BELLO Destination #01 Italy

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Bello

DESTINATION

ITALY

Summer 2019

Dolce Vita by the water VENICE | CAPRI | LAKE COMO POSITANO | PROCIDA


THE WORLD SUITS YOU SO WELL Reach more than 100 destinations in Europe, Africa, India, and the Middle East via Paris www.airfrance.us


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Photo by Aliaksandr Savitski on Unsplash


DOLCE VITA by the water Dreamy island of Capri | The jewel of Naples' Bay: Procida Magical Positano + Rent a luxurious dream home Navigating in Venice | Lake Como and Bellagio | Chill and Chic: Air France New Business' lounge in Paris CDG | A slice of Almafi Coast.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things" Henry Miller Having travelled the world many times around for the past 20 years, I often came to the same conclusion: The best

AF airbus A380 CDG airport Photography Stephane Marquet

times were the one I ended up planning the least. Sure, travelling requires a bare minimum, such as flights and accomodations. But once you've checked those two boxes, it is time for adventure. My dream is for you to see BELLO Destination as an inspiration. A vision board to awaken the traveler in you. We all experience travels in different ways depending on our center of interests, our mood, the weather, the people we travel with ... its formula is so specific that I would not dare pretending to tell someone how to have the best time. Travels are made to sometimes relax and do nothing but most times to push you us of our comfort zone. Managing expectations is very inportant when travelling and trying to recreate someone's perfect day can lead to unpleasant and disapointing moments. So I really hope that we can inspire you to dream about those places, go see for yourself and make memories that will last forever.

BELLO DESTINATION ITALY BROUGHT TO YOU BY

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CAPRI

Whether or not we are fully aware, sensory experiences are a big part of making a trip memorable. A color, a sound, an image, a person you were with ... all those small things combined can turn a simple day into the perfect day. For me, I can say that my first time in Capri was the pinnacle of any travel day I have experienced.First impressions count. I am not going to lie. I had a specific idea of what Capri could be: a popular summer destination, probably lacking authenticity and certainly too crowded for my taste. All I really knew about Capri was that I wanted to go. Because days spent in Capri typically include an itinerary, I decided to go without a plan. Give it a try sometime. Unplanned days can turn out to be the best days of your vacation.

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As you get closer to the island, you see it's majestic cliffs rising from the deep blue sea. It truly is hypnotizing. The Marina Grande sure is the hub of the island. There is nothing to see here, so hop on a convertible taxi or get a ticket to ride the funicular (closed from January through March for maintenance) to get to the old town main square on top of the hill.

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Benvenuto a Capri

My goal for the day was really to see what Capri was all about. Because it was so hot that day, my plan quickly turned into getting to the beach. This volcanic island may be not trying to impress you with large sandy beaches, but it sure has some incredible spots.

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Capri Rooftop Marina Picola is probably the image that comes to mind when thinking of Capri--rocky beaches with lounge chairs and umbrellas. While looking on my phone for a way to walk to Marina Picola, we ended up by mistake walking from the old town center towards the "Gardens of Augusto," since on the map it looked like it could be a close access to the beach. I later realized my mistake didn't account for the cliffs. But, this little misguidance brought us to a breathtaking lounge bar. Capri Rooftop is facing Capri's dramatic Faraglioni. The lounge bar is 11

home to a beautiful shaded terrace to enjoy the view and some food. I could have not asked for a better setting. The view was a must, but we sure came back a few times after that for their delicious frozen lemon watermelon drink. Capri RoofTop Viale Matteotti, 7 - 80073 Capri (NA) - Italy

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The pedestrian way to Marina Picola called Via Mulo connects the center of the old town to the beach. It is a beautiful downhill walk in a quiet path under the trees and bordered by flowers.

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With crystal clear water, a gigantic cliff, and a cooling breeze, there is something unreal about this place. It is known as the bay where Ulysses was seduced by Sirens; if you want to believe in that story, you may also want to believe that calling spell still goes on to this day. You can sure try to find a spot on the tiny public beach, if your idea of relaxation is to share your beach towel with the people around you. You made it to Capri, so indulge yourself! Pick one of the private beaches, and rent a lounge chair and an umbrella for the rest of the day. We opted for Bagni da Maria and Le Sirene Beach Club.

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"Not once in my globetrotter life have I ever experienced anything like my first time in Capri"

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"Came here with just a swimsuit (and my husband) ... left with the best beach souvenirs of my life"

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Italian summer at its finest ...

Bagni da Maria was a good pick to immerse ourselves into the Italian summer. There were a lot of locals and families. For a little extra privacy and quietness, we selected a lounge chair on one of the sun decks that comes with a private cabin to leave your belongings. Drinks and snacks are available at the bar.

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Le

b u l C h c a e B e n e r Si

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Bagni da Maria

Yes the water is that amazing in Capri! 19

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"There was a magical timelessness to Capri A special atmosphere, and a sense of history." Kitty Pilgrim, Summer of Fire

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Marina Piccola 21

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Photography Junita De Paolo

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Photography Bertrand Borie


Le Sirene Beach Club is a fancier beach with a great restaurant. Their octopus salad, fried tiny fishes and San Pellegrino makes for a perfect lunch. It is the only beach resort situated on the rocks which extends into the sea and benefits from a pleasant sea breeze. Le Sirene Beach Club is truly an oasis of relaxation and tranquillity embraced by the warm sea.

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The only unpleasant experience we had here was having to leave. We left Capri charmed forever. 27

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POSITANO What makes Positano so special? Maybe because it is tucked away on the Amalfi coast? That alone sure sounds like a hidden destination. Or is it because when you first arrive by boat it looks like a vertical village towering from the deep blue waters and hanging on a cliff? There is definitely something about this town that we could not wait to see for ourselves.

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Positano, like many places in the region, has a certain magical touch. Another enchanted location that will hypnotize you, making you wonder if Poseidon has anything to do with all of this. Positano is a summer destination so you do not want to come here off season. Even if that means battling the heat and the crowd. You want that iconic beach to be packed with colorful

umbrellas. As much as it sounds romantic on paper, keep in mind, that there is lots of walking, heat, and humidity. Dress accordingly and comfortably. Linen, white and light should be your packing mantra. Hats are welcome not just for style and IG selfies along with sunglasses and heavy sun protection in all its forms. You will find yourself climbing the stiff streets of Positano looking for shade and a draft that will feel like a blessing sent to you directly from the ancient gods.

"Positano bites deep. It is a dream place that isn't quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you have gone." John Steinbeck

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The view alone (right page) is worth the climb, but the food was actually really good ... ... have I mentioned the view? It was the best in all of Positano!

o n a t i p a C Il

As I always do, finding a cool terrace with a great view is always my number one. From there you can reflect on being there and take a moment to do nothing but that. As soon as we disembarked from our boat we tried to quit the flow of people as soon as possible. Up from the Marina, if you go to your right, you will be led into the busy center of town; the other option is a stairway that, because of its climb, seems to discourage most people. So, naturally, that was the way we went ... what did we have to lose right? At worst the view will be nice and we can always turn around. No need for that. As soon as we got to the top we were met with a colorful hand-painted tile sign saying: "Montemare Rooftop Restaurant". You can rarely go wrong with a rooftop when it comes to the view, especially here in Positano. "Il Capitano" sure met our expectations. Filled with flowers and lemon trees, the view is everything we wanted. Accompanied by a caprese salad and a pizza, this was an unforgettable moment.

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Delicous fresh octopus salad, fried fish platter and lemon sorbet at Hotel Ancora's restaurant. Destination issue #01

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s a w i ll Li Ga

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Opposite page is a small dolphin shaped island you will cruise by before arriving to Positano. Li Galliwas once owned by Rudolf Nureyev. Today it is a luxurious and private rental property for the extremely lucky and wealthy. Discovering means that, at some point, you have to be OK with the idea of getting lost. Traveling, I often found myself spending more time looking at how to get from point A to point B instead of really enjoying the moment. Positano, being so small, was a perfect location to walk around without a high risk of really getting lost. Here, you'll most likely circle back around. There is something I attempt to do when I go to a place for just a day. Go to one restaurant for some starters and drinks and move to another location for a main course and some desert (frozen lemon sorbet being the obvious choice here) which for us took place at the Hotel L'Ancora. Giving us the same breathtaking view from the other side of town. That day was hot and humid, even though sunny right above Positano, dark menacing storm clouds were brewing around the mountains. So, rather than sweating over our lunch we looked for a good cappuccino place. As always the flow of tourists is a trap in itself. If you do not pay attention, it will take you away from what may turn out to be the best spots. Most people here looked like they were overheated and irritated by the heat and the walk. Don't be one of them. Let go of the idea of having to see as much as you can. Sometimes doing one relaxing thing is better than doing 10 must-see-things you will have googled on buzzfeed before your trip.

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So once we had no other options than navigating the touristic flow, I couldn’t help myself but to look for the nearest exit. There is a busy shaded pedestrian street connecting Piazza Dei Mulini to the beach. A grand entrance got my attention, Palazzo Murat, a true oasis like garden, filled with jasmine, bougainvillea, orange flowers and comfy lounge areas. While parts of the Palazzo are reserved for guests only, like the pool (obviously), the garden is for everyone to enjoy. You can stop for a refreshing juice or in my case another cappuccino: you will not regret it. The end of our day was spent on a lounge chair on the beach waiting for our boat to pick us up. If I had to do that day in Positano all over again I would not change a thing, in fact we came back for a second day during our trip. I originally did not consider staying overnight in Positano because the plan was to go around the region and our hotel was perfectly located for that. Another reason was that the idea of carrying my bags around and enduring the check in and check out rituals ... just felt like a waste of precious time rather spent enjoying the beauty around us. Just like Capri, Positano atmosphere changes as soon as the last ferry takes away the last batch of exhausted tourists. I will for sure come back to experience that side of Positano.

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"Its houses climb a hill so steep it would be a cliff except that stairs are cut in it." John Steinbeck

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t a r u M o z Palaz

n e d r a g d e d a sh , e c i v r e Grseautrrosnded by lemon trees . e in m s a j d an Does it get better than that? Bello

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"Visitors" Positano Marina August 2018 43

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PALAZZO SANTA CROCE Positano, Amalfi 9 Guests | 5 Bedrooms | 6 Baths If you wish to immerse yourself into the luxury lifestyle of Positano, this red Palazzo located on top of the hill is everything you have dreamed of. This is the iconic view of Positano, a stunning Villa with red walls that will need no IG filters, just minutes away from luxury hotels restaurants and the beach. Enjoy dinner, sunsets, and sunbathing in this luxury getaway that offers full-staff on site to make sure you feel at home but without the stressful details of having a holiday home to run (cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, etc.) The hotel also has an indoor pool to keep it cool in the hot summer days or still enjoy a quick swim in the winter.

Dreams do come true in Positano!

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TREVILLE Positano, Amalfi 33 Guests | 15 Bedrooms | 16 Baths If you are looking for the larger than life and exceptional, Traville may just be it. I know, with 33 guests, this may as well put you in a boutique hotel. But imagine for a minute that money is not an issue and you could actually rent that place for you and your better half or maybe just another couple of really good friends? How fantastic that must be, right!? "Your own private paradise" Not only is it the most extensive waterfront on the coast, but it also has its private launch for taxi boats pickups if you feel like going to town or paying a visit to Capri for the day. Several pools, a jacuzzi, a solarium by the sea, a bunch of terraces, and private villas are also included.

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VILLA SAN GIACOMO Positano, Amalfi 16-20 Guests | 8 Bedrooms | 12 Baths "A playground and palace all in one". If your Positano dream holiday home vision board has a beautiful pink villa located in the village with its own private infinity pool, panoramic views, and al fresco lunches followed by farniente afternoons with your favorite book as you patiently wait for the sunset with an Aperol Spritz while dinner is being prepared by your private local cook ... look no further. And do not forget my invitation! www. homebaseabroad.com

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PROCIDA

Even though Procida competes with some big names in the region such as Capri, the island doesn’t have to envy its popular neighbors, as it offers a more laid back, less touristic and totally different experience. A colorful fisherman's village that will awaken the photographer within you.

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Bohemian boutique hotel San Michel Bello

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Less frequented in high season, this place feels more authentic. Do not let this village look fool you as hidden between the pink, yellow and blue fisherman's homes you can find a bohemian boutique hotel that could compete with the trendiest places of the most popular Mediterranean islands like San Michel @sanmichelprocida. The island is rather small and everything is accessible by foot. From the main marina you are just minutes away from Marina della Corricella, a scenic harbor with cafes and restaurants. You can try some small

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fried anchovy fish, my absolute favorite thing to eat or snack on; all you have to do is add a squeeze of lemon and enjoy! What will remain engraved in my memory of our day in Procida are the vivid colors and textures. The island was featured in movies like The Talented Mr. Ripley. Procida will make you feel like you have uncovered the best kept secret in the region.

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www.tomford.com

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A SLICE OF THE AMALFI COAST Although it’s impossible to bottle the beauty of the Amalfi Coast and its citrusy/ florals scents, a few brands certainly do it justice.

On top of the list TOM FORD and his line of fragrances and body products inspired by the Amalfi Coast. Mandarino Di Amalfi, Sole Di Positano (our personal favorite) and Neroli Portofino (a close contender). This line will either transport you back to your summers on the Amalfi coast or simply just make you want to go. www.sephora.com

ACQUA DI PARMA Fico di Amalfi. This floral, woody, and citrusy fragrance calls to mind this breathtaking stretch of Mediterranean coastline with a strong, energizing effect. www.sephora.com

ACQUA DELL ELBA Casa dei Mandarini If you love the smell of the orange peel, this home fragrance is for you. The 500 ml will last you a good 6 months and refills are available on their website. www.acquadellelba.us

YOUNG LIVING Orange, Grapefruit and Lime essential oils. An uplifting burst of liquid sunshine. www.youngliving.com

Photography Monika Grabkowska

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Perched on top of a hill overlooking the bay, Grand Hotel Angiolieri is conveniently located in the perfect spot to explore the region. I knew we would have a lot of traveling time to be able to properly explore the islands and the coast, so I wanted a good place to be based at. This trip was planned for a long time (in my head), but the reality of juggling all the elements to be able to make it happen was another story. As a result, the trip came together within two weeks ahead of our departure, which meant finding a great hotel for a great price could have been a challenge, but the gods of last minute travels have worked their magic once again. Little did I know, this hotel was not only as stunning in person as it was in photos. It was also extremely conveniently located.

The train station gives you access to Naples, Pompeii, and Sorrento, where you can take boats to all major islands and towns along the Amalfi coast. With only 36 rooms, the Grand Hotel Angiolieri once stood as an ancient Roman house dating to 100 BC. Stunning Deluxe rooms (ours was the Meti) with huge private terraces with sofas overlooking the bay of Naples (1), giving you first class view to memorable sunsets over the Vesuvio, the same view you will be able to enjoy each morning from the breakfast terrace (2). Start or end your day with a swim in their infinity pool (3). Also note that the restaurant (4) just has the best pizzas we have ever had. Period. Their meloncello is absolutely delicious (5).

Grand Hotel ANGIOLIERI

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SORRENTO

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Sorrento is THE resort at the western gateway of the Amalfi Coast. Fast-ferry connection to Naples, Capri, Positano, Procida ... lots of hotels from cheap to chic, Sorrento works for all budgets. It is a major and accessible destination for a lot of Europeans. There are plenty of restaurants and bars from which you can enjoy the sunset and the spectacular cliffside settings. Avoid high expectations of

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the beaches in this city as for that you will have to go out of town to find a couple of rocky creeks. If you want to lay in the sun and swim in the sea, you can rent a sun lounger at one of its many private "beach-decks". However, because of the cliffs, Sorrento beaches only get sun from mid-day to dusk.

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Naples 1

A big city full of historical buildings, squares and churches.

With just a day in Naples I think we made the most of it. The

It also offers some incredible areas for sightseeing such as

hotel we picked to stay at during this part of our trip before

a hike up mount Vesuvius, or an afternoon visit in Pompeii

flying back to LA was the perfect location and offered the

(a location we will explore in our next chapter), going down

best amenities. Friendly staff, extra comfortable rooms, and

the San Gennaro Catacombs, walking to Piazza del Plebisci-

the best thing was a complimentary access to their amazing

to featuring the Royal Palace and the Basilica Royal (1) Cas-

luxurious SPA and rooftop heated pool with stunning a view

tel Nuevo (2) strolling through the narrow cobbled streets of

(6).

Santa Lucia (3) taking some time to relax at Caffè Gambrinus founded in 1860 (4) where their coffee happens to be deli-

www.romeohotel.it

cious (5) and more.

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Pompeii Pompeii once stood strong and in an instant it was frozen in time. We arrived in this city around noon on a very hot and humid August day. Not the best idea to begin with but it was kind of a "now or never situation" and I have always been fascinated by Pompeii ever since I opened a school book and read about it. It’s safe to say I did not want to miss the opportunity to explore the fascinating Pompeii. That day was boiling hot and I did not want to spend hours turning my map upside down or look for a good signal to google anything to find my way around so we turned to an audio tour. If there is one thing I never do when visiting a museum, is to take an audio tour however, I suppose everything happens for a reason! After entering the city we quickly arrived at the forum which was the heart of Pompeii. With much reluctance I took the phone that was given to us for the tour and pressed something like B3 corresponding to our location, rolled my eyes, and gave it a try. Honestly, I was already bored with it! It was a dramatic deep man's voice reading a letter written by Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus who gave a vivid eyewitness report of the eruption. (probably rolled my eyes again and looked around for some shade) I did not listen to much of that letter, until something he said made me halt:

"On that day August 24, shortly after noon Mount vesuvio erupted ..." Wait! What? Suddenly this got my full attention. You know those cheesy movie scenes when everything goes into a slow motion once you've been given crucial information? It happened to me, right there. It also happened to be August 24th and just a little past noon ... I had certainly not planned this whatsoever. I was standing right in the center of this town looking up at Mount Vesuvio with my own eyes. It still gives me chills thinking about that moment. So I slowly put that audio guide down (never took it back to my ears after that) and looked up at the volcano. A big white cloud was rising from the top of the Vesuvio making it look like an eruption (picture above). At that exact same time a very loud thunder rumbled through the city. Welcome to Pompeii ...* *Insert Jurassic Park theme song opening.

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After a very dramatic welcome it was exploration time. There is a lot of the city still standing. I was expecting a column here and there, some walls and that would pretty much be it, really. I did not picture the houses, the cobbled streets, the bars (not opened for business unfortunately) and the frescos all over to be so open to the public and with such an easy access. I will spare you the step by step explanation of my visit but the best advice I could give is this: do your homework. Go online and look for the murals you want to see, their locations and other things that may interest you. Pompeii is quite large and we found ourselves, not "lost" but to be honest I wasn’t sure where to go and found myself on google search for "what to see in Pompeii" "Top things to see in Pompeii" "where is Pompeii brothel" ... Avoid being me. Plan it. So in order to be efficient and to avoid heat exhaustion and dehydration, we sat down for a gelato at the only place that sells food and drinks in this huge city. I get it, it's not main street USA at Disneyland but all that prime real estate being left to ruins is just a waste if you ask me ... Especially since most of the town are remains of little fast food joints where it was possible to buy ready-toeat food and refreshments like 2000 years ago ... Roman upper classes usually avoided and often criticized such places, considering them unworthy of their pedigree. Fast food was a thing back then already. Anyways, the heat was getting to me. After a gelato and an intense Indiana Jones like google search for one of the only two original drinking fountains in Pompeii, I was feeling refreshed and ready to walk around in search of the infamous bodies.

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"Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it" Confucious

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And there they were, at the far end of a local vineyard! Back in France (where I grew up), I remember opening my history book and opening it to a picture of the bodies of Pompeii. Most history books are illustrated with drawings of battles but seeing a photograph suddenly changed my perspective on that historical event. Suddenly it was not just a tale, it was real. To create the preserved "bodies" archeologists had to pour plaster into soft cavities left by them which revealed information about what life was like in the ancient city and more importantly, crucial information about their fate. For example, historians have learned that the most common cause of death among the children of Pompeii was syphilis. Scientists previously believed that Columbus and his sailors brought syphilis back to Europe after sailing to America, which proved that the disease existed in Europe more than 1,000 years before. Most movies we see about the last hours of Pompeii show the individuals who did not or could not flee the town die in agony under the ashes but realistically, it was totally different. For those who died from roofs collapsing, most died instantly from a phenomenon called pyroclastic surge which was the rise of temperatures up to 300°C [570°F] which killed people in a fraction of a second. The posture of the bodies were misinterpreted as a struggle when in fact, it was a reaction of muscle contraction due to that instant extreme heat. Experts have used bone analysis to determine the genetic makeup of Pompeii, and many agree the diversity was similar to modern cities like today's New York City. Regardless of how movies portray the volcanic eruption, everyone had ample time to escape Pompeii. Mount Vesuvius had slowly been building up steam and giving signals of an imminent eruption. Unfortunately, it was right after the festival of Vulcanalia celebrating the god of volcanoes and some people interpreted the signals as a good omen. The more you know ‌

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Villa of the Mysteries A well-preserved suburban ancient Roman villa on the outskirts of Pompeii. Famous for the series of incredible frescos, like this one showing the initiation of a young woman into a Greco-Roman mystery cult of Dionysus, the god of wine. Cheers to Pompeii and the time travel experience we were able to have!

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VENICE One of a kind city, Venice is a magical place. Both mysterious and romantic, it became an obvious destination for all the lovers of the world. In an instant, you are transported to a different way of living which dates back to centuries ago. Just by looking around, it will take your breath away.

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e l a T n a i t i n e V y M

Train stations are usually the least welcoming areas in most cities but Venice manages to change even that negative perception. When we got off our train from Milan, we stepped out onto a plaza which looks surreal. It was at the end of the afternoon and buildings were bathing in this warm golden light, gondolas and vaporettos were crossing paths on the canal. Our jaws literally dropped and we took a minute to enjoy the view. Thankfully, it was not rush hour and we were able to take our time rather than be pushed by the rush of tourists. It really does look like a magical place that has emerged from the lagoon. And the extreme fascination and intense tourism may come from the fact that our collective unconscious knows that Venice is ephemeral. Being one of the most popular destinations on the planet and being a small island in the middle of a lagoon sure means trouble in paradise for those who wish to discover this unique place. Rule number one should be to avoid high seasons. I would certainly not come here on a hot summer day because even if you have decided to enjoy the Dolce Vita, hordes of tourists rushing through Venice for the day-visit, part of an express tour of Italy, certainly did not make that same relaxing and enjoyable commitment. You want to take your time but you do not want your time to be ruined by the popularity of Venice. Our stay in Venice took place in early April. We pretty much lucked out on every level. Perfect sunny weather and it had a relatively quiet off season feel. We did not plan to go in a specific period to be honest. I knew we would have to take chances in re-

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gards to the weather and infamous tides (that can badly flood the city several times a year). Then again, it’s part of the adventure right? Go for it, hope for the best or make the best of what you have. Important travel trip: "Always lower your expectations of a place that you have seen on TV, in movies/documentaries and that is overly shared on social media. Trust no one but your instinct when it comes to travelling." Venice can be a young beast. If you let yourself be carried away by the flow of touristy things, you may end up very disappointed by your experience. However, once you take the road less travelled, Venice can turn into this gentle old lady and everything turns into full bliss. When traveling, you have to learn how to connect to the right energy of the city.

Let go of expectations and plans, and open yourself to what the city offers you. Romance and magic have one thing in common: if you want to make the intention last and you want to make the action brief. Venice is best enjoyed over a period of 3 full days max. You can come back again but do not forget that Venice is an elegant lady and she may not want you to stare at her for too long or stick around for more time than necessary. Respect that and she will reveal her beauty … try otherwise and she will turn on you. You always want to leave some “unanswered questions" to anything magical right? You can enjoy Venice by walking around; it sure is a beautiful place with lots of amazing things to discover. The way I see Venice is a little dif-

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ferent. For me, Venice is this rich trading city where merchants built lavish palaces to host decadent parties. My plan was to be in full dolce vita mode which meant drinking an abundance of cappuccinos and a few aperol spritz watching the sunset. Even though I do not really drink, who can refuse an Aperol on the canal of venice at sunset? Should you enjoy an overpriced cappuccino piazza San Marco? The answer is yes! 20 euros may be a high price to pay for a coffee and some frosted milk but where I am from, people already pay high prices if they go to Starbucks for some expensive ice, sugar and canned whipped cream. Just see this small investment as part of the overall cost of your trip. And just enjoy the sunshine looking at the busy plaza, listening to one of the live bands along the cafés. Just do not sit front row as it is not the best seat one can get. People will stop and step on your feet to take a photo or a video of the live band your expensive cappuccino is paying for. So unless you enjoy looking at tourist's waste … sit back, you’ll get a better view of San Marco. The highlights of this trip for me were connected to food (and cappuccinos). That is all I wanted to do and that is all I did. I know Palaces can be intimidating but always dress casual/chic and all will be fine. The Gritti Palace sure is one exceptional place. The rooms may start at 1300 euros and go all the way up to 10K and more … but you may be surprised to see that the cost of food can be relatively close to any touristic restaurant around. Only here you will have an experience like no other. The restaurant on the canal is ideal for lunch, the view, the service, the food, it’s just perfection. Try the sou-

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flé … and if you want to enjoy the same view, the same service and the same food with a more relaxed atmosphere, the gorgeous Riva Café is right next to it and to me, it is the most exceptional spot in venice to chill and come for Aperol Spritz sunset served with snacks after 7pm.

The Gritti Palace is a destination in itself. I would totally be OK to come to venice for a couple of days and just stay here, being transported by boat to and from the Palace. In our quest for the perfect cappuccino spot, we were lucky enough to have discovered a hidden treasure. The terrace of the Bauer Hotel overlooking the grand canal. When walking by the building on the street side, you would think it looks more like a giant post office or typical administrative building than a Palace. This part was the less aesthetically pleasing extension of the palace whereas the beautiful part is facing the canal. Once you cross its lobby all the way to a small double glass door leading to a small bar, you’ll finally get to the grand terrace of Bar Canale. The giant statue facing the Santa Maria Basilica and the gondolas passing makes this spot a must see. Here, ou can enjoy food and of course

a delicious cappuccino with a complementary

“fighting pigeon device”

in order to keep your table “pigeon attack free”. Yes, Venice is in a rather comical battle with pi-

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geons vs food. When here a long bamboo stick will be your personal device (do not worry just waving it will have the birds turn around) the Gritti Palace has opted for a more radical device a "florescent water gun” that the waiters will not be afraid to use to protect you. Those pigeons are reckless and they will dive on your table face first sending your 20 euros Aperol flying across the table, to snack on a peanut. Seagulls do eat too and even though they are not likely to attack terraces they may ( but I have not seen any doing that) I sure saw a tourist being deprived of his sandwich right from his mouth while casually crossing piazza San Marco. And you do not want a giant seagull fighting your face for two slices of bread and some ham. First you’ll lose your budget lunch (and will have to get another one. It will end up costing you the price of a pizza sitting down somewhere) but also you have everyone around you taking photos and filming your attack. Unless people are kind to airdrop you the material after, I do not think it is worth the experience.

and if you do not want to walk all the time (even though the Ponte Dell'Accademia is a beautiful spot overlooking the grand canal) you can make the most of the only gondola crossing the canal directly--a smaller connection. Each ride is 2 euros and it connect the The Gritti Palace (how convenient) to a narrow street leading to the Basilica Di Santa Maria. Today the number of locals has fallen down to fewer than 55,000 and keeps dropping every day … while the number of tourists keeps on growing to reach more than 20 million visitors a year last year. So what are the best survival options for Venice? Will Venice really be transformed into an amusement park like destination, with restrictions in numbers of daily visitors? Will Venice decide to go back to its lagoon origins, before we can change her mind? As much as we try to protect this lady, it is up to her to decide what she can handle.

There are still parts of Venice that are quiet and feel far away from tourists. The city is divided into districts. San Marco and San Polo are the heart of the action. If you move further south across the grand canal, you’ll discover Dorsoduro. A quiet, beautiful area pointing to the east. It is known as the best walking area of the city mostly because it is further away from the big center of attractions but certainly still in the beauty of this city. You can find some affordable hotels here

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When I photograph a city in black and white it feels like I am capturing its soul.

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Aperol time at The Gritti Palace Pi g eon fi g ht in g device andat the cappucino Bauer

CWhaticer TTipax: is over gondola rides!

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Murano

in 1291, the Venetian Republic ordered glassmakers to move their foundries to Murano because the glassworks represented a fire danger in Venice, whose buildings were mostly wooden at the time and in order to preserved its craftmanship. If today a non compete agreement would most likely be ebough, back then Glassmakers weren't allowed to leave the area. Risking being assassinated or having their hands cut off. Murano is slowly dying and visitors (once probably considered spies) are welcome. Photography or filming may be forbidden in some showrroms in a last attempts to preserve an industry under siege. A visit to Murano will only take a couple of hours of your day if you wish to see one of the last remaining glass masters in action during the week.

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IS VENICE SINKING? Based on the fact that nothing lasts forever, Venice is slowly going back into the lagoon where she rose from. Sadly, Venice is slowly fading away and it is not an urban legend. Venice is truly drowning. Usually, the prt of the city floods from October until late winter: a phenomenon called acqua alta. If St Mark’s Square does indeed get flooded, 90% of the rest of the city remains above water. Since 2000 there were more highest-category floods recorded than in the preceding 50 years. Severe acqua alta events have been known to cover nearly the entire city, with homes and businesses throughout Venice having to be evacuated. It’s the result of changes in the way the lagoon has been managed. The volume of motor-powered traffic on Venice’s canals has doubled. The foundations of more than 60% of the buildings on the Grand Canal have been damaged by the wash from the water buses and barges, and the situation has worsen since Venice became one of the Mediterranean’s biggest ports for cruise ships. As we finalize this issue, a cruise ship lost control and slammed into the dock. I really hope this will be a wake up call for Italian officials who turned a blind eye to this problem. As I encourage people to visit Venice, I also urge people to be responsible tourists, and in this case it means avoiding vacationing on those gigantic ships cruising in front of San Marco. It is time to ban them for good. We can’t turn away from climate change, social consequences and political choices that are shaping the fate of our planet. The Mediterranean Sea is expected to rise by up to 140 centimetres (over four feet) in the next century. Studies have warned that Venice will be underwater by 2100.

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LAKE COMO

Filled with glacial water from the Alps, Lake Como is one of the deepest lakes in Europe, making its water a gorgeous, deep blue. Located at the foot of the mountain, it’s been a favorite resort destination since the Roman times. During Renaissance the genius Leonardo da Vinci received inspiration here on lake Como. Today, lakeside villas are the stars here, even though stars from all over the world like to come here to spend their summer.

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Bellagio "The Pearl of lake Como"

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Como is a rather large "village," but its waterfront does not reflect the beauty of Lake Como. You'll have to take a boat or a ferry to reach your destination. Bellagio is the main attraction. "The Pearl of Lake Como� is a picturesque fairytale looking town rich in history. It only re-

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quires a couple of hours to visit, so a day trip is more than enough really here (We made that day trip from Milan by train. They have departures all day long, and it takes less than an hour door to door).

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Even though our visit took place on a gorgeous April afternoon, it was an off-season day, which was not a bad thing for us. During the winter time, you'll probably have the entire sleepy town for yourself. As always, I felt like we'd lucked out in finding the perfect lunch spot, Trattoria Bilacus, which has the most gorgeous garden terrazze and delicious local food. After a quick walk around town, we ended up at Villa Melzi d'eril, overlooking the lake. This former palazzo, now empty, is surrounded by an English style garden with stunning views of the mountains. It is definitely a must visit for a relaxing time.

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Chiosco Moresco at the Villa Melzi was once used for tea time and music by the lake. 123

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Villa del Balbianello

Originally built in the 18th century for a powerful cardinal, it was featured in movies such as Star Wars: Episode II—Attack of the Clones and James Bond Casino Royale.

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e d a m s in a t n ou m g in d n ou rr u s e th d n a e k la e th n o t h g li "The e" c e i p er st a m es lu b f o e d a sh t c fe er p re u t c i p a y er en c s e th

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Grand Hotel Tremezzo Bello

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AIR FRANCE Le Balcon

Elegance in det a i l s i s what makes France so special. Bello

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Paris CDG Terminal E Business Class Lounge

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Pari s has always been my favori t e airport to connect in Europe. Flying international from the US can be quite the journey. I personally like to make my way to Europe on a direct flight and any connections there. Sometimes you may not have a lot of time to connect, so I would suggest to plan your trip accordingly for several reasons. The first reason is not having to run through the airport. There is nothing that can ruin a nice relaxing flight like looking at your watch wondering how you’ll make it to your next flight. When flying from the US, you will have had spent the night flying, so take it easy. I know most people are in a hurry to get to the final destination but trust me, a couple of extra hours will not change much at the end, and we often forget that enjoying the journey is a big part of the travel experience. Having more time to relax will be greatly appreciated by your body and stress levels. Traveling can be done for business or pleasure but in any case, I always recommend taking the time to recover. For me, being able to relax in a lounge helps make travel an experience to remember, just like the new AF lounge. This new AF lounge is located in CDG Terminal 2E, and is accessible by international first and business class passengers. Day passes can be purchased for €45. The “Gourmet Table” dining area features an open kitchen where chefs prepare dishes in front of customers. Hot and cold buffets, and a selection of wines chosen by the airline’s sommelier, Paolo Basso, are offered. There is also a 1,700-square-foot bar area, better known as Le Balcon, designed by Mathieu Lehanneur. Every evening from 7:00pm-9:00pm, Air France offers a selection of cocktails (and mocktails) specially designed by the head bartender of the Hotel Lancaster in Paris. The custom drinks include the “Un air de Paris,” consisting of champagne, cointreau and cognac, and a rotating destination cocktail of the month inspired by the cities Air France serves. The AF lounge also includes a 6,000 square-foot wellness area where you can refresh, relax and recharge before your next flight. It is the largest wellness area of any Air France lounge with an “Instant Relaxation” area with loungers and La Première-looking mini-suites, two private saunas, and a detox bar serving flavored Evian infusions and detox teas from Palais des Thés (my favorite). You can also get a complimentary 20-minute facial treatment at the Clarins spa. For travelling parents, there is a dedicated kid’s zone complete with Sony PS4s and other games. Just remember to make a booking as soon as you arrive! The lounge is open from 5:30am to 11:30pm daily. Images courtesy of Air France.

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Photo by Ryan Searle on Unsplash


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