Italy staycation

Bring a healthy appetite for gelato, pasta-making classes and hot Italian men.

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Live the Italian dolce vita | Eat like an Italian | Be cultured like an Italian

Milan is the fashion epicenter of Italy, from Armani to Zegna. But no design house embodies edgy Milanese street style quite like Costume National (160 Mercer St between W Houston and Prince Sts; 212-431-1530, costumenational.com), whose leather pants and close-cut silhouettes scream: “I’m a badass who rides my Vespa in six-inch heels!” Such items are investment pieces, to be sure (tops start at $297 and dresses begin at $413), but unlike stores in Italy, the label’s first stateside boutique hosts occasional sales. For Italian fashion on the cheap, there’s always jeans brands Miss Sixty and Diesel.

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Continue your transformation into a bella donna with a visit to famed Naples-bred hairstylist Oscar Blandi (545 Madison Ave between 54th and 55th Sts, second floor; 212-421-9800, oscarblandi.com), who has styled the tresses of actress Monica Bellucci. Even if you can’t afford a cut with the maestro ($600) or his brother Luca ($175), you can still pick up Pronto dry shampoo ($21) or the smoothing hair treatment Trattamento di Jasmine ($24) from the salon to give your locks a lift.

Get a whiff of Old European charm the moment you step through the ornate iron doors of Santa Maria Novella (285 Lafayette St between E Houston and Prince Sts; 212-925-0001, lafcony.com). The centuries-old beauty company was founded in Florence by Dominican friars and continues to sell its time-tested line of perfumes, candles and shampoos. Pick up a bar of olive oil soap ($22) or skin-toning orange blossom water ($28), made with blooms picked from Sicilian orchards.

Once you’ve nabbed Italian style, show off your Sophia Loren--worthy look and hobnob with expats at one of the free monthly parties thrown by Made in Italy NYC (madeinitalynyc.com; sign up online). The group’s events are sponsored by brands like Peroni, Sambuca and Aperol, and often feature Italian DJs. “We’re bringing a new vision of Italy to New York,” says cofounder and Rome native Francesco Mo. “Not the Mulberry Street Italy, but a modern one, with its style and technology. It’s not spaghetti and meatballs—it’s a lot more than that.”

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In September, Italian architecture, design and art center Triennale di Milano New York (40 W 53rd St between Fifth and Sixth Aves; triennale.it/newyork) will open with an exhibit dedicated to Milanese architect Gio Ponti.

Live the Italian dolce vita | Eat like an Italian | Be cultured like an Italian

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