Travel Diary: Yap Po Leen's 12 Days Of Italian Fashion, Food & Fun
September 21, 2018 | BY Tien Chew
If you're looking for a getaway to this top fashion and food capital of the world, take inspiration from this longtime friend of Tatler on where to go and what to see. On holiday with her family, this fashionista took a 12-day tour of the must-see spots in Italy, visiting iconic locales such as Milan, Venice, Pompeii, Florence and Rome. She counts the historical sites, the delicious food, the unique one-of-a-kind experiences you can only get in Italy and the beauty of the country as more than justifiable reasons to vacation over there.
From Milan To Como
Beginning her trip in the north starting with Milan, a city famed for being a global powerhouse when it comes to fashion and design, Yap Po Leen counts two spots as a must see for any lovers of style and aesthetics.
"We actually didn't have much time in Milan but a must see had to be the gothic architecture of the Duomo di Milano and also the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II next to it, housing many fashion brands," she says.
A short stay in Milan was followed up by a trip further up north to Como, a gorgeous city located at the southern most tip of Lake Como, which has been named one of the most beautiful spots in the world.
"We stayed in Como and managed to visit the beautiful Bellagio village. There, we sat down for a drink to enjoy the sunny landscape of the lake," she adds. Sounds like the perfect recipe for complete de-stress.
"There's No Place Like Venice"
Those were Yap's words when asked to describe the gorgeous historic city.
"We arrived in Venice and got to our hotel by boat because that's how you travel in Venice! The city was really crowded, so in order to get a magnificent view we went to the rooftop of T Fondaco dei Tedeschi, a popular duty free retail chain home to a variety of stores," she says. A word of advice from Yap, you'll need to do an advance booking to enjoy the view from the rooftop of the T Fondaco dei Tedeschi.
"We also went to Burano, a tiny but colourful fishing village island in Venice, apparently known for selling lace. Only a few hours are needed to explore this place," she adds.
The Home Of Gucci
The capital of Tuscany, Florence is a historial town home to many Renassaince period masterpieces, iconic sights, world class food and also the headquarters of Gucci. She highly recommends a visit to the Gucci museum for fans of the brand.
"I had been to Florence six years ago and remembered visiting the then Gucci cafe and eating good food at a restaurant nearby, so I decided to bring my family for a visit. Boy has it changed!" exclaims Yap describing her return.
The Gucci cafe she knew had changed to Gucci Osteria, a fascinating partnership between the fashion house and Massimo Bottura, who runs the 3 Michelin star Osteria Francescana in Modena that was named the world's best restaurant this year.
"But we managed to eat at the same restaurant I went to six years ago which was just next to it called Frescobaldi Firenze and it was still great!" she adds.
Have An Essential Florentine Dinner
While in Florence, one of the most unforgettable dinners Yap enjoyed in Italy was at a stunning 16th century Tuscan villa overlooking the scenic Chianti Hills. Named Villa Machiavelli, the property was home to Ristorante Albergaccio, a family run restaurant serving hearty and rustic Italian food.
According to Yap however, it wasn't just the food that made the experience so distinctive. "I think it was not so much the dinner, but the atmosphere, the humorous chef and the music, which eventually got people singing along and dancing that made it memorable," says Yap.
Coast To Coast
Travelling down south to visit the towns of Ravello, Positano and Amalfi was next on the itinerary. Italy's picturesque southern towns consistently ranks high on many dream vacation lists and this was one part of Yap's Italian tour she was looking forward to.
"We had very limited time in all places, as it was just for several hours at each stop, but they were all beautiful," she says.
A History Lesson
After visiting southern Italy's coastal towns, Yap moved slightly up north to the famous town of Pompeii.
"Pompeii was a very interesting history lesson for me. The entire city and its inhabitants were covered in deadly volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvias and were preserved, frozen in time," she says. "What was interesting was it seemed like certain aspects of the city functioned very much like modern cities – they had gyms, a water system and even a red light district!" she adds.
The Eternal City
Rounding up her trip with a final stop in Rome, Yap's advice is to indulge in the typical tourist activities your first time round to get it out of the system. Throwing a coin into the Trevi Foundatin, visiting the St Peter's Basilica and admiring the Pantheon are just some examples.
"Don't forget to bring a cap or umbrella when you visit St Peter's because the queues may be long and during the summer it is very hot," she advises. "Should you have the extra time, why not visit the Tivoli Gardens to get away from the city?"
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