One of motor racing’s spiritual homes, Italy always brings the glamour to the Formula One season. The Italian Grand Prix takes place in Monza and the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula One® Team will be powering ahead here with its 2023 F1 campaign. Monza is a classic with a history stretching back to 1921. The Italian Grand Prix has run every year since the modern F1 championship began in the 1950s and has seen the greats like Alberto Ascari score victories. Race goers would be wise to stay on in Italy for a late summer of spritzes, gelato, architecture and sunny beaches.
What is the most picturesque coastline in Italy?
Positano and Amalfi – Dramatic roads hugging the cliffside, with vespa drivers beeping their horns, waves crashing against rock, secluded beaches, seafood trattorias, and tumbledown villages - the Amalfi coast has it all. Positano offers nightlife near the shore and in the hills above the town the smell of lemons ripening on the trees fills the air with a citrus scent. The noted Borgo Santandrea hotel recently opened above the picturesque Conca dei Marini where fishermen power off into the bay to collect all the ingredients for your fritto misto.
Where can you experience the thrill of a first generation car test track?
Lingotto Factory Roof, Torino – The Italy of the futurists and the white hot modernism of a new industrial world made its presence felt in a corner of Turin that will forever be associated with the dynamism of the car. The Lingotto factory went up in the 1920s as a symbol of a thrusting new nation that was looking to the future. The chef d’oeuvre was the rooftop test track, banked, incomparable to anything anywhere else in the world, a place where cars could speed round in the sky; a taste of the future. And you can explore it today.
What is Tuscany's quirkiest event?
The Palio, Siena – Fret not about missing the annual race, held on the 2nd July and 16th of August 2023 - once you know about its history and you’ve visited its location, there is no question you’ll be booking flights to return next year. Siena’s town square is taken over for the world’s greatest bareback horse race, the townsfolk dressing up in the clothes of the middle ages to celebrate the heritage of this unique Tuscan spectacle. Once seen, never forgotten - nevertheless visit Siena to see the square, the photos on restaurant walls; talk to people about it, learn about the beautiful town and its people and its horses - and you will want to be at the Palio every year.
How can you revel in history in Sicily?
Ortea Palace – Syracuse has everything you’d dream of a Sicilian town offering: the food, the pavement cafes, the yachts in the port. And next to the canal separating the island of Ortigia from the mainland, the former Post Office building from the 1920s has been transformed into an elegant hotel with decor which harks back to a sumptuous age of exquisite travel. The Ortea Palace, an Autograph Collection hotel, is a classic Syracuse place to stay. In its central atrium, a mezzanine is accessed via a sweeping white marble staircase - you’d be forgiven for thinking about The White Lotus here.
How can you enjoy historic Monza after the GP
Monza's architecture and cuisine – Famous around the world for its motor racing circuit, Monza is also a beautiful town worthy of a stop on a route around northern Italy. Situated in Lombardy, near to Milan and Como, the city has treasures like the Monza Park, with a bridge spanning a pretty lake. Churches abound, including Santa Maria delle Grazie, with its ancient tower and of course the monumental Cathedral. There’s a museum of rural life and the Bridge of Lions is a unique sight too. Cassoeula, a casserole of pork and cabbage, is incredibly popular here. Restaurants like the famous Il Moro will make sure that no visitor to Monza goes hungry.
Which is the most historic location to stay in Rome?
Cosmopolita – For those who want to explore Rome’s history, the Pantheon, the Forum and the Trevi Fountain are all iconic stops on any city tour. In the historic heart of the Italian capital, the Cosmopolita, part of the Tapestry Collection, sits between all three and makes it a cinch to stroll between these Roman attractions. The hotel itself is set in an historic palace with a theatrical frontage of pediments and rusticated stone facade. The rooms will surprise though: a refurbishment has offered up a fresh, modern take on Italian hospitality with warm hues and brass fixtures. And when you get hungry there are restaurants all around this neighbourhood.
Want to explore Italy’s up and coming hipster city?
Trieste – Yes, little Trieste is the Italian town on everyone’s lips at the moment. James Joyce was here for a decade and when it was the seaport of the Austria-Hungary Empire, it was a true global entrepot. At the end of that empire and the takeover of Italy, it faded somewhat but its spirit has never left and today a new generation are creating all sorts of intriguing projects here. Vienna’s Gratzhotel and Urbanauts collective recently opened a cool new hotel, and German design chain 25 Hours (which has a property in Florence) is opening its second Italian hotel not in Milan, Verona or Rome - but in Trieste. Come and see it before it becomes as crowded as Venice.
Best place to get away from it all?
Madonna di Campiglio – The chaos of Napoli and Rome will seem a million miles away from your thoughts as you sweep into one of Italy’s most charming mountain villages. The lauded Madonna di Campiglio sits in a valley in the Trentino region, surrounded by dramatic high peaks which make for perfect hiking adventures in warm weather, and ideal skiing when it turns colder. Cafes and boutiques line the main street and don’t miss the historic Church of Santa Maria Antica. Try a late summer hike to Lake Nambino (and enjoy a well-deserved dip), or relax and unwind and sample a variety of wellness treatments. Yoga and meditation surrounded by nature, anyone?
City cultural fix?
Genoa – Visitors who miss Italy’s pesto capital will be green with envy. Genoa packs a punch - and not just for its delicious pasta sauce, served at many of the city’s trattorias. Ancient and modern architecture, music, streets lined with intriguing sights, and a maritime history of exploration mark the Ligurian capital. Art lovers will enjoy the Modern Art Museum at Villa Croce, which features works by Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Bruno Munari, Osvaldo Licini, and Ben Vautier. Don’t forget to visit the Rolli Palaces for an injection Genovese Renaissance, Baroque and aristocratic history and culture. The Lifestlye store Viagarbali12 is perfect for a spot of shopping, and finally, indulge in the art of fine dining at the Michelin-starred restaurants, Ristorante San Giorgio and Ristorante 20Tre.
Relax & unwind, Italy’s newest retreat addition?
The Ranch Rome – The handsome Palazzo Fiuggi dates from 1910, but today it has been re-imagined as a sumptuous haven of relaxation on the outskirts of a city that is anything but. Fiuggi is an hour from Central Rome but everything here is about unwinding, relaxing and finding balance: all the wellness experiences you could wish for are here at The Ranch, the well known Californian brand which has numerous celebrity fans. But there are surprises: rising at 5am every day for a hike and eating only vegan food is certainly a unique holiday experience, but a nourishing one too.
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