#1 – Northern highlights: Milan to Portofino to Viareggio
From medieval splendour to fine art and cutting-edge fashion, Milan is a delight for anyone with a creative spirit. Famous for its early evening aperitivo rituals, it’s also the perfect place to ease into the Italian lifestyle. Not to mention pick up the latest designer swimwear before you make for exclusive Portofino. Rather than relax on a beach, this is somewhere to charter a yacht, drop anchor by a remote cove and dive straight into the sea.
After the rocky Portofino peninsular, Viareggio’s long, sandy beach is something of a surprise. Swim in the Mediterranean, relax on a shaded lounger or – if it’s carnival season – join the party.
Top tip: From Viareggio it’s just a short train journey to Florence- if you want to top off your trip with one last dose of city style.
Where to stay
Milan – immerse yourself in Italian design at The Gray.
Portofino – savour the peace of exclusive hillside retreat, Eight Hotel.
Viareggio – experience art deco glamour beside the beach at Grand Hotel Principe di Viamonte.
Rent a car for the three-hour drive from Milan to Portofino. Or sit back and enjoy the views from the train. Take one going to Livorno, get off at S. Margherita Ligure, then take a bus or hotel transfer to Portofino. For Viareggio, take the train through the beautiful villages of the Cinque Terre – with plenty of cliff-side views along the way.