Monaco and arrived as the sun was setting behind the mountains. Jeff had never been and I wanted to go and see the Le Meridien Hotel in Monte-Carlo where my work is currently on display via a large video installation in the lobby. We took pictures of the key cards guests receive at check-in that features images from my series, Poolside and then stood in the lobby for a bit watching the video installation play as guests from all over the world passed by—certainly a special moment.
After a breakfast of coffee and croissants by the hotel pool- it was quite glorious, we hopped back in the car and continued on to Portofino- or at least what we thought was Portofino. For about two hours I trekked through the beautiful town spotting colorful umbrellas and red and white striped cabanas.
After a while Jeff spotted a sign that said ‘Santa Margherita’ and after a few minutes of looking around we realized we were total tourists lost and confused running around a town we knew nothing about! However, I captured some lovely images that were totally unexpected and I am grateful for our navigational mistake.
The adventure continued as we finally made it to Portofino which in-fact is totally drop-dead gorgeous. The ritzy town is at the end of long winding road and offers various paths up the side of the fertile mountain to take images looking down at the legendary harbor. Though dripping with tourists, it’s worth the hassle and still has a charm that some of the other touristy locations in Italy have lost. After a nice hike we stopped for gelato and I am not quite sure what flavor I got but it was electric blue and tasted like heaven- the perfect ending to an afternoon in Portofino.
As the afternoon sun began to fall we arrived in Monterosso al Mare, one of the five towns of the famed, Cinque Terre. I came here during my last trip to Italy and it has one of my favorite beach clubs in the world, Bagni Eden. We bought a bottle of Prosecco, two plastic cups and a bag of chips and found a vantage point overlooking the bay as the sun began to set into the steep terraced fields. We lapped up our bubbly while taking in the view and made sure to take a few selfies before heading onto a seafood dinner before retiring for the night.
Today was what you call a ‘flawsy-dah’ kind of adventure. The weather wasn’t looking so great for the day so we set out and began capturing images of the main beach in Monterosso before noon. Though there weren’t too many people, I was able to find some empty chairs with raised navy and white umbrellas that made for some beautiful images against the stormy skies.
We eventually decided that if you can’t beat the weather than to just join it and we rented an umbrella and two chairs in front of the beautiful volcanic rock in the bay at my favorite beach club, Bagni Eden.
The sun came in and out of the clouds while we sipped rosé and caught up on some light reading—aka US Weekly. Jeff had never been swimming in the Mediterranean Sea so we took his first honorary lap together which was an exciting moment!
After a little more rosé I took a walk along the beach and found a beautiful variety of colorful stones- the beach here is made of pebbles rather than sand, which I personally enjoy.
In the afternoon the sun popped out of the storm clouds and I strolled along the promenade in search of some classic “La Dolce Vita” moments to capture and was happy to find more people than earlier in the day.
At night we went to dinner at my favorite restaurant in Monterosso, L’ancora Della Tortuga. I had been once before and it was a meal I had clearly not forgotten as I recognized the waitress right away. Set along the water in a private rocky enclave, the restaurant has about 8 tables that overlook the bay and make you feel like you’re in the movie, Mammia Mia. We dined by candle-light as the sun set and we feasted on homemade pasta, fresh sea bream and sea bass along with local wine from the town’s vineyards that looked down upon us from the steep cliffs above. I wish every night could be a Tortuga night.
I hope you've enjoyed the first three days with me! I know I've enjoyed going back and sharing our stories and the images that resulted from these few days. I'll be posting more each day, so until then..