Rambling Thoughts on Italy’s Two Souls, Feat. Giorgio Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, and Memories of an Amazing Vacation in the Italian Deep South

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Travel

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro 400 The Red Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick Devil 620

Giorgio Armani Lip Maestro in 400 The Red ($38) and Dolce & Gabbana Classic Cream Lipstick in Devil 620 ($34.50)

Italy has two very different souls, which coincide with its geographical extremes — the north (where I live) and the south.

For example, think about Milanese Giorgio Armani and Sicilian Dolce & Gabbana, Italy’s most influential designers… Could they be any more different?


Giorgio Armani perfectly embodies the soul of Milan, Italy’s financial center, located in the north. He is famous for designing everyday clothing for the career woman, and his signature piece is the white-collar uniform par excellence: the suit.

In 2009, he “invented” the always-appropriate greige color, a mix of grey and beige, which has since gained huge popularity in the beauty world as well (hello, Chanel Particulière nail polish!).

And after the ever-impeccable Cate Blanchett became the face of the fragrance in 2013, “King Giorgio” stated that she perfectly represents the woman he designs for. This, in my opinion, says a lot about his style, which I’d personally describe in two words: elegant, understated.

Stefano Dolce and Domenico Gabbana are from Italy’s southernmost region, Sicily, and their creations strongly exude Sicilian passion and tradition. Their most iconic piece is the bustier dress, and Sicilian black lace is their most used fabric. While Armani invented greige, Dolce & Gabbana made leopard print their signature.

Unsurprisingly, the celebrity who had the biggest role in establishing their worldwide popularity was Madonna. The Sicilian duo and the queen of pop share the same provocative, innovative style, a style both sexy and loud.

I think the differences between these designers really do reflect the actual differences between northern and southern Italy.

The north is more heavily industrialized than the south, and there’s more of a feeling that time is money. For instance, in the south, it’s considered rude, when randomly meeting someone you know, to not stop to talk to them extensively, while in the north, doing that is sometimes seen as impolite, because you might be keeping the other person from things they need to do.

The north is more modern, while the South is deeply attached to traditions and religion (I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but Dolce & Gabbana’s jewelry collection features lots of cross-shaped earrings and pendants).

People from the south tend to have a flashier style than northerners, who are usually more low-key.

Southerners are often loud and flamboyant, while northerners are more reticent to show their feelings and emotions. Screaming through the window at your friend who lives in the opposite building is perfectly normal in the south, while in the north it’s seen as terrible manners.

Something that you can’t see by just looking at Armani and Dolce & Gabbana is that many southerners are often very hospitable. If you’re ever invited to have dinner at a southern Italian’s, expect it to last five hours, and expect yourself to eat at least half your own body weight in one meal. And if you ever meet someone from the south, rest assured that they are going to invite you to dinner — and there will be no way you’ll be able to decline.

Also, expect acts of gratuitous kindness in southern Italy. A few years ago I went on vacation to Salento (the southernmost part of Italy’s heel) with two friends, and I remember being completely astonished that a gas station attendant had cleaned our dirty windshield for free, without us even asking. Things like that don’t really happen often (read: never) here in the north because, as I said, time is money!

I have truly amazing memories from that vacation in Salento. The beaches were gorgeous, the people were kind and the food was delicious…

Salento Italy Sant'Andrea beach

Sant’Andrea Beach, Salento, Italy

Stuffed Focaccia Salento Italy

A mouth-watering stuffed focaccia, a local specialty

Castle of Otranto, Salento, Italy

The Castle of Otranto, which you may remember from Walpole’s gothic novel, is actually not gloomy at all!

Gallipoli, Salento, Italy

The picturesque Gallipoli at sunset

Next time you visit Italy, I really hope you go!

Carolina Braina

Hey, ladies (and gents), it’s Carolina here, reporting live from Bologna, Italy, to bring you the latest and greatest in beauty from the good ol’ continent! For an extra dose of that timeless Italian glam with a touch of humor and self-irony (because, you know, laughter is the best makeup), come say hi at carolinapage.eu and Instagram.


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So far, 30 people have commented on this article. How cool is that?

  1. jessica says:

    My ancestors are from southern Italy, which definitely must explain my lifelong obsession with leopard print.

    I have a ridiculous amount of leopard print- shoes, tops, dresses, bottoms, my bed, my shower curtain…………..

    It’s clearly genetic.

    I need to blog about this.
    This is important news.
    jessica recently posted … My Psychedelic Glowing Toilet

  2. Andreea says:

    Everybody wants to got to Carribean or Asia and stuff, I want to go and see Florence and Rome. I live an one-hour-flight away, but somehow I did not make it there. I love Giorgio Armani and Prada and Miu Miu, arts and food – apart Paris there is not other place to go hten Italy, isn’t it?

  3. Kris says:

    thank you for your posts – they make me want to book my trip to Italy immediately! I love your “insider” travel, fashion, and style perspective.

  4. Kim says:

    My travels in Italy have been mostly between Florence and Pompeii/Amalfi and I have seen those differences, too (just as a tourist, of course). The mix of both styles is one of the best things about Italy. 🙂

    I think you see those regional differences in many countries. I’m from the Northeastern US and it’s very different from the south. Maybe cooler temps make people a bit more brisk? HAHA!

  5. Even though I am probably more like the typical Northener by style and personality, I love D&G fashion and of course leopard prints.
    LindaLibraLoca recently posted … Seasons Makeup Challenge Spring 2016 – Switching up the routine

  6. Michelle says:

    My great grandparents were from Palermo. They came to the US around the year 1900 or so. I have always wished I could visit Sicily. I imagine the economic conditions must have been pretty dire to make someone leave such a beautiful place.

  7. Teresa Luong says:

    Another great read about Italy! Keep them coming! 😀

  8. Erin says:

    I’d love to relocate to Italy permanently. I loved everything about it the few times I was there (other than prices in Venice). I certainly miss the food and wine!
    Erin recently posted … North by Northwest 2013 Reisling

  9. sarahc says:

    I really loved this blog!!! Thank you so much for doing your articles Carolina. You have a new follower.

  10. Julia says:

    Ciao Carolina! I feel so close to my Northern and Southern Italian roots; I am a native Montrealer born to a Torinese (Dad) and – how do you call someone who is from Matera (Mom)? Anyway, I haven’t been to Italy in 20 years and would love to go back soon! E pazzesco, sono nata in Canada ma ho una tremenda nostalgia per l’Italia! Thank you for your great posts!

  11. Katherine M says:

    Loving your post, because I am Sicilian and Calabrese (with some Irish/German on my mom’s side thrown in). I actually hadn’t known that Dolce and Gabbana were Sicilian – that brings a whole new meaning to how I see them. My grandmother was embarrassed to teach us a lot of Italian because reportedly the southerners tend to use a lot of slang. I have learned some of the language, though. Now I really want to visit Italy! Thanks for writing about this. Really made my day!

  12. I love Italy, especially the south. It’s just so rich in history and culture and the food is amazing!
    Kiss & Make-up recently posted … Review | Canmake Smooth Skin Primer, Kiss Me Sunkiller Super Lasting Base 50+, Privacy UV Face Powder 50

  13. Eesha says:

    It was good read about Italy. I love reading about different places, their culture and their cultural differences that weave them together in one nation! Great post!

  14. Chris25 says:

    This was such a fascinating read. It seems that in America we have a habit of homogenizing countries like Italy and treating them as if they have one uniform culture, and thus we miss out on so much beautiful diversity. Thankyou for sharing with us!
    Chris25 recently posted … OPI Russian Navy

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