Thursday, February 6, 2014

Rooftop: from movies to the reality of an enchanting skyline

This week “design for a better life” gives hospitality to a real journalist!
Inspired by the idea of writing about places that make your life better, Barbara Franco takes  you on literature's wings!

A lot of scenes that now belong  collectively to the iconographic heritage of the movies are set there: in black and white movies, fluttering sheets hung to dry on wide  terraces helped  clandestine flirts or illicit gangster meetings: do you remember Totò who, in “The Big Deal”, meets his merrymaking friends there – Mastroianni and Gassman among others – to explain Fu Ci Min's system to force open safes? 

In American thrillers the huge skyscraper terraces are often the stage for  improbable pursuits that culminate, in most cases, with the wicked hurtling down (how can you forget young Kevin Costner who takes revenge for his friend's murder in “The Untouchables”?). 

Girls like them, as they evoke the first warm breezes, synonymous with  intense nights, talks, light clothes, diffused music and  bubbly. It's a “paillette” image,  that definitely has the feel of the  fantastic parties seen in Sex and the City, the TV series that made you dream of amusing and sly nights with a breathtaking view of the Big Apple. 

But, in the more accessible, popular version, they are also the scenery for cheerful, colorful and noisy tablefuls like in Ozpetek's “His Secret Life”. 

Whatever image you associate with them, today, in the main cities of the world, terraces are  synonymous with roof garden bars or rooftop bars, charming places to enjoy privileged views from, where you can  feel far from  chaos and breathe rarefied atmospheres, made of encounters as  time stands still. Design, good lounge music, candles and diffused lights and a selection of international drinks are the ingredients common to most of them.

The first one I saw in my life was NuTeras in Istanbul, a city that has very many! It's a lovely restaurant, hidden in an ordinary building  on an ordinary street, unexpected and unfindable if not with the help of our friend Melis. The counter turns its back to the city, so that, while you  are sipping a cocktail, you can enjoy a breathtaking sight of the Golden Horn.

In New York, where they originated, there are the most seductive, especially for those who love a metropolitan  skyline. The first and biggest one is 230 Fifth, on the  Avenue with the same name, from which you can have a privileged view of the Empire State Building and of the main skyscrapers of the Big Apple (even in the winter, thanks to the blankets you are given).   

But if  230 Fifth is the grandfather, then the  trendiest is the  Press Lounge, with a pool (even if sportswear is not admitted!) and a gorgeous view of the Hudson. In this case too the glass parapets can't be missing, to  amplify further on the effect of  being suspended in the void. 

On the contrary,  if you prefer archaeological views, you can't miss the Galaxy Bar in Athens!
From the Hilton rooftop you can watch a magic sunset over the Acropolis and keep out of the chaotic traffic of the Greek capital. A counter that  runs along the building perimeter and decor in different shades of white are the main  features of these premises.

If you pass through Paris and love culture, the most noted is Le Georges, situated on the  Centre Pompidou roof. It's probably because you are in one of the temples of the art world, but the contrast between the furniture, very minimal and based on glass and  steel structures, and the view of the  magnificence   of the Ville Lumière's architectures is even more seductive because it's so striking.

You can throw a romantic glance at a wonderful imperial city  from the Atmosphere Rooftop Bar &Lounge in Vienna, on the 8th floor of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. A dinner there is really too expensive, but you have to go there at least for a drink: on the soft white cushions of the  elegant dark couches the  city appears even more  mysterious.


What about Italy? Here too rooftop bars are spreading everywhere, satisfying everybody's tastes. One of the most celebrated in our  capital city is the Roof Top Bar &RestaurantI Sofa at hotel St. George, in the  central Via Giulia, from which you can admire the  Eternal City in  warm   ambience and enjoy very good dishes. 
In Venice it's still the  Hilton that offers you the cutest roof from Molino Stucky, Giudecca.
Awarded as the bar with best design in Italy, this skybar is situated on the top floor of an ancient mill, renovated and converted into a hotel; from here the lagoon looks enchanting and if the weather is sultry, the pool isn't bad at all!

To finish with, it's for local pride that I can't avoid mentioning the most beautiful skybar around the whole Lago Maggiore, the one of hotel La Palma in Stresa. Also   in this case soft cushions, glass parapets and light diffused by sculptures in the shape of balls increase the ecstasy of enjoying the 360° view of the Borromeo's Islands, of the lake and of the hills. Pure magic, especially during summer sunsets. 

"Top roof for a better life"
Stay Tuned

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