Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Forte dei Marmi Market

View from the Pier...

I don’t dare call it a flea market even though many refer to it as that. It’s hard to do so when they are selling high-end designer shoes at half price for €160. No flea I know can afford that! But I suppose I would call it a “deal” considering the maker. Anyway, back to the beginning before I get too far off tangent about the gorgeous pale pink Prada ballerina slippers I would have snatched up in an instance had they been in my size...

I could just jump in this pool of fancy shoes!

Famous for their cashmere

If you are ever within a one-hour radius of Forte dei Marmi (i.e. - Lerici, Lucca, Pisa, even Florence), I highly recommend a day of shopping, people watching and lunch by the sea. It has been a popular resort area for over 2 centuries. The rich and famous flock here from all over the world for a touch of “Dolce Vita” as the area has some of Italy’s most prestigious beach clubs, discotheques, restaurants and, of course, shopping (how many beach towns do you know with a Gucci store?!). It is also is a good base for exploring the cost from Le Cinque Terre down to Pisa and inland to the marble quarries of Carrara, Lucca and even Florence.

Stylish bikini cover-ups for €20

A great selection of hats

Fur for less anyone???

Every Wednesday, the population of this cozy town must triple in size for this shopper’s paradise. You name it, you’ll find it, from cooking utensils to branded designer wear, all at (quasi) bargain prices. During summer, it’s a “double-bonus” as the market is open even on Sundays.

Mom checking out the latest look in tablecloths

The mob scene

Versilia's natural beauty

Forte dei Marmi Market

Every Wednesday (rain or shine), also Sundays in summer

From 8:00am-2:30pm in Piazza Macroni

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Crossing Borders:

Vive Le Cote d’Azur

We escaped, again. Well with good reason. My parents came for a 2 1/2 week visit. They have seen and done just about all there is to do in Lerici, Portovenere, Cinque Terre, Italy in general. So we decided to surprise them with a weekend jaunt to France. Mougins to be exact.

If you have never been to Mougins, I suggest adding it to your “travel to” list. This pretty little hilltop village is an artistic and culinary delight. We stayed in a fabulous little B&B just outside the village in a gorgeous residential area (if I were ever to move to France, this is where I would plant myself!) called Le Mas de Mougins. 5 charming rooms, all done in French country chic next to a lovely pool area.

The breakfast alone deserves a blog. In all my travels I don’t think I have ever experienced a more abundant and delicious spread of breakfast goodies! Whether it was the apple tart, sausage omelet, homemade pain au “chocolat” or the “real french toast” (as explained by the charming owner Joel), there was something to satisfy everyone, over and over and over again. And with such gorgeous weather, sitting outside, poolside with the smell of jasmine in the area, made it a heavenly experience.

Ok, getting away from the B&B (which is not easy to do)...we made a series of fun and easy day trips to Antibes, Eze, Monaco and Cannes. With only 2 days, we made the most of our time and even managed a couple of hours by the pool (a must!), but we also know we missed so much and we’ll just be forced to make a return trip.

The best part, Mougins is only a 3 hour drive from our home!

If you plan to be in the Italian Riviera area, give some though to a “duel Riviera trip”. They are BOTH were seeing. Hmmmm, think I just might need to expand the business some...

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Fabulous Rental Series:

Serenity and Beauty Above Lerici

We are so pleased to introduce you to another wonderful rental property in Lerici!

Villa Maralunga is an exclusive 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom villa perched above the sapphire blue sea, in an only pedestrian zone, offering complete privacy and tranquillity. Enjoy the sound of waves hitting the rocks below while gazing at the sunset and Portovenere in the distance. It doesn’t get much better than this!

The has its own private parking spot which is located just about 200 yards away from the villa’s front gate. Upon entering the gate there is short staircase leading guests down to the garden and into the living room area. The living room area has a nice relaxing area with 2 comfortable sofas and large glass doors overlooking one of the many terraces that the villa has to offer. Just off the living room is the modern kitchen with an electric oven, microwave, espresso maker, dishwasher and washing machine.

The kitchen leads out to another panoramic terrace which has a lovely shaded patio area for dining outdoors along with an outdoor preparation area perfect for summer dinners “al fresco” while enjoying the views. This area also overlooks the poolside. The pool is only 2 x 5 meters but is just perfect for a quick dip to cool off on the hot summer days and is lined with an elegant travertine marble.

Down one level, is the bedroom area where there are two bedrooms and one bathroom with a shower. The master bedroom has a queen size bed and has access directly out into the garden and the second bedroom has a trundle bed with a second bed which pulls out from underneath and can turn into a double bed upon request. The third bedroom has independent access directly from the garden area and is not “connected” internally to the other bedrooms. This bedroom has a queen size bed and a private en-suite bathroom with a shower.

If you can tear yourself away from the villa, guests can walk to the closest beach (with terraced rocks) just 5 minutes by foot. The charming town of Lerici is about a 15 minute walk, and Le CinqueTerre, Lerici, Forte dei Marmi, Portovenere and Portofino are all easily within reach by either car, boat or train (from Sarzana and La Spezia).

Please contact us directly for more details and pricing at

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Festa della Focaccia (a casa mia)...

Mom and Dad are here so the social activities are plentiful (and my blogging at a minimum, sorry). Last night we invited the “butcher” from the house below us along with us wife and gorgeous hunk of prosciutto, my in-laws and zio Costantino for a night of homemade focaccia!

I don’t know anyone who can make focaccia like my mother-in-law, really. Being in Liguria, I have plenty of opportunity to taste test, but few come even close. Specializing in little round focaccine that are sublime alone, but also the perfect partner for fresh prosciutto (or other cold cuts one might prefer). Throw in a little stracchino and gorgonzola, and you’ve got the perfect party meal.