This week I wanted to share some of my thoughts and adventures in Tuscany. Yesterday, I introduced you to the Tenuta Nunzi Conti Winery, an exclusive producer of Chianti Classico wine and on Friday I’ll be sharing my guide for what to see in Florence by day if you only have 24 hours in the city! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win 3 bottles of Chianti Classico (open to Europe, USA and Canada)!
The Reason I Dressed
I love Bologna. I think it is one of the most beautiful and interesting cities I’ve ever lived in, and I’m so happy when we spend a sunny Saturday afternoon exploring the city.
Last weekend we went to visit my husband’s grandmother in Bologna and then we spent the afternoon in Bologna’s centro at a food festival and having a snack at one of the most gourmet cafes in the city, Gamberini Café.
Gamberini Café – Est 1907
Gamberini Café is the oldest bakery in Bologna and is quite the beautiful spot! They are a a specialty café that offers delicious pastries and savory treats for a perfect breakfast or mid-afternoon break. If you sit at a table, you should be aware that there is a higher price, because they charge you for service on top of the already pricey menu options. Just to give you an idea…. for my son’s pastry we paid 8 euro, and with a plate of salty snacks and mini pizzas plus two espressos and a water we paid something like 35 euro! But it IS an experience, and if you want to taste pastries like you’ve never had them before I suggest stopping in….but maybe standing at the bar instead of sitting at a table!
The Mont Blanc
Just in time for the holiday season they’ve started serving their new “Mont Blanc” inspired menu of coffees, cakes and pastries. This includes whipped meringue and Marron Glacée (candied chestnuts) with whipped cream in all kinds of ways! You can get a Mont Blanc Espresso or the pastry my son had, which was a base of whipped cream with meringues, topped with a Marron Glacée cream that was VERY RICH and also yummy.
What I Wore
The weather has finally changed here and the cold winter air is upon us, complete with a damp, chilly humidity that mid-Italy is known for (great….why didn’t I immigrate to the South?!). The first few years in Italy I always had a fever! I was never appropriately dressed in November because the type of cold here is totally different than the type of cold in Canada. Sometimes it feels as though no matter how many layers you put on, you just don’t feel warm! That’s where wool comes into play. I’ve written here about the Italian obsession with wool, and how it really is a wardrobe staple if you plan on being comfortable in the cold humid middle of the country!
I wore my new fine wool hat that I recently picked up at a local artisan market in Modena. It is by the small Italian brand Cappelleria Minocci and was handmade by hat artisans in Florence where there is a strong tradition of hat making.
I paired it with my brown suede over the knee boots by the Italian brand Donna Più. These boots were bought online last year from Yoox and I CANNOT get over what a great deal they were. The quality of the leather and craftsmanship is out of this world….honestly, the suede is some of the finest suede I’ve ever felt. Although the company also produces for big designer brands, this line is their own so the prices are “factory direct” and MUCH cheaper than what you would expect for this quality.
Although I can’t find my exact pair online, there are a LOT of Donna Più real leather boots on sale now for 50% off here (PLUS if you order before November 28th you’ll get an additional 20% off your entire order!). Here you’ll find a few pairs that are selling for as low at 50 bucks! This same company produces some of the luxury brand boots that go for over $1,000…I’m not kidding!
Il Panno Casentino – Tuscany’s Ancient Wool
I usually invest in one or two GREAT items a year. This is part of a whole philosophy I’ve developed since living in Italy and working in fashion, that helps to keep my closet paired down (I don’t have much space by North American standards) and I save by buying less but buying better quality things I LOVE and don’t just “like”.
For the past 5 or 6 years I have been in love with Casentino Wool. I remember the first time I saw Casentino, it was at the Pitti Men’s fashion fair, and there was this handmade sartorial coat with a real fur collar that was selling for 10,000 EURO!!! Since then I have only come across designer pieces in Casentino, like this coat by Rochas for $1,930!
It is a strange type of wool because it is MEANT to look like it is pilling, but that is its most important characteristic and part of the whole artisan creation process. This irregularity comes from the cooking process of the wool and makes it incredibly resistant, warm and WATERPROOF! You could call it one of the most ancient “technical” fabrics on Earth and many top brands are rediscovering and reinterpreting it in a modern way.
I realized that for my big ticket items I have more of a classic taste, so I went directly to a manufacturer and had this classic coat in the traditional Red-Orange color made to measure! It is lined in forest green satin with raw wood buttons and in the spring I will be bringing you directly to the area in Tuscany where this wool is still produced with the same ancient process that it has always been made. Stay tuned for the interview and giveaway in the upcoming months as part of my HAND MADE, The Artisan Series. This month’s feature is the Tenuta Nunzi Conti Winery and you can enter the international giveaway below for a chance to win 3 bottles of Chianti Classico wine valued at over $100.
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In the small area of Stia, you will find only a handful of artisans that still produce this type of wool, and they also sell directly to individual customers. The history of this Tuscan wool goes back to the Etruscans and Romans, but was made famous by the Medici’s.
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THE RTD MAGAZINE
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