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Lifestyle Journal

Versilia: From the Beach to the Mountains,
Discover the Unexpected Tuscany this Summer

This summer we are drawn to the Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia. This region faces the Tyrrhenian Sea with its long golden shore which runs parallel to a dramatic mountain backdrop. This rich contrasting scenery is completely different to what you might expect to find in other regions of Tuscany. It is a unique mix of natural and artistic beauty with endless activities to keep you entertained all week long.

Versilia’s history dates back to the end of 1800 when international aristocracy chose it as a destination for their holidays. Latterly even a young John F Kennedy came to Versilia as his fiancée was studying in nearby Florence. They both soaked up the Riviera’s cosmopolitan spirit and effortless style that they had admired from the other side of the world.

We will cover some of the most famous attractions of this area, from the exclusive beach resorts, trekking in the Mountains and dazzling evenings listening to opera by the lake.

Introduction

Introduction

Few garments have created such controversy as the hoodie . From its association with youth driven communities, iconic sports players and the runways of Paris, the hooded sweatshirt is one of our most iconic menswear wardrobe staples.

It’s design has barley changed over the last 80 years. The blank canvas has appealed over the generations, as different walks of life adopted the hoodie as a symbol for music, innovation and rebellion.


This summer we are drawn to the Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia. This region faces the Tyrrhenian Sea with its long golden shore which runs parallel to a dramatic mountain backdrop. This rich contrasting scenery is completely different to what you might expect to find in other regions of Tuscany. It is a unique mix of natural and artistic beauty with endless activities to keep you entertained all week long.

Versilia’s history dates back to the end of 1800 when international aristocracy chose it as a destination for their holidays. Latterly even a young John F Kennedy came to Versilia as his fiancée was studying in nearby Florence. They both soaked up the Riviera’s cosmopolitan spirit and effortless style that they had admired from the other side of the world.

We will cover some of the most famous attractions of this area, from the exclusive beach resorts, trekking in the Mountains and dazzling evenings listening to opera by the lake.


Forte Dei Marmi: Experience Italian ‘Dolcevita’

Forte Dei Marmi is among the most exclusive Italian holiday destinations, favoured for unique designer boutiques, refined restaurants and elegant villas.

Versilia is famous for its splendid beaches which cover 20 km, where the water is clean and the colour is deep blue. You can choose between sandy beaches equipped with reputable lido establishments and contrasting romantic bays that are mostly wild and solitary.

Forte’s coastal shelf is sandy, sloping gradually into the Ligurian Sea, and is guarded by the imposing Apuan Alps, which are world famous for their quarries and for the white Carrara marble.

Party hard at one of the numerous beachside clubs which have become Italian institution since the resort’s founding in the 1960s. Our preference is La Capannina which translates as ‘the Shed’, which it may have been once but is far from that now.

Stay: Locanda al Colle a boutique hotel which has all the Italian charm you would expect but with well curated contemporary artworks.


Apuan Alps: Trekking in the Mountains

Take a break from swimming in the sparkling blue waters by trekking in the Apuan Alps. Here the hills have been quarried since the Roman times. The legendary Carrara quarry is still active producing the famous white marble from which Michelangelo carved “David”. The Campolongi firm is one of the few remaining Italian family businesses that still finishes stone on site to the highest standard.

Instead of the standard group tours around these amazing stone cathedrals we prefer to drive up to the surrounding hills and discover the area by one of the many well signposted CAI trails. You will be amazed by the stunning scenery and incredible vistas from the peaks of Tosco Emiliano to the National Park of Peace of Sant’Anna di Stazzema.


PIETRASANTA : ‘Passeggiata’ of Contemporary Art

Pietrasanta grew to importance during the 15th century, mainly due to its connection with the marble but is now famous for its arty inhabitants. The streets, the churches, and squares have become art galleries open late. The place is now famous for the most delightful and cultured ‘passeggiata’ in Tuscany. A particular architectural jewel is the Medici palace in Seravezza which has alternating shows throughout the year, and is also a World Heritage Site.


Puccini: Opera at the Massaciuccoli Lake

The sunrise and sunset are two magical moments in Versilia and there is a place that knows how to bring out the best light and colour: the banks of the Massaciuccoli Lake.

Each summer the magic of Puccini drifts across the lake, and you can rent one of the many historical villas which surround the water: this amazing setting with its humble inhabitants was his inspiration. Attending an opera at the Puccini Festival is an experience like no other, putting you in touch directly with the composer. Today his house is a museum which remains unchanged since his death in 1924. The magnificent open-air theatre is accessed by a bridge over the lake. For truly romantic experience you can enjoy dinner pre-perfomance.


The Versilia Shirt

Versilia is iconic for entertainment, culture, beach life and the most sensational food. It is no surprise that it was a great source of inspiration for our new summer linen shirt: the Versilia. Entirely crafted in Italy and made from pure linen. This shirt has a distinct imperial collar to keep you casual but stylish even on the hottest of summer days.

Useful sites

fienilarte.com 
puccinifestival.it 
lacapanninadifranceschi.com 
laversilianafestival.it 
italyluxuryhotel.it

This summer we are drawn to the Tuscan Riviera known as Versilia. This region faces the Tyrrhenian Sea with its long golden shore which runs parallel to a dramatic mountain backdrop. This rich contrasting scenery is completely different to what you might expect to find in other regions of Tuscany. It is a unique mix of natural and artistic beauty with endless activities to keep you entertained all week long.

Versilia’s history dates back to the end of 1800 when international aristocracy chose it as a destination for their holidays. Latterly even a young John F Kennedy came to Versilia as his fiancée was studying in nearby Florence. They both soaked up the Riviera’s cosmopolitan spirit and effortless style that they had admired from the other side of the world.

We will cover some of the most famous attractions of this area, from the exclusive beach resorts, trekking in the Mountains and dazzling evenings listening to opera by the lake.


Forte Dei Marmi: Experience Italian ‘Dolcevita’

Forte Dei Marmi is among the most exclusive Italian holiday destinations, favoured for unique designer boutiques, refined restaurants and elegant villas.

Versilia is famous for its splendid beaches which cover 20 km, where the water is clean and the colour is deep blue. You can choose between sandy beaches equipped with reputable lido establishments and contrasting romantic bays that are mostly wild and solitary.

Forte’s coastal shelf is sandy, sloping gradually into the Ligurian Sea, and is guarded by the imposing Apuan Alps, which are world famous for their quarries and for the white Carrara marble.

Party hard at one of the numerous beachside clubs which have become Italian institution since the resort’s founding in the 1960s. Our preference is La Capannina which translates as ‘the Shed’, which it may have been once but is far from that now.

Stay: Locanda al Colle a boutique hotel which has all the Italian charm you would expect but with well curated contemporary artworks.


Apuan Alps: Trekking in the Mountains

Take a break from swimming in the sparkling blue waters by trekking in the Apuan Alps. Here the hills have been quarried since the Roman times. The legendary Carrara quarry is still active producing the famous white marble from which Michelangelo carved “David”. The Campolongi firm is one of the few remaining Italian family businesses that still finishes stone on site to the highest standard.

Instead of the standard group tours around these amazing stone cathedrals we prefer to drive up to the surrounding hills and discover the area by one of the many well signposted CAI trails. You will be amazed by the stunning scenery and incredible vistas from the peaks of Tosco Emiliano to the National Park of Peace of Sant’Anna di Stazzema.


PIETRASANTA : ‘Passeggiata’ of Contemporary Art

Pietrasanta grew to importance during the 15th century, mainly due to its connection with the marble but is now famous for its arty inhabitants. The streets, the churches, and squares have become art galleries open late. The place is now famous for the most delightful and cultured ‘passeggiata’ in Tuscany. A particular architectural jewel is the Medici palace in Seravezza which has alternating shows throughout the year, and is also a World Heritage Site.

The sunrise and sunset are two magical moments in Versilia and there is a place that knows how to bring out the best light and colour: the banks of the Massaciuccoli Lake.

Each summer the magic of Puccini drifts across the lake, and you can rent one of the many historical villas which surround the water: this amazing setting with its humble inhabitants was his inspiration. Attending an opera at the Puccini Festival is an experience like no other, putting you in touch directly with the composer. Today his house is a museum which remains unchanged since his death in 1924. The magnificent open-air theatre is accessed by a bridge over the lake. For truly romantic experience you can enjoy dinner pre-perfomance.


The Versilia Shirt

Versilia is iconic for entertainment, culture, beach life and the most sensational food. It is no surprise that it was a great source of inspiration for our new summer linen shirt: the Versilia. Entirely crafted in Italy and made from pure linen. This shirt has a distinct imperial collar to keep you casual but stylish even on the hottest of summer days.

Useful sites

fienilarte.com 
puccinifestival.it 
lacapanninadifranceschi.com 
laversilianafestival.it 
italyluxuryhotel.it

Forte Dei Marmi: Experience Italian ‘Dolcevita’

Forte Dei Marmi is among the most exclusive Italian holiday destinations, favoured for unique designer boutiques, refined restaurants and elegant villas.

Versilia is famous for its splendid beaches which cover 20 km, where the water is clean and the colour is deep blue. You can choose between sandy beaches equipped with reputable lido establishments and contrasting romantic bays that are mostly wild and solitary.

Forte’s coastal shelf is sandy, sloping gradually into the Ligurian Sea, and is guarded by the imposing Apuan Alps, which are world famous for their quarries and for the white Carrara marble.

Party hard at one of the numerous beachside clubs which have become Italian institution since the resort’s founding in the 1960s. Our preference is La Capannina which translates as ‘the Shed’, which it may have been once but is far from that now.

Stay: Locanda al Colle a boutique hotel which has all the Italian charm you would expect but with well curated contemporary artworks.


Apuan Alps: Trekking in the Mountains

Take a break from swimming in the sparkling blue waters by trekking in the Apuan Alps. Here the hills have been quarried since the Roman times. The legendary Carrara quarry is still active producing the famous white marble from which Michelangelo carved “David”. The Campolongi firm is one of the few remaining Italian family businesses that still finishes stone on site to the highest standard.

Instead of the standard group tours around these amazing stone cathedrals we prefer to drive up to the surrounding hills and discover the area by one of the many well signposted CAI trails. You will be amazed by the stunning scenery and incredible vistas from the peaks of Tosco Emiliano to the National Park of Peace of Sant’Anna di Stazzema.


PIETRASANTA : ‘Passeggiata’ of Contemporary Art

Pietrasanta grew to importance during the 15th century, mainly due to its connection with the marble but is now famous for its arty inhabitants. The streets, the churches, and squares have become art galleries open late. The place is now famous for the most delightful and cultured ‘passeggiata’ in Tuscany. A particular architectural jewel is the Medici palace in Seravezza which has alternating shows throughout the year, and is also a World Heritage Site.


Puccini: Opera at the Massaciuccoli Lake

The sunrise and sunset are two magical moments in Versilia and there is a place that knows how to bring out the best light and colour: the banks of the Massaciuccoli Lake.

Each summer the magic of Puccini drifts across the lake, and you can rent one of the many historical villas which surround the water: this amazing setting with its humble inhabitants was his inspiration. Attending an opera at the Puccini Festival is an experience like no other, putting you in touch directly with the composer. Today his house is a museum which remains unchanged since his death in 1924. The magnificent open-air theatre is accessed by a bridge over the lake. For truly romantic experience you can enjoy dinner pre-perfomance.


The Versilia Shirt

Versilia is iconic for entertainment, culture, beach life and the most sensational food. It is no surprise that it was a great source of inspiration for our new summer linen shirt: the Versilia. Entirely crafted in Italy and made from pure linen. This shirt has a distinct imperial collar to keep you casual but stylish even on the hottest of summer days.

Useful sites:

fienilarte.com 
puccinifestival.it 
lacapanninadifranceschi.com 
laversilianafestival.it 
italyluxuryhotel.it

Hollywood icon, Gary Cooper in a crisp white shirt, on the set of ‘The First Kiss’, 1928

There is perhaps no other item of apparel that defines a man’s style quite like the shirt – they’ve been a staple of men’s wardrobes for as long as anyone can remember and although athleisure types would probably beg to differ, it’s difficult to imagine a world without them.

Like most things that have stood the test of time, the shirt’s evolution was a slow and steady affair over millennia, but there are certain milestones in its development worth taking note of, which we’ve helpfully rounded up here.

An illustration of Ancient Egyptian linen attire from ‘The Costumes of All Nations’, 1882.

3500BC

One of the earliest examples of a shirt, was discovered in an Egyptian tomb by the Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie, in 1913. It is made from linen spun from flax fibres – as was nearly all Ancient Egyptian cloth – and dates from around 3500BC. It’s safe to assume that there was more than one example made, so clearly, the shirt goes back a long way. The fact they’re still very much a fixture of men’s wardrobes today, means it’s unlikely they’ll be going off the style agenda anytime soon.

Portrait of a Renaissance man by an unknown Flemish artist, c.1524. The subject wears a linen shirt typical of the day.

1500AD

Throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, shirts were regarded as underwear, providing a washable barrier between the skin and outer garments, which were never laundered – largely due to the labour involved in the weekly wash before the advent of washing machines and also because people weren’t as particular about their personal hygiene as we are now. This idea of the shirt as underwear is still evident today – in certain formal situations, such as black-tie dinners, weddings or race-meetings (think Royal Ascot), it is still considered bad form for a gentleman to remove his jacket and show his shirtsleeves; particularly in the presence of ladies. Back in the day, it was the equivalent of swanning into the office in your boxers and not much else.

At this time, shirts didn’t have buttons either – they were simply slipped over the head and were made of much coarser linen than we would be used to now. Shirts were also viewed as a status symbol on account of their expense – they were so highly prized, in fact, they were sometimes given as wedding dowries in lieu of cash.

A portrait of an artist’, by Michel Martin Drolling, 1819. The subject wears a high-collar regency-era shirt

1827

In 1827, an American housewife by the name of Hannah Montague, became so fed up of scrubbing the grime from her husband’s shirts on a daily basis, that she decided to take a pair of scissors and cut the dirty collars off. Far from being an act of sartorial vandalism, this was a significant moment in the history of menswear. Mrs Montague had invented removable collars – which she could exchange for clean ones, without the need to launder the entire shirt. The detachable collar soon came to be widely adopted and offered the illusion of wearing a fresh shirt every day (which Mr Montague insisted upon), as only the collar would be on show. It also gave the impression of owning more shirts than you actually did, due to the ability to switch collar styles each morning, depending on your mood.

Victorian dandies wearing stiff-collar shirts and cravats of the period, The Gentleman’s magazine, January 1870

1871

Around 1871, the shirt came to take on the form we’re familiar with today. Buttons were incorporated into the design for the first time – with this feature originally patented by London tailor, Brown, Davis and Co. The precursors to modern collars also made their debut around this time.

It’s always been a sign of prestige to wear white shirting, as you would a decent amount of capital to employ staff to keep them looking pristine. It was about this time that the expression ‘white-collar worker’ came into being, denoting someone who was wealthy enough to maintain a clean, respectable appearance and not engage in the sort of dirty manual work which could soil a clean white shirt.

Cluett and Arrow advertisement by J.C. Leyendecker, showing striped shirts with removable collars, 1907.

1900

As we’ve already learnt, the white shirt was always held in high regard by style purists. Printed styles were viewed with suspicion – they could conceal dirt more easily and allowed one’s hygiene standards to slip. By the 1900s however, fashion prevailed and striped and patterned designs began to be more widely accepted. The white shirt still continued to reign supreme in business and formal evening dress, though.

Illustration from Esquire magazine of men’s shirts and accessories, November 1936

1930

By the 1930s, the pace of life was becoming ever faster and the modern world as we know it was beginning to take shape. Men no longer had to time to fiddle with collar studs to attach removable collars (or the funds to employ a manservant to do it for them) and fixed shirt collars became the norm – the blueprint for today’s shirts was bor

John Hamm as Mad Men’s Don Draper,
wearing a 1960s shirt with a chest pocket.

1900

Although they had been around since the 1920s, chest pockets became a more common feature on shirts during the 1960s as the advent of central heating caused a decline in the popularity of the three-piece suit. In the absence of a waistcoat and its many pockets, they provided a little extra storage space.

Luca Faloni linen Portofino shirt in sage green

2014-present

Luca Faloni revamps the linen shirt for the modern man with his signature Portofino design. While still respecting the techniques of traditional shirt making, the brand has added its own touches that make the Portofino style a go-to for the discerning dresser.

Details like its subtle cutaway ‘Paramontura’ collar – which makes it look equally good worn with or without a tie – alongside premium fabric and mother-of-pearl buttons are a testament to the label’s fine Italian craftsmanship.

And the fact it comes in linen, brushed cotton and oxford cotton means it’s a piece for all seasons. In short, it’s the type of shirt the men of yesteryear would have given their right arm to get their hands on – although we might be a tad biased, perhaps.

Hollywood icon, Gary Cooper in a crisp white shirt, on the set of ‘The First Kiss’, 1928

There is perhaps no other item of apparel that defines a man’s style quite like the shirt – they’ve been a staple of men’s wardrobes for as long as anyone can remember and although athleisure types would probably beg to differ, it’s difficult to imagine a world without them.

Like most things that have stood the test of time, the shirt’s evolution was a slow and steady affair over millennia, but there are certain milestones in its development worth taking note of, which we’ve helpfully rounded up here.

An illustration of Ancient Egyptian linen attire from ‘The Costumes of All Nations’, 1882.

3500BC

One of the earliest examples of a shirt, was discovered in an Egyptian tomb by the Egyptologist Sir Flinders Petrie, in 1913. It is made from linen spun from flax fibres – as was nearly all Ancient Egyptian cloth – and dates from around 3500BC. It’s safe to assume that there was more than one example made, so clearly, the shirt goes back a long way. The fact they’re still very much a fixture of men’s wardrobes today, means it’s unlikely they’ll be going off the style agenda anytime soon.

Portrait of a Renaissance man by an unknown Flemish artist, c.1524. The subject wears a linen shirt typical of the day.

1500AD

Throughout the Middle Ages and into the Renaissance, shirts were regarded as underwear, providing a washable barrier between the skin and outer garments, which were never laundered – largely due to the labour involved in the weekly wash before the advent of washing machines and also because people weren’t as particular about their personal hygiene as we are now. This idea of the shirt as underwear is still evident today – in certain formal situations, such as black-tie dinners, weddings or race-meetings (think Royal Ascot), it is still considered bad form for a gentleman to remove his jacket and show his shirtsleeves; particularly in the presence of ladies. Back in the day, it was the equivalent of swanning into the office in your boxers and not much else.

At this time, shirts didn’t have buttons either – they were simply slipped over the head and were made of much coarser linen than we would be used to now. Shirts were also viewed as a status symbol on account of their expense – they were so highly prized, in fact, they were sometimes given as wedding dowries in lieu of cash.

A portrait of an artist’, by Michel Martin Drolling, 1819. The subject wears a high-collar regency-era shirt

1827

In 1827, an American housewife by the name of Hannah Montague, became so fed up of scrubbing the grime from her husband’s shirts on a daily basis, that she decided to take a pair of scissors and cut the dirty collars off. Far from being an act of sartorial vandalism, this was a significant moment in the history of menswear. Mrs Montague had invented removable collars – which she could exchange for clean ones, without the need to launder the entire shirt. The detachable collar soon came to be widely adopted and offered the illusion of wearing a fresh shirt every day (which Mr Montague insisted upon), as only the collar would be on show. It also gave the impression of owning more shirts than you actually did, due to the ability to switch collar styles each morning, depending on your mood.

Victorian dandies wearing stiff-collar shirts and cravats of the period, The Gentleman’s magazine, January 1870

1871

Around 1871, the shirt came to take on the form we’re familiar with today. Buttons were incorporated into the design for the first time – with this feature originally patented by London tailor, Brown, Davis and Co. The precursors to modern collars also made their debut around this time.

It’s always been a sign of prestige to wear white shirting, as you would a decent amount of capital to employ staff to keep them looking pristine. It was about this time that the expression ‘white-collar worker’ came into being, denoting someone who was wealthy enough to maintain a clean, respectable appearance and not engage in the sort of dirty manual work which could soil a clean white shirt.

Cluett and Arrow advertisement by J.C. Leyendecker, showing striped shirts with removable collars, 1907.

1900

As we’ve already learnt, the white shirt was always held in high regard by style purists. Printed styles were viewed with suspicion – they could conceal dirt more easily and allowed one’s hygiene standards to slip. By the 1900s however, fashion prevailed and striped and patterned designs began to be more widely accepted. The white shirt still continued to reign supreme in business and formal evening dress, though.

Illustration from Esquire magazine of men’s shirts and accessories, November 1936

1930

By the 1930s, the pace of life was becoming ever faster and the modern world as we know it was beginning to take shape. Men no longer had to time to fiddle with collar studs to attach removable collars (or the funds to employ a manservant to do it for them) and fixed shirt collars became the norm – the blueprint for today’s shirts was bor

John Hamm as Mad Men’s Don Draper,
wearing a 1960s shirt with a chest pocket.

1900

Although they had been around since the 1920s, chest pockets became a more common feature on shirts during the 1960s as the advent of central heating caused a decline in the popularity of the three-piece suit. In the absence of a waistcoat and its many pockets, they provided a little extra storage space.

Luca Faloni linen Portofino shirt in sage green

2014-present

Luca Faloni revamps the linen shirt for the modern man with his signature Portofino design. While still respecting the techniques of traditional shirt making, the brand has added its own touches that make the Portofino style a go-to for the discerning dresser.

Details like its subtle cutaway ‘Paramontura’ collar – which makes it look equally good worn with or without a tie – alongside premium fabric and mother-of-pearl buttons are a testament to the label’s fine Italian craftsmanship.

And the fact it comes in linen, brushed cotton and oxford cotton means it’s a piece for all seasons. In short, it’s the type of shirt the men of yesteryear would have given their right arm to get their hands on – although we might be a tad biased, perhaps.