With its unique style, Italian fashion dictates the rules of the industry throughout the world with brands such as Prada, Versace, Cavalli, Dolce & Gabbana. Creativity is the key to their success, as well as craftsmanship and simplicity. Designers plays with memories and modern fabrics to create clothes and footwear appreciated by old and new generations.
Fashions change, but men always need a god to adore and a ruler to obey.
Valentino is a legend, whose name is known and appreciated by the entire world, along with Valentino red. As the last emperor of fashion, over the years Valentino has opened the doors of his kingdom to Liz Taylor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Sofia Loren. According to him, “fashion has to know how to enhance femininity without being vulgar”.
Giorgio Armani was crowned king in 1982, with the movie “American Gigolo”. His soft volumes and large pence trousers redefine masculine sensuality. His motto is: “Elegance is not to be seen, but to be remembered”.
In 1923 Salvatore Ferragamo earned the title of “shoemaker” of Hollywood celebrities. Jet setters and royal families from all over Europe follow him through the narrow streets of Florence. There Ferragamo designs his exclusive and unique shoes. His creations, which are real works of art are on display in the company’s historic headquarters, Palazzo Spini Feroni.
Dolce&Gabbana are popular heroes, since reality is their inspiring muse. They often choose common people for the fashion shows, walking the catwalk along with real models, to create a line of continuity between luxury and tradition.
The big names of Italian fashion all gather in Milan during the fashion week, held twice a year, to show their new fall/winter and spring/summer collections to the world.
In Italy there are many popular shopping streets and they all lead to Rome. In fact, every great historic centre has a street named after the Eternal City. Here you will find the illuminated signs of major fashion brands, but you can find a nice piece of clothing even at a local market. You just need to have business acumen and skills to negotiate the lowest price.
Man cannot live on bread alone and I guess you know what I am saying if you use your credit cards to buy “Prada” items.
In Milan, everything revolves around the Quadrilatero della Moda and Via Monte Napoleone. In Rome the best stores where to shop are located in the “Tridente” area, with Via Condotti, Via Borgognona, Via Frattina and the famous Spanish Steps, which hosted many summer fashion shows. In Via Tornabuoni, in Florence, you will find the best creations by Ferragamo, Gucci and Prada, while Ponte Vecchio is the place where master jewellers display their works of art. In Bologna luxury lovers can spend their money in Via Rizzoli, Via D’Azeglio and Via Farini.
But boutiques are not the only places where to shop. Local markets, indeed, may offer some incredible surprises.
Every day Porta Palazzo, in Turin, one of the major European markets, is crowded with people trying to dig up some original garments.
The market of San Lorenzo, in Florence, offers many leather goods, including belts, bags, and wallets.
One of the oldest markets in Italy is the Rialto market, dating back to 1000 AD. But beware: it will be difficult to stay focused while shopping, because you will be distracted by the charming lagoon.
When walking along these shopping streets, fashion pilgrims will only have to ask and it will be given to them. So just go and look for what you need and you will find it!
The fusion of artistic inspiration, technical skills, craftsmanship and industrial processing creates daily use items with attractive shapes. Tools, cars and furniture designed and manufactured in Italy have now entered the collective imagination. Orologio Cifra 5, Lambretta, Olivetti Lettera 22 used in the pat by our journalists, such as Enzo Biagi and Indro Montanelli are now universally recognised as “cult products” of Italian design.
In recent decades, the international market has appreciated the creations of Italian designers such as Antonio Citterio with his “Kelvin Led Lamp”, Matteo Thun with his “Tantisassi” sofa and Gaetano Pesce with his “Up Chair”.
But the fame of Italian design refers primarily to the automotive industry.
The famous Fiat 500, a real concentrate of beauty in a few square metres, was designed in Turin.
In Maranello, at the Ferrari Museum you will admire the famous red car and the many trophies won in the Formula One World Championships. The Prancing Horse is the secret dream of all speed lovers.
During your stay in Italy, do not forget to take a Vespa tour through the streets of Rome, just like Audrey Hepburn in the popular movie, “Roman Holiday” of 1953.
The Olivetti store in Venice, designed by Carlo Scarpa, you will have the chance to touch the many products which made the Ivrea company so popular, such as Summa 15 calculator and the portable typewriter Studio 44.
If you love Italian design, do not miss the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, held in Milan in April. Here, during the “Design week”, the performances of emerging designers will take place.
Unique and unrepeatable creations are shaped by the craftsman’s ability to mold the material with his own hands, patience and talent. The vast Italian crafts production includes ceramics, jewelry, glass, stone and wood items.
In Murano you will see how glass is processed using ancient techniques, such as “vetro a lume”, flat glass and blown glass. The high temperatures of the furnaces make the glass malleable and craftsmen will create, before your astonished eyes, small works of art, such as rearing horses and roosters with long crests.
At the goldsmiths’ workshops in Florence, Rome and Naples you will learn the secrets of a profession that requires great expertise. Every detail, from the small incision to the perfect operation of the gears is the result of advanced techniques and study.
If you love pottery, Ischia is the right place for you. Here you will see amphorae, dishes, busts and other items made by hand according to the ancient traditions of master potters. Another place known for its production of ceramics is Caltagirone, in the province of Catania, in Sicily. At the Ceramics Museum you will see terracotta artifacts dating back to prehistoric times.
Italy is also the home of skilled master cabinet-makers, who create mosaics and drawings from wood, and sculptors who, from a block of marble, give life statues that seem alive.
Among the most famous and appreciated Italian artisans, we should mention Arnaldo Pomodoro, a sculptor throughout the world for his brass balls that “open up” under the gaze of passers-by.
The luxury goods market is growing and Italy is keeping up with this trend with its high quality products. The winning combination of tradition and creativity makes Italian luxury products truly unique.
Glasses have become an accessory that everyone should have: sunglasses, eyeglasses or simply reading glasses, with different frames and colours. Luxottica, owned by the del Vecchio family, is the largest company in the world in this sector and works with brands such as Vogue, Chanel and Prada. Luxottica, whose products are characterised by attention to detail and elegance, is known and appreciated also overseas. Wearing them means seeing the world in a new light.
The giants of luxury in the fashion industry are Brunello Cucinelli for cashmere, Prada with its innovative creations, Fendi with its handbags and fur coats and Ferragamo with its stylish shoes. Moncler, an Italian company since 1993, has turned sporty quilted jackets into high fashion garments with fur details.
Those who dream of getting behind the wheel of a great sports car can choose a Ferrari, a Maserati or a Lamborghini. Connoisseurs will maybe choose Ferrari California and Maserati GranTurismo MC Stradale, real masterpieces on four wheels. These coupes, with their chic design and smooth lines, are real collector’s items.
If you love Italian luxury, we recommend Buccellati jewels. Gold and silver will become precious sculptures on your skin.
As for watches, cosmetics and valuable products, Bulgari offers only the best Italian products. You will appreciate the talent of diamonds and rare gem cutters. Wearing these unique creations will make you feel invincible.
In Italy night people dance and have fun at bars, clubs, discos and beach clubs. The night life of the beautiful country is made of aperitifs in the Navigli district, toasts on the Tiber and dancing nights at the lidos of the Riviera Romagnola, Salento and the Islands.
Milan, the fashion capital, is also home to many nightclubs. In the Naviglio Grande district, you can grab a Spritz and taste the appetizers of the aperitif buffet. At the famous Hollywood nightclub in Corso Como, you can dance to the rhythm of DJ music famous all over the world and meet, during the fashion weeks, the protagonists of fashion industry.
If you love disco music, after a tasty Florentine steak we recommend going to Space Club, which has entertained, since 1969 until today, four generations of Florentines and tourists.
In the capital you can sip a drink in Piazza Navona, while in Naples just head to the crowded Piazza Bellini.
On summer nights, the beaches of Gallipoli, in Salento, become real open-air discos. You can dance on the sand and feel the thrill of bathing at midnight.
In Calabria, Tropea offers many disco pubs and clubs where to have fun.
Every summer Ischia, the largest of the islands of the Gulf of Naples, attracts many groups of young people, who come here to have fun. In the evening, from one of the many beach clubs of the Riva Destra, you can see people strolling through the streets, or you can dance under the stars on the platforms of the promenade between Casamicciola and Lacco Ameno.
In Sicily, nightlife lovers can choose one of the locations chosen by celebrities, including Taormina, Siracusa and Panarea.
As for the discos of Rimini, Riccione and Milano Marittima, you will be spoiled for choice. Theme nights, international DJs and great drinks are guaranteed.
In Italy boredom simply does not exist!