Why call it a “Princess Guide”?

Ay yi yi… Princess is such a loaded term these days, isn’t it? Being a fierce little feminist, I really struggled with whether to use it at all.

And yet, I kept getting such an incredible reaction to it. Even from the cynics. And the feminists.

La Dolce Vita fashion

La Dolce Vita fashion

When people asked me, “So, what’s new?” I would casually mention that I was writing a book called “The Princess Guide to Rome.” Women immediately grasped the concept: a travel guide to all the fabulous stuff in the most romantic cities in the world. Written by a woman, for women.

More importantly, their reactions were intense and physical. Their eyes would light up, they’d declare “I LOVE it!” or simply “Oh my God, yes!”, grab my arm and immediately ask me where they could buy a copy. Some wanted multiple copies.

That pretty much sealed it.

Clearly, the word “princess” still holds great power over the imaginations of women of all ages. I suspect this explains much of the appeal of shows likeĀ  Downton Abbey and Mad Men: all those fabulous dresses, shoes, jewels, hair… It seems superficial to like “girly” things, yet we are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. Whether it’s hard-wired or simply a result of all that Cinderella cultural indoctrination, there’s no denying that it’s powerful stuff.

Now, obviously I could abuse that power by writing a fluffy “pink” city shopping guide plus a review of the top 10 sights. But where’s the challenge in that? Continue reading

What Not To Wear: Trastevere, Rome

Trastevere, Rome

Sunday afternoon. Piazza Santa Maria, Trastevere, Rome.

Can you spot the tourists? There are 8. Maybe more. (Click the photo to enlarge it.)

For better service and to avoid being overcharged, leave your shorts at home. They may seem like a comfortable, sensible choice, but in European cities, shorts are only ever worn by children under 18, not grownups. Even in summer. This applies to both men and women. This isĀ  not a casual suggestion. It’s an iron-clad rule: Continue reading