Melissa's Travels

On the Road with Melissa: July

The latest installment of On the Road with Melissa covers the Indagare founder’s exciting travels from the past several weeks, including a boating trip through the Croatian Islands and, for the first time in a decade, a summer vacation without her daughter. Here, she reveals exciting travel news and her favorite discoveries.

Related: On the Road with Melissa: June

Where I’ve Been:


, Montenegro, Croatia and Italy

Top Travel Tips:

The key to really enjoying the Dalmatian coast is an itinerary that takes advantage of not just the highlights like Dubrovnik and Diocletian’s Palace in Split but mixes those with lesser known treasures like Korcula and its Relais & Châteaux hotel Lesic Dimitri Palace, which offers great Thai massages, or the tiny town of Trogir, which looks like a mini-Venice.

On Hvar you can hike among fields of lavender to abandoned stone villages that made me think of what some of the hamlets in Tuscany and Provence must have looked like 40 years ago—before expats from all over Europe realized that the restored farmhouses could be great vacation homes. Since Hvar is known as one of the islands in the Mediterranean with the most annual sunshine, I doubt its interior will stay abandoned for long. We stopped in one village with only six inhabitants, its sturdy stone residences shuttered but blooming with bougainvillea. Its handsome Romanesque cathedral still fills up on Sundays, our guide said, as the inhabitants who have all moved into town to work in tourism return home for Sunday services.

Related: Melissa's Croatia Slideshow

Favorite Finds:

The tiny island of Rovinj is often skipped on classic Croatian itineraries, but, especially for those coming from or going to Venice, it is a must-stop. There’s a lively market in a square filled with pastel-colored houses, village streets with tiny boutiques selling local products like truffle cheese, olive oils, hand-made jewelry and beachwear. Its prettiest bars are built on cliffs that drop down into the emerald green sea.

In Venice, I returned to favorite artisans’ shops like Antonia Miletto and Gianni Basso, where I ordered letterpress stationery and saw that legendary jeweler Joel Rosenthal had placed an order as well.

Related: Venice's Eternal Seduction

Transformational Travel Moment:

For the past ten summers, I have started the season with a trip somewhere with my kids. Two days after the end of school, we left behind uniforms, books, calculators, backpacks and schedules—all of the equipment and ritual of classroom learning—and boarded a plane to somewhere. This summer, though, we didn’t take a trip together because my daughter turned 18 and declared that she would be traveling on her own… Continue Reading: The Evolution of Family Travel


I knew that the days of glamour in the casinos of Europe can only be found in movies like To Catch a Thief or Casino Royale, but I still thought it would be fun to make a late-night visit to the Garnier-designed casino in Monte Carlo. The Belle Époque hallways with marble columns and bronze candelabras and the Salle Blanche, which is decorated with paintings of famous courtesans like Cléo de Merode and La Belle Otéro, is stunning in a Proustian nostalgic way, but the gruff casino staff quickly break any spell of glamour. They would rather man empty baccarat tables then open black jack tables for eager players, so visitors are left milling around instead of playing. My advice: Visit the Monte Carlo Casino to watch a ballet performance (the national company performs in a jewel box of a theater in the building) and go to Vegas to gamble.

Up Next:

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