private beach and cove in Sardinia

La Dolce Vita in Sardinia

from the travel journal of rockflowerpaper owner, Katie Smith

I have made it a lifelong practice to never turn down a trip opportunity - I live to travel, and it also provides me with design inspiration for rockflowerpaper.  The vast majority of our inspiration comes from photos we take when we travel and also things we buy in small boutiques around the world. Wherever we go, we also spend a lot of time in museums.

So, it only took me a nanosecond to say yes when some friends invited us to Sardinia for a week in a super luxurious villa (owned by a princess, no less).  I can be a princess for a week, I thought!  We had been to Corsica last summer, and that was my first experience with Mediterranean beaches, and I was pretty much hooked.  This house was on the water, had a private beach, a cook and two maids - need I say more?

The trip was very last minute, but packing is easy for me - I just go to our sample room at rockflowerpaper and grab tunics, scarves, totes and everything else I need for the beach. I threw in some extras for my hostess and the other women on the trip, and we were good to go.

It's always nice to be have a house exceed your expectations.  That was definitely the case with this house.  It was designed to be a house which merges outdoor living with indoor, with very chic, sophisticated decor. There were also lots of great design books to look at, which made me very happy.  Here are some photos of the interiors:

The house's private beach was just amazing.  It was on a small protected cove, which made swimming a delight.  As we travelled around the island and saw how incredibly crowded most beaches were, we realized how blessed we were to have our own private spot.  It wasn't totally private though - the law in Italy is that anyone can use any beach, but they have to get there.  Every day we would have small boats tie up in our cove with groups of happy families on board.  We didn't mind at all - they provided great people watching and entertainment for us.

Here's our cove, and some of the boats that pulled up.

My husband, Andy, is a total foodie, so usually when we travel, our days revolve around finding the best food.  This was not hard in Sardinia, as amazing food was right at our luxurious villa!  We were SO pleasantly surprised when our first meal was served, and it was utterly delicious and healthy.  In addition, we did absolutely nothing - our wonderful staff set a beautiful table every night, set out cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and did all of the clean up.  We were pampered in this way for THREE meals a day.  It was heaven!  Here are some photos of the amazing food that they made for us.

 And here are some photos of the beautiful tables they set:

It was hard to pry us out of the house, but we did take a day trip to a nearby town called Nuoro, which had an interesting museum and was a pretty town.  Here are some things that I particularly liked in their museum.

We then went to a town called Orgosolo, which is known for the political murals painted on the sides of houses.  The murals were cool, but the town was nothing much.  

We also chartered a motorboat and captain to take us around the island and to lunch at a very dramatic island off of Sardinia called Isola Tavolara.  While it was fun being out in a boat, this outing felt extremely touristy. We were first taken to a swimming hole where there were lots of other boats pulled up with tourists jumping off to swim, and then to the island, which is owned by one family and has a few mediocre restaurants and LOTS of people.  I was longing for our quiet terrace and couldn't wait to get back.  Here's a pic of our group on the boat - note the cute rockflowerpaper pink poet shirt, and the laminated bateau stripe picnic bag, which kept our drinks cool.

Another fun thing on the trip was using my iPhone underwater.  It was HARD to actually take it under the first time, but here are some of the shots I got.  As you can see, there isn't a lot of sea life in this part of the Mediterranean - most of what we saw was tiny, and there wasn't much of it.  Scary, to say the least.

On our last day, we checked out the Costa Smeralda on our way to the airport.  We went to a fancy, yachty kind of place for lunch, which was fine, but uninspiring.  Then we checked out the town.  We all agreed that this was not worth the effort - it was basically a high end, charmless town that caters to wealthy boat owners.  Everything was new, and not particularly nice.  Here are a few shots of some cool things I saw in Porto Cervo.

Then it was to the airport.  I love this shot of some of us waiting to board the plane.  The fairy tale is over, and it's time to go home!