I have to admit I’m probably Italy’s number one fan. Anyone close to me knows that I find myself being pulled there most summers – it’s a force stronger than me. So when I first discovered Italy Segreta via Instagram, it became my little home away from home – my mental escape to Italy whenever I wanted to feel close to the country but couldn’t physically escape. Founded by Marina Cacciapuoti, Italy Segreta is a lifestyle brand created to provide exactly what it gave me: a bit of the Italian dolce vita. It’s a little secret we now want to share with you all.
Marina splits her time between Italy and New York (the dream, right?) and is a visuals editor, focusing on travel, hospitality and design, as well as social media consulting. Italy Segreta essentially acts as a love letter to Italy, where you can find guides and inspiration to discover the country as a local – both virtually and IRL. Her advice for living la dolce vita like a true Italian? "Slow down once in awhile, practice the art of doing nothing, go for a stroll without purpose and appreciate your surroundings, cook more and sit down for your meals, spend time with your family and grandparents, call your parents… and have daily aperitivi!".
Italy has been on lockdown for almost a month, but despite desperate times, Italians have turned to each other and come together from their windows to show the world the spirit of human resilience. Marina was one of the first to show us a silver lining and inspire positivity when she launched #ItalyFromAWindow. She posted on Instagram: “When you are forcefully stuck at home, your windows are EVERYTHING… allowing you to enjoy the first glimpse of spring, the smell of what your neighbors are cooking, the sound of a quiet city, of crashing waves or of chirping birds. Those rectangular escapes are a constant reminder that life will get back to normal and of the immense beauty our country holds”. This has encouraged Italians to share their beautiful views and moments of hope amidst these uncertain times.
Below, I spoke with Marina about her journey, what she loves most about her country, and the secret spots you must visit that only the real Italians know about.
Happy reading! Florencia x
When I first discovered your Instagram account, I felt it spoke to me on such a personal level – it’s now my go-to when I feel like I want to escape, daydream, and get a dose of Italian nostalgia. What inspired you to launch?
I simply started from my big passion and love for my country and its culture, and the need to share it with others! I used to spend so much time (and still do) sending emails filled with recommendations, to friends, friends of friends, co-workers, etc. and I thought why not create a platform where to share that knowledge with everyone and get people to see Italy as if they were my friends. The journey is the best part, it's a journey without a finish line, everyday is a new challenge, inspiration and a step towards the right direction...or at least towards a direction. Hopefully it's right! As long as I'm surrounded by inspiring people and I get to do what I love, I'm happy, if that's what the future holds, I am more than happy.
What were you doing before launching Italy Segreta?
I was a Photo Editor for Conde Nast Traveler, a place where I met lifelong friends, which inspired me to pursue my dreams. As cheesy as it sounds it's true, and it's part of why I'm here today.
You split your time between Rome and New York... talk about being worlds apart!
I have a big love for both. Rome is my heart and New York is the brain. I can't live without either, the combination of the two creates the perfect balance between work and life.
Anyone who’s been to Italy knows that it truly is heaven on earth. What is it about the country and its people that makes it so special?
Their innate love for life, from the smallest things... my mom gets excited about literally everything, she shouts at the tiniest flower as if she witnessed a miracle. My husband says I do the same. It's the sense of community, family, and love for life with which Italians grow up and which makes Italy a place like no other. Leaving aside Italy's unbeatable landscape.
There's no bad time to visit Italy. but my favorite is in the spring or summer to make the most of the ocean and golden afternoons. what does an ideal summer day in italy look like for you?
On a sailboat, hopping from island to island. There is nothing like diving off a boat into the blue Mediterranean sea, taking a nap onboard after a nice meal, staying up to watch the stars and falling asleep to the sound of waves.
I visited Calabria last summer and I'm now so in love with the south! what are the most underrated places to visit?
Calabria 100%! It’s probably no one's first thought when thinking of Italy, while it should be! It's a beauty of pure geology, the winds of the sea and the light of the sun have created a masterpiece. The deserted bright blue sea, the unique towns hidden in between hills, the castles and palaces on top of mountains and the many grottoes each with its own story make it a region too good to miss out on.
Any secret spots you love that only locals would know of?
Once in Calabria, visit the Parco Nazionale del Pollino and one of Italy's most beautiful beaches, Capo Vaticano. When discovering the less known places or any place I recommend to roam around without a plan or destination. Don't have every single moment of your trip planned, rent a car, enter into a restaurant that doesn't look perfect, talk to the locals, even if you don't speak Italian, try! We are friendly and most of the time very happy to chat and give you good recommendations. Remember, what's the worst that can happen? It's all about those random encounters and moments in between.