Celebrating Life, Italian Style at Armani Hotel Milan and La Fiermontina, Lecce

While visiting Italy is a feast for the senses in any season, Italy pops in spring and summer with endless blue skies, blooms of color, seductive strains of music and the sweet chaos of outdoor celebration.

Armani Hotel Milan

In Milan, nearly every weekend brings a special fest or unusual market gathering somewhere in the city. To complement the Milan experience, a fashionable stay at the Armani Hotel Milan puts guest in the epicenter of action while anchoring them in a wonderland of interior perfection and progressive design.

The eponymous property opened in 2011, a modern glass-walled structure atop an austere rationalist-style edifice from the 1930s. The intimidation factor melts away as you make your way through this maze of design and fashion-inspired shops and restaurants toward the front desk where a disarmingly warm “lifestyle manager”takes over and handles all cares and concerns. Need to meet someone but do not know where to find the meeting spot? No problem. Have questions about what to wear, where to eat, how to find out of the way gems, or where to go to “be seen”? Check. The lifestyle manager is your therapist without a couch and can fix your fashion woes, your sleep comfort concerns and maybe even your love life.

Guest rooms at the Armani are large, sleek, cutting edge and even a bit masculine in their tones and minimalistic measure. They number 95 and range from Armani Deluxe Rooms to the Armani Presidential Suite and all contain details waiting to be discovered. Metallic tones yield to soft matte finishes. From walk-in closet to pillow menu to special Armani espresso blends to place in the coffee maker to the pop up flat screen that emerges on command from a console by the bed … accommodations are worlds until themselves. Enjoy luxury bath amenities, soft and deep towels, a variety of custom lighting options and a spa and gym to visit when ready to explore the rest of the hotel. A seventh-floor glass restaurant and bar offer floor to ceiling views of the Duomo, all fittingly located at the edge of Milan’s bustling fashion district.

And while guests stay at the Armani for location, luxury and comfort, they find a city in motion on the blocks that surround, where everyplace that catches a glance offers something historical, something fashion-focused and something intensely beautiful to the eye.

Armani Hotel Milano
(+011 39) 02 8883 8888
www.armanihotels.com
reservations.milan@armanihotels.com

Milan: Festivals and Concerts of Spring and Summer

A visit to Milan means strolling the narrow streets and alleys to explore art galleries, fashion boutiques, architecture and culture. The following is a list of best fests and events to target this spring and summer.

Settimana dei Beni Culturali

Gain complimentary entry to the city’s publicly owned museums and galleries. Watch for special openings, guided tours, concerts and tastings. Various locations. www.beniculturali.it

Pittori del Naviglio Grande

An open-air art expo that showcases work by more than 300 artists from all over Italy. Along the Naviglio Grande, South. www.navigliogrande.mi.it

Orticola ai Giardini Publicci

This growing flower exhibition and market is organized by the Associazione Orticola di Lombardia, one of the first Italian institutions to encourage public interest in gardens and plants. Giardini Pubblici, East. www.orticola.org

Idroscalo in Festa

This summer season festival of sporting events, concerts, nightlife and picnics runs through September and gets under way at the Idroscalo Park on the eastern outskirts of town. Idropark Fila. www.provincia.milano.it/idroscalo

Sagra di San Cristoforo

The feast of the patron saint of travelers takes place in the square in front of the little church of San Cristoforo, at Navigli, South on the first Sunday of June. Decorated boats float down the Naviglio and vehicles are duly blessed. www.visitamilano.it

Milano d’Estate

Open-air concerts and performances run through August with internationally known groups and bands. It all takes place in and around the grounds of the Castello Sforzesco. www.visitamilano.it

La Notte Bianca

This “white night” is a sleepless one. For one night each year, bars, restaurants, shops, cinemas et al whoop it up from early evening to 6am. www.comune.milano.it

Notturni in Villa

Jazz and classical music concerts are held through August in patrician villas around the city in various locations. Performances start at 10 pm and entry is free. www.amicidellamusicamilano.it

 

La Fiermontina, Lecce

To get a full experience of the wonders of Southern Italy, head to the charming Puglia region toward the bottom of the country’s iconic boot for a rich and rarefied stay at La Fiermontina, Lecce. You’ll find yourself in the center of an ancient city where a portion of a precious 17th century residence was carefully converted into a 16-room masterpiece of an inn.

The result was an integration of classic Italian touches with modern Italian furnishings, all infused with vintage items by Charlotte Perriand and the owner’s own intelligent art collection. It’s all arranged around a restful pool setting and a sculpture garden.

The transformed masseria, or fortified farmhouse estate that is typical of the domociles found in this region where attacks near the Adriatic by Turks or pirates during the 16th to 19th centuries were not uncommon, is surrounded by olive trees and the preserves of an area often referred to as the Florence of the South – and without the crowds. It’s all a short hop to the exquisite beaches of the Adriatic, often featured across the waters in the popular Game of Thrones series on HBO.

In Puglia (pronounced “pool-ya”) a stay comes with all the scenic beauty and museum-quality strolls through ancient stone villages, and a cuisine scene that has become legend with the food and wine crowd.

Spacious rooms and suites come in six configurations and offer a modern minimalist to monastic focus on style, rather than the ornate or baroque styles common to Lecce. Several offer balconies over the courtyard gardens and pool. The dining room offers a feast of regional comfort foods and because of its small size, the hotel is never too crowded or crazy.

Exploration of Puglia is an essential part of a stay at La Fiermontina and for this purpose the property offers Vespa tours that will make you feel like Audrey Hepburn or Gregory Peck in a scene from Wyler’s 1953 classic,  Roman Holiday. In fact, La Fiermontina offers a Personal Travel Designer service that creates authentic immersion experiences for each guest to get the most out of a visit to the region. Private tours, cooking classes, and wine and olive oil sessions are all on the menu, as is a beach trip for those who want a break from wandering and exploring.

La Fiermontina, Lecce
(+39) 0832 302481
info@lafiermontina.com
www.lafiermontina.com

 

Festivals and Events in Southern Italy

Puglia, too, has its seasons and spring and summer are loaded with celebrations of music, art and local culture.

Festival Metropolitano Bari in Jazz

This is the first of a series of jazz festivals in Puglia, starting in June. (Bari’s runs through July 1). www.viaggiareinpuglia.it

Truffle Food Festival in Corigliano d’Otranto

Find lively food stands in the historical centre of Otranto, usually running at the end of May and beginning of June in Corigliano d’Otranto, Lecce. www.pugliaandculture.com

Negroamaro Wine Festival

Find this fest in the heart of Brindisi – a huge exhibition area where the Puglian Negroamaro wine is poured. It usually runs in mid-June. www.negroamarowinefestival.org

La Notte di San Giovanni

Possibly most magical summer nights in Puglia that usually happen around the third weekend in June in Ostuni. www.folclore.it/En/Events/Italy

San Pietro e Paolo

Enjoy local food and get to know the colorful Salento folklore in Otranto, usually during the last weekend of June. www.folclore.it/En/Events/Italy/

Locomotive Jazz Festival

For 10 days at the end of July, Salento is all about jazz. Concerts happen in various locations in Puglia and Lecce. www.locomotivejazzfestival.it

La Festa di Santa Domenica

During the first weeks of July, the little town of Scorrano near Otranto comes alive in celebration of its Patron Saint, Santa Domenica. www.santadomenicascorrano.it

Festival della Valle d’Itria

This classical music festival in Martina Franca (province of Taranto) runs from the first week of July to the first week in August and features well-known artists. www.festivaldellavalleditria.it

Otranto Jazz Festival

Every year, Otranto Castle in Lecce hosts a three-day jazz fest with international jazz players. www.europejazz.net/salento-jazz-otranto-jazz-festival

Locus Music Festival

A rich calendar of jazz music events happen from mid-July to mid-August in Locorotondo, in Bari. http://www.eventiesagre.it

Corteo Storico di Federico II e Torneo dei Rioni

In Oria (midway between Taranto and Brindisi), there is a celebration the first week in August of the great Holy Roman Emperor Stupor Mundi with 800 costumed participants moving through the old town centre and the castle built by Frederick himself. www.pugliainesclusiva.it/oria-corteo-storico-di-federico-ii-torneo-dei-rioni

La Festa dei Martiri Idruntini

Commemorate the martyrs who died at the hands of the Turks in 1480 for refusing to convert to Islam at this festival in San Vito dei Normanni (province of Brindisi) that happens in the middle of August. www.salento.tv

La Notte della Taranta

Pay tribute in mid-August to Salento’s tarantella dance with concerts and opportunities to get dancing in true local traditions. The action happens in the towns of Grecia Salentina south of Lecce, including Melpignano. www.lanottedellataranta.it

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