Until last week, I had never been to Italy. Well. I suppose that isn’t entirely true – I drove through Italy circa five years ago on probably the fanciest road trip I’ve ever done, from Monaco to Verbier via the Italian motorway. But last week was my first proper trip to Italy. And certainly my first foray into Milan.
Milan isn’t like any other city I’ve visited. Restored 14th century architecture is adjacent to super modern buildings, and classic chic is constantly sticcatoed with super contemporary design.
I was there with La Martina for a capsule Milan experience. Here’s my #LMPoloStory
10.30pm – Touch-down in Milan. Fly through arrivals and out to a waiting car. It’s not as hot as I’d expected, but then I am wearing a floaty dress and mules.
11.45pm – Just checked into my room at NYX. The hotel is super arty – the stairs are framed by two gold figurines with strategically placed vine leaves. My room is on the 10th floor with a mega view of the city from the balcony, and (importantly) two very large La Martina gift bags waiting to be unwrapped. Yay.
11am – Arrive at Influencers’ Day for a first glipse at La Martina’s cutting-edge technical side. They have partnered with a virtual reality brand to create a polo experience – you sit on a sort of rotating saddle and wear the headset. Very exciting.
1pm – Lunch. This is supposedly a low-key buffet kind of thing, but it is fancy and beautiful and extremely decadent. I can already see myself getting used to the Milan lifestyle.
3.15pm – We’ve just strolled through the most beautiful cobbled streets to see the Duomo di Milano. It’s the city’s gothic cathedral, and it took nearly six centruies to complete. It seems fitting that our route through the city has taken us past such an elegant cultural sight since that really is the image that La Martina projects. Next we visit what our hosts describe as a shopping centre. I’ve never seen such a beautiful shopping district in my life.
4pm – Arrived at the La Martina store, which is tucked away on a small street about ten minutes from the cathedral (we took a little longer to arrive because of the incredible photo opportunities). The store is spread over two floors, and is as much a showroom as a functioning shop. Downstairs is a seating area and lots of polo regalia. Plus a rug decorated with the Union Flag – I feel so at home!
7pm – Just arrived at a beaut rooftop bar above Boscolo Hotel for an aperitif. I’ve been introduced to a the signature cocktails – basically champagne served super cold, with strawberries and blueberries floating about. The sun setting over Milan is too good a photo opportunity to miss (think of the Instagram!) so I perch on the railing and am immediately told off. Got the shot though..
8.30pm – We’ve come to Olmetto for a traditional Milanase dinner – ossobuco and risotto. My hosts try to explain that there is bone marrow on my plate. We have all resorted to a sort of bizarre sign language. Mental note to learn Italian – it’s such a beautiful language.
11.30pm – Have toppled into bed sleepy and excited for tomorrow.
10am – So many squad goals right now. We’re all dressed in co-ordinating La Matina polo gear (obligatory white jeans, plus an array of polo shirts and puffa gillets), en route to Milan Polo Club.
10.45am – We’ve arrived at basically the fanciest sports club I’ve ever seen. Very Farrow & Ball, with cute picket fences and greige decking.
11.30am – Polo is HARD. We each have an experienced polo trainer, but somehow my ball doesn’t want to make contact with the mallet (is it a mallet?) I am told I mustn’t use the small end, which is exactly what I’ve been trying to do. Turns out polo is a lot more complicated that croquet on horseback.
1pm – On the itinerary this was labeled ‘pic nic’. Well. Damn nice picnic. In this immersive experience it seems that the super luxury ethos of La Martina is paramount.
2.30pm – Just been introduced to my horse. My instructor tells me he is called Hopeless. I think he is joking but can’t quite be sure. Wonder if that’s a reference to my lack of ability or the horse’s?
4pm – Definitely mine – Hopeless was the absolute dream. Stoically calm and softer than velvet. I am in love.
7pm – Back in Milan city and getting ready for a champagne reception at the La Martina store. Think I can fit in a speedy work-out..
8am – OOPS. Went for a run and had meant to screengrab my location so I could find my way back but was too excited about my speedy sightseeing and totally forgot. Was aiming for Giardini Public Indro Montanelli (the nearest park), but somehow ended up further away from it that when I started. Luickly Italias seem to be on-board with the English accent so I was pointed in the right direction.
8.30 – Arrived at the La Martina store. We are all wearing pieces from the eveningwear collection and it feels great. In-keeping with the brand’s design focus, La Martina have collaborated with interiors brand Enrico Pellizzoni to celebrate Milan Design Week, which kicked off at the beginning of the week and is apparently bigger than Fashion Week. Who knew?!
9.30pm – Dinner time at El Porteno, an Argentinian restaurant that illustrates yet another part of the a Martina heritage. I am sat next to CEO Enrico Roselli, who is absolutely charming and seems very proud to be able to introduce us to the brand. I’m told La Martinahttps://www.lamartina.com sponsors over 100 polo events per year. Quick maths tells me that’s one every three days. ‘Yes, but mainly three per weekend,’ replies Enrico. I am overwhelmed by how much the family company has achieved and the impact it has made on a global scale.
10.30am – Last day! I am packed and ready to go. My new La Martina bag is coming with me as hadluggage as it’s the perfect size for essentials. I love that it’s a backpack so I can go handsfree, but with the option to go cross-body, too. Genius. And very travel-friendly.
11.45am – Arrived at Milan Design Week. Completely huge. There’s stands for Missoni, Fendi, Bentley, Ferrari… so many exciting big names. La Martina have partenered with Picana, and their clothes have been styled in a homewear showroom. Clever.
1pm – We’ve just sat down to lunch at the hospitality section above Picana. There is absolutely nothing slap-dash about this. Plates of cold cuts, salads, mini cakes, cheese; and obviousy lots of prosecco.
3pm – I’ve arrived at the airport a solid three hours early for my flight. I’m not complaining though – Milan aiport food is parma ham, feta salads and wine. My La Martina experience has been the perfect introduction to the city and I can’t wait to see the LM fam again.