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Beauty of the (Italian) Afterlife

I promised that I would share pictures from our most recent Italian vacation. I am starting to make good on that promise although I do still need to put together a proper post. I’m working on it…I swear. I am continuing to sift through thousands of pictures but I did manage to gather a few that are most appropriate for today, Halloween, the spookiest of all holidays.

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When it comes to traveling, I have found that one of the most exciting ways to get to know a city is to simply get lost and enjoy new discoveries that literally cross your path. As Mr. B and I wandered throughout Milan on one particular day, we took note of a building off in the distance due to its beauty and scale. We continued to walk toward it hoping to learn more. It turns out that the building that caught our attention is part of Milan’s most well-known cemetery, Monument Cemetery (Cimitero Monumentale in Italian). Our curiosity led us past the gates and into one of the City’s largest cemetery’s developed in 1886.

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We ventured inside only to discover an open-air market with a treasure trove of art and architectural monuments. As we strolled the grounds, it was immediately evident that some of the most notable artists and architects were commissioned to build beautiful, grand structures to mark the location of where some of the most wealthy and elite Italians have been laid to rest.

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All iPhone images by Reviving Charm.

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GREETINGS FROM ITALY

Buongiorno! Mr. B and I have been enjoying travels through Northern Italy. Traveling during this time of year is great because the crowds generally die down a bit and the weather is usually more tolerable. Unfortunately, we couldn’t escape the higher temperatures and it’s been in the mid 80 degrees in Turin, where we are currently staying. Another advantage for traveling during this time of year is that the prices are typically more reasonable. For me, that means hoping to buy more souvenirs with the money we save.

I took thousands of pictures on our Italian trip last year and realize that I never shared any with you. I recently went through all of last year’s pictures and created this small photo montage highlighting the architectural features, design details and the natural beauty that capture the essence of Italy.

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I have one very special post scheduled while I’m away and I promise to do a recap post of my current trip when I’m back. I’m also looking forward to posting more regularly. Fall is approaching and I’m feeling inspired. In the meantime, follow along on Instagram.

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A Winter Wonderland in the Eternal City

As someone who was born and raised in Southern California, I must admit that I am intrigued by the beauty of snowfall. When I learned that there was a rare snowfall yesterday in Rome (the heaviest they’ve seen in 6 years), I knew I had to share some of the beautiful images of the Eternal City draped in winter white. Doesn’t this historic city look lovely? Just when you thought Rome couldn’t get any more beautiful…

The snow is falling
The traffic is crawling
The world looks all calm and bright
If only for a moment everything looks pure under the freshly fallen snow and the glow emitted by the first snowfall of the season
My mood is happy I hope it lasts all season and throughout the new year too.  –Ann M. Johnson

Statue of St. Peter

St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican

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The Spanish Steps

Piazza del Popolo

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The Roman Forum

The Colosseum

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The Trevi Fountain

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It’s October.

We’re been back in Milan which turns out to be the last leg of our Italian journey. It’s sad to think that our long overdue two week trip is winding down. We’re not even home yet and we’re already talking about our next visit. Today is actually our last day before catching a Lufthansa flight home to California. We’ve had no real plans for today other than to spend it wandering the city taking in the sights and sounds. We’ve stumbled upon some great new shops, restaurants, and sites. I’m doing some last minute shopping and making sure I even get to enjoy a farewell gelato. When I’m back home I plan to prepare a recap post of our trip. However, please be patient for it since I’ve taken close to 5,000 pictures (so far) that I’ll need to sort through first. For today, enjoy a couple of scenes I’ve captured around Milan that celebrate the Fall season. Ciao…

I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house. So I have spent almost all the daylight hours in the open air. –Nathaniel Hawthorne

Villa Astor in Sorrento

Ciao from Italia! Mr. B and I are still traveling around Italy and although we’re actually in northern Italy at the moment (Lake Como, to be exact), I couldn’t help but share the beautiful Villa Astor located in Southern Italy. The property is probably one of the finest in Sorrento perched high above the Bay of Naples looking out toward Mount Vesuvius. The neoclassical structure was originally built by the late William Waldorf Astor, a diplomat (former Ambassador to Rome), developer (including New York’s famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel), and financier. Astor passed away in the early 1900’s and the home was then passed onto the Italian government. In the 1970s the home was purchased by shipping tycoon Mario Pane and his wife Rita. They held onto it for more than three decades before selling it in 2012. The new owners completely renovated the property in 2016 and hired famed French designer Jacques Garcia to renovate the interiors. The property is breathtaking and the renovations were documented in the book “Villa Astor: Paradise Restored on the Amalfi Coast” published earlier this year. The book also contains a foreword by Lord Astor of Hever, William Waldorf Astor’s great-grandson. For today let’s enjoy a bit of the beautiful Villa Astor. The current owners will actually rent it and if money is no object you might consider renting it to call it your own for a few nights. Just remember that if you decide to rent it, you must allow me to tag along!

19 Years (Diciannove Anni)

Today as we continue our travels through Italy, Mr. B and I will be celebrating our 19th wedding anniversary in Bologna, Italy. (How time flies!). We had a destination wedding long before it ever became popular and before settling on Seattle as the location, we actually considered Italy. At the time, the process of getting married in Italy seemed like a complicated one so we sought an alternate location. I don’t regret a thing about our wedding but I can’t help wonder what our wedding would have been like had we planned our nuptials abroad. Perhaps, it would have been something like the three-day wedding event in Venice, Italy that interior designer Emily Jackson and her husband, Robert, CFO and Vice President of Acquisitions at Zarvona Energy planned for an intimate group of twelve. Be sure to read the play-by-play of the wedding festivities featured on Harper’s Bazaar. You will learn that Venice wasn’t the couple’s first choice as a wedding location either. Their original wedding venue was Celerie Kemble’s Dominican Republic estate, but due to Zika an alternate venue was selected. I have to say that, speaking from experience, sometimes Plan B turns out to be the best choice after all.

Every love story is beautiful, but ours, my darling, is my favorite…

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Reviving Charm Goes to Italy 

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Buon Giorno! I am very happy to announce that Mr. B and I are hopping on a jet plane and flying off to Italy today. I am over the moon excited because we have a deep love affair with Italy. It must have something to do with the fact that it’s in our DNA. We will be staying in a total of five cities but our trip begins and ends in Milan, one of the great cities of the world. It’s a very chic, urban, and cosmopolitan city. And because of these reasons, I happen to actually love Milano. However, I am always intrigued to learn how others feel about this great city. I have found that most people either love it or hate it. There’s usually no middle ground.

Even now I miss Italy dearly, I dream about it every night – Eila Hiltunen

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It’s hard for me to believe it’s been over ten years since I started creating the photo carousel project highlighted in this post. It is filled with nothing but pictures from our numerous trips to Italy dating back to 2004 and is still a work in progress. When Mr. B and I are back, rest assured that I will be adding more pages to it. But for now let’s flip through a few pages together, shall we…italy scrapbook Reviving Charm 2

So you can get a sense of scale, the smallest page is slightly little larger than a standard business card. I used a variety of items (glitter, stickers, ribbon, rubber stamps, rub-ons, etc.) to embellish each page. I pulled out all the stops by using metallic gold thread to sew a zig-zag stitch on one of the pages (see the first picture at the top of this post).

italy scrapbook Reviving Charm 5There are pictures of Mr. B and I scattered among the pages, but the project really focuses on details that capture a slice of Italian life. Coins, train tickets, portions of maps, and ticket stubs are also things I managed to include. For example, the linen pocket below holds business cards picked up at just a few of the wonderful places we’ve had an opportunity to visit over the years.  italy scrapbook Reviving Charm 1grand hotel et de milan Reviving Charm

italy scrapbook Reviving Charm 7 gypsiesgelato favorites Reviving Charmlake como reviving charm scrapbookitaly travel ATC Reviving CharmYou may have noticed how I like incorporating inspirational quotes into many of my blog posts. However, it wasn’t until this particular post that I realized that this was something I was already doing some 10 years ago when I started this project. reviving charm in italyI hope you enjoyed this glimpse at of one of my most prized possessions. Every time I flip through the pages it brings back very happy memories of our travels to a place we love dearly. Even though we are away,  I have still have posts planned for the website so don’t forget to check in.  I will also be posting on Instagram so be sure to follow me around. Ciao!  

What’s Taking Place this Weekend at Villa Erba?

This would be a great weekend to be in Italy. Actually, any weekend would be a great weekend in Italy! My love for Italy and my fascination with cool cars makes me want to jump on a jet plane this very moment to attend the  Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, an event taking place on the grounds of Villa d’Este, one of the world’s most iconic hotels situated on Lake Como to celebrate the mystique of 50 fine vintage and classic cars built between the 1920’s and 1980’s that will be on display for public view. This happens to be a particularly exciting year because every 2 years, Sotheby’s joins the event to host a highly anticipated auction of investment grade cars on the grounds of Villa Erba during the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este weekend.villa erba italy Reviving Charm 3Villa Erba is a 19th-century villa in the town of Cernobbio on Lake Como built by Luigi Erba, the brother of a prominent businessman Carlo Erba, to show off his wealth. After the death of Luigi Erba, the villa was inherited by his daughter Carla and was used by members of Carla’s family, including her son Luchino Visconti, and Italian movie director. In 1986, it was bought by a public consortium and is used as a convention center and for various special events. Doesn’t it look the most idyllic venue for really any event? villa erba architecture 2villa erba italy Reviving Charm 1italy villa erba 1villa erba Sothebys Reviving Charm 5villa erba Sothebys Reviving Charm 4villa erba Reviving Charmvilla erba Sothebys Reviving Charm 2villa erba Sothebys Reviving Charm 1villa erba gardenitaly villa erba 3villa erba interior Reviving Charm 4italy villa erba 4villa erba interior Reviving Charm 3villa erba interior Reviving Charm 2villa erba room of luchinovilla erbe interior Reviving Charmvilla erba italy bathroomvilla erba bathroom detailvilla erba interior Reviving Charmitaly villa erba special eventvilla erba interior Reviving Charm 5villa erba wedding

images via Villa ErbaComo In Style

 

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT

For more than 6o years this Italian convent, located in the Tuscany region of Italy, remained vacant. The convent was designed by Antonio da Sagallo the Younger, who was also the creator of the Palazzo Farnese and Villa Madama in Rome.
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Holly Lueders and Venetia Sacret Young, a mother and daughter duo, purchased the former convent and converted into their home. They immediately moved right into two of the livable rooms of the 6,500 square foot property. The only heat was from a fireplace and a generator powered four light bulbs and a refrigerator. They were committed to doing much of the renovation work themselves. Talk about dedication!

Here you see the mother/daughter duo on the steps they designed for the space.

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I love how the mother/daughter duo hung 20th century Franciscan monk prints on the wall, which appropriately pay homage to the spiritual history of the building. The prints are secured to the wall via simple metal pins. This provides such a unique (and cost effective) alternative to custom framing. Plus, the extensive use of prints across one wall provides a graphic, modern touch to the space.

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The fireplace, with its 16th century mantle takes  center stage in this room.

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The bathroom was formerly a chapel but is not outfitted with a 19th century ceramic tub and antique plates that are artfully arranged on the wall.
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The bedroom was once a kitchen and the walls were treated to give it a “stained” look. The mother/daughter duo took painstaking efforts to achieve just the right mixture of perfectly imperfect stains and finishes throughout their home.

We found out about this abandoned factory in Mount Amiata…and we found all this yellow ochre powder just left there unattended. We took several sacks full of it back to the convent and mixed it with turpentine and linseed oil, and worked it in by hand.   –Holly Lueders

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The garden area is planted with roses, jasmine and fragrant herbs. It looks like such a serene space so it’s no surprise that this area once served as the cloister for the prior convent.

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Be sure to read the entire article about their home featured in the New York Times. It is fascinating reading.

SUMMER FASHION BY EMPORIO SIRENUSE

My previous post highlighted the legendary Le Sirenuse hotel in Positano, Italy. In case you missed it, Le Sirenuse was once the summer home of the Sersale family who converted it into a beautiful seaside hotel in 1951. The family has expanded their operations by opening their own boutiques and creating the fashion brand Emporio Sirenuse that includes men and women’s collections as well as fragrance, beauty products and homegoods. The women’s Summer 2016 Mare Collection is the epitome of elegant seaside fashion that I could definitely get accustomed to wearing.

Le Sirenuse MARE Collection is a cool Mediterranean sea breeze, a confident sashay from beach to bar, a sweet taste of India garnished with a tangy splash of Positano chic.   –via Emporio Sirenuse

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Photographs for the lookbook were shot in Positano by Greek photographer Yiorgos Kordakis.

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You can shop online or in the US in person at Bergdorf Goodman.