A LEGEND ON LAKE COMO, AND AN OPPORTUNITY TO INDULGE IN THE DOLCE VITA LIFESTYLE.

After spending 3 days in Lake Como, situated in the foothills of the Italian Alps, I quickly learned why JFK said “It is the most beautiful lake of the world.”

Forming an upside-down Y, Lake Como is an hour’s drive north of Milan.

I had the privilege to stay at the elegant Villa D’Este in Cernobbio, designated one of the best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure, Condé Nast Traveler and Forbes Traveler.

It is truly challenging to describe how beautiful this resort is.  Upon checking in at the Cardinal Building, I was told I would be staying in the Queen’s Pavilion, both together offering a total 152 rooms and suites.

The villa was originally built in 1568 as the summer residence for Cardinal Tolomeo Gallio and was the playground of an Empress, an English Queen and aristocrats. In 1873, it was transformed into a luxury hotel and all rooms were individually decorated and furnished with antiques, silk brocade drapes, oil paintings and Como silk furnishings.

 

While being escorted to my room, I quickly became in awe of my surroundings.  To the left, 25 acres of luxuriously landscaped gardens complete with 16th-century mosaic monuments with the lower part of the gardens from the Renaissance period. To the right, the lakeside terrace and unique floating swimming pool facing the picturesque mountains.

My room overlooking the lake was classic elegance.  No two rooms in either building are alike in size or décor and are furnished with every comfort.

This hotel is the definition of sophistication; no wonder why the romances of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner, The Duke and Duchess of Windsor, and Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles began here.

This hotel is more than just a villa, it is a destination.  Upon reaching your room, you might not want to leave.  However, there are an abundance of water sports to choose from as well as the Sporting Club.  Located in the Cardinal Building this club is connected by a secret passageway offering a fitness center, sauna, squash court and much more.  Outdoors, there are hiking trails, a tennis center and trademark floating pool to choose from.  One can also enjoy playing a round of golf at the beautiful Golf Club Villa Deste, considered to be one of the most challenging par 69’s in Europe.

 

 

Have a Bellini lakeside as the sun sets before moving to the Veranda for world-class dining.

I am still dreaming of my early morning wake up calls.   Doorbell rings, and the waiter rolls in a gorgeous white linen table bearing silver pot of coffee and fresh flowers, as I glance at the morning newspaper, the windows open, in a room with the ultimate view.

For more information on weddings and honeymoons at Villa D’Este please contact Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.  215-793-4808.
All images courtesy of Villa D’Este.

 

 

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Your Get-A-Way to Cortina d’Ampezzo

Imagine hitting the slopes and having one of the world’s most beautiful backdrops, The Italian Dolomites. I invite you to experience Cortina d’Ampezzo., surrounded by the most stunning scenery in the world. The Dolomite mountains are majestic, with some serious jaw dropping cliffs and peaks rising up from beautiful valley.

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Located a couple hours’ drive from Venice, Cortina ( as the locals call it) is a several hours drive from Venice and a true paradise for ski enthusiasts. Powerful, sleek, and majestic, these gorgeous mountains have been named a World Heritage site.
The 1956 Winter Olympics put this area on the maps and in the living room homes around the world. Film buffs will recognize a genra of films shot at this location, from war and romantic movies to Italian comedies. The Pink Panther was filmed here in 1962 and you can channel your inner James Bond as Roger Moore hurtled down the slopes on skis while being chased by the bad guys on spike wheeled motorbikes. Brilliant.
Fashionistas will love Cortina, as it on the cutting edge of fashion and trends. You can check out next season’s fashion’s by walking along Corso Italia, the pedestrian street and the place to shop. Choose from the most exclusive brands from around the world, antique shops, art galleries, a true shopper’s paradise.
Skiing can work up quite the appetite and skiers will not be disappointed by the fine offerings of restaurants while on the slope. Once off the slope there are several high-end restaurants for the discerning tastes of the gourmands.
As a border territory, the food in influenced by both the Veneto and Tyrolean regions.

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For more information regarding luxury getaways to The Dolomite Mountains, contact Nancy Barkley at Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways.

Photo credit: Cortina d’Ampezzo website.

Yachting about Italy and Croatia!

Lying back in a wooden rowboat together and entering the magical Blue Grotto in Capri Italy.

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Romantic sunset gondola ride on the Grand Canal in Venice, Italy.

 

Wine pairing at a family run winery in Sicily.

 

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Exploring Montenegro with its twisting byways, Byzantine architecture, and pitched mountains plummeting straight into the Adriatic Sea.

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Walking the medieval walls that surround Dubrovnik and then exploring what lies within the white old city.

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Visiting Split Croatia with its bustling harbor lined with cafes and Diocletians’ Palace in the center of town.

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Strolling through the streets of Rovinj, Croatia where hints of Italy are everywhere, in the signs, in the language, in the cuisine, thanks to having spent more than 500 years under Venetian rule. Romantic, quaint, and captivating, it’s Istria’s most beloved town.

 

Trip of a lifetime, you bet!  Memories that will last forever, indeed!  Can you experience this?  Absolutely, call Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways today!  215-793-4808

www.honeymoonsandgetaways.com

 

La Corte dei Papi, the perfect venue for your intimate and authentic wedding in Tuscany

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Cortona in Tuscany, Italy is perhaps best known as the setting for the book and movie “Under the Tuscan Sun” Cortona is among Tuscany’s loveliest destinations offering astonishing landscapes and romantic backdrops.

Couples seeking to get married at an intimate and elegant country house rich of flowers and perfumes, La Corte dei Papi is the perfect choice. If looking for exclusivity you may reserve the entire estate for your guests.
And because your wedding will last more than one day, the hardest choice you will have to make is choosing from all the amazing activities available to your guests. On site cooking classes? Walking or cycling the countryside? Or personalized private tours to Pienza, famous for its cheese, Montepulciano and Montalcino, known all over the world for its wines Nobile and Brunello.
You can visit Siena and San Gimignano, true historic and landscape treasures on the foot of Chianti.

Or perhaps your guests will just want to stay in their rooms? Why? This XVIII century country house was completely restored with luxury and wellness in mind. The spa suites offer a private spa for 2 people with a Turkish bath provided with 4 multi-sensory showers.

Couples choosing to marry at La Corte dei Papi will receive attention to every detail, superior professionalism and discretion from the staff. You will have a chef preparing each recipe with quality and elegant presentation for an ultimate dining experience. La Corte dei Papi is the absolute perfect location for your destination wedding which guests will be talking about for years to come.

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Nancy Barkley, Honeymoons and Get-A-Ways, 215-793-4808

Photos courtesy of La Corte dei Papi

 

Dreaming of a romantic wedding in Italy?

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Have you always dreamed of a romantic wedding In Italy, at a luxury boutique hotel or possibly on the cliffs of the Amalfi Italian coast or at a medieval castle in Tuscany or on the beaches of South Florida?

Imagine saying “I do” in an exotic locale and spending three to seven unforgettable days bonding with your family and friends.

Your wedding day is the most important day of your life. A destination wedding is the perfect way to make that day memorable
for you and your guests.

With over 15 years in the events, hospitality and lifestyle services industry, Pamela, owner of Celebrating With Elegance, strives to please with an attention to detail, exceptional customer service and an overall enthusiasm, no matter what special event or Concierge lifestyle need you may have.

A keen sense of understanding a client’s vision and needs while finding the most effective and compelling solution is always Pamela’s objective.

From concept to creation Celebrating With Elegance is proud to offer full service Special Event and Wedding Planning in Florida and to all of Italy.

The talented team of event designers are here to eliminate all of the stress in planning your Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday or Product Launch.  As they work closely with each of their clients to bring their visions to reality, their goal is to create truly wonderful events that will exceed the expectations of their clients and all of their guests.

They show their talents proudly by custom designing each event and wedding according to the style, budget and request of their client. They are available for travel.

From custom props, to decor, lighting, and big themed entertainment their professional  approach to event design and wedding planning, along with their impeccable sense of detail and creativity are just a few reasons why their clients call on them to make their visions come true.

They are Creative, Unique and Dedicated.

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Pamela Spanu

President, Celebrating with Elegance

561-705-2000

561-306-4766

pamela@celebratingwithelegance.com

www.celebratingwithelegance.com