With an emotive celebration on a cool Parisian evening; Ralph Lauren presented his Fall/Winter 2013 collection and took full charge of the restoration of L’École des Beaux-Arts (School of Fine Arts) which was home of Degas, Manet and Hubert de Givenchy among the most illustrious students.
L’École des Beaux-Arts, founded during the reign of Louis XIV is one of the oldest Institutions for Fine Arts in the world. The renovations will start in 2014.
The Chevalier of The Legion of Honor Ralph Lauren received this title in 2010 by Sarkozy and soon after was recognized with the keys of the City of New York by the hands of Mayor Bloomberg.
With this act Ralph Lauren gives back to Paris, a city that inspired him so much. Just a few years ago he restored the 17th century palace in the charming Saint-Germain-des-Pres, now one of his biggest flagship stores in Europe and home of “Ralph’s”, his Restaurant, serving prime steak from cows raised on his ranch in Colorado.
The young boy who started selling ties after his Military service, 45 years later runs an Empire of 5,1 millions of Euros. For the first time he presented his fashion show in Paris at the Beaux-Arts and we didn’t see him with his regular black T-Shirt but with impeccable black tie holding hands with his wife Ricky.
Ralph Lauren, the Chevalier, the boy from the Bronx, the true American spirit.
With a private and impeccable event the French Luxury Maison Hermès opened the doors of its new Milan flagship store on Via Montenapoleone 12, Milan’s fashion “quadrilatero”. The Neoclassical palace was dressed up in the famous “giallo ambrosiano” the characteristic yellow color of the city and the exhibition of Pégase d’Hermès, on display in the city’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
The choice of Pégase statue it was inspired by the bronze sculpture ‘Eloge du Cheval’, which was also built by Renonciat for the famous Ecole National d’Equitation in Samur, France. Made of beautiful handcrafted wood, the wings represent the free spirit of Hermès.
Older than Louis Vuitton as a brand, Hermes is the epitome of elegance and style. An Institution in the “savoir fare” (know how to). In 1837 Hermes was already the leader in saddle horse making, requested by Royal Houses. Today; from the hands of the same family, the tradition continues, evolving in smaller accessories and luxury objects of desire, the must have: bags, foulards, belts, etc.
The wide arc of land around the Pozzuoli Bay has been known for centuries as the Campi Flegrei (The Phlegraean fields) or Burning Fields, because of the constant volcanic activity. Mud still bubbles from the clay bed of the solfatara and in places the ground is still hot, you can easily boil an egg if you place it under the soil.
Over time some of the Phlegraean craters became lakes. Lake Averno thought to be the entrance of hell and owes its name (a-ornon in Greek: without birds) to the once suffocating vapours.
At the end of the 1st century BC, its almost sacred character declined after the construction of Porto Giulio, a systems of channels that connected the sea and the lakes, ships first reached the outer port in Lake Lucrino and then the inner basin of Lake Averno, connected to Cumae by the tunnel through Monte Grillo. The port was abandoned when silted up and trade was transferred to Miseno.
Founded in the 8th century BC by Greeks stationed on Ischia, Cumae is one of the oldest colonies of Magna Grecia. The founders of this colony came from Eubea, a Greek Island of the Aegean sea.
Villa Eubea and Vinaria, a cult to food and wine in the ancestral site
Buried Greek towns and Roman ruins, reveal the region’s ancient history, the burning fields and their volcanic soil bringing up the flavors on this land that gives in return high mineral wine and delicious fruit and vegetables.
Next, we will explore the rest of this amazing territory going from Pozzuoli to Baia and Bacoli stopping by more wineries, restaurants by the bay and archeological sites. See you tomorrow, thank you for reading.
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco, all pictures by me taken with IPhone 4S and Sony Cybershot.
The remains of Pompeii were discovered by accident in the 1590’s when architect Domenico Fontana was excavating the canal to bring the waters from river Sarno to Torre Anunziata but it was not until the 1750’s that the site was seen as an archaeological treasure and one of the most important and well preserved examples of Roman civilization. Follow me on this amazing trip around the streets, houses and wineries of Pompeii, Herculaneum and the Vesuvius National Park.
In 90-89 BC the people of Campania became Roman citizens. Naples (Neapolis) or the new city came in to contact with the growing power of Rome. In AD 79 the erupting Vesuvius buried a number of ancient Roman cities including Pompeii.
Thanks to the many discoveries we can have an idea of the life in the Roman houses of Pompeii, constructed generally around two open courts; the atrium; an Italic feature and the colonnaded garden of Greek origin. But not only the architecture and the art in their walls, Pompeii reveals much more in the bodies of people unearthed along with their everyday objects.
Lacryma Christi and the ancient wine making in the Vesuvius
A Paleo Christian legend says that Christ cried over the Vesuvius and His Holy tears blessed the vineyards giving name to this excellent wine. Other legend distorted from the pagan mythology says that Jesus visited a hermit converting his bad beverage in to amazing wine. Today we can see many frescoes with wine rituals from the houses in Pompeii that have survived the ashes after the eruption of the Volcano.
The town’s quiet existence was brought to an abrupt halt in AD 79 during the eruption of the Vesuvius that buried Pompeii with deep lava and mud. The site of ancient Herculaneum is well below the level of the modern town. The area is still being excavated.
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco. All pictures by me taken with IPhone 4, 4S and Sony Cybershot. You are more than welcome to share them mentioning the font.
I finally arrived to the Sorrento Coast and my first stop is at the cliffs of Vico Equense, of Etruscan origins this little town has a lot to offer from the dramatic panoramas to pizza by the meter or Michelin Guide Starred Restaurants. The Sorrento Peninsula is definitely an unforgettable culinary experience.
But who where the Saracens and why they came to this part of Italy? Around the 455 AD the coast was invaded by Arab tribes, many watchtowers can still be seen on the cliffs to prepare the inhabitants for further attacks. Saracen was a term for Muslims widely used in Europe during the Medieval Era.
Now a brief tour of the tasting menu at The Saracen Tower, enjoy!
Juicy and red tomatoes, creamy white mozzarella di Bufala, ricotta and fior di latte, fragrant green basil, topped with a swirl of olive oil. The mix of intense flavors and vivid colors, is characteristic of a cuisine that reflect the region’s Mediterranean climate. Dishes rely on their success because of the freshness of the local ingredients. Getting the fish fresh from the harbor is still part of the local life; sword fish, anchovies, mackerel and sardines; clams, mussels, octopus, squid and cuttlefish are served in dozens of ways including pasta.
But when in Sorrento, don’t forget to try the “Gnocchi alla Sorrentina”, the “Delizia al limone” and a sip of “limoncello”; you are on your way to a longer and healthy life. Salute!
The myth about Capri goes back to Homer’s epic tale “The Odyssey” when Ulysses and his troop were going back to Troy, they couldn’t resist the temptation to hear the seductive songs of the Sirens around today’s Capri, they filled out their ears with wax so they won’t listen to the Sirens and kept navigating but they crashed in to the stones and vanished.
Of course you won’t vanish like Ulysses’ troops in Capri but you will be so tempted by the natural beauty. One of the trips you can do is on a boat to the Grotta Azzurra (The Blue Grotto) where Romans used to worship the waters.
Capri is the world’s first resort, dating back Emperor Augustus (29 B.C.) at that time Capri was under Naples rule, Augustus gave to Naples the Island of Ischia and turned Capri in to his very own private Resort. Today you can enjoy the magnificence of the oldest resort in the world just like Jacky O, Audrey Hepburn, Rita Hayworth and many more celebrities and film stars did in the 1950’s when international tourism arrived to Capri.
When coming to Capri, don’t expect to rush anything (piano, piano) slowly slowly, this is the land of the “Dolce far niente” (sweet idleness). Act like a local, walking the streets Jacky walked, a good excuse to get your hand made sandals to your measure by the local handcrafters, wear oversized sunglasses, a silk foulard in your head and capri pants.
There are many theories about the name Capri, a popular one says that it comes from the Greek “kapros” (wild boar) but the most widely theory is that it derives from the Latin “capreae” (goats) which makes sense been a referred as the Goat Island.
The iconic Caprese boutique “La Parisienne” is perhaps known for the famous Capri trousers, here is where Jacky Kennedy Onassis used to have hers tailor made. Michael Kors was for years a guest at The Grand Hotel Quisisana and he described the view from the terrace facing Via Camerelle as the front row of a fashion show. Fashion designer Oscar de La Renta went to Capri to receive the award “Tiberio d’oro” at Mare Moda, the island notorious fashion show. Valentino, Givenchy, Gianfranco Ferre, Missoni, they all came personally to show at Mare Moda.
Capri is more than a rock in the middle of the sea, Capri is a lifestyle, the concept of chic and casual was immortalized here and will be here to stay. If we are not the privileged ones that can make Capri our home we can
still live… the Capri way, salute!!!
(c) 2013 Montserrat Franco. All pictures taken by me. Additional Photo credits: Benny Galasso-Bely Franco.
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