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Ahh...duty-free souvenirs. Buying stuff at the airport is always a Catch-22; you have extra currency and maybe want to bring home a few extra things to give as gifts, but you sure don't want to pay the prices they charge and sometimes, the selection just sucks.
Not so at Milan's Malpensa Airport, however. Yesterday, while we (thankfully) caught the last direct flight back to JFK before the snow cancellations set in, we managed to stock up on everything from Provolone cheese and Bresaola cured beef to squid ink-infused risotto. And then we grabbed the most kitschy souvenir of allthe 4 Euro Monumenti d'Italia bag of multicolore pasta. The details are...glorious.
Can you name all of the Italian landmarks depicted in the pasta above? Answers this way...
Hot men and haute menswear is dominating Milan this week as Men's Fashion Week wraps up, but although the runway and cocktail hours are private, invite-only events, they are often held in the best, most normally tourist-friendly areas. This way, even if you aren't among the select fashionistas to walk the red carpet, you'll still be able to visit and enjoy the scenery on any other normal day.
Case in point: Dolce & Gabbana, the Italian designer label by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, recently celebrated the 20th Anniversary of their Menswear Collection, and they did so in grand style with a giant fashion show and after-party at Palazzo Marino, Milan's City Hall, which spilled out into Piazza della Scala.
This is who will be serving your coffee: Marc Jacobs
Just a little bit ago, our sister site HotelChatter wondered about what Marc Jacobs was up to, making faux hotel key chains for sale in his stores. We considered the possibility that, with fashion designers popping up their own new hotels left and right, that Marc could be the next to strike out and fashion more than just clothing. And in a way, it turns out we were right.
When Marc's new flagship store opens in the Brera district of Milan, it will have a full cafe inside of it. And this won't be some specialty place; it's going to be open for fashionable morning commuters at 7:30am all the way until people begin stumbling towards their second club of the night at 2am. Vogue UK tell us that the store itself, all 3,100-square-feet of it, will be a wake up call with neon signage and navy floors and shelvessuch a departure from the usually moody, luxe interiors of designer boutiques.
Forget haute couture, let's have a haute latte! Okay, that was a bad joke, but you get what we mean; designers be diversifying! We're adding Marc's cafe to our list of places to visit next time we swing by Milan.
· Cafe di Marc [Vogue UK]
· Will Marc Jacobs Be the Next Fashion Designer to do a Hotel? [HotelChatter]
· Fashion Travel coverage [Jaunted]
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Italy's ancient sites are beautiful but not always handicapped-accessible.
If you're heading to Italy soon, we're totally jealous. We can't get enough of its wonderful cities: Bologna, Venice, Rome, Florence—we just want to move there already. Before you go, here are some tips we've gleaned during our own Italy travels:
· Beware of petty crimes. According to the U.S. Department of State, crimes such as pick-pocketing, theft from parked cars and purse snatching are serious problems, especially in large cities. Be on guard at crowded places like Milan's Central Station and the Trevi Fountain. And thieves in Italy often work in groups or pairs to divert your attention.
· Italy isn't handicapped-accessible. Italy's beauty lies in its ancient buildings, but most aren't equipped with wheelchair ramps and elevators. Buses aren't generally wheelchair-accessible, either.
Yes, we know that's a radiation icon, but we mean it in a Hazmat capacity
A fat lady singing can't do anything for asbestos removal, as Milan's La Scala is finding out. Back in spring, officials in Milan discovered the toxic stuff in the famed opera house's ceiling, and they've just now closed down the 270 seats of the uppermost tier in order to begin removal.
This poses a problem for the tourists who, in last few months, have possibly been exposed to asbestos from officials rustling up there, but thankfully it's been confirmed that there's no spread of asbestos. Ticket holders will either be offered an upgrade to better and less toxic eating, or, if that's unavailable, then a simple refund. No loud Italian opera for the cheapskates, we guess.
Most famous for his "Abraham Obama" image pictured above, Ron takes inspiration from cartoons, corporate branding, and the works of Andy Warhol. As a result, his paintings and posters are bright riffs on popular culture meant to inspire re-examination of the symbols we see everyday; for example, his work was featured in the movie Super Size Me.
Although we occasionally are lucky enough to spot some of his posters around the corner, heading to Milan to see his oeuvre sounds way more exotic. The Don Gallery will host the exhibition from today through August 25.
Italy's new high-speed train service, Freccia Rossa ("Red Arrow"), made its inaugural high-speed rail service yesterday from Milan to Rome. The new service now lets travelers get from the fashion capital to the Eternal City in just three hours. (Currently, the trip takes about four hours.) Passengers can also get from Florence to Bologna in just 35 minutes, down from one hour.
Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi rode the inaugural trip, even posing in the pilot's cabin wearing the chief engineer's hat. He looks so...cute?