This Classic French Basket Bag Comes With an Italian Twist

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Low temperatures and snow-covered streets may not have stopped Jane Birkin from toting around her beloved basket bags, pairing them with everything from ribbed turtlenecks to fur shrugs, but those of us without that certain je ne sais quoi may reserve our own baskets for warmer climes. That is, until now: Enter Bclaire, a four-month-old Italian label started by former fashion stylist Chiara Guicciardi that’s updating the summer staple with a winter-friendly touch. Think fuzzy jumbo-sized pom-poms, leopard-print toppers, and mink lids in a kaleidoscopic range of colors, which can be stamped with your initials or lucky numbers.

While the Modena-based Guicciardi cites Birkin as her eternal muse, traces of her native country can be seen in her creations as well. “Italians love details,” she says of the inspiration behind the customizable modern accents—not to mention that the 100 percent wicker bags, which range from $300 to $970, are handwoven in Florence with fur crafted in Milan. Parisian panache paired with Italian craftsmanship? Now that’s a match made in street style heaven.

5 Greek food blogs you should follow

Fortunately we’ve got the perfect thing to tide you over until then — a selection of food blogs and vlogs that’ll keep your mouth watering, and possibly even inspire you to try a recipe or two.
Here are five Greek food gurus you should be following right now.

Diane Kochilas


Greek food expert Diane Kochilas shares healthy recipes, cooking tips and personal videos on her website.
Chef, author and cooking show host Diane Kochilas hails from Ikaria, the Greek island famous for the longevity of its residents.
She’s an ambassador of healthy Greek cuisine and features countless Greek recipes on her website ranging from classics such as spanakorizo (Greek spinach rice) and dolmades (vegetarian stuffed grape leaves in fresh tomato sauce) to more creative ones like pumpkin sweet potato moussaka, mushroom “gyro” pitta wrap sandwich or mastiha-spiced hot chocolate.
Kochilas’ current favorite Greek dish is a roasted whole eggplant with crumbled feta and crisped sardine bones with crunchy sea salt from MeZen, a small meze eatery in the mainland port of Volos.
“Athens is an amazing food city, especially for a look at the hip, modern take on Greek food,” she says.
“Thessaloniki is an awesome food city, too. But everywhere you travel here you notice how close Greeks are to the land. That is the real secret to great food, understanding ingredients and seasons, and knowing how to use all the beautiful things that grow wild.”
Her most recent cookbook “Ikaria: Lessons on Food, Life, and Longevity from the Greek Island Where People Forget to Die” is based on the Ikarian wisdom on all things food-related.

My Little Expat Kitchen


My Little Expat Kitchen is run by Magdalini Zografou — a “Greek girl cooking in her little expat kitchen in the Netherlands.”
Magdalini Zografou’s passion for food and cooking is what makes her blog My Little Expat Kitchen tick.
It consists of a variety of recipes, from traditional Greek food to more international ones and her detailed, personal posts are pulsating with skillful photography that is sure to send you straight to the kitchen.
The Athens-born blogger loves experimenting with new flavors, but tends to return to traditional dishes in her everyday cooking.
Briam, a vegetable dish of eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes and onions baked in a tomato sauce, is her current favorite recipe.
“Served with freshly baked sourdough bread and feta on the side, it’s a meal made in heaven,” says Zografou, who has been living in The Hague, Netherlands for the last eight years.
Greek barley bread, gemista (baked, meat-stuffed tomatoes and peppers in tomato-olive oil sauce) and tiropita (Greek cheese pie) are My Little Expat Kitchen’s top three recipes.
Athens is Zografou’s top pick for a foodie traveling to Greece as “you can find everything, from traditional Greek to modern food.”
She also recommends mezedopoleia, Greek eateries which serve only meze (small plates of traditional Greek foods) so you can try all the different dishes.
READ: Athens street food — A taste of Greece’s culinary revolution



Elena Paravantes’ blog OliveTomato focuses on the nutritional value of the Mediterranean diet.
Chicago native Elena Paravantes’ love affair with cooking was sparked by her mother, who cooked exclusively Greek food for her family.
She’s now a registered dietitian, nutritionist and writer specializing in the Mediterranean diet and has lived in Athens with her family for the past 15 years.
With OliveTomato, she aims to spread the word about the real Mediterranean diet, combining her professional knowledge with her own experiences. Authentic recipes from the Mediterranean diet, personal antidotes, tips on cooking the Greek way, updates on new research and food guides for those visiting Greece are all on the blog’s menu .
Green beans (fasolakia lathera) and roasted okra (bamies) are her go-to recipes in summertime.
“Consumed at room temperature, ideally the next day of cooking, they pair perfectly with feta cheese and are ideal for the summer,” she says.
Her recipe for tender Greek roasted beans in tomato sauce (gigantes plaki) is among the blog’s most popular.
Peloponissos, which boasts simple Greek cuisine and quality products such as the world famous Kalamata olives, is her top food tip for anyone visiting Greece.
Among the region’s cuisine-related highlights are the traditional casserole dishes of Arcadia, the fir tree honey of Vytina village, the eggplants of Leonidio, traditional cured pork (known as syglino) of Mani and the Nemea wineries with the popular Agiorgitiko grape for the wine lovers.
In Athens, Paravantes’ favorites include the savory pies of Lykavittos Bakery in Kolonaki, Vlassis for traditional, casserole type Greek dishes, Café Avissinia for meze, fun and people-watching and the restaurants 2Mazi and CTC for creative dishes with a strong Greek influence.

Eat Yourself Greek


Beef youvetsi, a slow-cooked stew with tomato sauce and orzo pasta, is one of the most popular recipes on blog Eat Yourself Greek.
Based in Athens, Eugenia Makrogianneli founded cooking blog Eat Yourself Greek to collate Greek family recipes and stay in touch with friends in the UK, where she had spent a few years working.
For her, Greek cuisine is about heritage and memories, as well as flavorful, simple, healthy food like grilled sea bass with olive oil and lemon.
“I love the lesser known dishes like artichoke stews or black-eyed beans with greens. Simple and quick recipes that are very nutritious and require few ingredients,” she says.
Homemade marinated anchovies perfectly complimented by a glass of cold ouzo are Eugenia’s current favorite.
Makrogianneli’s beef youvetsi recipe, a slow-cooked stew with spiced tomato sauce and orzo pasta is one of the blog’s highlights.
“The pasta is baked in the sauce and then you add a generous helping of cheese to melt on top just before you serve. It is delicious and very easy to make,” she says.
Crete is her top foodie destination in Greece as she feels it showcases the best of the Greek diet — plenty of vegetables, a few delectable meat-based dishes, a great variety of cheese, and raki, the signature drink of the island.
Besides the blog, Makrogianneli also runs the “Eat Like a Greek” supper club (along with fellow food blogger Artemis Tsipi), which is aimed at travelers looking to enjoy homely Greek meals.
MORE: Which destination has the best food?

Cooking Economy by FT Bletsas


Thessaloniki-based Eftychis Bletsas’ YouTube channel Cooking Economy features vlogs on Greek food as well as recipes.
Eftychis Bletsas (aka FT) is a food, travel and music junkie who has been presenting food and travel TV shows in Greece for over a decade.
Based in Thessaloniki, FT also has his own YouTube channel, Cooking Economy by FT Bletsas, where he uploads vlogs and recipes as well as his worldwide travel adventures.
Gemista (tomatoes and peppers stuffed with rice), imam bayildi (stuffed eggplant), simple grilled fish with lots of fresh vegetables, and a simple salad with top-quality olives, feta cheese and Cretan rusks are among his top dishes.
His most popular videos are his recipes for aloe vera juice and a Greek pie called Kixi (pronounced kee-hee)
“Thessaloniki is one of the top destinations for foodies in Greece, and possibly in Europe as well,” he says.
For quality dining with top Greek products from local producers, FT suggests visiting Zithos Dore, a classic eatery popular with locals.
Zagorohoria in the Epirus region, a destination known for its exquisite traditional Greek pies, is another of his preferred foodie stops.

American Airline passengers want Hamilton tickets as compensation for 24-hour flight delay

American Airlines and their passengers didn't see eye to eye on what counts as compensation for a 24-hour flight delay.

Pizza makes everybody happy, right?

In order to pacify almost 300 passengers during their two unscheduled diversions, American Airlines fed everybody a slice of pizza.

After flight crew aboard an American Airlines flight from Milan to Miami on Saturday noticed a crack in the windshield, they made an emergency diversion to Stephenville Airport in Newfoundland, Canada.

While the aircraft was taken out of service for repairs, the airline had a two-part plan. One: fly an alternate plane up to Newfoundland to collect the 287 passengers. And two: feed them pizza.

After eating pizza at Stephenville Airport, passengers boarded an alternate plane 10 hours later. However, instead of flying down to Miami, the plane went to New York’s JFK airport. A spokesperson for the airline told Travel + Leisure that due to crew time and customs availability, they were unable to fly the passengers directly from Canada to Miami.

One commenter on who claimed to be a passenger onboard the flight said that although the “flight crew was awesome and professional,” they were frustrated to have a second unscheduled stop. He “suggested AA could make it up to passengers with Hamilton tickets. Unfortunately they decided a slice of pizza was a better customer service gift.”

But all the Broadway shows were long over by the time passengers reached New York at 11:50 p.m. on Saturday night. Passengers spent less than 12 hours there and took off from JFK Airport at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday. They arrived in Miami around 1:45 p.m., about 24 hours after their original landing time.

Drones carrying handbags kicked off the Dolce & Gabbana fashion show

At a recent Dolce & Gabbana’s fashion show in Milan, drones joined the usual models walking the runway.

At the beginning of the show, eight drones emerged from a large set of doors carrying an array of colorful handbags. The drone portion of the show only lasted around three minutes, then human models proceeded to walk the runway.

Prior to the start of the show, audience members were asked to turn off the Wi-Fi to their phones. Technical difficulties with the drones reportedly caused the show to be delayed by 45 minutes.

At Prada, Supermodels, Virtual Models, and a History-Making Moment

Change is in the air at Prada. A decade ago, during the Fall 2008 shows, Jourdan Dunn broke barriers by becoming the first black model to walk the house’s Milan runway since 1997, following in the footsteps of Naomi Campbell. Since then, the brand has embraced the concept of diversity, utilizing young men and women of color from across the globe in its shows and advertising campaigns. At today’s Fall 2018 show, Prada hit another milestone by opening with Anok Yai, the Sudanese model and viral star, who stepped out in a puffer trench—making her the first black woman since Campbell to lead one of the brand’s influential casts. It was only the latest step in the trailblazing trajectory she’s been on since being scouted during Howard University’s homecoming celebrations.

The lineup that followed Yai provided an overview of the brand’s favorite women, past and present. There were impressive comeback kids like all-American supermodel Amber Valletta, longtime campaign star Sasha Pivovarova, and Chinese superstars Liu Wen and Fei Fei Sun alongside girls of the moment Kaia Gerber, Kris Grikaite, and Adut Akech. As always, casting director Ashley Brokaw introduced a series of new faces via exclusive debuts, the strongest of which were Nigerian beauty Eniola Abioro and baby-faced Brazilian Eduarda Bretas.

Prada also made waves by handing over its Instagram to virtual model Lil Miquela, but the show made an impression even without the digital gimmick. By placing a model of color front and center for one of the most influential houses in fashion, Prada and Brokaw sent the message that diversity on the runway isn’t a trend—it’s the new standard.

The best hotels in Venice from luxury to budget

Bauer Hotel Venice
You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to hotels in Venice. The city has so many of them that in 2017, authorities mooted a ban on opening any more within the center of town.
But not all Venice hotels are created equal — especially since the traditional (read: outré) Venetian style can be rather OTT for modern tastes.
From celeb retreats to budget digs, the center of town to the islands, here are the hotels doing things differently.


Villa F Venice

Villa F attracts the A-list.
Villa F
There are fancy hotels, and then there’s Villa F. A super-luxury and equally discreet retreat on Giudecca island, you’d never guess from the crumbling façade that inside is a resort so private that Angelina Jolie picked it while she was filming “The Tourist.”
What was once a guesthouse for artists and aesthetes — Italian bard Gabriele D’Annunzio was among the regulars — has been transformed by Francesca Bortolotto Possati, owner of the iconic Bauer Hotel (see below), into a bucolic haven with 11played-down, rustic suites set around meadow-style gardens, complete with meditation pool.
Destination: Italy
Those in the main building have spectacular views of St Mark’s Square and Dorsoduro, and the service is equally flamboyant, with butlers and a free shuttle to San Marco every half hour. But it has a conscience, too: Full-size bathroom amenities are made especially for Possati by the organic lab at the Giudecca women’s prison.
Villa F, Giudecca, 50, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 520 7022
JW Marriott Resort & Spa
Private islands were made for this: A sprawling, top-notch resort balancing on the lagoon behind Giudecca, and a 15-minute boat ride from St Mark’s Square.
Marriott bought the 16-hectare site — a former sanatorium — and quickly turned it into the city’s most peaceful resort, opening in 2015 with grounds filled with trees, olive groves and vegetable gardens (serving the restaurant), and even a chapel repurposed as a wedding venue.
The 266 rooms are designed by Matteo Thun, the spa’s the largest in Venice, the rooftop pool overlooks the city’s distant spires, and restaurant Dopolavoro is Michelin-starred.
With all that on offer, you may not be so keen to take the free shuttle into town. Understandable.
JW Marriott, Isola delle Rose Laguna di San Marco, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 852 1300
Hotel Danieli
Few hotels can match the Danieli — an icon for all the right reasons. Composed of three buildings, the hotel is centered around the 14th -century palace of Doge Dandolo– who built his home next to his office, the Palazzo Ducale.
With columns, coffered roof and monumental fireplace intact, there’s no fancier lobby or bar area in town; and the guestrooms in the main building are equally impressive.
The two modern buildings are nothing to be sniffed at, however, having undergone refurbishments by Jacques Garcia and Pierre Yves Rochon.
Since it’s a Luxury Collection hotel, if you’re a points person, staying here lets you earn with Marriott (or Starwood, until the schemes are merged). But there are better reasons to stay at the Danieli — from the glorious old-school concierge desk to the rooftop restaurant with 270-degree views from the prisons of the Doge’s Palace to the lagoon and Riva degli Schiavoni all the way to Sant’Elena and the Lido.
Danieli Hotel Venice, Castello, 4196, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 522 6480


Ca' Sagredo

Ca’ Sagredo: Salmon pink splendor.
Centurion Palace
Unlike the other luxury hotels on the Grand Canal, the Centurion Palace has ditched the traditional frou-frou Venetian style and opted for thoroughly modern bling.
Bathrooms are clad in real gold leaf (right down to the flooring), bedrooms are given bright palettes, from rusty orange to scarlet, and ceilings in the main wing can be enormous — nearly 22 feet high, with vast windows overlooking the canal.
It’s been done out of necessity rather than sacrilege, says General Manager Paolo Morra; the 19th-century neo-gothic building had few period features left, so rather than invent what wasn’t there, they decided to create something that hasn’t yet been seen on the Grand Canal.
And they’ve done so spectacularly. But some things remain the same, like the bar and restaurant pontoons cantilevered over the water, offering views from the Accademia Bridge to the lagoon.
There’s also a calm courtyard, often patrolled by the house cat.
Centurion Palace, Dorsoduro, 173, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy, +39 041 34281
The Bauer used to be two hotels, joined by a communal lobby: the 1940s brutalist (read: love-it- or-hate- it) Bauer L’Hotel, and the more classical 18th-century Il Palazzo, right on the Grand Canal. 2017 saw them come together to form a single property — and with 200 rooms at its disposal, it’s a winning combination.
Rooms still divide roughly down the lines of the old properties — entry-level ones are more likely to be in the modern building, while the top suites are those overlooking the Grand Canal — but there’s a good range through both buildings, and the décor is flouncy-Venetian- at-its- best throughout.
Top level suites get access to Il Settimo Cielo, or Seventh Heaven — a spectacular rooftop bar and breakfast room (other guests can book meals there) — but the ground-floor “civilian” eating areas are hardly bad: Breakfast is served on a terrace cantilevered over the Grand Canal, with gondolas parked up next door.
Bauer Hotel, S. Marco, 1459, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 520 7022
Ca’ Sagredo
One of the grandest dames of the Grand Canal, this salmon-pink 14th-century palazzo near the Ca’ d’Oro and Casino was built by the Sagredo family (“Ca” means “house”) and only became a hotel in 2007 — and even then it was designated a national monument.
You’ll see why as soon as you walk in, taking the monumental staircase up from the grand lobby to the main “piano nobile” floor, complete with stucco, gilding, frescoes and gargantuan paintings on the walls.
In comparison, rooms are fairly tame (apart from the top-level suites, of course, which are opulence incarnate), but they’re comfortable and relatively spacious by Venice standards. But it’s worth staying in a box room just to get access to the opulent breakfast room, bar and public areas — especially since staff enforce the guests-only rule with hawk-like precision.
Ca’ Segredo, Campo Santa Sofia, 4198/99, 30121 Venezia VE; Italy, +39 041 241 3111
Come here in September and you’ll be shoulder-to- shoulder with A-listers. The grand dame of the Lido island, built in 1908, the Excelsior is the single focus for the glamorous Venice Film Festival — little wonder, when it has a swish private beach, restaurant with sweeping views of the Adriatic, and decadent Moorish design in the guestrooms to match the turreted, tumbling façade.
Onsite is a pool (a rarity in Venice) and six restaurants; offsite, for those wanting to stay on the Lido — a hive of active and eco-friendly tourism — there are tennis courts, bicycles for rent, and even a golf course and equestrian center nearby. A free water- shuttle whisks you to St Mark’s Square, 15 minutes away.
The only downside? It’s open seasonally, from April to October. On the plus side, during the 2017 closure, it’s down for a renovation.
Hotel Excelsior, Lungomare Guglielmo Marconi, 41, 30126 Lido VE, Italy; +39 041 5260201
Ca’ Maria Adele
Most Venetian hotels take opulence to the max, but few amp up the romance as much as Ca’ Maria Adele, a 12-room bolthole on Dorsoduro, next to the iconic Salute church. Low-lit, rabbit-warren corridors lead you to the rooms — all different, but equally dramatic, and loaded with antiques, damask wall coverings, Murano glass chandeliers and rich floor-to- ceiling drapes.
Outside the rooms, there’s a sumptuously furnished communal lounge and a wildly romantic breakfast room, but the real draw is the “altana” or rooftop terrace, overlooking Giudecca across the water.
Ca’ Maria Adele, Sestiere Dorsoduro, 111, 30123 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 520 3078


Locanda Cipriani Venice

Locanda Cipriani is a food lover’s dream.
Palazzo Barbarigo
This fantastic little hotel on the Grand Canal, Palazzo Barbarigo occupies a small, unassuming building reached via the alleyways of San Polo.
Once inside, however, everything changes: From the mirror on the ceiling of the lobby, reflecting the sparkling water outside, to the chic bar upstairs, complete with balcony- for-two cantilevered over the Grand Canal, you know you’re in for something special.
Room décor strikes out boldly from Venetian norms, with a sultry art deco feel — all low-lighting, feather-fringed lights and velvet furnishings — but the feeling’s refined, rather than OTT. What’s more every single room has a view of the water — whether that’s the side canal or the Grand one slapping against the ground-floor walls.
Palazzo Barbarigo, San Polo, 2765, 30125 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 740 172
Locanda Vivaldi
With crowded waterbuses and taxis that squeeze even generous budgets, getting to and from your hotel is often the only drawback to a stay in Venice.
Not so with Locanda Vivaldi; make your reservation direct with the hotel, and it’ll throw in a free one-way transfer in its vintage boat from Piazzale Roma, the main terminus.
There are other reasons to stay at the Vivaldi, however; its lagoon-front location on the Riva degli Schiavoni, for starters. Most of the 27 rooms have views — either of the side canal or the lagoon itself — and summer sees the restaurant move to the rooftop terrace.
The look is traditional — heavy drapes and deep colors — and for those wanting a more home-from- home experience, the hotel also has a hot tub-equipped apartment, Ca’ Bollani, in an adjacent building.
Locando Vivaldi, Riva degli Schiavoni, 4150-52, 30122 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 277 0477
Hilton Molino Stucky
Hilton upended the Venice hotel scene in 2007 when it converted the derelict Molino Stucky flour mill on Giudecca island into a behemoth 379-room hotel and convention center.
Don’t underestimate it as a boring chain property, however; the 13-building complex (of which eight are open to guests) is full of original features, from steel columns and beamed ceilings in the lobby and guestrooms to a statue of the mill’s founder by the spa — which used to serve as his office.
The spa, by the way, uses Elemis products, and was the largest in Venice until the JW Marriott pipped it to the post.
The hotel’s out-of- the-way location — it sits on the far end of Giudecca, a 10-minute boat ride from St Mark’s Square (there’s a house shuttle, for which a €6/$7 charge is levied per guest, per stay) — comes into its own in summer, when the rooftop pool opens and the restaurant sets up tables outside on the waterfront.
The rooftop bar — on the eighth floor — is open year-round, however, and offers possibly the best view of the city skyline. It’s the place to be at sunset — though note that, as it opens at 5 p.m., during the winter it’s already dark by the time it opens.
Hilton Molino Stucky, Giudecca, 810, 30133 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 272 3311
Locanda Cipriani
All the cachet but none of the crowds is what’s on offer at this gloriously relaxed island retreat, far out in the lagoon on semi-deserted Torcello. Harry’s Bar founder Giuseppe Cipriani opened his restaurant-with-rooms in the 1930s, and its tranquil surroundings have attracted the likes of the British royal family, Elton John and Winston Churchill.
Most visitors come for a meal — served on the veranda outside in summer, and made with local ingredients throughout (they call it “Cipriani cuisine”) — but to really soak up the atmosphere which allowed regular Ernest Hemingway to write two books here, you’ll need to stay over.
Upstairs are six bedrooms — two singles, one double, two junior suites and a suite. The décor is, as you might expect, a throwback to simpler times — you’ll find stacked bookcases rather than fancy sound-systems — and the inn has conserved artwork by some of its most famous clients.
It’s a stay unlike any other in Venice — and because of its distance, it’s more suited to regular visitors who want to experience lagoon life, rather than those wanting to sightsee in town.
Locanda Cipriani, Piazza Santa Fosca, 29, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 730150
Lagare Murano
A stunning conversion of an old glassworks factory on Murano, the Lagare’s 118 bright rooms, located around a central courtyard, have hardwood floors and floor-to-ceiling windows, while works of art by local glass-blowers Venini are dotted around the premises.
Its island location isn’t ideal for first-timers, but for those wanting a different take on Venice — and after a taste of island life once the furnaces die down and the tourists retreat — it’s a stylish winner.
Lagare Murano, Riva Longa, 49, 30141 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 736250
Ca’ Pisani
As befits its status in the Design Hotels fold, this is a bold modernization of a 500-year-old merchant’s house on Dorsoduro, near the Accademia.
Not too modern, mind you; it’s been entirely redone in Art Deco style, with furniture from the 1930s and 1940s, and futurist art on the walls by Fortunato Depero. It’s such a thorough theming that even the doors to the 29 rooms have geometric patterns engraved on the wood.
The accoutrements, however, are thoroughly 21 st -century, with a hammam, free non-alcoholic minibar and trendy, Futurist-themed restaurant, La Rivista.
Ca’ Pisani, Rio Terrà Foscarini, 979A, 30123 Dorsoduro, Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 240 1411


Gio & Gio Bed and Breakfast Venice

Gio & Gio is all about the undone luxury.
Hotel Flora
There’s little to dislike about the Flora. It’s locally owned — the Romanelli family took on this simple 40-room property in the 1960s — and furnished with care.
Rooms may be a little small — this is a three-star hotel within a couple of minutes’ walk from St. Mark’s Square, after all — but they’ve been thoughtfully put together, with comfortable mattresses on the antique beds, original terrazzo flooring, and Ortigia amenities in the bathroom.
The Romanelli family own two other properties — the fin de siècle-style Novecento and Casa Flora, a designer apartment in an adjacent building — but nothing comes between repeat guests and the Flora.
You’ll find old hands propping up the bar in the evening, sitting in the tranquil courtyard in good weather, and scouring the family’s blog,, for ideas of what to do — they’re big proponents of sustainable tourism.
Hotel Flora, S. Marco, 2283A, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 520 5844
Gio & Gio
Cast aside all your aspersions about B&Bs, because this delightful place is more of a super-stylish home that just so happens to have three rooms for rent.
Owner Gianni has walked the line between traditional and outré pretty perfectly — in the communal lounge, an understated cream couch sits beside a florid gilt mirror, while a lush rug is slung over sober parquet flooring.
Rooms nod to Venice’s past, with Fortuny fabrics and antique furniture; but again they’re sharpened up with modern drapes, lamps and bedside tables.
One of the rooms (the junior suite) has a tiny balcony overlooking the canal outside, but since you’re a five-minute walk from St. Mark’s Square (the apartment is right beside the Giglio church) you’re in the middle of the action anyway.
And don’t be alarmed about the intimacy — this may be a small B&B, and Gianni lives on site, but there’s no sense of claustrophobia; guests are pleasantly left to their own devices.
Gio & Gio, 30100 Venice, Metropolitan City of Venice, Italy; no phone
What started out as a restaurant has turned into a design-led, five-room residence on a quiet side street on the far end of Dorsoduro, near the San Basilio vaporetto stop.
Owner Francesco Pugliese has opted for a modern take on traditional Venetian flounce, with ornate rugs, Rubelli fabrics and and gilt-framed mirrors teamed with contemporary furniture and modern mosaicked bathrooms.
Three of the junior suites have private walled gardens — where you can get dinner from the restaurant delivered on room service — while the others overlook the courtyard and gardens. It’s a different, more local take on Venice than a standard hotel — in a deliciously tranquil area of the city.
Avogaria, Calle Avogaria, 1629, 30100 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 296 0491
Casa Burano
Something completely new for Venice, Casa Burano is an “albergo diffuso” — or “scattered hotel”, an initiative sweeping Italy which takes unoccupied houses in a village and creates a “hotel” around them — turning each apartment into a room, and ditching the public areas.
This one — the first for Venice — was the idea of the local Bisol family, who run Venissa, a vineyard and restaurant with rooms on Mazzorbo island, linked to Burano via a footbridge. Casa Burano offers something different: the chance to live like a local on an island that, during the daytime, is wall-to-wall Instagrammers.
Burano has a strong local community, says Matteo Bisol, that changes vastly in the morning and evening when there are no tourists around. Rooms are bright and modern, with great views of the famous colored island houses.
Casa Burano,Via Guidecca, 139, 30142 Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 527 2281
Hotel Fenice et des Artistes
Nowadays the Fenice et des Artistes is a budget hotel; back in the day, however, this was a glam hangout for the artistic set, sitting behind the world-famous opera house — and, in fact, linked by a secret passage so divas like Maria Callas could slip to bed without being menaced by fans.
The rooms today won’t win any style awards — they’re simple three-star affairs — and the views are largely of the hotel’s pleasant courtyard or the alley leading to the Fenice (though some overlook the dark canal at the back of the hotel), but this is still a great choice for a budget break, with a huge amount of history packed between the walls.
Restaurant Taverna La Fenice, is an extraordinary place that again has seen everything; it specializes in meat dishes, so if you’ve had enough of Venetian fish specialties, here’s where to come.
Hotel Fenice et Des Artistes, Campiello Fenice, 1936, 30100 San Marco, Venezia VE, Italy; +39 041 523 2333
Few hotels can top the views from this hostel. Plum in the middle of Giudecca island, overlooking the city center, from Dorsoduro and the Salute church to St. Mark’s Square, its iconic bell tower and the gothic Doge’s Palace.
There’s no need to share a dorm to enjoy them, though; there are five private, ensuite rooms — at a fraction of the price of a hotel.
Originally a grain warehouse, the building has been converted into industrial design-led digs, and touches like exposed brick walls, beamed ceilings and Chesterfield-style armchairs will wipe any bad memories of past dormitory stays.
On the plus side, there’s the friendliness of a hostel — especially during the warmer months, when the waterfront outside turns into an unofficial extension of the lobby. There are regular events, including movie screenings, karaoke nights and DJ sets.

More young adults live with their parents today than 10 years ago

More young adult Americans live at home today compared to 10 years ago.

In 2005, a majority of young adults – those aged 18 to 34 – lived either alone, with a spouse, or with an unmarried partner, according to 2017 report from the Census Bureau . Independence from one’s parents was the majority living arrangement in 35 states.

Fast forward to 2015: Only six states had a majority of young adults living away from home.

Some point a finger at “lazy millennials,” but that characterization misses some of the big socio-economic changes that have occurred over the last several decades.

“Within the last 10 years, the breadth and speed of change in living arrangements have been tremendous,” Jonathan Vespa, a demographer in the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch of the US Census Bureau, wrote in the report . “If one theme describes how adulthood has changed over the last 40 years, it is growing complexity.”

While in the 1970s, people largely got married and started families in their 20s, today, young Americans tend to believe they should finish school, be gainfully employed, and have some sort of financial security before getting hitched.

More young people pursue higher education – instead of getting a job right out of high school – and young women have made strides in financial security. Young men, on the other hand, are more likely to be out of the workforce or in lower paying jobs nowadays, in part because of changes in the US manufacturing sector . Those living at home, consequently, are more likely to be young men, according to the Census.

Young people’s economic fortunes have also changed. In 1970, 92% of American 30-year olds earned more than their parents did at a similar age. In 2014, only 51% did, according to a study by a team of economists and sociologists from Stanford, Harvard, and the University of California.

“Taken together, the changing demographic and economic experiences of young adults reveal a period of adulthood that has grown more complex since 1975, a period of changing roles and new transitions as young people redefine what it means to become adults,” Vespa said.

We illustrated the changing percentage of adults aged 18-34 who lived in their parents’ home in 2005 compared to 2015, using Census data. First up, 2005:

millennials living with parents 2005

And here’s 2015. As you can see, in most states, the percentage of young adults living with their parents has increased.

millennials living with parents 2015

One notable exception is North Dakota. This can likely be connected to its recent oil boom.

The Census also examined the differing economic characteristics of young people who lived on their own compared to young people who still lived at home.

More than half of the 28 million younger millennials, aged 18 to 24, lived in their parents’ homes in 2015. But that group is more likely to be enrolled in school, as opposed to working full-time, than those in other living arrangements. In other words, part of the reason why there are many younger millennials living at home is because they are pursuing further education.

Of the older millennials – aged 25 to 34 – who tended to live in their own households, 41% had at least a bachelor’s degree, and about two-thirds had a full-time, year-round job. Millennials who live alone also tended to have higher incomes.

The report doesn’t talk about this explicitly, but several decades ago young Americans could get a decent job with a decent wage with just a high school diploma. Today, those with a only high school diploma earn about half of what their college-educated counterparts make, on average. So, it makes sense that, in the past, young adults left home without going to college, expecting to make a decent living, while today that option is much rarer.

Older millennials who lived with parents or roommates were less likely to have a degree or a full-time job. About one-quarter of older millennials who live with their parents are “idle,” which the Census defines as people who are neither working nor in school. As for who makes up that group, the report says:

“They tend to be older millennials who are White or Black and have only a high school education, compared with their peers who are working or going to school while living at home. But they may not be idle for want of effort. They are more likely to have a child, so they may be caring for family, and over one-quarter have a disability of some kind. That so many are disabled suggests that they have limitations in their ability to attend classes, study, find work, or keep a regular job. Recent stories on boomerang children returning home focus on economic downturns, unforgiving job markets, and high rents. Though often overlooked in these stories, young people’s health may play an important role in their decision to live with parents.”

In short, more young people today are living at home than in the past, and that trends reflects a wide range of socio-economic changes that have occurred in recent decades.

10 things to know about sleep as the clocks go back

woman lying in bed

People across the UK will wake up having gained an hour’s sleep on Sunday morning, as the clocks go back heralding darker evenings and shorter days. But how much do we know about sleep and its impact on our lives, from our health and mood, to how long we’ll live?

1. We’re told to get our eight hours

We often hear that we should all be getting eight hours’ sleep a night. Organisations from the NHS to the US National Sleep Foundation recommend it. But where does this advice come from?

Studies carried out around the world, looking at how often diseases occur in different groups of people across a population, have come to the same conclusion: both short sleepers and long sleepers are more likely to have a range of diseases, and to live shorter lives.

But it’s hard to tell whether it is short sleep that is causing disease or whether it is a symptom of a less healthy lifestyle.

Short sleepers are generally defined as those who regularly get less than six hours’ sleep and long sleepers generally more than nine or 10 hours’ a night.

How many hours should you sleep? - hours slept vs likelihood of developing disease makes a J shaped curve

Pre-puberty, children are recommended to get as much as 11 hours’ sleep a night, however, and up to 18 hours a day for newborn babies. Teenagers should sleep for up to 10 hours a night.

Shane O’Mara, professor of experimental brain research at Trinity College Dublin, says that, while it’s difficult to tell whether poor sleep is a cause or a symptom of poor health, these relationships feed off each other.

For example, people who are less fit exercise less, which leads people to sleep badly, become exhausted and less likely to exercise, and so on.

We do know that chronic sleep deprivation – that is, under-sleeping by an hour or two a night over a period of time – has been linked time and again by scientists to poor health outcomes: you don’t have to go for days without sleep to suffer these negative effects.

  • How much can an extra hour’s sleep change you?

2. What happens in your body when you don’t sleep enough?

Poor sleep has been linked to a whole range of disorders.

A review of 153 studies with a total of more than five million participants found short sleep was significantly associated with diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease and obesity.

how lack of sleep can affect your body: links with diabetes, heart disease, dementia, low mood and cognitive functioning, vaccinations less effective, lower immune response linked to coughs and colds, greater risk of obesity

Studies have shown that depriving people of enough sleep for only a few nights in a row can be enough to put healthy adults into a pre-diabetic state. These moderate levels of sleep deprivation damaged their bodies’ ability to control blood glucose levels.

Vaccines are less effective when we are sleep deprived, and sleep deprivation suppresses our immune system making us more prone to infection.

One study found participants who had fewer than seven hours of sleep were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept for seven hours or more.

People who don’t sleep enough also appear to produce too much of the hormone ghrelin, associated with feeling hungry, and not enough of the hormone leptin, associated with feeling full, which may contribute to their risk of obesity.

There are also links to brain function and even in the long term to dementia.

Prof O’Mara explains that toxic debris builds up in your brain during the course of the day and waste is drained from the body during sleep. If you don’t sleep enough, you end up in a mildly concussed state, he says.

The impact of sleeping too much is less understood, but we do know it is linked to poorer health including a higher risk of cognitive decline in older adults.

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3. We need different types of sleep to repair ourselves

After we fall asleep we go through cycles of “sleep stages”, each cycle lasting between 60 and 100 minutes. Each stage plays a different role in the many processes that happen in our body during sleep.

sleep cycle through the night from awake to drowsy to light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep and back

The first stage in each cycle is a drowsy, relaxed state between being awake and sleeping – breathing slows, muscles relax, the heart rate drops.

The second stage is a slightly deeper sleep – you may feel awake and this means that, on many nights, you may be asleep and not know it.

Stage three is deep sleep. It is very hard to wake up during this period because it is when there is the lowest amount of activity in your body.

Stages two and three together are known as slow wave sleep which is usually dreamless.

After deep sleep we go back to stage two for a few minutes, and then enter dream sleep, also called REM (rapid eye movement). As the name suggests, this is when dreaming happens.

In a full sleep cycle a person goes through all the stages of sleep from one to three, then back down to two briefly, before entering REM sleep.

Later cycles have longer periods of REM, so cutting sleep short has a disproportionately large effect on REM.

4. Shift workers who have disturbed sleep get sick more often

Shift work has been associated with a host of health problems. Researchers have found shift workers who get too little sleep at the wrong time of day may be increasing their risk of diabetes and obesity.

Shift workers are significantly more likely to report “fair or bad” general health according to a 2013 NHS study, which also found people in this group were a lot more likely to have a “limiting longstanding illness” than those who don’t work shifts.

shift workers are off sick more than regular hour workers and the pattern is more pronounced among non-manual workers

People who work shifts are significantly more likely to take time off sick, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

There is a far bigger gap for non-manual workers than manual workers – lack of sleep seems to have a bigger impact on those doing more sedentary jobs.

5. And many of us are feeling more sleep deprived than ever

To judge from media reports, you’d think we were in the grip of a sleeplessness epidemic. But are we really all more sleep deprived than before?

A big piece of research looking at data from 15 countries found a very mixed picture. Six showed decreased sleep duration, seven increased sleep duration and two countries had mixed results.

Lots of a evidence suggests the amount we sleep hasn’t changed that much in recent generations.

But if you ask people how sleep deprived they think they are, a different picture emerges.

So why do so many people report feeling tired?

It may be that this problem is concentrated in certain groups, making the trend harder to pick up on a population-wide level.

Sleep problems vary considerably by age and gender, according to one study of 2,000 British adults. It found women at almost every age have more difficulty getting enough sleep than men.

The sexes are more or less level at adolescence but women begin to feel significantly more sleep deprived than men during the years where they may have young children, while work may become more demanding. The gap then shrinks again later in life.

who is struggling to sleep - women struggle more than men and people in the middle of their lives are more sleep deprived

Caffeine and alcohol both affect sleep duration and quality.

And later nights and more social activities mean some of us are getting less rest, despite having the same number of hours of sleep, according to Prof Derk-Jan Dijk, of the University of Surrey’s sleep research centre.

Some people may also sleep too little during the week and catch up at the weekend, bringing the average up but leaving those people feeling sleep deprived.

Adolescents are particularly at risk of becoming sleep deprived, according to Prof Dijk.

6. But we didn’t necessarily always sleep this way

Aside from a few outliers – Margaret Thatcher could apparently get by on only four hours a night – people tend to go to bed in the late evening for around seven or eight hours.

But this wasn’t necessarily always the norm according to Roger Ekirch, a history professor at Virginia Tech in the USA. He published a paper in 2001 drawn from 16 years of research.

in 2017 biphasal sleep is virtually unheard of. 1900 people slept in one block until dawn. 1825 typically awoke at 2-3 am from first sleep. 1800 typically woke at 1am from first sleep

His subsequent book, At Day’s Close, contained a wealth of historical evidence suggesting that hundreds of years ago, humans in many parts of the world slept in two distinct chunks.

Dr Ekirch uncovered more than 2,000 pieces of evidence in diaries, court records and literature which suggest people used to have a first sleep beginning shortly after dusk, followed by a waking period of a couple of hours, then a second sleep.

  • The myth of the eight-hour sleep

He thinks this means the body has a natural preference for segmented sleep.

Not all scientists agree. Other researchers have found hunter-gatherer communities in the modern world who sleep in one block despite not having electric lighting. This suggests sleeping in two blocks is not necessarily our default.

According to Dr Ekirch the shift from biphasal to monophasal sleep happened in the 19th Century because domestic lighting pushed bedtimes later with no corresponding change in rising time, improved lighting changed the human body clock, and the industrial revolution put a greater emphasis on productivity and efficiency.

7. Phones are keeping teenagers awake

Sleep experts say teenagers need up to 10 hours sleep a night, but almost half don’t get this much according to the NHS.

Bedrooms are supposed to be a place of rest but are increasingly filled with distractions like laptops and mobile phones, making it harder for young people to nod off.

We have more different types of entertainment on offer than ever, making the temptation to stay awake greater. The blue light emitted by electronic devices makes us feel less sleepy. And the activity itself – be it talking to friends or watching TV – stimulates our brain when it should be winding down.

68% of young people think using phones at night affects school work. 45% check their phone after going to bed. 10% check their phone more than 10 times a night.

Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters and Headmistresses Conference recommend a nightly “digital detox”, putting mobile devices away for 90 minutes before lights out.

Last year the two organisations commissioned a poll which found a high proportion of young people check their phones after going to bed.

8. Testing for sleep disorders is on the up

More people are turning up at their doctors complaining of problems sleeping.

Analysing data collected by NHS England, the BBC found in June that the number of sleeping disorder tests had increased every year over the past decade.

There are a number of factors, but the biggest is probably the rise in obesity, according to Dr Guy Leschziner, a consultant neurologist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital’s Sleep Disorders Centre.

the NHS has been carrying out a growing number of sleep diagnostic tests over the last decade

The most common and fastest-growing complaint he sees is obstructive sleep apnoea – where the airway collapses and people stop breathing in their sleep – and this is strongly related to weight.

The media has also played a role because people are more likely to go to their GPs having read an article or searched for their symptoms online, he says.

The recommended treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioural therapy, and doctors are increasingly aware that they shouldn’t be prescribing sleeping pills. But many still do because it’s difficult to access non-drug based treatments, particularly outside big cities.

  • Body Clock: What makes you tick?

9. Are other countries doing it differently?

One study looked at sleep habits in 20 industrialised countries.

It found variations of up to an hour in the time people went to bed and woke up, but overall sleep duration was fairly constant across countries. Generally, if a population on average went to bed later, they woke up later too, although not in every case.

how much sleep do people in different countries get? Australia gets the most, Brazil the least
White line

Researchers have concluded that social influences – hours worked, timing of school, leisure habits – play a far bigger role than the natural cycle of light and dark.

In Norway, where the period of lightness each day varies through the year from zero to 24 hours, sleep duration throughout the year only varies on average by about half an hour.

Both in countries like the UK, where dusk and dawn times vary considerably across the seasons, and in countries closer to the Equator where dusk and dawn times vary minimally, sleep duration remains constant through the year.

But what about the impact of artificial light?

A study of three communities who had no access to electricity, in Tanzania, Namibia and Bolivia, found the average sleep duration was 7.7 hours – in step with industrialised countries.

So sleep duration seems remarkably consistent throughout the world – it’s the time we all go to bed and wake up that varies slightly.

Alzheimer’s nutrient drink falters in clinical trial

Older woman holding a glass of strawberry-flavoured drink

There is no good evidence that a nutrient drink being sold online in the UK to “help” people with early Alzheimer’s actually slows the disease, say experts.

Latest trial results in patients who took Souvenaid did not find it preserves memory and thinking.

The authors say in Lancet Neurology that bigger studies are needed to show if the product can work as hoped.

And consumers should be aware that the £3.49 per bottle drink “is not a cure”.

Manufacturer Nutricia says its drink should only be taken under the direction of a doctor, specialist nurse or pharmacist.

What is the drink?

Souvenaid comes in strawberry or vanilla flavour and contains a combination of fatty acids, vitamins and other nutrients.

Taken once daily, the idea is that the boost of nutrients it provides will help keep Alzheimer’s at bay in people with the earliest signs of this type of dementia.

But the latest phase two clinical trial results do not prove this.

What the trial found

The study involved 311 patients with very early Alzheimer’s or mild cognitive impairment. All of them were asked to take a daily drink, but only half were given Souvenaid – the other half received one with no added nutrients.

After two years of participating, the patients were reassessed to see if there was any difference between the two groups in terms of dementia progression, measured by various memory and cognitive tests.

The treatment did not appear to offer an advantage, although patients in the Souvenaid group did have slightly less brain shrinkage on scans, which the researchers say is promising because shrinkage in brain regions controlling memory is seen with worsening dementia.

But experts remain cautious.

Prof Tara Spires-Jones, a dementia expert at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Some of the other tests of brain structure and function were promising, but overall this study indicates that a specific change in nutrition is unlikely to make a large difference to people with Alzheimer’s, even in the early stages.

“There is strong evidence that a healthy lifestyle including exercise and a healthy diet can help reduce risk for developing dementia, but once the brain damage starts, a dietary intervention is unlikely to stop the disease.”

Another expert, Dr Elizabeth Coulthard from University of Bristol, said people should think carefully before buying something that is, as yet, unproven.

Dr David Reynolds, from Alzheimer’s Research UK, advised: “If people are worried about their memory, or are considering buying and taking Souvenaid as a supplement to manage their diet, then it is important that they discuss this with their GP.”

A spokeswoman from Nutricia said: “We are pleased that this adds to the body of evidence for Souvenaid and we remain co