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Casa Malaparte – a breathtaking Italian villa

Villa Malaparte at Pizzolungo-Hikingtrail, Capri, Italy. Image shot 2010. Exact date unknown.

Casa Malaparte – a breathtaking Italian villa 

Perched on the edge of the cliffs on the eastern side of the Italian island of Capri sits the imposing red villa of Casa Malaparte (Malaparte House).

The house was built between 1937 and 1942 by the writer Curzio Malaparte, who longed to live in a secluded location after six months of captivity at the hands of Benito Mussolini, who was offended by his 1931 book The Technique of the Coup d’Etat. It is widely thought that the villa was the work of architect Adalberto Libera, but Signor Malaparte actually rejected Libera’s design and built it himself, with the assistance of a local stonemason. Now, many architects and amateur enthusiasts come to Capri to see this fine piece of modern Italian design. Architect Simon Jacobsen called Casa Malaparte “a beautiful thing, forged out of a brutal environment.”

capri casa

Casa Malaparte is a three storey building. From the outside its most striking feature is the steeply sloping external staircase on one side that leads to the yellow coloured flat roof that covers most of the building.

Inside, there is a Tyrolean wood stove, marble bathrooms in Pompeian style, an atrium that also evokes thoughts of ancient Roman civilisation and an impressive fireplace. The house is filled with examples of Signor Malaparte’s own writings and his extensive library of other books, and with much of his original furniture. Perhaps the most eye catching piece of architecture in the building is a chimney backed with heat-resistant glass, allowing any visitors to watch the flames of the furnace through the glass.

casa malaparte italy blog

The house also affords superb views of the Mediterranean Sea, the Sorrento peninsula, the Amalfi coast and the three gigantic rocks of the Faraglion.

casa

After the death of Signor Malaparte in 1957, the property fell into disrepair, before his great nephew Niccolo Rositani was instrumental in leading a restoration project. Since 1972 it has been owned by the Giorgio Ronchi Foundation, although the Malaparte family maintain it as a private home.

Italy Isola Di Capri Island of Capri Gulf of Naples Villa Malaparte Isla De Capri

You can visit the villa today, although public access to the interior is only permitted for a handful of special events each year. Its location also means that getting there is not easy. To reach the house today, you either need to walk for over an hour from the town of Capri, or arrive by boat and ascend the precarious staircase cut into the cliff. Many of the Capri island cruises pass close to the house, and it lies close to the Pizzolungo Trail walking route. If you can’t make the trip, try and track down the scene from Jean-Luc Godard’s 1963 film Contempt, where Brigitte Bardot sunbathes on Casa Malaparte’s flat roof.

I was so fascinated by this house, so I had to share the story…

Featured FOOD Lifestyle Travel

Top 5 Tea Houses in London – UK

tea

Top 5 Tea Rooms in London

 

The great scone debate ‘jam or cream first?’ is not over for many Afternoon Tea Enthusiasts. Some prefer to spread the jam first (the traditional way), while others like to get started with the cream, like butter on toast. Well, here’s something we can all agree on – tea. Scones must be accompanied by tea.

The great British tradition all started in 1840 when Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford got too hungry in-between lunch and dinner. Thanks to her, the tradition is still popular today but is more of a luxury treat than a daily routine.

Whether you’re a lover of Afternoon Tea or have never tried it check out our Top 5 Tea Rooms in London…

royal opera house tea blog dream design discover

1. The Royal Opera House

The world famous 5-star Ritz Hotel offers an unforgettable quintessential, British afternoon tea experience. Tea is served in the majestic Palm Court, conveniently located at Piccadilly. The beautiful detailed ceilings, birdcage chandeliers, metal flowers, mirrors and authentic monuments make the salon a must visit! The Ritz is known for its impressive personal care and attention to detail. You will be made to feel special without a doubt.

If you like dressing up in fancy clothes you will fit in perfectly at this formal venue. Expect to pay £50+ per person… Well worth the money! Delicately homemade finger sandwiches (smoked salmon are the best), apple and raisin scones and a selection of impeccably made cakes are served on pretty chinaware. Not only are there 18 different types of loose leaf tea to choose from but an Epicurean afternoon tea tasting experience is also on offer. To top off this luxurious experience, a pianist and harpist play modern and classical music in the Palm Court.

ritz carlton high tea london 2. The Ritz

The world famous 5-star Ritz Hotel offers an unforgettable quintessential, British afternoon tea experience. Tea is served in the majestic Palm Court, conveniently located at Piccadilly. The beautiful detailed ceilings, birdcage chandeliers, metal flowers, mirrors and authentic monuments make the salon a must visit! The Ritz is known for its impressive personal care and attention to detail. You will be made to feel special without a doubt.

If you like dressing up in fancy clothes you will fit in perfectly at this formal venue. Expect to pay £50+ per person… Well worth the money! Delicately homemade finger sandwiches (smoked salmon are the best), apple and raisin scones and a selection of impeccably made cakes are served on pretty chinaware. Not only are there 18 different types of loose leaf tea to choose from but an Epicurean afternoon tea tasting experience is also on offer. To top off this luxurious experience, a pianist and harpist play modern and classical music in the Palm Court.

 

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3. Fortnum & Mason

Tea enthusiasts this is the place for you! Fortnum & Mason serve over 80 different types of rare, exotic tea from all over the world. They also offer their own traditional blends and have lately introduced a new range of green teas. F&M even have a tea-tasting service where staff members guide visitors through all the different blends and combinations. Exciting! Of course, they serve a great selection of sandwiches, scones and cakes too.

The Diamond Jubilee Tea salon is where it all takes place and was not long ago opened in 2012 by the Queen! Visit for a relaxed and sophisticated afternoon of tea sipping.

 

tea time dream design discover
4. Shangri-La

Tuck into your scones with an amazing view of London at the Shangri-La. The most exclusive afternoon tea experience of them all…

The view from the Shard is incredible, so along with afternoon tea you really are treating yourself. Booking a birthday surprise or celebration here would never fail to disappoint a close friend or relative! Over 30 different teas are offered and the option of English or Asian-inspired afternoon tea can be selected. Both choices are £54 or £62 with a glass of champagne. If you’re feeling adventurous and go with the Asian alternative, you must try the Ube Macarons and the Lemongrass Rice Pudding!

 

sketch london blog dreamdesigndiscover
5. Sketch

Mayfair’s quirky Sketch gallery is a food, art and music hang out that does its own funky spin on afternoon tea. Not as traditional as The Ritz and The Royal Opera House, Sketch goes for a more contemporary menu (£45 pp). Mozzarella and pesto paninis are served in addition to classic salmon sandwiches, although, these can also be ordered if preferred.

The fun vibe of the gallery is aimed at children as well as adults; kids can order afternoon tea from their own special menu (£27 pc) which includes ‘sweet treats’ like Malabar marshmallows and fresh meringue. Making Sketch extra original is the mixture of music genres on the playlists – expect to hear reggae, jazz, electro-pop, house and many more…

Visit Sketch for a colourful, vibrant afternoon tea and something a bit different to your average tea and scones.

Now it’s time to choose the afternoon tea of your taste… If you are anything like me, you will want to visit them all!

Guest Writer: Charlotte Lillington

Featured FOOD Lifestyle Travel

Grotta Palazzese – Most Romantic Restaurant

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Grotta Palazzese

Be enchanted as you enter the magical cavern at Grotta Palazzese, nestled in the cliffs of Polignano in the sublime Italian region of Puglia. With its classic Trullis, its simple land, and Mediterranean feel, Puglia offers a rich, diverse and inspiring experience in itself. However, a visit to Grotta Palazzese will elevate your experience of Puglia to new heights. Create memories and magic alike at this restaurant with a difference.

Grotta Palazzese is like nowhere else on earth. A traveller’s dream, and a truly unique find await you. Dining here happens literally on a cliff edge, whilst nestled within a cave, chiselled in to the rocks, and both exposed and cocooned in Adriatic glory. Having spent your days exploring the Heel of Italy, you will be rewarded with a dining experience that simply cannot be matched.

Winding down the 64 stairs to the restaurant itself, you will realise that your dining experience was just elevated to the incredible and awe-inspiring. Whether you choose to enjoy the hues of dazzling blue contrasting with the cave’s lush green reflections during a daytime visit with the bustle of Italian summer heights, or the spectacular sunsets at twilight mirrored off the sea, or a moonlit after-dark experience with ambient lighting, you simply won’t be disappointed.

 

grotta

Grotta Palazzese is a dining experience of a lifetime. You won’t forget the magical memories made here, they will be etched in your recollections for ever. Open only for the summer months between Easter and October, this is a truly stunning location which is steeped in history. If you’re in Puglia during the summer season then make sure you make time for a visit here, you won’t be disappointed.

Whilst you revel in awe at the setting and views, the dining experience itself is not to be missed. With a diverse range of local seafood such as fresh cod, tuna, mullet, mackerel, salmon and shrimp, paired with the finest local seasonal vegetables, the food here is divine, enhanced only by the incredible setting. In addition to the fruits of the sea there are heartier options of lamb or beef, as well as Puglia’s renowned pasta and rice dishes. Puglia, the ‘breadbasket of Italy’ is the Italian heartland of pasta, so this is an opportunity not to be missed. Finish off with a classic Tiramisu and an Italian coffee as you absorb your last moments in this elegant restaurant.

 

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The menus here are served with true Italian service and Puglian flair. The dishes are presented with an elegant twist that strives to compare to the natural cave setting. There is a tasting menu should it simply be too difficult to make up your mind, and the serving staff are ready to pair the very best wines with your choice of meal.

Without a doubt, Grotta Palazzese is the romance capital of Puglia, if not Italy. Your soul will be moved as you experience the stunning scenery with a vista spreading out over the Adriatic. It is obvious why many travellers choose Grotta Palazzese as their wedding venue, a unique, never-to-be-experienced-elsewhere natural haven of romance and desire. The backdrop of this divine location lends itself to wedding photography that is inspirational, remarkable and one of a kind. For an ocean wedding with a difference, Grotta Palazzese is the place.

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After dining to the sounds of the waves crashing hauntingly on the rocks below, and whilst breathing in the salty sea air, then make your way back up and out of the cave to the enclosed dramatic Sea Lounge. With magnificent windows overlooking the Adriatic, you gain a slightly different perspective than from the cave below. The Sea Lounge is a perfect place to enjoy an after-dinner cocktail and allow yourself to continue your enchanting adventure before relinquishing your experience to memory.

Grotta Palazzese is a truly beautiful dining experience, touching the heart, spirit and soul of every traveller who enters its cavern. No two experiences here are alike as the blend of weather, seas, and light all come in to play to provide a memory and experience that is as unique as you are. Puglia holds a restaurant gem in its hand: be sure to experience it.

 

Ciao !

Featured Travel

The Home of Van Gogh: Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam, the Home of Tulips and Van Gogh

I would love to introduce you to one of my favorite cities in the world, the home of Van Gogh: Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. Sometimes “Holland” is frequently used to refer to the whole country of the Netherlands, all though it’s in theory only an area in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam is one of the greatest cities in Europe, a city of tolerance, diversity and creativity. Similar to Venice it’s one of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world.

Canal cruises are probably the most exciting and popular ways to see the city. Or obviously using the traditional form of transportation in Amsterdam, the bicycle. Although I will say it’s pretty dangerous.  There is lots of traffic and thousands of bicycles so it can get very overwhelming.

tulip flowers amsterdam, netherlands

One of the main attractions in Amsterdam is probably the museums. With a selection of over 50 museums, there’s no way to get bored. From the Van Gogh Museum, to the Stedelijk, which is one of the worlds greatest museums, the coffee shops and the Flower Market, there’s so much to explore.

In the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam you will find an extensive collection of more than 800 works including Rembrandt and  Vermeer. Definitely a must see!

At the Van Gogh Museum you will get education on the life of Vincent and why he cut off his ear. The only downside, there are just too many people inside of the building and there is a huge line outside. Try buying tickets in advance online to get in without an extended wait.

Trivia: did you know Amsterdam is the home of Heineken and Amstel Beer?

The Amstel brewery was founded in 1870 in Amsterdam and was named after the Amstel River that runs through the city. Well that’s actually interesting because I don’t even drink beer… 🙂

My tip is  to rent a bike and take a beautiful bike ride through the vondel park. There are beautiful restaurants and local cafes to stop and smell the flowers. vondel park amsterdam

If you’re a little bit more adventurous you can drive (by car) about 20 minutes outside of the city to visit the windmills, learn how to make cheese and buy some high heal shoes I mean wooden clogs of course!

My Vavorit Places are :

Van Gogh Museum
The Vondel Park
Rijksmuseum
ARTZUID
 I amsterdam LETTERS

Happy travels! How was your experience in Amsterdam?

xoxolisa

Featured Travel

Best Summer Spots in Zürich

Where to find the best summer spots in Zurich, Switzerland

It’s finally summer in the city… and I would love to share with you my favorite summer spots in Zürich. People are outdoors walking in the park, tanning at the lake, or drinking cold beverage and eating gelato at a bistro in the old town of Zürich.

I have listed a couple of my favorite destinations, with distinctive elegance and legendary service. Traditional Hospitality & Inimitable Elegance.

The town offers beautiful outdoor locations from boat rides, hiking & bicycle roads.

Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland with a population of 400.000 people. And is one of the leading cities amongst the world largest financial centers. Many art galleries and museums can be found in the city. The official language of my city is Swiss German which is a local dialect only spoken in Switzerland.

According to a study “Quality of Life Survey”, Zürich ranked first on a list of the top 25 cities in the world to live in. According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe.

1. Baur au Lac  outside terrace in the garden

2. Chez Fritz Lake Side Restaurant

3. Seerose Restaurant

4. Jules Verne Panorama Bar

Featured Lifestyle Travel

Welcome to Dream.Design.Discover

Dream.Design.Discover is the premier destination for tips and inspiration for living a chic lifestyle with simple and elegant ideas on decorating, entertaining and living life beautifully.

Inspired by travel and lust for life, I have started this blog to share my experiences. When sharing my little tips and tricks with my friends they would often ask me, “Why don’t you create a space so you can share with everyone?” This inspired me to create Dream.Design.Discover.

Please feel free to engage and leave your comments. I look forward to hearing from you!

Chat soon …

xoxolisa

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