20170427_093810_resizedThis was my third press trip to Italy in the past twelve months although I have always held a close affinity with this wonderful country ever since spending the best part of six months studying Italian in Florence as a young student. This time we flew from Heathrow to Milan’s Linate airport with British Airways flight (www.BA.com) and after hiring a car through Avis we drove for about four hours to Livigno in pleasant, sunny weather stopping briefly for a quick bite to eat in a family run delicatessen and snack bar. Once off the motorway roads merged into single lanes sometimes windy and quite steep but we finally arrived in Livigno late afternoon and checked into the small but comfortable Piccolo Mondo garni hotel.

20170424_210606_resizedThat evening dinner arrangements had been made at Mario’s one of the resort’s top Italian restaurant where we indulged in a delicious three course meal accompanied by copious glasses of local wine and champagne to celebrate my birthday which I have to say was done in style. As the restaurant lights dimmed, a huge Pavlova cake adorned with sparklers and lighted candles appeared and was presented to me by the restaurant’s owner and a couple of singing waiters while dinners clapped – not sure if the clapping was for me or the singing waiters but it was a wonderful way to celebrate a birthday. Thanks to Graeme, the resort’s PR for organising this unexpected surprise. 

20170425_123855_resizedThe next day we met up with the delightful Domenico, our wonderfully patient ski guide for the next three days and who kept me entertained with tales of the resort’s history. It turned out that Domenica is one of fifteen siblings, most of whom now hold prominent positions in the resort. Considering this was already the end of April, ski conditions were surprisingly good and there was even plenty of snow to ski down to the village but more appealing were the relatively few skiers on slopes. It was a wonderful feeling to be back on skis after almost a year and Livigno proved an ideal starting block.  

The day finished at the resort’s Aquagrande, a large water centre where amongst its many attractions is an enormous swimming pool with water slides, (which I avoided) but instead spent time in the wellness centre having a hot saunas and jacuzzi. As tradition dictates only towels are allowed in saunas and I was given an ill-fitting black paper bikini to hide my modesty! This I followed with a relaxing deep tissue massage and perfect to help soothe sore muscles. The next couple of days were spent skiing wherever Domenica dictated except the day before we were due to leave for Lake Como, it started to rain and by evening the rain had turned into huge snowflakes as big as old pennies. By morning the entire village was covered in snow  – imagine it was already the beginning of May! 

Instead of skiing the next day we took full advantage of the duty-free shopping which is all part of the attraction in coming to Livigno. Altogether there are around 240 mostly duty-free shops and a perfect place to stock up on perfume, make-up, and wine at bargain prices, and another good reason to come to Livigno for a skiing holiday! 

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