Michela Proietti, originally from Umbria, is the lifestyle editor at Il Corriere della Sera, one of the most important Italian daily newspapers. What made her popular is her best seller La Milanese, a book dedicated to vices, virtues and elegance of women who live in Milan. Even so, here she writes about Costa Smeralda, another of her favourite places, where she enjoys family holidays and mundanity.
How would you describe Italy today in a few words?
Glamorous and international. The most beautiful place for a vacation, in any season, but especially in the summer. The sweet life and Italian summers are a world heritage.
Why Costa Smeralda?
Because it has the most beautiful sea in the world, no need to travel for hours to find it, it’s right around the corner. And it’s a democratic place despite everyone saying it’s exclusive: you can have an unforgettable swim even at the free beach of Porto Paglia, which is within walking distance and is also known as the “seaweed beach” by the regulars. Perhaps the most insider beach of the Costa Smeralda… but after this interview, everyone will know about it!
A must visit?
The Piazzetta, without a doubt, where you can still breathe the jet-set atmosphere of the 1960s, and then continue on the Promenade, stopping at the most beautiful shops like Didi, where you can find the perfect seasonal bikini. For the lady, it’s the alternative to Eres!
A stolen secret?
You’re not a true Porto Cervo regular if, in the evening, at the first breeze, you don’t wear a cashmere shawl with fringes. Preferably one bought from Careli at the San Pantaleo market (which now takes place in Li Neuli, and that’s another secret!)
An unmissable excursion?
The hinterland is magical. In Luogosanto, there’s an interesting Gallurese community, and here, a new resort called Gallicantu recently opened. There are many things to do; from the jazz evenings under the ancient trees on Thursday nights to tastings of local products in a cave curated by Marco (+39 335 6286635). For excursions, rely on Telemaco, a great expert in the area. (+39 338 8105141)
The best moment of the day?
The Rosemary spa at the Romazzino, one of the most beautiful hotels on the Costa Smeralda. After a day in the sun, to nourish your face and body, the Natura Bissé vitamin C treatment is a real tonic.
A special experience?
Helichrysum. If in Marrakech, it’s obligatory to have a massage with argan oil, in Porto Cervo, the “signature” treatment is with helichrysum oil. The best would be to do it at home, but in San Pantaleo, some shops sell it.
Karaoke at Ami in San Pantaleo. At least one evening should be booked in this place with a family atmosphere, in a village alley. Perfect for an evening with friends and children: in July, with a group of 20 moms, we sang until midnight (and when the kids get tired, they can play soccer in the square).
An unforgettable dish?
The pizza with anchovies and zucchini flowers at Vecchia Costa, where Primo – one of the owners – always welcomes me with a hug. For a Gallurese evening, book a table at the Agriturismo La Colti, a fixed menu under a pergola.
The most beautiful landscape?
Impossible to choose! If you’re lucky enough to reach Cala Coticcio by boat, I would say that anchoring in the bay at Caprera and seeing the azure waters of Tahiti (as it’s called by those who have been going there for years) is uncomparable.
A kaftan bought at the market from Ambra’s stand: Porto Cervo regulars wear only these, the only alternative to Pierre Louis Mascia’s. Or the typical amulet, the “su coccu,” which you can also find at the San Pantaleo market… if you have a child to make happy, the obligatory stop is at Maison Jalu, where you can find a giant bear, the limited edition of the mini Jeep, and old school dolls.
A must drink?
Not everyone knows it, but the best Bellini in the world (yes, even better than the one served at Cipriani) is served at the Cala di Volpe bar, where bartender Andrea Di Mauro reveals that the secret is the freshly peeled white peaches…
What to pack for a weekend?
A bikini for the day, a caftan for the beach and aperitivo, and a party dress for the evening: you never know what might happen in the Costa Smeralda, the party is always just around the corner!
The Grande Pevero, when Milanese people arrive, they say, “It feels like we’re in Formentera.” But it’s much better here!!
I have no doubts; my favorite hotel in the world is Cala di Volpe, where it’s almost impossible to find a room because they are rebooked year after year by those who have been going there for a lifetime. It’s exclusive, yes, but you can also book it for an aperitivo and experience the magic at sunset, designed in the chosen color of red by the architect who designed it. If you’ve never been, there’s a beautiful book that celebrates it, published by Assouline. Fresh off the press!