Antibes -

Antibes is a beautiful spot to visit it has a n array of places to visit and see with some amaizing walks and great nightlife.

Perfectly positioned along the coast of the French Rivera and always a favourite of my in the late summer all the crowds have gone.

SLEEP

AIRBNB is always a winner as you experience the city as it should be you can walk the streets and explore what’s on offer as a real local

EAT

Le Zinc is a great spot for lunch on a Sunday always busy as the markets finish up and the locals enjoy a glass of Rose and relax. This place is small but the food is amazing with a twist on traditional french food

SEE

The Picasso museum which a showcases many of he’s works and has beautiful sculptures is well worth a visit

DO

The walk along the Cote D’azur which is showcases the beautiful coastline Antibes has on offer

Helena HancockComment
A weekend in Paris

September in Paris is a perfect time to visit as fall is on it’s way but the sun is still out in force Having spent a few summers visiting a few years back I had fond memories of the city of lights however this visit was even better with it being less crowded and not too hot!

Accommodation:

Stayed in a beautiful hotel in Madeline callled Hotel Sommlier Alfred which was walking distance to many great spots and little bars that had all the wine and Cheese one needs.

Shopping :

Was hassle free with a visit to the Gallerie Layfatte with the most beautiful food hall that had everything under one roof. Also the newly opened Printemps which has shopping and food all under the same roof.

Drinks and Food:

Lou lou is always a worth the visit no matter how many times you have been also worth a visit is the DÉLI-CIEUX AT PRINTEMPS are great spot for an afternoon rose after all that walking.

Helena HancockComment
Polignano a mare

Polignano a mare is one of the more impressive places with the beach located in the middle of the city and surrounding town overlooking the water.

Located in the Metropolitan city of Bari. this being a bustling seaside town all Summer long full of great places to eat and and cute little bars to cool to grab an apertivo after a long day in the sun. The old town comes to life in the summer with people out on the streets into the early hours making the most of the long Balmy nights. 

Discovering new places is all the fun after a long day at the beach we stumbled across Puro a fresh seafood restaurant taking influence from Japan and putting an Italian twist on it  http://puro-sushi.com

The best Ice-cream can be found in Bar Turismo which is located on the main street away from the beach. 

Helena HancockComment
Matera

Matera is a small city being discovered again after years of neglect. It is located in the Region of Basilicata in the south of Italy. It has a collection of Cave Dwellings carved into the mounatin side. 

In 1952 it was evacuated due to it's poor living conditions and many of the local owners were made evicted. 

It was only more recently that Matera has been given a new lease of life now being listed as UNESCO world heritage site. Bringing to life a hidden treasure withing the hills of Italy.  

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Ostuni

Ostuni is also known as the White city as its covered in white walls and there is an endless array of cactus lining the streets it's one of my favourite towns in Italy by far located 8km from the coast. Being there in the heat of the Summer did mean we had to take a few breaks in the rooftop bars which you have endless views across the Olive trees and the Ocean which  magnificent view on a summer afternoon. 

The town has a population of around 32,000 but this can reach closer to 100,000 in the summer. Ostuni is a producer of Olive oil and wine and you can see why as there is an endless array of trees everywhere you go.

 

There is a few spots which include the Ostuni Cathedral which is in the main square as you walk the streets you will find endless beauty within these old streets which have been given this town character over the years. 

 

Helena Hancock
Playing in Positano and Capri in a nutshell

A trip to Italy is never complete without stopping past Positano, with all its colourful apartments and houses which overlook the ocean it's hard not to get lost inside the endless beauty that surrounds this magical place. With the small roads and bustling streets you have endless options of restaurants and bars as well as boutiques which lure you in. 

After a long walk down the mountain you hit one of many beach clubs that pop up along the coastline in Italy with he bright orange umbrellas and deck chairs you know where the rest of the day will be spent with a spritz in hand off course!  

Helena Hancock
Florence

Being my third time in this city I knew what to expect this city feels quite small however its a magical pleasure walking the streets  before the summer heat kicks in.

There are many obvious attractions which include the Bargello and the Galleria dell A'ccade which houses some amazing works also The Bargello which also has a great mix of pieces and is housed in a old prison. Michelangelo the Galleria dell A'ccade  is home to Michelangelos famous sculpture David if you are on the search to see this famous piece of artwork in person. Also the Giardino Bardini and the Boboli Gardens which are a beautiful way to spend a afternoon walking off that long lunch.  

The Gucci Museum is well worth the trip its located in the Piazza della Signoria which has houses many pieces dating back to the 70's and beyond. After getting getting your fashion hit grab a apertivo at my favourite bar across from the museum. Its called Caffe Rivoire which is great for a coffee or afternoon apertivo.

The Piazza del Duomo is a great spot to get views across the city, the church itself is free if you want to climb the duomo it will be a long wait unless you head their first thing in the morning book tickets in advance. The church bell is also worth the climb and has just as great views also. 

 

Helena Hancock
Ponza

This little Island has got to be my very favourite in Italy its understated unlike its slightly more glamorous sibling Capri further down the Med. In ancient times the island was called Tyrrhenia. Legend says Ponza is what is left of the lost island as it was connected to the mainland by a narrow strip of land which sank into the sea. The rustic island was once a part of Greece and has a very interesting past including pirates however nowadays its a haven for all during the  summer months.

Its here you really can relax and experience what the summer life has to offer as it hasn't changed over the years, Its quite small you don't need much to get around the port is buzzing all morning long  there is one narrow road who everyone is happy to share which leads you to the center by foot. Here you can get a fresh pizza or pastries and the local deli stock everything you need for a day on the water.

Highly recommend taking out an inflatable which you can rent at the port, Take yourself over to Palmarola where you will experience the island  of another kind the water is crispy clear and the island has a spot where you can stop for lunch.

Summer at its best.    

Helena Hancock
Venice

Arriving in Italy at the end of May you can smell summer just around the corner. The crowds haven't arrived yet but the streets are certainly ready. I have fond Memories of Venice as it had been a place of younger adventures many years ago. It still remains as beautiful and magical as ever.

 Having my early coffee whilst everyone was on their way to work It's amazing to me to see this island fully functional with all the small alleyways its crazy to see how this city is still in tact. Getting lost  within it all is a  must.

Stopping  mid afternoon to take have a long awaited refreshment in St Marks square where you can watch the crowds go by whilst being served by the Italian waiters who look like they belong back 1950s Film. 

Whilst in Venice jump on a ferry to Burano and Murano  where you will be taken on a colourful journey through the canals and picturesque streets. 

You can stop here for lunch as they are famous for their seafood and their handmade lace and bright coloured streets .Whilst over in Murano you can pick up some hand blown glass and other crafts. 

 

 

Helena Hancock
Sundays @ Sperlonga

Sperlonga has a relaxed feel about it with it's white bright streets and tiny alley ways its ok to get lost here as you find so many hidden gems. Being a beach side town the locals are easy going and you can really get the feeling of being away from it all. The ocean is lined with beach clubs and the town is cute with a collection of  bars and restaurants that line the streets. You could certainly spend many long summers here!

Helena Hancock
Conegliano

Conegliano is another treasure of Italy which has lots to offer especially its Prosecco with endless hills and cute town which has a beautiful old town with wine bars and lovely places to stop and snack. Boutique shops are also on offer. A great little escape thats understated and waiting  to be discovered!  

Helena Hancock
Under the Tuscan Sun

Summers are always well spent in this part of Italy with endless options at your feet from the endless wine tours to great scenic drives its all summer long here. There are an array of places to visit and unwind as most places are not too far from each other so you can set out for the day and just explore whats on offer. A favourite spot to visit and is very popular for lunch and dinner is Dario Cecchini famous for he's meat and butcher store where you can come and taste whats on offer. 

Helena Hancock
Milan

Milano is a bustling city which has two of my favourite things shopping and great nightlife its a city full of energy and has one of my favourite churches, The Milan Duomo it is the third biggest in the world and stands over the square with a  beautiful rooftop you with views overlooking Milano centre.

The Galleria is perfect for a one stop shop as it has all the boutiques under one incredible roof, if that isn't satisfying take a walk down via Montenapoleone. It has all the big brands for that hit of shopping your looking for, in need of some culture my favourite museum is the Fondazione Prada located at

 LARGO ISARCO, 2
20139 MILANO 

This space has some great shows on and is worth the trip don't forgot to visit the beautiful Bar Luce which has been designed by film director Wes Anderson. The cafe serves up all kinds of cakes and sandwiches reminisce of another time. 

After a long day on the feet you will want to wind down head to the Armani Hotel for a cocktail or The Newly renovated Mandrian Oriental Hotel they won't disappoint! 

Helena Hancock
Roma

Where do I begin? Rome is by far one place that stands out  in between all the incredible historic places of the world. Whenever you walk the streets you feel as tho you are walking through an open air museum.

With everything Italy has to offer it has to be one of my favourite cities. Firstly being its historic past, the city has maintained and preserved so much of this over the years my appreciation has grown for this city whilst returning each time.

The food,shopping and the bars, Hotel De Russie is a favourite and the amazing monuments full of endless tourists which can get very tiresome after a long day on the feet!

 However Rome has a lot to offer outside of its bustling center you can escape to the hills which is relaxing on a hot summers day and always a little cooler .If you jump on a train from the center its only four stops and and you will find yourself in Frascati an area which is famous for its food and world famous wine.

Staying here is quite a travelers paradise gone are the pickpockets and the frantic ways of the city  you get a real glimpse of the true Rome if you are wanting to see something a little of the tourist track you can walk the surrounding  villages and there are two large lakes which you can swim or rent a sailing boat. Don't forgot to try some of the world famous Porchetta from the many vans that sit on the side of the road

Buon Appititte!

Helena Hancock
Sicilian Summer

As it was my first trip to this island I was very excited we took a flight to Catania and picked up a car and began our journey. Starting out in Taormina  which is quite a large city we began our coastal drive. With stunning views overlooking the ocean and smaller beaches. 

 Staying at the beautiful hotel called Terra Rossa the location was perfect with views across the Isola Bella a stunning spot for the morning swim. Surrounded by beautiful Gardens and a terrace to finish up the day with a refreshment at sun down. 

Shopping and food is great in this city they  if you need to pick up any summer accessories or that perfect dress for the evening ahead your options are endless and shops stay open late into the evening through out summer. The square of Toarmina is beautiful at Dusk and is a great viewing point to see the city and surroundings

After spending two nights we continued on to Syracusa which is a famous city for its baroque, arriving mid afternoon was pure bliss as the streets were quite empty after lunch whilst the locals have their afternoon siesta. This being my favourite time of the day as the madness slows down and everyone rests after a long lunch. A meal they take very seriously, Sicilians are very famous for their food it really shows being on a island there is lots of fresh fish and great  produce which is full of flavour. Whilst in town we stumbled across a great restaurant which we happened to visit twice called Sicilia In Tavola book in advance as this place fills up quickly. 

http://www.siciliaintavola.eu/siciliaintavola.eu

The last few days were spent in the southern tip of the island where we stayed in a beautiful location which was off the beaten track a little town of Marzamemi which is a famous fishing village known for it tuna. Here you can find a relaxed little town where the fisherman are really what is all about there are lovely drives which you will find yourself passing many farming spots of the famous cherry tomatoes and you can find a few good swimming spots along the coastline. Restaurant Campisi is defiantly worthy of a visit they have a store at the front where you can pick up some of their own produce and then the restaurant sits on the beachfront. Great Sicilian food which won't disappoint! 

As our journey contiued we stumbled across a newly opened hotel one which was in a a renovated castle looking over the old tuna farm which was once fully operational. With ocean views the hotel has been fully refurbished and the interiors tastefully decorated and great to relax after our big journey.

https://www.castellotafuri.it

  We took our last day to venture up to the turkish steps which is bit of a drive roughly 3 hours but well worth it as the beauty in this beach is outstanding you can walk the cliff edges but be careful as it does get windy. If you can fit in a swim the water at this beach the water is amazing but arrive early to avoid the crowds. 

 

Helena Hancock
Lake Como

Being two years since my last visit to this enchanted place on this lake one which feels like you are taken on a journey of winding never-ending roads.Being a nifty little Fiat we took the opportunity to drive around and see what this place has too offer.

Being late May the weather was very unpredictable raining some days and others were full of sunshine however waking up here is one of those special moments  as the lake reflects the morning light and the ferries start their journey across the sleepy waters. 

Spending the afternoon in Belliago a favourite where the rain slowly makes its way over the surrounding mountains stunning to watch over a nice glass of red. Como is relaxing as the pace slows down which is refreshing after being in the bigger cities it gives you chance to stop and reflect . The Final day spent exploring the neighboring areas visit  VILLA D'ESTE   for lunch and take a walk in the surrounding gardens... pure bliss.

Helena Hancock