Chique Secrets of Dolce Vita is a book unlike any other I have ever read. I am a well rounded book lover and this book is, hands down, the most unique book I have ever read. It is a book that will satisfy your sense of travel, but leave you hungry for the food, fashion and character that Milan, Italy has to offer. Barbara Conelli invites you to travel with her, through all her senses, to a place she very obviously knows well and loves.
'To live a dolce vita means living with an open heart and soul, indulging in life with all your senses. It means finding happiness in ordinary yet unique things.' So starts the author's incredible description of Milan, Italy. The book is not a work of fiction but yet it is still a story. I'd like to think of it as the most descriptive, fun and inspiring travel book I've ever read. It made me long to travel to Bellagio, a magical sunlit little town where there is not time for trouble or fears. Or even to taste the Risotto Milanese at Il Salotto so that I too can have my blood warmed and heat rush into my cheeks. According to legend it is a strong aphrodisiac.
Throughout the book the author introduces you to not just a town, or a restaurant, but a treasured pearl in each area. Be it a food dish, dessert or a person residing in that area creating their own type of magic. Then there are intricately hand drawn pictures at the end of each chapter which bring the characters or scenes to life, not that it's needed since the written descriptions are so vivid you can almost see it, smell it and taste it. Barbara makes you wish you were Maria Elena, one of Milan's "characters" so that you may loving run the silk through your fingers. There is even an interesting chapter on Leonardo da Vinci who, even with a nomadic lifestyle, couldn't walk away and spent years in Milan. Included are many little tidbits on da Vinci I didn't even know! Of course I can't share them here, then what do you have to look forward to!
Woman can often times be fickle, catty creatures. It's not that they mean to be, it is almost like it is bred into us with the stick thin models, loads of makeup and perfume and the, at times, unreachable couture clothing. Instead of creating the common discord amongst women the author creates a warm feeling towards the women of Milan. She goes on to explain how much the women of Milan enjoy their food and supple size. She causes the reader to wish she could be a woman inside Il Salotto delle Corse the night they close their doors to male guests and the place becomes completely dominated by the female element, energy and waves of laughter. Barbara also lets you know that if you really wanted to be more like the carefree, sexual, fun-loving women of Milan you can attend the Milanese School of Seduction. Soon you too could be one of the women who can throw on a t-shirt, jeans and the indispensable stilettos and look luxurious in every situation.
If you're bored of every day life and looking to take a journey to a new place, via a book, this is most definately the book for you! Grab a glass of wine, sit back and bring Milan alive and to your home with this book. A feast for the senses that will have you packing a bag, purchasing a ticket and heading to Italy to catch one iota of the magic that Barbara Conelli very obviously feels for Milan.