My São Paulo

My avid readers know my travel insider section where fashion designers, celebrities and industry veterans share their tips for their favorite destinations with us. From now on, I decided also to post my personal recommendations for cities or areas I truly enjoyed visiting. My first one is dedicated to one of the most vibrant and populous cities in the world, SÃO PAULO. As Brazil’s financial center, it holds numerous cultural institutions and iconic buildings rich in architectural tradition.

ABOUT SÃO PAULO
SÃO PAULO reminds me a lot of my favorite place on earth, Los Angeles. Despite my expectations – I was told by some friends that the largest city in Latin America with one of the five largest populations on earth is very dangerous – I never felt unsafe and was truly amazed how clean this huge metropole is. As my tour guide said, there is a huge difference between tourists and travelers, meaning if you stick to certain rules, you will have a lot of fun exploring this lively metropole. Just keep in mind that São Paulo is, as the majority of other places in the world, divided in neighborhoods and you should stay away from certain areas or if you visit them, be extra careful, for example downtown São Paulo.

Be aware of crazy traffic jams as São Paulo has an incredible number of cars: over eight million! Best time to arrive or visit the city is over the weekend or during a holiday. Good Friday was honestly the perfect timing.

MY FAVORITE HOTEL
With no doubt PALÁCIO TANGARÁ, that is part of the Oetker Collection. With an exceptional location in the verdant surroundings of a tropical park, it is a peaceful retreat in a vibrant city. Enjoy some leisure time at the pool or train at the large gym before heading to São Paulo. If the traffic is good, it will take you around 25-30 minutes to the Jardins district. Personally speaking, I loved the hotel’s refined contemporary décor. The rooms are spacious and bathed in natural daylight. The service is outstanding and you are treated to a variety of culinary venues signed by Michelin Star Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
R. Dep. Laércio Corte, 1501 – Panamby, São Paulo – SP, 05706-290
Phone: +55 11 4904-4040

MY FAVORITE SPA
Palácio Tangará’s FLORA SPA BY SISLEY, an oasis of refined beauty and serenity. Interiors bathe in the inspiration of the green surroundings, while providing a while providing a wonderfully tranquil atmosphere that will nurture and awaken your senses. I had a wonderful deep tissue massage on my arrival day which was perfect to release any tension from the long flight. Don’t miss the photo-aromatic facials and body treatments.
R. Dep. Laércio Corte, 1501 – Panamby, São Paulo – SP, 05706-290
Phone: +55 11 4904 4099, E-mail: flora.

MY FAVORITE RESTAURANTS
One of the most sophisticated and renowned ones is D.O.M. (Latin abbreviation of Deo optimo maximo), a two-star Michelin restaurant run by Brazilian chef Alex Atala who researches the ingredients used in his restaurant and supervises production in various parts of Brazil. Some of these ingredients include tucupi juice, pirarucu and piraíba fishes, jambu and the tapioca from manioc flour. R. Barão de Capanema, 549 – Jardins, São Paulo – SP, 01411-011
Phone: +55 11 3088-0761

A must-visit is Michelin-starred restaurant TANGARÁ JEAN-GEORGES, located in the ground floor of the Palácio Tangará, overlooking the verdant expanse of the Burle Marx tropical park. In this beautiful and elegant setting (the same where breakfast is served) you can enjoy signature set meals as well as daily specials created by world-renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. His gastronomy, the first and only in South America, is inspired by lighter Asian methods that are now combined with a hint of Brazil and accompanied by a selection of locally inspired cocktails. Don’t miss the carefully curated list of over 180 different wines including some of the region’s best-kept secrets.
R. Dep. Laércio Corte, 1501 – Parque do Morumbi, São Paulo – SP, 05706-290
Phone: +55 11 4904-4072

A true insider tip, that I got from the concierge at Palácio Tangará, is another two-star Michelin restaurant, TUJU. A beautiful restaurant set in São Paulo’s Vila Madalena neighbourhood, it is well worth a visit for the urban garden and open kitchen. Chef Ivan Ralston is bringing sophisticated simplicity to Brazilian dining. Herbs are harvested in the backyard and everything is prepared fresh with local ingredients. I had the vegetarian 5-course market menu with wine pairing that I can absolutely recommend.
R. Fradique Coutinho, 1248 – Pinheiros, São Paulo – SP, 05416-001
Phone: +55 11 2691-5548

MY FAVORITE BAR
I love SKYE BAR & RESTAURANT located on the rooftop of the Unique Hotel. Boasting a crimson red pool and stunning views over Ibirapuera Park and the entire São Paulo skyline, DJs entertain the beautiful crowd with really great music, probably the best I heard in quite some time. I indulged in Brazil’s most famous cocktail, the caipirinha, which is supposed to be one of the best ones in town.
Av. Brigadeiro Luís Antônio, 4700 – Jardim Paulista, São Paulo – SP, 01402-002
Phone: +55 11 3055-4702

MY FAVORITE LOCAL FOOD
This pie-like dish originating from the Levant was introduced in Brazil by Levantine immigrants, where it is known as ESFIRRA, a street popular food. Baked and folded into a triangular pastry, it is filled with different ingredients, from cheese, curd, lamb, beef to vegetables. So yummy!

For breakfast at Palácio Tangará, I loved having an AÇAI BOWL, the perfect boost for energy. They are also very popular as a pre or post-work out meal in Brazil. This dish is made of frozen and mashed açaí palm fruit, served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, and commonly topped with granola and banana. Açaí na tigela (açaí in the bowl) is popular all over the country but the preparation differs from region to region. The original recipe, as eaten in the North, contains shrimp or dried fish and tapioca and is usually salty. The sweet variety is common in the southernmost parts of the country.

MY FAVORITE LOCAL DRINK
Besides the famous and dangerous caipirinhas, I love FRESH COCONUT WATER. Everywhere you go in São Paulo, you’ll find Coco stalls, places where you can buy a fresh coconut, have it chopped and prepared ready for that sweet nutritious milk. It’s a great experience to watch the preparation. I adored having mine at the pool of the Palácio Tangará hotel.

MY FAVORITE MARKET
The MUNICIPAL MARKET OF SÃO PAULO (Portuguese: Mercado Municipal de São Paulo), a large public market in São Paulo designed by the architect Francisco Ramos de Azevedo and inaugurated in January 1933 as a wholesale and retail post specializing in fruits, vegetables, cereals, meats, spices and other food products. The market is located in the historic city center, a meeting point for locals and one of the most visited tourist spots in the city. The smell of fresh fruits is unbelievable. Here you can also find the best esfirra.
R. Cantareira, 306 – Centro, São Paulo – SP, 01103-200
Phone: +55 11 3313-3365

MY FAVORITE PARK
IBIRAPUERA PARK, a major urban park in São Paulo and one of South America’s largest city parks; it covers an area of about 2 square kilometers. Likened to New York City’s Central Park, it is a great cultural scene and a perfect area for leisure and exercise. My favorite photo spot was the illuminated giant Easter egg installed for the holiday in the park.
Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral – Vila Mariana, São Paulo – SP, 04094-050

MY FAVORITE MUSEUM
For those who would like to experience more of the art scene, I would suggest a visit to the MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART, University of São Paulo (MAC USP) (Portuguese: Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São Paulo). Being one of the largest art museums in the country, it is located in the main campus of the university and in Ibirapuera Park. With approximately 10.000 works, the museum collections cover a period that goes from the modernist Avant-Gardes in the beginning of the 20th century to the present day, both nationally and internationally. From the rooftop, you can enjoy a 360° view over the city of São Paulo. Don’t miss this spot for your souvenir pictures.
Av. Pedro Álvares Cabral, 1301 – Vila Mariana, São Paulo – SP, 04094-050
Phone: +55 11 2648-0254

MY FAVORITE STREET
AVENIDA PAULISTA, the main avenue and one of the city’s most famous postcards. Modern office blocks, high rise apartments and designer shops dominate so be prepared for a busy, hectic atmosphere. You’ll be amongst businessmen, fashionistas and shoppers – just about everyone turns up on this most important thoroughfare. Interesting to know is that near this iconic street, São Paulo has a huge coffee plantation. There are about 1,500 coffee plants rooted within the Instituto Biológico in the neighborhood of Vila Mariana.

MY FAVORITE AREA
The area known as JARDINS is one of the wealthiest districts in the Brazilian city. It takes its name from the magnificent parks in the area, such as Jardim Paulista, Jardim America, Jardim Paulistano and Jardim Europa. As this is also a chic and trendy district, you’ll find plenty of upmarket shops and some of the city’s finest restaurants here. The area also boasts over 200 bars, testimony to the bustling nightlife in Jardins. You will be amazed by the giant residences in this upper class region.

MY FAVORITE SIGHTSEEING SPOT
The NOSSA SENHORA DO BRASIL CHURCH (Portuguese: Igreja Nossa Senhora do Brasil) is a church located in the Jardim América district. Built in 1940, it is one of the most elegant places of worship I have seen with beautiful ceramic insert panels. The bible come to life with vibrant paintings on the ceiling and walls.

MY FAVORITE HISTORICAL SPOT
You shouldn’t miss the site where the city of São Paulo was founded in 1554: the PÁTIO DO COLÉGIO (in Portuguese School Yard, written in the archaic orthography Pateo do Collegio), which is the name given to the historical Jesuit church, the square in front and the school in downtown. Here you might see some homeless people. It is an area where you should be a little more careful.
Praça Pateo do Collegio, 2 – Centro, São Paulo – SP, 01016-040
Phone: +55 11 3105-6899

MY FAVORITE SHOPPING STREET
Reminiscent of Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, RUA OSCAR FREIRE is a tree-lined shopping street in the Jardins district of São Paulo. For all shopaholics out there, this is a must-visit. It is the 2nd most luxurious street in the Americas, right behind 5th avenue in New York, and ranks 8th in the world. Aside from high-end international fashion brands, Brazilian fashion brands, such as Carlos Miele, Cavalera, Iódice, and Havaianas are present as well. If shopping isn’t your thing, there are also a handful of traditional restaurants and chic cafes, so-called «parking spots for bored hubbies.»

MY FAVORITE SOUVENIR
Definitely a limited edition pair of HAVAIANAS FLIP-FLOPS. The colourful rubber shoes have become synonymous with Brazil. A stop at the Havaianas flagship store is a must. You will find flip-flops in every imaginable design and hue – and so much cheaper (around 70% less) to what you pay in Europe.
Rua Oscar Freire, 1116 – Cerqueira César, São Paulo – SP, 01426-000
Phone: +55 11 3079-3415

MY FAVORITE SHOPPING MALL
Once you enter JK IGUATEMI, you might think, you are dead and landed in shopping heaven. Situated in the heart of Itaim, not far from the Palácio Tangará, is by far the most luxurious shopping center in São Paulo with restaurants, cinemas, three office towers as well as local and international high end designer stores.
Av. Pres. Juscelino Kubitschek, 2041 – Vila Olímpia, São Paulo – SP, 04543-011
Phone: +55 11 3152-6800

MY FAVORITE PHOTO SPOT
No matter how hectic your explorations in São Paulo may get, do not skip BECO DE BATMAN! Nicknamed after the famous comic character, which was painted on one of the walls around the 1980s, this winding alley in Vila Madalena has a very dense concentration of graffiti that is continually renovated by the local community. Only artists from the area are invited to embellish the walls, that are an instagram heaven, inviting you at every corner to start your photo diary.
R. Gonçalo Afonso – Vila Madalena, São Paulo – SP, 05435-000
Phone: +55 11 96846-7472

MY FAVORITE TOUR GUIDE
A huge thank you goes to DANILO VALISSERRA from Touring SP, who showed us around in São Paulo. Another great tip from Palácio Tangará’s concierge. He picked us up with his bulletproof car (he works for several embassies) at the hotel directly and drove us around the city to show us the most important spots. It was such a fun and entertaining tour.
Phone: +55 11 966-366-664, E-mail:

BEM VINDO A SÃO PAULO
I hope you enjoyed my travel tips for this amazing Brazilian city!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Sandra Bauknecht

Laura Burdese: Milan & Liguria

While being in Milan for ACQUA DI PARMA‘s launch event for the new home collection, I had the pleasure to meet with Laura Burdese, the Italian brand’s President and CEO, who gave me her tips for her home town Milan and Liguria, where she loves to spend her free time.

After graduating in International Economics and obtaining a Master in Marketing at the University of Trieste, Laura began her career in beauty industry with brand management tenures at Beiersdorf and L’Oreal. In 1999 she joined Swatch Group, where over the course of almost 18 years she held different positions of increasing responsibility. In 2006 she was appointed Country Manager / Managing Director of Swatch Group Italy. In 2012, in addition to this role, she was also appointed President and CEO of Calvin Klein watches and jewelry Co ltd. On October 2016 she joined Acqua di Parma as President and CEO. The charming blonde is married and has two teenage kids.

Your favourite city?
MILAN – it is my home and the most international city in Italy.

Your favourite hotel?
The BELMOND SPLENDIDO MARE in Portofino. It is all about timeless glamour and exceptional indulgence, it is my favorite place on earth. Originally a monastery, the building was transformed into a noble villa and then, early in the previous century, became a legendary hotel, with breathtaking views of the bay. I like it so much that I decided to shoot our Acqua di Parma campaign for the new home collection there.
Via Roma, 2, 16034 Portofino GE, Phone: +39 0185 267801

Your favourite restaurant?
Definitely GIACOMO MILANO. Conceived and designed by architects Renzo Mongiardino and Roberto Peregalli in an evocative setting that recalls the old Milanese trattorias of the early Nineteen hundreds, it is one of the most comfortable places for me.
Via Pasquale Sottocorno, 6, 20129 Milano MI, Phone: +39 02 7602 3313

 Your favorite dish?
One of the most famous risottos: RISOTTO ALLA MILANESE, creamy with butter and spiked with parmesan, this saffron-gilded dish is a culinary classic. I love risottos in general and therefore we served it as a main course at the Acqua di Parma Home Collection launch event in Milan. As my kids say it is also the only thing I can cook very well (laughs).

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
I travel 70% of my time and when I am back in Italy, I don’t go to clubs and prefer spending the time with my family. I rather prefer inviting people to my place than going out. This is very Italian.

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
VARIGOTTI – a picturesque seaside town in Liguria, Northern Italy. You have to see this fishermen’s place once in your life. It is a magical place that not many people know. My family has a house there only 50 meters from the sea, I spend my childhood there, I got married there – it is the place of my heart.

Your favourite beach?
VARIGOTTI BEACH – Varigotti is famous for its sea and beaches, particularly the Saracen’s Beach, which is one of the largest public beaches in Liguria.
17024 Varigotti, Savona

Your favourite park?
I love the PARCO SEMPIONE in Milan. Its is a large green-space close to the Castello Sforzesco. It was built between 1890 and 1893 imitating a typical English garden.
Piazza Sempione, 20154 Milano MI, Size: 39 ha

Your favourite shop?
Of course our ACQUA DI PARMA store in Milan that allows you to dive into our universe. We will close it in the end of April after the Salone di Mobile for two months and completely renovate it.
Via Gesù, 1, 20121 Milano MI, Phone: +39 02 7602 3307

Your must-have accessory?
A watch as I worked for 18 years in the watch industry and a fragrance. My favorite is COLONIA PURA. A great fresh contemporary unisex scent – my first launch at Acqua di Parma, my first baby so to say. I have an emotional connection to this beautiful scent.

The best soundtrack for this destination?
At the moment I cannot stop listening to the album of A STAR IS BORN. SHALLOW is my favorite song. I am not so fond of Italian music.

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
I read a lot and love contemporary literature, especially by American authors. THE TENDER BAR by J.R. Moehringer is my favorite book – a classic American story of self-invention and escape, of the fierce love between a single mother and an only son, it’s also a moving portrait of one boy’s struggle to become a man.

Laura in three words…
Passionate, authentic and warm-hearted.

Thank you, Laura, for sharing your insider scoop on Milan and Liguria with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Acqua di Parma, © Sandra Bauknecht and Courtesy of the different locations

Susanne Kaufmann: Austria

SUSANNE KAUFMANN comes from Austria‘s beautiful Alpine valley, the Bregenz Forest, where knowledge of the healing powers of nature is passed down from generation to generation. From an early age, she was fascinated by the idea of creating a holistic skincare range inspired by the intensive and effective properties of the Alpine plant world. She began fulfilling her dream at a very special place: the Susanne Kaufmann Spa at the Hotel Post Bezau. Together with a team of pharmacists and dermatologists she developed result-driven products for spa treatments followed by the launch of SUSANNE KAUFMANN ORGANIC TREATS which now encompasses more than 60 functional products, in Switzerland available at Spitzenhaus in Zurich. Today, she gives us some amazing travel tips for her home country AUSTRIA.

Your favourite city / region?
The BREGENZERWALD (Bregenz Forest)- it is very traditionel but the local people are very open-minded. Besides that the air smells like perfume.

Your favourite hotel?
In Austria I really like the RITZ-CARLTON in Vienna. Within the four 19th-century palaces the hotel now calls home, you get a very authentic feel of the city known for its beauty and culture.
Schubertring 5-7, 1010 Vienna, Phone: +43 1 31188

Your favourite spa?
Definitely our SUSANNE KAUFMANN SPA in Bezau. It stands for everything I love, a place of beauty, relaxation, and holistic well-being.
Brugg 35, 6870 Bezau, Phone: +43 5514 22070

Your favourite restaurant?
STEIERECK in Vienna – they have an exquisite cuisine and a concept that reflects my belief in high quality ingredientes and local products.
Am Heumarkt 2A, 1030 Vienna, Phone: +43 1 7133168

Your favorite local dish?
WIENER SCHNITZEL with POTATO SALAD.

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
It‘s definitely the WERKHAUSRAUM in Andelsbuch, designed by architect Peter Zumthor, is a distinctive mark in the Bregenzerwald and highlights the culture of craftsmanship and artisanal work.

Your favourite park?
The whole BREGENZERWALD (Bregenz Forest) is like a huge park with wild animals and a beautiful fauna and flora.

Your favourite shop?
ROOM SERVICE CONCEPT STORE and SAGMEISTER.
I really like these two shops for their exclusive selection and personal touch.

Your must-have accessory?
Besides a good skin condition, my SMYTHSON CALENDAR.

The best soundtrack for this destination?
I’ve been passionate about music since childhood. Luckily my husband, Alfred Vogel, is Jazz musician and brings year by year wonderful artists to BEZAU BEATS in Austria.

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
OSKAR LEO KAUFMANN: 69 PROJEKTE 2012–1996 – my brother recently gave me his book. You can see how the architecture in the Bregenzerwald has shaped the landscape.

TO SHOP SUSANNE KAUFMANN ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

iconThank you, Susanne, for sharing your insider scoop on Austria with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Susanne Kaufmann, the different locations and Voralberg Tourismus

Kilian Hennessy: Paris

KILIAN HENNESSY inherited a taste for creation from his family’s generations-old cognac business. His namesake perfume collection BY KILIAN epitomizes both luxury and modernity, using some of the world’s finest raw materials and rare essential oils. The elegant bottles and boxes are all refillable and reusable. His newest launches «Body Pleasures» include shower gels, body lotions as well as scented hair and body oils. I met with the irrevocably French fragrance-maker who gave me some amazing tips for his favorite place on earth.

Your favourite city?
PARIS – It is the most beautiful city for me, full of culture. It inspires me, helps me to create. I was born there and then raised from 1-7 in Cognac. At the age of 7, I returned to Paris. As of now, I haven’t found a better city.

Your favourite hotel?
LE BRISTOL – It is the perfect hotel for a romantic weekend with exceptional service.
112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 75008 Paris, Phone: +33 1 53 43 43 00

Your favourite restaurant?
CAVIAR KASPIA – It is owned by a couple which are good friends of us. The food is absolutely excellent and it has a fun vibe. We are always there for Russian New Year’s – the most exciting place to be! The waiters are dancing on the table, they even get naked. We always have a blast.
17 Place de la Madeleine, 75008 Paris, Phone: +33 1 42 65 33 32

Your favourite dish there?
POTATO CAVIAR – It is a baked potato with a huge amount of caviar on top.

Your favourite bar?
MATHIS BAR –  The most elegant and handsome bar in Paris.
3 Rue de Ponthieu, 75008 Paris, Phone: +33 1 42 25 73 01

Your favourite nightclub?
CLUB RASPOUTINE – The only club in Paris for people my age. They play house music, kind of hardcore, but a lot of fun.
58 Rue de Bassano, 75008 Paris, Phone: +33 1 47 20 02 90

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
LA VICTOIRE DE SAMOTHRACE at the LOUVRE. I cannot go to the Louvre without stopping by to see her. It is a sculpture that was at the bow of a ship which you can still see in the exhibition. The woman has wings with a veil that is covering her naked body. Looking at her, you imagine the wind that is pulling the fabric to show of parts of her body. It is very sensual, you can feel so much strength. If I don’t have any more elan, I go see her.
Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris

Your favourite park?
I don’t do parks.

Your favourite shop?
MR PORTER – Even that there are still a few brands missing. I love that it is shopping with no hazzle. Just trying at home and if it doesn’t fit, they pick it up. So easy.

Your must-have accessory?
It would be MY SCENT. Otherwise I just got this amazing BLACK SUEDE TOTE BAG by SAINT LAURENT that I cannot live without anymore.

The best soundtrack for this destination?
IL VENAIT D’AVOIR 18 ANS by DALIDA – I cannot live without. It’s part of my culture, such a gorgeous song.

The scent of Paris?
ECCENTRIC – All excesses blend well in Paris. Here women have a posture to look beautiful in a «negligée way». The message they convey is «I kind of work on it but I didn’t do anything». This is FRENCH CHIC. So the scent would be a gorgeous tuberose, jasmine like VOULEZ-VOUZ COUCHER AVEC MOIicon. For example in the States where women tend to be more made up, the scents are more subtle.

TO SHOP BY KILIAN ONLINE, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

Thank you, Kilian, for sharing your insider scoop on Paris with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Via The Telgraph, ©Mathieurivrin, Courtesy of the Locations, Mr Porter, © Kilian Hennessy and © Sandra Bauknecht

Jean Luc Amsler: Zurich

«Sassy, rather rebellious, Jean Luc Amsler will always be there where we least expect him.»

Franco-Swiss fashion designer JEAN LUC AMSLER was born in Switzerland in the mid-1960’s. After his studies, he moved to Antwerp and then to Paris, where he started his fashion career in the mid 1980’s. He gained experience by working at renowned houses such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Louis Scherrer, Christian Dior and Cartier, just to name a few. By 1992, Jean Luc felt that he had reached the point where he could design for himself, and he started his own eponymous couture brand in Paris.

For us, he shares his insider scoop on the city I live in with us, ZURICH. With the stunning backdrop of the Swiss Alps, the city offers a unique mixture of attractions. Jean Luc’s tips are absolutely great – even I have discovered something I didn’t know about before. Enjoy!

Your favourite city?
ZURICH, because it is my grand father’s city.

Your favourite hotel?
THE DOLDER GRAND, where I presented my first show in 1994.
Kurhausstrasse 65, 8032 Zurich, Phone +41 44 456 60 00

Your favourite restaurant?
KRONENHALLE, I still have great memories there with Gustav Zumsteg in 1995.
Rämistrasse 4, 8001 Zürich, Phone +41 44 262 99 00

Zurich, 1979. Yves Saint Laurent with Gustav Zumsteg’s mother Hulda Zumsteg (left) at Kronenhalle.

(Gustav Zumsteg was the owner of the restaurant Kronenhalle until his death in 2005. Moreover, he had worked his way up from the level of apprentice to chief designer at the traditional silk company Abraham, which he later acquired. Zumsteg collaborated with renowned Parisian fashion houses, such as Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, and most of all Yves Saint Laurent, with whom he became very close.)

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
TINA BAR, for its selective cocktail menu and the cosy atmosphere. It’s also in the middle of the old town, a great area to walk around and get lost during the night.
Niederdorfstr. 10, 8001 Zurich, Phone +41  44 250 76 80

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
LINDENHOF HILL, because there you can admire the whole city and also read a book in the park. A quiet spot in the heart of the city.
Lindenhof, 8001 Zurich

(The Lindenhof is a moraine hill and a public square in the historic center of Zurich. It is the site of the Roman and Carolingian era Kaiserpfalz around which the city has historically grown. The hilltop area -including its prehistoric, Roman, and medieval remains – is listed as a Swiss heritage site of national significance.)

Your favourite park?
The BRUNO WEBER PARK. It’s like entering in a fairytale, a mix of art and fantasy.
Zur Weinrebe 3, 8953 Dietikon, Phone +41 44 740 02 71

Your favourite beach ?
COCOA BEACH, the perfect place for a drink when the sun goes down. It’s a little island on the roof of the city.
Förrlibuckstrasse 115, 8005 Zurich, Phone +41 43 444 40 50

Your favourite shop?
MARKENTUSSI in Zurich’s North, it is a heaven for vintage clothes and furniture. They carry Chanel, Louboutin… many Parisian brands.
Kornhausstrasse 43, 8037 Zurich, Phone +41 43 557 63 93

Your must-have accessory?
My glasses from VIU, I discovered this new Swiss designed eyewear brand and I love it!
Viu Flaghsip Store Zurich, Grüngasse 4, 8004 Zurich, +41 44 508 79 04

The best soundtrack for this destination?
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM composed by Clint Mansell for the eponymous movie, it represents dream and drama…

Annemarie Schwarzenbach (23 May 1908 – 15 November 1942)

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
LA QUÊTE DU RÉEL by Anne Marie Schwarzenbach, it means the quest of reality.

(Born in Zurich, Annemarie Schwarzenbach was a homosexual Swiss writer, journalist, photographer and traveler. Her father, Alfred, was a wealthy businessman in the silk industry. From an early age she began to dress and act like a boy, a behaviour not discouraged by her parents, and which she retained all her life. In fact in later life she was often mistaken for a young man.)

Thank you, Jean Luc Amsler, for sharing your insider scoop on Zurich with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: © Jean Luc Amsler, © Marianne Feilchenfeldt-Breslauer († 2001), © Richard Emler and courtesy of the different locations

Jani Leinonen: Helsinki

Jani_Leinonen_Helsinki

The ones who have been following me for some time know that I am a big fan of the work of Finnish artist JANI LEINONEN. The 39 year-old shooting star plays with logos and symbols of the luxury goods industry.

museum-of-contemporary

In 2011, he became famous for kidnapping a Ronald McDonald statue from a McDonald’s restaurant in Helsinki and executing it later (for a previous post, click here please) to raise awareness for ethically produced food. Today, Jani shares his favorite spots of his home town with us. HELSINKI, a magical destination that seems to inspire the artist in many ways.

Helsinki_talvi_Niklas-Sjöblom_Visit-Helsinki

Your favourite city?
HELSINKI
, because my friends live there. I think I would move to Siberia if I got my friends to move there. It´s a nice city with a heart beat, too but I think it´s the people and size that makes it.

Hotel Klaus k_Finland

Your favourite hotel?
There are many nice hotels in Helsinki, but HOTEL KLAUS K has these amazing art and suites that have been done by artists or designers.
Bulevardi 2-4, 00120 Helsinki, Phone: +358 20 7704700

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Your favourite restaurant?
This is also a tricky question. There is a big restaurant boom in Helsinki right now. New amazing restaurants opening all the time. I cannot just say one. I say three, Finnjävel, BasBas and Favela.

FINNJÄVEL (see photo above) just opened with a crazy concept of making fine dine versions of traditional Finnish dishes. Also all the items in the restaurant, from wine glasses to knives and plates are designed by the Sotamaa siblings and produced by local craftspeople.
Eteläranta 16, 00130 Helsinki, Phone: +358 300 472 341

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BASBAS (short for Baskeri ja Basso) has ingredient driven menu with small dishes and an amazing atmosphere.
Tehtaankatu 27-29, 00150 Helsinki, Phone: +358 50 4673400

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Third is my local bar FAVELA. Despite it’s politically incorrect name it has the most amazing atmosphere in the city. You can go for a beer or have amazing dinner, or there you might not know which you end up doing because the people will grab you to join them.
Mechelininkatu, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 10 2928090

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Your favourite bar or nightclub?
I hardly ever go to clubs nowadays but NAVY JERRY’S usually rocks. There are also a lot pop up clubs in Helsinki nowadays. You just have to know where they pop up.
Hietaniemenkatu 2, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 45 1783868

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Your favourite sightseeing spot?
Helsinki’s HIGHEST TOILET is worth checking. It is located in the HOTEL TORNI, which means tower in Finnish. Best view to the city.
Yrjönkatu 26, 00100 Helsinki, Phone: +358 20 1234604

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Your favourite beach?
There are so many amazing beaches in Helsinki. Helsinki is a peninsula with tens of islands stuck to it. Some call it Venice of the North. So there are a lot of beaches. My three favourites are Hietsu, Eiranranta and Seurasaari.
The biggest in the city is HIETSU (official name is Hietaniemen rant, see photo above).
Hiekkarannantie 11, Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 310 71431

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Right in the city is EIRANRANTA.
Eiranranta, 00150 Helsinki

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The nudist beach in SEURASAARI (best architecture).
Seurasaari, Phone: +358 9 310 71493

Your favourite spa/sauna?
There are over 3 million saunas in Finland so this is a tricky question. I love the SAUNA SOCIETY on the island of LAUTTASAARI but there you have to be a member to get in. It has four smoke saunas and three wood heated saunas, right by the sea, about ten minutes from the center.
Vaskiniementie 10, 00200 Helsinki, Phone: +358 50 3724167

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Another, new sauna is LÖYLY which just opened to HERNESAARENRANTA. Anyone can go, and it has both smoke and wood heated saunas and you can swim in the sea, so even the demanding ones are satisfied.
Hernesaarenranta 4, 00150 Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 6128 6550

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There are also plenty of city saunas without swimming, like ARLA and HARJU.
Ara, Kaarlenkatu 15, 00510 Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 719218
Harju, Harjutorinkatu 1, 00500 Helsinki, Phone: +358 9 7531535

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Your favourite piece of art in the city?
There is a nice piece by DENISE ZIEGLER called EPIGRAMS FOR PEDESTRIANS in the City of Helsinki. It is a bit difficult to find because it consists of 8 well lids with very interesting texts and aphorisms.

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Your favourite museum?
As I am an artist it varies depending on the exhibitions. Top-3 in Helsinki is National gallery Kiasma, Helsinki Art Museum HAM and The Museum of Natural History.
NATIONAL GALLERY KIASMA
Mannerheiminaukio 2, 00100 Helsinki, Phone:+358 29 4500501

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HELSINKI ART MUSEUM HAM
Aleksanterinkatu 16, 00170 Helsinki, Phone:+358 9 31036630

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THE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY
Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu 13, 00100 Helsinki, Phone:+358 29 4128800

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Your favourite shop?
Even thought I deal with multinational brands on my art I wish all shops would be small and selling ethical and ecological local products. Now that all commerce is going online. BUYMEONCE.COM really impressed me with the idea to sell only products that have a life-time guarantee.

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Your must-have accessory?
KNIFE
and a SHEATH might always come handy for an artist. You never know when you have to start sculpting wood or cut.

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The best soundtrack for this destination?
One of my favourite ever Finnish music albums is PALEFACE’S HELSINKI-SHANGRI-LA. It’s a perfect soundtrack as well.

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The best book to read while being on vacation there?
KJELL WESTÖ
‘s «Where Once We Walked» is novel where the main character is Helsinki. It tells an amazing story of the city and its citizens, how they have changed under the rule of first Sweden, then Russia and the independent Finland with civil and other wars and events.

Sandra_Bauknecht_Jani_leinonen_Art_in_the_Park_2016Jani Leinonen with me at the Art in the Park event at Baur au Lac last year.

Thank you, Jani, for sharing your insider scoop on Helsinki with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the different locations, via Helsinkiblog.de and likealocal.com
© Sandra Bauknecht

Giorgia Caovilla: Venice

«My shoes are designed from a woman to the women who need to conciliate femininity with everyday life.» – Giorgia Caovilla

The story of GIORGIA CAOVILLA is all about talent and enterprise in the name of Made in Italy. And this is in her genes. Her father is no other than famous footwear designer René Caovilla
icon who took over his father’s Venetian shoemaking business in the 1950s, referencing age-old Italian traditions to create exquisitely opulent footwear. Giorgia joined the family business in 1998 and worked alongside her dad for 11 years, focusing specifically on the development of the International and American markets.

In 2010, her personal turning point came when Giorgia presented O Jour – her own very first high-end accessory solo collection – in New York City. It was the answer to her personal need of creating shoes that would match with her taste and her lifestyle – the lifestyle of a busy working and family woman, who was unwilling to give up femininity and glamour as well as comfort.

Today, she lives in Padua with her husband and their two daughters, surrounded by the greenery of Riviera del Brenta where the best Italian shoe manufacturers have been working for centuries, just a few minutes away by boat from the beautiful waters of Giudecca. For us, she shares her travel tips for VENICE, which is only 30 minutes away from her hometown Padua and which has influenced her all her life. Enjoy!

Your favourite city?
VENICE
. The thing that I like the most about this city is how the water can change sounds, the light, the smells so you can have a wonderful moment where all the senses are involved.

Your favourite hotel?
HOTEL COLOMBINA, so close to St. Mark Square, where you have an amazing view of «Ponte dei Sospiri», my favourite one. Filippo, the owner is the best host of Venice, I feel like home every time.
Calle del Remedio, 4416, 30100 Venezia, Phone +39 041 277 0525

Your favourite restaurant?
HARRY’S DOLCI facing the Giudecca Canal, wich is a special island where you can have a view of Venice from the outside in a peaceful and relaxed place.
Fondamenta S. Biagio, 773, 30100 Venezia, Phone +39 041 52 24 844

Your favourite Venetian food/dish?
SARDE IN SAOR (sweet and sour sardines), one of the most typical CICCHETTI (small local snacks) in Venice made with fried sardines and onions.

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
For this city… I have to say that a walk around the CALLI (narrow streets in Venice) with a glass of white wine is better than any nightclub!

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
VENICE IN A KAYAK to have a new point of view! Better than the taxi, better than any other thing to see the city from an unexpected angle. Just be prepared to wet yourself a bit!

Your favourite park?
CAMPO SAN VIO, between Accademia’s Bridge and Venier Palace, very close to the Guggenheim Collection. It’s a peaceful spot far from the touristic areas.

Your favourite beach?
LIDO of course, in May/June, when you can meet the real Venetians families on vacation. You can lie down and soak up the sun in one of the HOTEL EXCELSIOR‘s cabanas.
Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi, 41, 30126 Lido VE, Phone: +39 041 526 0201

Your favourite shop?
FORTUNY‘s showroom, where you can see the fabrics that are still being produced at the original factory founded by Mariano Fortuny almost a century ago. It’s one of the oldest factories in Venice, and you can see exactly how they produce the damask.
Giudecca 805, 30133 Venezia, Phone +39 041 528 7697

LUIGI BEVILACQUA. This manufacturer is another place to see, it is led by the Bevilacqua family and carries on one of Venice’s most ancient traditions using original 18th-century looms.
S. Croce 1320, 30135 Venezia, Phone + 39 041 721566

Your must-have accessory to wear in Venice?
A second pair of shoes, some typical VENETIAN SLIPPERS by VIBI VENEZIA, hidden in my bag after a long night walk. High heels are forbidden in Venice!

Your must-have souvenir to take home from Venice?
JESURUM LAMP, an unique piece of art made with handmade gold drawned silk. It’s easy to put in your bag, and it’s worth the travel.
San Marco, Calle delle Ostreghe 2433, 30124 Venice, Phone +39 041 5238969

The best soundtrack for this destination?
JOVANOTTI, alias Lorenzo Cherubini, the perfect mix of romantic songs and funky spirit!

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
WATERMARK
by the Russian Nobel Price winner Joseph Brodsky, this essay is one of the most memorable eulogies to this city. While reading this book you can physically feel the city around you.

Thank you, Giorgia, for sharing your insider scoop on Venice with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of Giorgia Caovilla and the different locations

Jude Benhalim: Egypt

JUDE BENHALIM is a young, Cairo-based jewelry designer who founded her namesake brand when she was just 17 years old. All it took was one creative design project in high school and Jude jumped into the design world head first with her mother and partner, Rana Al Azm.

«My strategy to set my brand apart from others was to introduce something new to traditional Egyptian jewelry; mixing it with modern art and avant-garde techniques. I maintain the essence of oriental jewelry (by using Arabic calligraphy), combining it with a modern approach (by using abstract geometric shapes and colorful Resin stones). That is what allowed people to appreciate my work; it is a revolutionary take on traditional jewelry making.» – Jude Benhalim

Jude is constantly on the lookout for new ideas to bring to her designs, and is inspired by the women who wear her cutting-edge designs as much as the women who fill her life. Today, she shares with us her travel tips for her home country, EGYPT.

Your favourite city?
ALEXANDRIA. When the city life becomes too busy and stressful, I can escape from the craziness and read a book by the beautiful sea. The beach has always a peaceful atmosphere.

Your favourite hotel?
FOUR SEASONS RESORT SHARM EL SHEIKH
. It hast the most beautiful scenery, overlooking the sea. It is definitely underrated.
1 Four Seasons Boulevard, El-Salam, Qesm Sharm Ash Sheikh, South Sinai Governorate
Phone: +20 69 3603555

Your favourite restaurant?
KAZUKO
in CAIRO. It has the best Japanese food in town and I love the vibe of the place.
Swan Lake Compound, 1st Settlement, New Cairo, Phone: +20 12 7000 4877

Your favourite Egyptian food?
I like MOLOKHIYA with spicy chicken –  the national dish of Egypt – because its a complete meal with vegetables, carbs and proteins and keeps you energized the whole long day.

Your favourite bar or nightclub?
There are great bars and nightclubs in the NORTH COAST, by the beach. I think my favorite place there is ANDIAMO, a beach bar. Its beautifully designed and is right on the beach.
Hacienda, KM 140, Phone: +20 1005509948

Your favourite sightseeing spot?
The PYRAMIDS, or more importantly the DESERT. I am fascinated by the desert no matter how often I see it, I love to admire its patterned dunes and its smooth and sparkling sand.

Your favourite park?
AL-AZHAR PARK
. It has one of the most beautiful views over Cairo.
Salah Salem St, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo Governorate, Phone: +20 2 25103868

Your favourite beach?
The NORTH COAST BEACHES. The world is known to have the best beaches in Asia and in the Bahamas, but these are not comparable to the beaches on the North Coast of Egypt, as well as the ones in Sinai. So beautiful!  I especifically love SIDI HENEISH, because its calm and not as commercial as the other beaches. It’s a beautiful bay.

Your favourite shop?
KHAN EL-KHALILI
, a local market in CAIRO, is my favorite place to shop. It is actually where my silver workshop is located so I visit the souk very often. It is very rich in culture and has the most beautiful architecture that is going back to over hundreds of years. I love the authenticy and vibes of the Khan el-Khalili alleyways.
El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate

Your must-have accessory to take when you visit Egypt?
SUNGLASSES
! It is sunny all year round in Egypt.

Your must-have souvenir to take home?
LITTLE PYRAMIDS
of course. The pyramids are of the Seven Wonders of the World. I think as a tourist, the Pyramids are one of the most breathtaking sites.

The best soundtrack for this destination?
HELWA YA BALADY
by DALIDA. It perfectly represents the beauty of the city.

The best book to read while being on vacation there?
40 RULES OF LOVE by ELIF SHAFAK. Cairo is very high in spirituality, with beautiful mosques and churches. I think this book is a perfect fit and it is a personal favorite.

Thank you, Jude, for sharing your insider scoop on Egypt with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the different locations, © Jude Benhalim

Jaume Plensa: Spain

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Jaume Plensa was born in Spain in 1955, and shares his residence between Paris and Barcelona. Between his first exhibition in his hometown in 1980 and today, he has been living and working in Germany, Belgium, England, France and the US. Also, teaching at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where we celebrated recently his artwork for Ruinart. Today, he shares with us his favorite spots in Spain, his home country.

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Your favourite city?
BARCELONA. It is my city where I found home, a place where I could develop my work. It has the perfect size, it is not too big and not to small. It is right in front of the sea which is important for me.

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Your favourite hotel?
VILLA REAL in MADRID. I feel at home. I could never separate a place from the people and I love the ones that are working there. They have taken me as a friend. I always stay there when I am in Madrid. It is a very charming place right in front of the congress.
Plaza de las Cortes, 10, 28014 Madrid, Phone: +34 914 20 37 67

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Your favourite restaurant?
There is a beautiful restaurant in BARCELONA near my studio that has become like my office where I meet my friends, LA PART DELS ANGELS. The name stands for this little quantity in the wine that evaporates in the barrel, it is the angel’s share. For me, it is such a beautfiul name as I am always working with invisible emotions.
Passeig Bertrand, 27, 08980 Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, Phone: +34 936 66 66 44

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Your favourite sightseeing spot?
I love the little city of SITGES, little town nearby Barcelona, right in front of the sea. It is the perfect place to spend the afternoon, very picturesque.

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Your favourite museum?
The MUSEO DEL PRADO in MADRID because they have something fantastic collection, they have art works from Velázquez, Goya and Hieronymus Bosch, which belong for me to the most important artists of all times.
Paseo del Prado, s/n, 28014 Madrid

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Your favourite piece of art?
LAS MENINAS, a 1656 painting in the Museo del Prado in MADRID, by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age. It is the first time in history that somebody had the capacity to paint space, just the emptiness. It is a remarkable piece of art.

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Your favourite shop?
L’ILLA DIAGONAL – it is a small commercial center where you can find a little bit of everything.
Avinguda Diagonal, 557, 08029 Barcelona, Phone:+34 934 44 00 00

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Your must-have accessory?
When you come to Spain, the best you can bring is an OPEN MIND and to be completely free of prejudices. We are very welcoming, we love to share. It is a great place for conversation.

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The best soundtrack for this destination?
FLAMENCO, it is important for my country, a very emotional way to express especially in the South of Spain.

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The best book to read while being on vacation there?
DON QUIJOTE by Miguel Cervantes Saavedra. Last year was the Cervantes year as we celebrated 400 years since he died in 1616. It is a key book for Spain, a concept of our history, Cervantes is equivalent to Shakespeare.

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Thank you, Jaume Plensa, for sharing your insider scoop on Spain with us!

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the Locations, © Sandra Bauknecht

Edgardo Osorio: Florence

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Born in Colombia and raised between Miami and London, EDGARDO OSORIO combines his eye for drop-dead glamour, his passion for modern design and his hand for luxury craftsmanship into desirable footwear. After attending the London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, he made his first strides in the footwear world within some of the most prestigious luxury brands such as Salvatore Ferragamo, Sigerson Morrison, René Caovilla, and Roberto Cavalli. In 2011, after working in the industry for 10 years, and at just 25 years old, Edgardo launched his luxury footwear brand AQUAZZURA. Striking the perfect balance between modern design and impeccable craftsmanship, Edgardo creates stylish yet wearable footwear for the modern woman. Today, he shares his insider scoop on the city he is living in with us!

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Your favourite city?
FLORENCE – My home. My headquarters are situated in the historical Palazzo Corsini along with the Florentine flagship store (see photo above). Along the Arno River, in the heart of Florence and near the best shoemakers and craftspeople in the world.
Aquazzura Store, Lungarno Corsini, 42, 50123 Florence, Phone: +39 055 291242

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Your favourite hotel?
J.K. PLACE FIRENZE – This small boutique hotel is the most stylish address to stay in Florence.
Piazza di Santa Maria Novella, 7, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 2645181

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Your favourite restaurant?
BUCA MARIO – Traditional Florentine cuisine in the heart of the historic city centre, housed in a sixteenth-century buca. In Florence, buche were typical cellars situated beneath imposing historic palazzos often owned by aristocratic families. They were used to store salted meats, ham and salamis, and, above all, to house precious wine. Enormous oak vats lined the thick walls, which maintained an ideal temperature. As you make your way down the old entrance stairs of Buca Mario, it is impossible not to step into the past.
Piazza degli Ottaviani, 16r, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 214179

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Your favourite bar or nightclub?
LA TERRAZZO LOUNGE BAR on the rooftop of HOTEL CONTINENTALE – From the rooftop bar you get a magical view of the cathedral and other historic buildings located in Florence.
Vicolo dell’Oro, 6R, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 27262

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Your favourite sightseeing spot?
The VASARI CORRIDOR, a hidden corridor used by the Medici family to get between the Pitti Palace and the Palazzo Vecchio. It is one of the most unique places in Florence, with a one of a kind collection of self-portraits from the 16th century.
Uffizi Gallery, Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6, 50122 Firenze

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Your favourite park?
BARDINI GARDENS – It has three sections: a great baroque flight of steps, fringed with irises. It ascends to a belvedere and with expansive views of Florence, an English garden with its Channel of the Dragon and a farming area with almost-medieval hillside terraces planted with olive trees.
Costa S. Giorgio, 2, 50125 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 2006 6206

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Your favourite shop?
OFFICINA PROFUMA FARMACEUTICA DI SANTA MARIA NOVELLA – It is one of the oldest pharmacies in the world.
Via della Scala, 16, 50123 Firenze, Phone: +39 055 216276

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Your must-have accessory?
BORSALINO PANAMA HAT – stylish and iconic.
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The best soundtrack for this destination?
Old italian songs
by RAFFAELLA CARRA to put you in a great mood!

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The best book to read while being on vacation there?
«SAVING ITALY» by Robert M. Edsel – An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.

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Thank you, Edgardo, for sharing your insider scoop on Florence with us!

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TO SHOP AQUAZZURA, CLICK HERE PLEASE.

LoL, Sandra

Photos: Courtesy of the different locations, © Edgardo Osorio/Aquazurra and © Sandra Bauknecht