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Milan World Design and Fashion Capital

Milan is one of the world’s leading production centres of design, creativity and fashion, which are also its major draws for visitors. Suffice to stroll along the Via Monte Napoleone and the Via della Spiga, two of the landmark shopping precincts, and you will likely be left open-mouthed at the splendid stage setting of the shop windows. No wonder, then, that Milan is the headquarters of such fashion labels as Armani, Prada, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Etro, and Miu Miu. Following is our selection of the year’s foremost events which all fashion and design devotees should be including in their schedule and experiencing for themselves.

Milan Design Week

From 4 to 9 April,Milan hosts the Salone del Mobile Milano, one of the major showcases for the latest trends in design, innovation, decoration and creativity each year. Aside from the trade fair itself, which will test your stamina when it comes to traipsing through pavilions and visiting stands, where you will also have to put up with long queues, all the presentations which the firms stage in parallel come under the umbrella of the so-called Fuorisalone. The latter, which is held at a host of venues scattered about the city, enables you to visit (by invitation, on certain occasions) splendid private palaces duly turned into perfect stages for the occasion. These are veritable extravaganzas, at which the stage setting is key, particularly when showcasing the latest trends in design.

The city devotes itself wholeheartedly to the cause for the duration of the fair, when Milan is inundated both by the leading labels that turn up to showcase their wares, and the hordes of visitors from all over the world, who come ready to marvel at the latest in design trends. It is worth bearing in mind that the sheer volume of people flocking to the city has the effect of markedly driving up the prices of accommodation for those few days, so it is essential to prepare your trip well beforehand to avoid unpleasant last-minute surprises.

Milan Fashion Week

This last February the city hosted the latest Milan Fashion Week, when the great names in Italian fashion revealed the cutting-edge trends for the 2017-2018 autumn-winter season. Make a point of attending the forthcoming edition, scheduled for20 to 27 September,during which the catwalks will again be thronged with the most stylish designs, destined to impact the fads we hang in our wardrobes for the 2018 summer season.

Fashion and Design Beyond the Events

You don’t need to visit Milan during these two events to discover how eminently centre-stage fashion and design are in the capital of Lombardy. As we mentioned earlier, merely wandering down the city’s main shopping precincts is truly rewarding on the eyes and a unique opportunity to go on a shopping spree where you can pick up the latest trends.

Another area you should include in your itinerary in the city while hunting for contemporary trends is Brera, a neighbourhood which is at once bohemian and chic and which oozes design wherever you go. Its design studios, and its shop fronts and interiors, will make you feel you have stepped into a fashion magazine. So, be sure to stroll along its streets and soak up the sights. And, you will find the perfect spot for restoring your energy at God Save The Food, an eatery sited in the sunny Piazza del Carmine, flanked by the brickwork-based Neo-gothic Church of Santa Maria del Carmine.

Book your Vueling to Milan and enjoy the very best of international design and Italian fashion.

Text by Los Viajes de ISABELYLUIS

Images by Salone del Mobile Milano, Luca Nebuloni


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The Infiorata di Genzano – a Street Become Artwork

Genzano is a charming town built on one of Rome’s hills. Every year it hosts the Infiorata di Genzano, when its main street, the Via Italo Belardi, is carpeted by 2,000 square metres of enormous tapestries adorned with flowers. This artwork uses up nearly 500,000 petals, flowers and seeds meticulously placed to form intricate pictures inspired by religious themes. It is a collaborative venture involving many of Genzano’s inhabitants. Just as painters have their palette, for the Infiorata, different types of flowers are selected according to each colour – carnations are used for reds, broom for yellows.

For the three-day duration of the festival, the town’s shopkeepers set up their marquees from where they sell the region’s typical food products, such as olive oil or pane casereccio, a famous crunchy bread and one of the most emblematic of local gastronomic products. TheInfiorataremains on the streets until the so-called Spallamento, the moment when the music bands and the town’s children walk over the infiorata, until the whole carpet is trampled underfoot.

The Origin of the Flower Carpets

These colourful flower carpets are laid down in many other towns around the world. Notable examples are the Temps de Flors in Girona and the Alfombras de Sal in Lanzarote. Their origins go back to theCorpus Christicelebrations of the 13th century, when flowers were thrown during the Holy Week procession in Rome, a tradition that then spread to many other Catholic countries. Other towns in Italy also have their own infiorata, but the one in Genzano is the oldest and most famous, dating back to 1778.

The Historical Towns of Castelli Romani

Genzano is one of thirteen historical towns that make up the so-called Castelli Romani (Roman castles), which roughly correspond to the area of Colli Albani (Albanian hills) south-east of Rome. For centuries it has been a favourite spot for well-heeled Romans seeking a more temperate climate, to escape from the often suffocating heat of Rome and also to get away from the city bustle and dense traffic. The towns in the Castelli Romani Regional Park stand out for their medieval and Renaissance buildings and for their excellent wine, the so-called white Frascati. You can taste this wine, accompanied by olives, cheese andporchetta– a roast pork dish with herbs – at the local taverns or fraschette.

Genzano – A Charming Setting

Genzano, like other towns in the Castelli Romani, is set on the external slope of the Lake Nemicrater. Indeed, the volcanic origin of the soil is what endows the grapes used in the wine-making with their excellent quality. Its historic centre has a large number of historical and art vestiges for a town of its comparatively small size, including the Collegiata della Santissima Trinità (Collegiate Church of the Holy Trinity), the Annunziata, the Church of the Cappuccini, and the Sforza Cesarini and Villa degli Antonini palaces. Lake Nemi’s claim to fame is that two of the largest and most luxurious vessels from antiquity were found in the crater – both had belonged to Caligula. For 2,000 years they rested at the bottom of the lake before eventually being salvaged in perfect condition, on account of the mud found caked around them. You will delight in the natural surroundings of the Genzano area, which is ideal for cycling. A bike tour will take you along scenic routes featuring lakes, craters and forests.

If you don’t want to miss this year’s Infiorata di Genzano, prepare your trip to this picturesque Italian town for 13, 14 and 15 June 2015. You will enjoy a spectacular event that draws thousands of visitors. Check out our flights here.

Text by Scanner FM

Images by Fabio | Claudio Vaccaro | supermiagolator | supermiagolator | Malega | Deblu68 | Valerio_D

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Essential Culinary Highlights in Gijón

Some months ago we wrote about five must-visit restaurants in Gijón: Los Pomares, where the fabada is a winner; El Quinto, a wine tavern with globe-trotting tapas; Casa Trabanco, a cider mill with guided visits laid on and dishes based on ingredients from their own market garden; El Candil, which boasts the best fish in town, and La Bolera, a grillroom acclaimed throughout Spain.

Should the list not make the grade – it does, I can assure you – Gijón also hosts several gastro-events which provide an excellent pretext to visit.

Flavours of Arcu Atlánticu

Billed as a culture festival featuring a blend of literature, performing arts, fine arts, music and cuisine from the Atlantic regions of Spain, France, Portugal, Ireland and the United Kingdom, the festival also features star chefs in action. Graced with awards by the city of Gijón, they cook on an enormous stage in the Plaza Mayor before more than 1,000 people, flanked by giant screens, as if a rock concert were being staged. This year, it will be held on 1 August. The event has already hosted such celebrities as Elena Arzak, Eneko Atxa, Andoni Luis Aduriz and Dieter Koschina, the chef at the Vila Joya restaurant, until recently the only Portuguese eatery with two Michelin stars.

Natural Cider Festival

In the week from 22 to 28 August, Gijón tastes only of cider. Around thirty cider mills set up their cider-serving stalls in two urban settings – the Plaza Mayor and the marina (alongside a sculpture known as “The Cider Tree”, made up of bottles from 80 Asturian cider mills). For a token fee, visitors get a commemorative glass they can fill up free-of-charge at any of the stands throughout the day at the so-called Mercadín de la sidra y la manzana (cider and apple market). There are various activities during the week. The bus de la sidra or “cider bus”, which visitors can take to the local cider mills, cursos de escanciado (courses in cider-pouring) and cancios de chigre (cider tavern songs) when hundreds of people gather in the Plaza Mayor to sing the most popular songs of Asturias, while on Poniente Beach there will be an attempt to break the Guinness simultaneous cider-pouring record. Set in 2014, it brought together 8,448 cider pourers.

Gijón de sidra

The Gijón de Sidra festival is held for eleven days each October (this year, from 6 to 16 October), during which cider mills from all over Asturias are twinned with emblematic cider taverns in the city. Each tavern then offers a bottle of cider from the mill they represent, in addition to a homemade portion of food served in a cazuelina, all at a moderate price, accompanied by the singing ofcancios de chigre(cider tavern songs).

Gastronomic Workshops

You can always join some gastronomic workshop around the time of the traditional fiestas. The celebrations of Antroxu (Carnival), with pote (hotpot), picadillo (mince) and frixuelos (flour fritters); those of Holy Week, the Asturian de Pinchos contest (in February), the pinchos (meat on the skewer) contest at the Gijón Sound Festival (last held from 15 to 17 April), and the Pinchos de Gijón championship (in November).

The Cider Route

A good way of learning everything you need to know about cider, the Asturian beverage par excellence, is by indulging in it. Depending on the ticket you purchase, you can learn the secrets of cider making, visit outlets where it is sold, take part in tasting sessions or eat candies made with apple. (There are four types of ticket, which are sold at the Gijón Tourist Offices or online). Available throughout the year.

Gijón Gourmet

Epicureans have the chance to lunch or dine at seven of the best restaurants in Gijón (Casa Gerardo, Agua, Bellavista, El Candil, La Salgar, Casa Víctor, Ciudadela) at an attractive price – 50 euros in the case of Michelin-starred eateries and 45 euros in the others. The menu comprises two starters, two main dishes, dessert and wine. When booking, all you need to point out is that you want a Gijón Gourmet Menu (only tables of up to 8 diners are eligible for the offer).

Gijón Goloso

Gijón Goloso works in a similar way. Considering it is one of Spain’s cities with the most confectionery shops, sixteen of them were selected to make a special sweet which visitors can taste after buying a ticket online or at the Infogijón offices. Five tastings costs 7 euros, while 10 tastings costs 13 euros. The offer lasts all year long, so you have ample time to prepare your trip, as sweet-toothed tourists will never be short of their candies.

Text and photos by Ferran Imedio of Gastronomistas.com


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7 Essential Travel Apps

If you want to be mistaken for a local at any destination you visit, make sure you have the hottest travel apps on your phone. From Google Trips to Maps.me and Currency, we give you the low down on our favourite apps so you can bear them in mind when preparing your next trip.

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