Charles Burnand London

Encore en Italie

“Oh go on then…..” if you find yourself in the south of France why not add on another 500 miles and nip over the border to Italy for a few extra days?

We’d been told about Portofino and the Cinqueterra coastline by everyone who had ventured on a four-wheeled tour of the Italian west coast and what an ideal opportunity with our family-friendly Q7 (perfect for two) to explore the region.

Portofino is definitely a place to visit and not a place to stay. Aside from the eye-watering prices at the Hotel Splendido (particularly in the August peak season) it is fiendishly difficult to get into and out of. Anyone who has been to St Tropez in the summer will be familiar with the “one road in and one road out” bottleneck created by the narrow coastal street – the same applies to Portofino. Fortunately our budget wouldn’t stretch to the Splendido as we found a spectacular alternative in Camogli (silent “g” –  the Italians will look at you with bewilderment if you add it to the end of the first syllable).

Villa Rosmarino is a pristine Ligurian fuscia-fascia, wipe-clean-white-interior “converted” holiday home of a Milanese couple who gladly welcome a select gathering of discerning guests onto three of their four floors. How similar to Charles Burnand – it was like it was meant to be! A few day trips out soon completed this part of the trip – a select collection of only the best photos follows.

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A short hop-skip-and-jump took us over the boarder into Tuscany and back to our Italian spiritual home. No sooner were we there were we drawn into the local town market. What had started out as a cheap pizza soon turned into several hundred euros worth of seating and lighting. We just can’t help ourselves.

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Whilst in work mode we detoured in to see Sabrina Landini who had finished our Philippe Starck 1990’s perspex coffee table with a bespoke centre piece – now in our store. Not only does a Q7 give a fabulously comfortable drive down to Italy, it also has a cavernous boot capable of hosting large table, six chairs and various lamps. We call it “doing our bit for the environment” – no extra transportation road miles! Sabrina had also been working on a new technique with coloured glass which creates an almost rippling water effect. Watch out for these coming to the store.

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Talking of caverns, Tuscany is home to Carrara, the town some may call the spiritual home of marble. Perching above Carrara are several mountains which are slowly being carved from the inside and cut from the outside to adorn our bathroom walls and floors. We were fortunate to be taken on a personal guided tour inside one of these “vanishing” mammoths – that being said there is still plenty left to out see our lifetime . En route up the mountain we stopped at one of the ubiquitous marble galleries and saw this sculpture – the creator/owner of which has been slowly chipping away and honing his skills over many years. Maybe this explains the rather haphazard design.

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