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FAREWELL SICILY: TAORMINA, AND HOME VIA ROME

Dressed for dinner at Taormina

Dressed for dinner at Taormina

Our sublime Sicilian adventure ended all too soon….

After Noto we stopped in Catania for a private tour of Palazzo Biscari and some general sightseeing. Then on to our final destination, Taormina, where the legendary Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo welcomed us.

Perched atop the hills of Taormina, the hotel offers stunning views of Mount Etna and the Sicilian coast. With only one day to bask in the beauty and luxury of the Hotel Timeo we actually barely left the property (apart from a 2 minute walk to a lovely ancient Greek theater).

Greek theater near Taormina

Greek theater near Taormina

We enjoyed cocktails at the hotel while being blessed with the most sensational sunset. The cuisine was beyond divine – and our wine sommelier shared with us wonderful and unusual Sicilian wines paired with each course. All the meals were served al fresco on a beautiful terrace, and the memory of the glimmering lights dotting the Sicilian coast at dinner, remains emblazoned in my mind.

Mount Etna and the Sicilian coast from Taormina

Mount Etna and the Sicilian coast from Taormina

It goes without saying that there is still so much of Sicily for us to discover, and we will simply have to return.

En route back to New York we were hosted by Palazzo Dama in Rome, which provided a brilliant base of operation for two days in Rome. After a superb luncheon poolside we went for a bit of a stroll. Rome is perfect for strolls, with stunning sights and a deep sense of its history at every turn.

James Andrew - Dressed for dinner at Piazza del Popolo.

James Andrew – Piazza del Popolo.

We had dinner at the renowned Dal Bolognese. It’s really a Roman institution, serving an elegant take on classic Italian cuisine.

On our last day we went to check out the flea market which was quite disappointing, but a wonderful luncheon offered a perfect way to forget the experience. Then a bit further afield, we visited the iconic Hadrien’s Villa (Hadrien’s tribute to his young lost lover Antinous who died in Egypt) which McBee and I were eager to see – needless to say, there’s a reason that it’s featured in so many design and architecture books!

James Andrew at Hadrian's VIlla

James Andrew at Hadrian’s VIlla

We treated ourselves to a farewell dinner at Pier Luigi, another favorite of ours. In operation since 1938 it has been a classic old-school haunt for the chic set. Located at the edge of a handsome piazza in the heart of Rome, dining al fresco there is indeed a treat.

For our farewell dinner in Taormina (top) I am sporting a Tom Ford linen and silk floral dinner jacket, pink and white cotton check shirt, Cartier Tank Divan watch, KJP woven white cotton belt, Tom Ford fuscia and ivory silk pocket square, ikat velvet slippers, Uniqlo white jeans, and my fragrance Tom Ford Neroli Portofino.

And for our farewell dinner in Rome, I’m photographed in the Piazza del Popolo, wearing a Tom Ford linen and silk floral dinner jacket, white cotton shirt with French cuffs, shocking pink silk pocket square, velvet ikat slippers, Seaman Schepps shell and pink tourmaline cufflinks, Cartier Tank Divan, Dior shocking pink jeans, and my fragrance is Mandarino di Amalfi

Note how I wore only one dinner jacket throughout the trip. It’s always good idea to pack things that are versatile: I paired it with black linen pants, white jeans, and shocking pink jeans as well – a trifecta of different looks!

WIJW SUMMER HOLIDAYS

This Summer has been surprisingly busy with work and complicated construction for the refurbishment of client apartments. Sadly this has not allowed me much time for a proper summer holiday, and as such, I’ve had to satisfy myself vicariously through my friends and their various accounts of divine destinations.

Of course we here at WIJW HAVE had some rather fabulous getaways — witness the above montage! Thankfully come September Scott McBee and I are planning a personal extension of the summer season by taking a mini holiday — perhaps a long weekend in Miami and then on to Portugal in October! We will of course keep you posted 😉

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Roman Holiday

James Andrew, Rome

James Andrew, Rome

With so much to do and see in Rome, it is hard to imagine one could possibly ever tire of it! With only a short time there, we had to pick up the pace a bit. We started quite early with a morning stroll through the Orto Botanico botanical gardens, once part of the Palazzo Corsini.

Orto Botanico

Orto Botanico

We then went to the nearby Villa Farnesina, which is an early Renaissance villa decorated with the most fabulous frescoes—quite inspirational for any interior designer. The many details have my mind reeling with ideas for my own interior work.

Villa Farnesina

Villa Farnesina

Villa Farnesina

Villa Farnesina

We met up with artist friends Michelle Rogers and her girlfriend C. Finley for lunch at the super chic and quite handsome Pierluigi. Located at the Piazzi de Ricci (Cy Twombly lived in the same building) it has been serving up the most delicious cuisine since 1938. With the option to dine al fresco, it was the perfect spot to recharge over a couple of bottles of Rose wine. Suitably fortified, we walked over to a gallery that was featuring Finley’s fantastic work.

Griffingirl, 250x190cm, Acrylic on Canvas. 2009, by C. Finley

Griffingirl, 250x190cm, Acrylic on Canvas. 2009, by C. Finley

Next, McBee chose an unusual museum called the Centrale Montemartini. Once one of Rome’s original power plants, it is now a magnificent conflation of industrial age and classical antiquities.

Centrale Montemartini

Centrale Montemartini

Centrale Montemartini

Centrale Montemartini

After a quick ten minute taxi ride back to Rome center, we stopped at Piazza di Spagna for some window shopping on Via Babuino.

From Piazzi del Popolo one can enter the Borghese Gardens, and what a marvelous way to end our day in Rome, strolling through this green oasis at sunset! We made our way to the Villa Borghese and took some time to savor its beauty.

Villa Borghese grounds

Villa Borghese grounds.

The informative food blog, Elizabeth Minchilli in Rome inspired us to go to Osteria La Gensola, 15 Piazza della Gensola, for our farewell dinner—it’s a charming little family run place serving a mix of Sicilian and Roman cuisine—the perfect place to wind down after our whirlwind tour. We finished with a bit of a night time meander (that wonderful Italian pastime) through the streets of Rome on our way back to the hotel, thinking of the history of the place and our most splendid day.

Our last day in Rome proved to be another scorcher, so I dressed in a way that I hoped would be cool and comfortable yet somehow still chic, sporting cotton indigo ikat pants by Burberry Prorsom, Tom Ford navy and white cotton woven plaid shirt, black alligator belt with sterling buckle, black leather sandal espadrilles by Louboutin, straw hat with black grosgrain ribbon trim from India Hicks’ Sugar Mill, vintage Rolex watch and my fragrance is Creed Original Cologne.