Accademia Musicale in Siena

Accademia Musicale in Siena

I have been meaning to post on Italy for so long! Can’t believe it has been a month already—I went for the European Ocular Oncology Conference and it generated so many ideas and work to do that it is one of the reasons I have been a little behind on Moda! Nonetheless – prioritization is key and clearly I don’t blog for a living (although that sounds sort of fun!)

Luzzi's pizza

Luzzi's pizza

So here are some recs if you're headed to Italy!


Stay: We stayed in the adorable ‘apartment hotel’ right across from the Colosseum – not only was it adorable, clean, and had a fantastic bathroom (Americans are spoiled!) but it was in a great location for site seeing: Colosseum Corner.

Eat: must MUST try Luzzi. Sit outside, have some house wine, and enjoy the Neapolitan or Eggplant pizza (honestly the eggplant was best!)

Do: Rome will blow your mind with architecture. I tend to not like super orchestrated tours and standing in line during my precious time off so instead we just walked the city – a loop from the Collosseum to the Imperial Forum, to Trevi Fountain, to the Temple of Venus and back. Enjoy a cappuccino along the way and don’t stress. You will SEE a ton at your own pace.

Then we were off by train to Siena for the meeting – Siena is the absolutely adorable town in Tuscany which has highlights of Florence but on a smaller level. I definitely recommend adding Siena into any trip to Italy if possible. They hold on pretty strongly to their own unique culture, with an emphasis on wine, food and family and they make gorgeous leather goods. And it is way less touristy than say Florence.


Stay: we stayed at Relais deli Angeli, another apartment hotel in a great location. We were 7 minutes from the center and from the University of Siena where I had my conference. The  breakfast here was so good and plentiful that you could skip lunch (or say have some pizza and gelato while touring around!). We’re trying to recreate the fennel, blood orange and olive salad they served. Yum.


First, you must try the pici which is a Siennese hand-rolled pasta sort of like spaghetti but hollow inside like a tube. It is so good! Second, if you like wine do not miss out on the Brunello di Montalcino. A typical full bodied red from that area.

Where to try?

Taverna di San Giusseppe – eat in this amazing cave! Make a reservation and try all the things. The steak Florentine was delightful.

Antica Osteria Boccon Del Prete – definitely make reservation for dinner, but you may sneak by at lunch (kitchen closes at 2:30) – reasonable prices and amazing food.

Want to take the wine back home? We shipped back a few bottles from Cantina del Brunello di Montalcino and the store is lovely and the shipping reasonable – definitely recommend.

Do: Put on your walking shoes and walk everywhere -- Siena is sort of a circle and all roads lead back to the Piazza del Campo (the central square) -- walking the steps to the top of the Torre del Mangia in the center square was a highlight and you must see the Cathedral (as in every Italian town, it is gorgeous!).

We spent the last night enjoying a gala dinner with the conference attendees in San Gimignano, a tiny little town chock full of towers about 25 minutes from Siena. The old families of San Gimignano used to build towers to display their family wealth and now it has become a unique trademark of this Tuscan town. Definitely worth a day trip.

What to wear? Well of course it depends on the time of year, but in March it was brr chilly! Pack boots and a warm coat. I pulled out some of my classics from my Boston days for this trip like the Brooks Brothers trench and Tods boots I wore everywhere and a handy Burberry scarf (I miss wearing these!). Layers are key so you can take them off while walking around.

Conference style can be tricky in the cold because often you move from the academic portion to a social event without time to change so a suit may seem stuffy and a dress too cold. I opted for silky shirts under a blazer (which you can take off for the social event). The Black Halo jumpsuit above was a hit--add a blazer for day and it looks like a suit. Then for cocktails you'll be chic and polished in 20 seconds (or however long it takes to shove that blazer in your bag and touch up your lipstick!)

Ok bellas! I am literally packing for my next trip! More soon ciao!

Sam Gimignano

Sam Gimignano

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