My family and I just returned from an Italian summer holiday where we spent time in Rome and Lake Como. It was so wonderful to show Annabel Rome again - she was so little when she first visited - the history and antiquity is overwhelming and palpable. Walking the ancient cobbled streets and touring the Pantheon and Colosseum were highlights as well as hearing the Pope give a blessing in St. Peter's Square on Sunday at the Vatican. After two nights at J.K. Place Rome - one of my favorite hotels in the world - we trained to Milan and then took a car to Lake Como and stayed at Villa d'Este.
Lake Como has been on my travel bucket list for quite some time so experiencing Villa d'Este was truly magical! Nestled on the shores of beautiful Lake Como, Villa D'Este was the former home of an Italian cardinal and a haven for politicians and intellectuals. After passing hands various times over the centuries from Jesuits to a Welsh Princess, the 16th century Renaissance residence became a hotel in 1873. Staying at this palatial like home was like stepping back in time - a sense of glamour and sophistication of centuries past. One of the things I find most exhilarating about travel is that it can offer an experience that removes and transports you to a place and time that feels so foreign and different. (And, of course, all of the visual inspiration that fuels my design process.) We had amazing meals at the Villa and Il Gatto Nero which showcased amazing views from the hills down to the lake. We also cruised the lake by private charter and took in the breathtaking villas (think Clooney, Branson & a Russian oligarch or two). We stopped at Villa Barbianello which was stunning as well at the little town of Bellagio.
This family vacation will surely be etched in memory forever! Here are some of my favorite moments captured in photos. xx Ashley
Italian tile inspiration at the Duomo in Milan.
3 days in Rome...
Gilded ceilings at Santissima Trinità on Via Condotti.
Hats at Borsalino.
Ready for a Vespa ride with my newly purchased Borsalino hat.
Walking the streets of Rome.
With Mom and Katy in front of beautiful Roman doors.
Touring the Colosseum with Annabel - she was intrigued by the thought of the theatrics of Roman Gladiators, lions and bears entertaining massive crowds some 2,000 years ago.
Ancient pottery at the Colosseum - jewelry inspiration!
The Pantheon's dome - an incredible feat of ancient architecture.
Le ragazze (the girls in Italian) at the Vatican for Sunday mass.
The beauty of St. Peter's Basilica.
My new Murano trinket I bought at the Vatican layered with our Diamond Heart Clover.
Lake Como - Villa d'Este
Admiring the magnificent English gardens at Villa d'Este.
I could not wait to see the stunning mosaics within the grotto-like "nymphaeum." (Ancient Greek and Roman sanctuary consecrated to water nymphs.)
Bespoke inspiration - Villa d'Este's crest.
Off to dinner wearing D'Ascoli and our new Paris Chandeliers.
What's Italy without amazing risotto!
The famed floating pool at Villa d'Este.
The palatial like interiors at Villa d'Este.
A cruise on Lake Como.
Katy sporting our Elizabeth earrings.
A sequestered hat.
Richard Branson's villa surrounded by some of the most amazing cypress trees I've ever seen.
A quick stop in Bellagio.
Glorious gardens at Villa Balbianello.