Lake Como surpasses all expectations even if you've seen it as the backdrop to films such as Star Wars or in photos featuring celebrities such as George Clooney and John Legend. The Alps are ever present in the landscape, perched behind the vast glass-like lake around which you'll find everything from the 18th-century Villa del Balbianello to the glamorous shopping of Bellagio. If you can, explore by private boat tour. I feel my proximity to Switzerland here too; I can have a strudel with my espresso and yet at the same time be only an hour from Milan.
My passion for travel really started to take off after my time studying aboard the 88-ft schooner S/Y Ocean Star, learning a diverse set of skills ranging from scuba diving, sailing and marine biology, as well as gaining a deep appreciation for the different cultures and landscapes of the islands. I continued to travel to new places through work on traditional tall ships, and that passion for discovering new places only grew stronger.
After several years, it was time to trade sea legs for land ones and focus on developing my knowledge of Eastern Europe. Having grown up with an Italian family, I instantly connected with the people, history and cuisine — especially in Southern Italy where my family is from. Over the years I have also been able to travel extensively through Croatia and Turkey, two countries which have completely captivated me. Croatia and Turkey both won me over with their turquoise coastlines, unique cultures, and their incredible food and wine, and I know I will continue to return for years to come.
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This contemporary retreat — built into a cliff — combines the best of both worlds for those visiting the busy city of Dubrovnik. Its modern design allows for the blue Adriatic to do the talking, with all rooms providing a private sea-view terrace to look onto the medieval city's walls. The sunbeds, spa facilities, and rooftop bar allow for total relaxation, while the 15-minute walk into town provides you with the perfect base for your stay — just far enough away from the crowds. The Villa Dubrovnik provides all the indulgences of a luxury property without any of the fuss, and that idea of effortless comfort is passed onto its guests from arrival to check out.
I'll never forget when…
There is no more Italian experience than learning to cook and within 30 minutes of my cooking class starting at Casa Laura I felt as though I was in the kitchen of an old friend. Having the class set in her home took away the sterile feeling of an industrial kitchen and was the perfect match to her warm hospitality. With Laura I got a genuine understanding of Italian cooking with recipes and tips that are formulated to be used in my own home. Her cooking class escalates any Italian vacation in the Sorrento area to the next level, and her tiramisu? Unforgettable.