Uncovering Italy’s Superlatives in people, places and things

A Day in the Life Part I by Sylvain Deleuze

Sylvain Deleuze, Founder of Les Belles Heures, takes ISSIMO on an imaginary day trip from the pebbled streets of Roma to the pristine coves of Porto Ercole in a three-part storytelling series.

A Roman Morning

The sun already shines through the green persiane when the bells from the nearby churches wake us up in a chaotic harmony. Slowly opening our eyes to the sound of Sant’Agnese in Agone ringing like it did for the last 370 years can’t be considered other than a privilege right? It is, trust me.

After a quick shower to the scent of a Tuscan tobacco soap from Santa Maria Novella, it is time to get dressed for the day. Being at the beginning of June, the sun should stay still in the already cloudless sky and walk us through the day in a delightful bliss.

Legendary Caffè Sant’Eustachio, photo courtesy of Ryan Neeven

A pastel pink corduroy short, white tee under a red striped printed silk jacket completed by a pair of pantofole furlane, velvet slippers in bottle green, is the way to go. On the neck, an orange striped pattern scarf, namely La Posta Vecchia 16h23 in the bandana-like 60cm x 60cm format works magic. Loosely tied around the neck, it brings a touch of fresh sophistication to a very relaxed yet refined look. A quick stop for an espresso at caffe’ Sant’Eustacchio and we’re on our way to the office, perfectly confident.

The first meeting of the day is the occasion to close the shirt and tighten the scarf in a more formal, classic manner. We stay this way for the rest of the morning, just for the sake of it. A last call and we’re on to our motorino for a ride to the coast for lunch. Double-tied around the neck then tucked into our closed shirt, our cotton silk scarf is perfect to enjoy the ride without feeling too chilly from the wind that builds up as we get closer to the sea.

La Posta Vecchia

Once at destination, La Posta Vecchia and its epic, cinematic scenery welcomes us in an unreal symphony of luxurious gardens, terra cotta walls and salty breeze. We take place at a wide, round table dressed under the white jumbo umbrellas overlooking a blinding, sparkling sea. The shore being a bit windy, we switch the scarf from our neck to our hair and tie it  à-la-Grace-Kelly paying a tribute to the Getty’s that once inhabited these historic walls.

Lunch starts with the most simple, yet sublime homemade bread with olive oil. Blending perfectly with the delicate flavour of the sea, it is pure heaven. Cacio e pepe is next, as it should be. A dense, rich espresso wraps things up.

From the motorino to the boat

The art of wearing a scarf by original Hotel il Pellicano proprietors Patricia and Michael Graham. John Swope, 1964 © Hotel Il Pellicano

Leaving the motorino behind we head for the port to embark on a boat ride north to Monte Argentario. Onboard, there’s obviously a bit more wind so the 60cm x 60cm scarf is mandatory at this point. Beyond giving you a unique touch of refined nonchalance, it covers your neck and head and prevents any unpleasant cold we might get even if it is 28° celsius out there.

Arriving by boat at Hotel Il Pellicano is quite an experience. Leaving the Isola di Giannutri on our left we head to the south side of Monte Argentario, a little west from its most picturesque port, Porto Ercole. The mass of dense green vegetation underlined by red rocks diving into the sea gets clearer and clearer as we approach. We start to picture the whole estate with its legendary, iconic dock, the private beach populated by all those yellow striped ombrelloni and lettini, and, above, the saltwater pool overlooked by the sea of rosemary, the inviting, colorful terraces and the terra cotta cottages.

Hotel il Pellicano

Setting a step on that dock is already being part of the experience. The smooth sound of the waves, the calm, serene atmosphere surrounding the estate, from the elegant guests to the lush vegetation, everything contributes to this unique feeling.

At this point our scarf is back on our neck, loosely tied to prevent any extra heating while we are now totally exposed to the sun in this protected cove Il Pellicano is nestled in since 1964. After a few refreshments at the bar – ice cold Acqua Panna with a slice of lemon – we head to the private beach where the afternoon slowly goes between quick dives, reading and a little nap.

Cocktails and disco time

6pm marks cocktail time at the bar right after the last dive of the day and a quick stop at the Pelliclub. Silk jacket back on our neck scarf tightly tied around our neck – women could favour a 1950s Jackie O head style at this point – to upgrade our look and match the classy atmosphere of cocktail hour at Il Pellicano, we look for the hotel cocktail master Frederico Morosi to perform his Pellicano Negroni  – a classic Negroni pimped with a slight touch of Chinotto. Conversations get lively and the ambiance builds up around the pool.

Dinner is served on the upstairs terrace where, later that night, a smooth breeze forces us to bring back our scarf to neck covering mode. Back at the bar for a post-diner Negroni round – one of the beauty of this cocktail is that it is as pleasant as an aperitivo than it is as a digestivo – we then enter an improvised dance floor where the guests, as elegant and charming as they are fun and wild, shake things up on 70s and 80s classic disco hits until a quite advanced hour of the night.

Heading back to our cottage in the middle of the cypress trees, our scarf loosely hangs untied from our neck in a Rat Pack-like posture Frank Sinatra wouldn’t have renied. Once in the room, the scarf finds its place on the first chair we can find, ready to be picked up the next morning for new adventures.

For more sartorial adventure, please visit ISSIMO x Les Belles Heures.

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