My Top 5 from this Summer’s Holidays Between France and Italy

I guess by now summer vacations are pretty much over for everyone, and we all are already mourning our holiday routines and longing to go back to our favourite stress-free spots as soon as possible. So no heavy topics here: I just wanted to share my personal list of “loves at first sight” from the few days I spent between France and Italy. Being partially on a digital detox, a good portion of what I did involved offline activities.

  1. Best editorial project. Monocle Magazine launched the print newspaper edition The Summer Weekly, of which I attended the celebration party at the Monocle Shop in Merano, in Italy’s South Tyrol. A great chance to meet the magazine’s editor in chief, Tyler Brûlé, while checking the latest accessories, books and clothes. This special issue is highly recommended if you’re looking for an extra dose of good reporting while being away from social media on vacation.

Monocle's September issue and The Summer Weekly edition

  1. Best spot for your brain. Foundation Villa Datris. Hosted in an ancient villa in L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, in the heart of the Lubéron region, in French Provence, this centre for contemporary sculpture is a true gem for art lovers who can enjoy permanent collections and temporary exhibitions.

"When all the world is green" by Berndnaut Smilde (2007), as seen at Foundation Villa Datris.

  1. Best retreat on the mountains. There are actually two contenders for this one. If you enjoy physical activities, I can’t but recommend the hiking trails around Madonna di Campiglio, in the Italian Dolomites – my favourite ones start from Campo Carlo Magno up to the Rifugio Malghette, and to Lake Nambino. If you search for something less challenging and more contemplative, I suggest you stay in Merano to take advantage of the thermal baths and the botanical gardens at Trauttmansdorff Castle (the best spot here is the water and terraced gardens section, whose centrepiece is the Water Lily Pond inhabited by Japanese koi carps). Both options come with the delicious local cuisine, whose “canederli” are an absolute highlight.

Lake Malghette, on the hiking trails surrounding Madonna di Campiglio.

  1. Best gadget. I bought my first Urban Bottle from 24 Bottles, opting for a bright orange hue. This is a sustainable project from Bologna, Italy, born with the aim of reducing the Co2. The carbon neutrality is enabled through urban reforestation projects in Italy, while the cool design, which you can also customise, comes in a wide range of colours. So far it has served me greatly in the city, countryside and on the mountains. Do check their online platform, which is a Zero Emission Website too.

Urban Bottle from 24 Bottles - single wall, total orange.

  1. Best drink. It has to be Provence’s worldwide renowned vin rosé, perfect for the traditional “apéritif”, which goes hand in hand with my all time favourite: “saucisson”.

What about your best summer discoveries? Write me your top 5 on Twitter.