A Weekend in Trieste, Italy

TRIESTE ITALY

We’ve all heard of Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Milan, Tuscany, Cinque Terre, Almafi and loads of other spotlight destinations across Italy. But if you’re looking to escape the over-saturated tourist traps without compromising the rich culture of this wonderful country, there are some equally fantastic destinations to add to your list. I recently had the opportunity to visit Trieste: a port city in northeast Italy nestled just along the border of Slovenia (and often called “Venice’s Little Sister” because of all the sparkling canals). This beautiful town is rich in neoclassical Austro-Hungarian and Slovenian influences, yet authentically Italian through and through. In a short weekend, we squeezed as much as we could out of this fascinating town, and I’m here to tell you why you should pay it a visit as well.

For starters, Kirker Holidays (+44 020 7593 2283) offers short breaks to Trieste from £399 per person for a two night stay at the Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione including flights, private transfers, accommodation with breakfast, Kirker Guide Notes to restaurants / sightseeing, and the services of the Kirker Concierge to book opera/ballet/concert tickets or make a dinner booking.

Regardless of whether you opt for a package tour or plan a trip of your own, here are some things not to miss during your visit:

trieste Italy
trieste italy
trieste italy
savoia excelsior palace

We stayed at the beautiful Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione, conveniently located on Trieste’s historic seafront just a few steps from the city center. We were able to walk everywhere during our visit all while taking in the sweeping views of the Gulf of Trieste.

breakfast savoia excelsior palace
savoia excelsior palace trieste italy
trieste savoia excelsior palace


The hotel is comprised of 144 rooms and suites, which have been designed to perfectly blend classical elegance with contemporary details and amenities. We were blown away by all of the opulent decor, and even more so by the exceptional hospitality from their staff (we all felt like family by then end of the weekend!) Between dining in their gourmet restaurant, being taught about the local delicacies (largely revolving around seafood dishes) and chatting over some of the finest wine in the area while getting to know the staff, my time spent at Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione was truly special and I would highly recommend staying here to anyone coming to Trieste.

EATALY

EATALY TRIESTE

I’d been to Eatly in Chicago and New York plenty of times over the years, but it never occurred to me that these existed in actual Italy. On our first night in Trieste, our friends from Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione walked us here (just opposite of the hotel) for an exceptional dinner.

Both Starhotels (the parent company of Savoia Excelsior) and Eataly are two companies with “Italy in the heart” and with the common goal of exporting “Italianness” all over the world: Starhotels through hospitality, Eataly through the restaurant industry. This partnership allows both parties to stage impressive events and launch collaborations with Michelin starred chefs like Ugo Alciati.

While all Eatly locations have always had incredible quality products, it was so cool to experience it in Italy- where all it’s inspiration comes from! Regardless of whether you come for a proper meal or simply to browse their shop, don’t miss this spot while in Trieste.

COFFEE TOUR

ILLY COFFEE ORIGINAL LOCATION TRIESTE ITALY

Trieste has a feature unique within Italy: the traditional Viennese-style coffee house. Today these Cafés are popular meeting places where you’ll see elegant ladies sipping their coffee, famous writers and poets, university students writing their lecture notes and obviously tourists who are immediately bewitched by the slow and relaxed rhythm surrounding them. These are all over the city and visiting one (or as many as you can!) is a must. We actually did a proper tour (thanks to FVG). Some of the cafés they showed us include: Tommaseo, Caffè degli Specchi, Tergesteo, Stella Polare, Torinese, Urbanis, Pirona, the Ancient Caffè San Marco. Furthermore, Illy Coffee originated in Trieste and you can visit the very first store here (pictured above).



MIRAMARE CASTLE

MIRAMARE CASTLE TRIESTE ITALY

On another tour with FVG, we visited the stunning Miramare Castle. Once a noble residence commissioned by Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian of Habsburg, its interiors feature sumptuous original furniture and breathtaking views of the Gulf of Trieste from every window. It was built between 1856 and 1860 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria, later Emperor of Mexico, the building is strongly influenced by a Romantic taste, as a revisited construction of a medieval fortress. There is so much fascinating history to absorb here (all while enjoying a feast for the eyes!)

KANTE WINERY

KANTE WINERY TRIESTE ITALY

One of my favorite things we did was visit Kante Winery: a unique micro-climate sandwiched between the Adriatic Sea to the south and the Alps to the north. The temperatures here are cool at night and the surrounding grey limestone makes for a near-perfect combination of climate and terreno. Edi Kante produces wines that are poised, solid, fresh, and brimming with the character of both the chosen grape and the stark limestone soil of Carso. We had such an incredible afternoon here touring the cellars, learning about the production, tasting the wine (along with an impressive charcuterie board!) and chatting with the owner. Tours are available by appointment only, but can easily be coordinated for you through the Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione staff.


MORE NOT TO MISS…

agriturismo bajta trieste

AGRITURISMO LA BAJTA:

We visited this charming agriturismo for lunch one afternoon and it was idyllic to say the least. All ingredients in the food they prepare are sourced right on site (we even toured their extensive kitchen and the cellar where ham is cured to become prosciutto). Rest assured, you won’t leave even remotely hungry!

CHIMERA DI BACCO:

We came here for dinner on our last evening in Trieste and it was absolutely wonderful. Not only was every food and wine paring exceptional, the ambiance was lovely (and the company of our friends from Savoia Excelsior made for the perfect cherry on top!)

All in all, I can’t say enough wonderful things about Trieste, especially our incredible hosts for the weekend: Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione. I was completely charmed and fell in love with everything about this darling Italian town. Thank you so much to Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione for sponsoring this trip and being the most gracious hosts. I will come back anytime!

trieste italy
trieste italy

This trip was sponsored by Savoia Excelsior Palace – Starhotels Collezione. All opinions are my own.

Thanks as always for popping in and following along with my adventures! Until next time…

xx,

Whitney

BA_button+copy.png

Where I Love to Shop in London

WHERE TO SHOP IN LONDON

A common question I’m often asked is “Where are the best places to shop in London?” While I’ve already shared a few times now that I’m really not much of a shopper, when I moved to London back in August, I came with virtually no winter clothes in my suitcase and have been forced to acquire an entirely new wardrobe this season. Throughout this process, I’ve discovered a few stores that I can always count on to have high quality clothes that align with my “fewer, better things” mentality (and all of them offer online shopping even if you can’t make it to London in the near future). Furthermore, I support the ethical commitments they are making regarding important issues like climate change and fair labor. So if shopping online or in London is something you’re looking to do anytime soon, here are my four favorite places:


& Other Stories



& other stories

This is hands down my favorite (and most frequented) place to shop in London (although they have locations all over). They have beautiful pieces designed by creatives from around the world, creating a global aesthetic that I love. They believe that the manufacturing of clothes, shoes, accessories and beauty products should be done in a responsible way and their aim is to create collections, with well thought-out solutions, that give people the opportunity to express their personality.

While I love their designs, I equally love that they are aware that climate change is one of the major challenges of our time and are taking action to tackle this (they continually expand their environmental goals and want to find the most energy efficient and sustainable way for all stages of their business.) They want to reduce the environmental footprint in the fashion world, and believe recycling is a big part of that, so they established an in-store recycling program for all beauty packaging. They’ve extended this program to include textiles too (includes stores in Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States).

The items I’ve purchased this season and wear frequently can be found below.

sezane london

Sézane is a French label with pieces that are designed to last, to be passed on, and are created with integrity. They believe doing things well is both a choice and a duty, and they have never deviated from it. Every season they scour the world in search of the very best materials, take great care of their partners, and ensure every last metre of fabric is used. They believe in taking concrete actions in order to assume their social responsibilities and limit their environmental impact. Their pieces are beautiful and I’ve loved every item that I’ve purchased from them (the items I purchased are now sold out, but take a look at their site for plenty of new, beautiful options that are available).

jack willis London

Jack Wills is a British lifestyle brand known for its high-quality, heritage-inspired wardrobe classics. It’s a great place to find classic items (like my trench coat and cable skirt). I also support their company values like ensuring that all of our materials are sourced responsibly. They firmly believe it is not acceptable for animals to suffer in the name of fashion or cosmetics, and they also work with suppliers that make great clothes in a fair, equitable and environmentally conscious manner.

Hobbs London blouse

Hobbs offers modern cuts, feminine tailoring and heritage craftsmanship – inspired by London, designed here and brought to life by their in-house atelier. They don’t get swayed by trends that come and go and are smart enough to see beyond the throwaway, to seek out styles that will stay relevant. Current yet timeless, they make the pieces you’ll still be reaching for ten years from now. Furthermore, working conditions are safe and hygienic, child labor is forbidden, living wages are paid and no harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed.

I’ve loved finding timeless pieces here that I know will last (see some recent favorites below).

I hope you love these stores as much as I do and that this post helps you shop more consciously and sustainably. If you have other brands you love to support that are fighting fast fashion and making more ethical choices, tell me about them in the comments below.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

xx,

Whitney

blonde atlas logo

2018 Holiday Gift Guide: The Travel Lover

travel lover gift guide


Increasingly year over year, the internet is flooded with gift guides promoting what to buy your loved ones this holiday season. I too participate in the annual tradition of gifting and think the act of expressing generosity to those you love is a beautiful gesture. But as easily as I'll admit to that, I'll also confess that this very practice has made me a bit of a cynic. Society's even-more-extravagant-than-usual push toward consumerism is about as subtle as a sledge-hammer and often robs the attention from where focus should be this time of year. And in a season where I've found so much richness in living more simply, I've really struggled with all the waste and frivolity that accompanies this time of year (buying people things they don't want or need, forests full of unnecessary wrapping paper… the list goes on). I don't mean to sound like the Grinch. In fact, I absolutely love the Christmas season and all the festivities that it brings! But I also feel compelled to speak out against this purely acquistional mindset that perpetuates materialism or steals from the things that bring us more fullness.

While I hope there are more simple moments of togetherness than there are “things” in your holiday season, hear me when I say there is absolutely still space at the table for expressing generosity through the act of tangible giving. Again, I participate in gift exchanges as well! And while I (personally) won't be making multiple gift guides for various profiles you might be shopping for (my area of expertise is travel, so that's what I'm going to stick to) if you're a frequent traveler or you're shopping for one, I do have some helpful input that’s worth speaking to.

For starters, I would love to help you plan a trip! I believe travel and the memories we gain from experiences together is one of the sweetest gifts life has to offer. If you’re interested in booking time with me (for yourself or as a present for someone you love), visit my Travel Planning page.

And if you’re looking for some great travel-related products? I’ve compiled a list of things I own and genuinely love. All of these are great quality and won't be throwaway clutter you're tired of a few months after Christmas (in fact, a lot of them are repeat mentions from the years past when I've done this same drill, which is proof that I'm still using them). It's my hope that if you're in the market for any of these things, this will be a helpful way to steer you toward products that are worth your money and will actually add value to your life. But if not? Direct your funds and energy elsewhere… because at the end of the day, it’s just stuff :)


IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR:

A GREAT PURSE FOR TRAVEL:

A classic black leather bag can do no wrong, in my opinion. I pretty much always have these three in constant rotation, depending on the occasion. If I just need a small bag for the essentials, this FashionABLE Menbere cross-body bag (which also helps fight generational poverty through providing economic opportunity for women) is the perfect size and contains multiple compartments perfect for casual travel days. If you’re looking for something a bit more sophisticated, yet hoping to avoid seeming pretentious, this Lipault Paris bag is chic, high-quality and looks a bit more polished. And if you need a roomy tote to carry on a plane or train? This Cuyana structured carry-all tote (and tassel!) is one of my all-time favorites.

If you’re looking for a wider-range of travel bags, be sure to check out my “Best Bags for Travel” post.


A TRAVEL COSMETIC BAG:

I’ve carried this Cuyana leather travel case set for almost 3 years now and both bags are still as good as new. You can choose from a variety of chic colors and add a monogram if you’d like to add a sense of personalization.


A PASSPORT CASE:

I have had the same Aspinal of London passport case for two years now and I love it! Unfortunately they no longer carry my color, however they do have several other beautiful options. Similarly, I recently found The Daily Edited and think their passport cases are also beautiful (Cuyana has some lovely ones as well).




A LUGGAGE TAG:

I’ve had a variety of luggage tags over the years, but a few have really stood out among the rest. This classic pebbled-leather one by Cuyana will always be a favorite, along with this classic Leatherology one (which has an option for a beautiful hand-painted personalization). Again, The Daily Edited has some beautiful options (like this) and I also liked the chic simplicity of this one from Nordstrom. 



COZY CLOTHES FOR TRAVEL DAYS:

Wrapping up in cozy layers is the best way to travel (see this post for a more extensive list of suggestions). Some of my favorite pieces I’ve worn for years now, like this cozy cardigan or these adidas superstars. Recently, I’ve fallen completely in love with these Cuyana ponte pants (I am embarrassed to tell you how many days out of the week I wear these here in London…) I also finally got this beautiful Alpaca cape that I’ve wanted for so long now, and it feels so luxe and cozy to wrap up in.




A TRAVEL WALLET:

This Cuyana pebbled-leather travel wallet is honestly one of my favorite everyday items I own (I've pointed several friends to this piece and they're now advocates for it as well!) It's perfectly sized to fit in any purse or carry on bag without being too large and bulky. It neatly compartmentalizes your credit cards, travel documents, passport and spare change (plus there are plenty of other compartments where you can keep business cards, a lipstick or other essentials if that's all you want to carry out one night).






AN EXTERNAL CHARGER:

This external charger does NOT mess around. I can honestly charge this bad boy once and it will last me about an entire week of charging my phone and devices- whether I’m traveling or just roaming around London. After getting so annoyed by so many external chargers barely giving me any juice and just being an extra piece of junk I’m carrying around, I have recommended this gem to so many people because I love it so much.



A RE-USABLE WATER BOTTLE:

I’m more committed than ever to reducing my environmental footprint and eliminating unnecessary single-use plastic from my life. I’ve loved this travel-specific Swell re-usable water bottle because it’s easy to wash by hand while on-the-go and holds a good amount of water without being too bulky.

PACKING CUBES:

These have been a game-changer for the way I pack! Not only do they keep me significantly more organized, I find that they really do save me space in my suitcase because they can compress bulky items down into smaller sizes.



A TANGLE-FREE PLACE FOR YOUR CHARGING CORDS + HEADPHONES:

Cuyana gifted me this chic little leather pouch that’s the perfect place to keep your headphones. Even though I asked for air pods for Christmas, I can still easily store those (or any other charging cords) in here to keep them from getting lost or tangled in my bag.


A HYDRATING MASK POST-AIRPLANE:

I tried these La Mer hydrating sheet masks earlier this year and was blown away by the difference I felt in my skin. While I’ve certainly tried products before that seemed to work, nothing compares to this level of how impressed I’ve been (truly hydrating without feeling greasy or gross). They’re definitely more of a splurge for a sheet mask, but worth every penny for the difference you’ll notice in dehydrated skin.



A WEEKEND TRAVEL BAG:

I am still carrying two of my Cuyana overnight and weekender totes from years ago that are no longer in stock, because I haven’t needed to replace them (similar options here and here). Additionally, this Leatherology weekend tote has been an amazing addition to my repertoire and has the option to add a beautiful hand-painted personalization detail.


For more items that are my “go to” favorites, visit the “Shop Travel Gear” section of my site. I try to keep my travel recommendations for shopping quite succinct, as I’m a believer in fewer, better things. If you want to do some additional browsing for an item you need that perhaps I didn’t speak to, here is a list of retailers (including some having sales/promotions) who I think provide high-quality items that will last you a long time:

& OTHER STORIES (Currently 50% off select styles)

ANTHROPOLOGIE

ASPINAL OF LONDON (20% off)

ASOS (Currently 20% off everything)

CUYANA (Donating 10% of sales to California fire victims)

LEATHEROLOGY (15% off everything using code GIFTS at checkout)

NORDSTROM (Up to 60% off)

THE DAILY EDITED (20% off everything using code CYBERMONDAY20 at checkout)

Whoever you’re shopping for or however you choose to practice generosity this season, remember to not get too swept up in the things that don’t matter. Prioritize taking the time to write cards with meaningful words and share meals with people you love without looking at your phones. Focus on all the things you already have instead of making a list of the things you want to buy. Ask yourself how you can simplify your life to rid the unnecessary clutter and make make more room for the things you value most. Call me cliché, but I actually believe all the way to my bones that’s what will bring you the most joy this season.

Thanks for listening to my soap box and I hope you gained some helpful holiday inspiration in the process! As always, I so appreciate you stopping by.

xx

Whitney





blonde atlas