Livia Hengel, Journalist & Founder of The Italy Edit, Shares Her Top 5 Places To Visit In Italy
This article is also available to read in Chinese (HK).
When it comes to top countries to visit, Italy is always on the list. Ancient history, culture, Italian art, and a wide array of cuisines make it a very special country. But where does one begin? Livia Hengel is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Italy Edit, a digital travel magazine featuring the best of Italy. In addition to Forbes, The Independent, Telegraph Travel, Food & Wine, Fodor's, Time Out, and USA Today, she also has a travel guide, The Hunt Rome (Gatehouse, 2016), which has also appeared in international press. Here, we chat with the travel guru on her top five places to visit in the land of love.
Livia Hengel's Top 5 Places to Visit in Italy
The Eternal City is as famous for sights like the Sistine Chapel, Colosseum, and Trevi Fountain as it is for its legendary trattorias and wine bars tucked within pretty piazzas. Hop on a vespa with Scooteroma to feel like you are Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday, and don’t miss enjoying some bubbles on the city’s main rooftop bar. The Cielo terrace inside Hotel De La Ville and Terrazza Borromini are my favourite spots at sunset. To enjoy some art without the crowds, check out Palazzo Altemps, a quiet 16th-century palazzo with stunning Greek and Roman sculptures.
For a more local taste of Florence, head to the Oltrarno neighborhood where you can step inside quaint artisan boutiques and sleep under the frescoed ceilings of AdAstra, a boutique hotel set in a private mansion. Spend the morning exploring the majestic Boboli Gardens before sitting down for a wine-tasting lunch at the pint-sized Enoteca Pitti Gola. Across the river, Palazzo Strozzi has some of the city's most exciting temporary art exhibits and I never miss the chance to stroll through the local Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio for seasonal fruits and vegetables.
A floating city set in a lagoon, Venice is certainly one of the most unique places in the world. I love to visit in the off-season when the city is coated in a thick fog, creating a truly romantic atmosphere. The Biennale, one of the world's most prominent art fairs, is a great time to visit to enjoy stirring works in unexpected settings. A few gems to check out: Libreria Acqua Alta, a quirky bookstore set on a canal, the spiraled Scala Contarini del Bovolo, and Venissa, a vineyard that produces wine in the Venice lagoon.
4) Naples & the Amalfi Coast
Naples is more than the gateway to the Amalfi Coast. It is arguably the most soulful city in Italy (and one of my personal favourites). With sweeping views of Mount Vesuvius and some of the best food in the country, opt to spend a few days here before venturing further south. Eat pizza at Concettina ai Tre Santi, step into the Chiostro di Santa Chiara and have coffee at Caffe Gambrinus before strolling along the waterfront. Then make your way over to the Amalfi Coast to see colourful towns set upon rocky cliffs. The pretty town of Ravello is my favourite for its garden villas, Villa Cimbrone and Villa Rufolo, overlooking the coast.
Milan is the chic, fast-paced financial capital of Italy and helps propel this old-fashioned country into the future. From fashion and design to art and events, it's a buzzing cosmopolitan centre with architectural icons like La Scala opera house, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II shopping mall, and the massive gothic Duomo in the centre of all the action. Visit the 1930s Villa Necchi Campiglio before having lunch at LùBar, a Sicilian-inspired restaurant set in a sunlit atrium. Culture hunters will also want to explore the Prada Foundation and enjoy coffee at the Wes Anderson-designed coffee bar inside.
Images provided Livia Hengel.
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