(Milan) There's nothing like a flower show to jump start Spring here in Italy. Two weekends ago, I attended a plant\flower show market with my dear friend, Rebecca, which was held on the beautiful grounds of Villa Necchi Campiglio. This modern-deco villa was built in the 1930's by architect Pietro Portaluppi for the Necchi Campiglio family, who belonged to the Milanese industrial upper class. The villa is located in the heart of Milan, a hidden oasis, smack in the center of the city that sits behind a stone wall and is surrounded by a park-like garden, a swimming pool and tennis courts. I always think the best parts of Milan, are either hidden behind big wooden doors or stone walls, it just takes a little curiosity to discover the city's best kept treasures.
As for the flower show\market, it was filled with a variety of plants and flowers. From blossoming citrus trees, to hellebore's to cacti and many more but my most favorite was of course, the display of violets. And what's a Italian flower show without some food and drinks? There was a table filled with Italian baked goodies, a cafe\vino stand, (of course) a florist selling arrangements and a display of exotic birds on sale in beautiful wooden cages. After viewing all the flora and other goodies, we decided to take a tour of the villa. The interiors are a combination of modern tastes with elegant deco features, filled with traditional antique objects and houses a small collection of contemporary artists such as Margritte, Fontana and Sironi. My favorite part of the villa was its vast marble-clad bathrooms, (particularly the black and ivory one with the circular window), the green sun room with views of the garden and the modern internal house phone system (no bells for this high tech family). Rebecca and I were in complete awe as we entered each room. Like, jaw dropping awe. And I have to say, if there was ever going to be an Italian mini series version of Downton Abbey, this family and its villa along with the staff would be the real deal. One would not have to look much further for the perfect location to film such a drama. Much like the beautiful yet tragic film, "I Am Love" starring Tilda Swinton, in which the Villa was featured as her home. I wish I had some photos of the interior but they have a beyond strict "no photos" policy and peeps watching your every move. Literally. I was seriously too chicken shit to attempt it and if I did take a snap, it didn't come out, as I panicked I'd be caught, or worse thrown out and therefore moving to quickly to get anything decent to share. So, you'll just have to go visit the villa for yourself to see its beauty. However, I did manage to sneak in a aerial shot of the pool and a view out the window in the green sun room that overlooks the garden but what really caught my eye was not the view but the fern on the window sill basking in the sunlight. Rebecca covered me on this one so I could get the shot. Thanks, Reby! (see image #1 and #5)
Also on the grounds, just off the tennis courts, is a little delightful restaurant called, La Caffetteria, where we ate lunch, giggled and celebrated my birthday with lavender crème brùlée. If you ask me, the afternoon was pure perfection.