by Cayenne

Off the coast of Tuscany, about 90 miles south of Florence, lies a comune and a peninsula belonging to the Province of Grosseto, Monte Argentario. Laguna di Ponente and  Laguna di Levante are the two lagoons created by the three spits of land connecting Monte Argentario to the mainland. Porto Ercole, the south facing village, is the home to one of Italy’s most luxury boutique hotels. A romantic getaway, a hidden gem, a dreamscape… Hotel Il Pellicano. We arrived by train to the Orbetello train station. Wildflowers and grass grows in the crevices of the train tracks. You step onto the platform and turquoise railings lead you to a light pink colored station with a coffee shop attached. It’s quiet out and there isn’t a taxi or bus or sight. The only people here are the barista and bar tender at Bar Banèra Cafè (Piazza della Station, 26 – 58015 Orbetello) and an older couple who seem to have strolled over just to enjoy espressos. Nicola Magalotti, barista by day and DJ by night, makes us cappuccino’s while nursing a severe hangover. He’s just gotten back from Ibiza and London where he DJ’d and partied for too long.

With Begonia is shooting 9 campaigns in 6 days. A brand manager, a photographer, a model, and a stylist make up this force to be reckoned with, and we are still pinching ourselves that our first job booked took us to Italy. How do we get to call this work?! Our days have been nonstop and we are fueled by espresso and Aperol Spritz’s. We are laughing hysterically and we aren’t wasting a second. 8 suitcases pile into a van as we eagerly make our way to Hotel Il Pellicano. We drive through the countryside, up and down hills, our eyes glued out the window. I think the hotel described it perfectly, as they stated that once you arrive, it is truly like you’ve discovered something rare. “A bay of pristine clarity glitters in the sunlight, the scent of rosemary drifts across the air and as you approach Il Pellicano you catch a sense of its playful energy.”

It is the definition of luxury. We are handed the most gourmet water and we don’t touch our bags again until we are in our rooms unpacking. To be honest, I cried when I saw where we’d be staying. I immediately started planning my wedding. I called my mom and demanded another stay here pronto. It was the most gorgeous space, with a view similar to what I’d imagine heaven to look like. On that note, we threw our swim suites on and immediately jumped in the crystal clear ocean.

Nights at Il Pellicano are spent at their Michelin Star restaurant with cacio e pepe on repeat. If a napkin falls off your lap, a server is at your side with a silver tray, presenting you with a new one. If I ordered a glass of rosé down at the water earlier, they know exactly which one I like and that is what I am being served at dinner. A musician plays live music at the bar, and Federico Morosi is making the best signature cocktails you’ve ever sipped on. The list goes on and on and on…

The sun rises, casting orange, purple and pink tones across the water. We sprint outside to watch it in all its glory, wrapped up in robes, espresso in hand. We go to breakfast and enjoy a lavish assortment of whatever your heart desires, and I order a latte di mandorla every 30 minutes.

Every day we shot continuously from dawn to dusk. Breaks are taken to eat and drink obviously, and in an Italian fashion that would last hours. By our last day the minutes are counting down quick and I’m already dreading saying goodbye. We finish all our shoots with 30 minutes to spare before checkout. Sprinting down to the water we are immediately presented with rafts. We let ourselves float out to sea and I closed my eyes and envisioned what my life would look like here. I could have laid in that water all day. The sun glistened and the rocking of the ocean could lull you to sleep. We are enjoying sprezzatura… a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it. I will never forget those last 30 minutes spent in the ocean, on the south of Monte Argentario.

Shannon Barker in Islands the Shop.

Lauren Reveley enjoying Italian Riposo.

Shannon Barker in Islands The Shop

Shannon Barker in Islands The Shop.

Shannon Barker in House of ZZ.

Shannon Barker in House of ZZ.

Shannon Barker in Islands The Shop.

Shannon Barker in Islands The Shop.

Salute with Ash Wilhardt, Lauren Reveley, and Cait & Shannon Barker.

Aperol Spritz by Federico Morosi.

A presto!

With Begonia xx

© 2022 Cayenne Agency • Founded by Ashley Wilhardt