Travel: Wish you were here

Written by Lesley Young

Rossana Di Zio Magnotta |   Mark Breslin |   Bruce Poon Tip

Rossana Di Zio Magnotta

President & CEO
Magnotta Winery Corp.

Magnotta can’t wait to go back to her favourite place in the world: Monaco. It’s otherworldly, she says of the tiny European state she visited as an honouree of the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World. “It sounds corny, but there was just something so special about it. There seemed to be excitement in the air,” says Magnotta. “Everywhere I looked, couples seemed to say lovely things to each other. The people are so cordial. I felt like I was in a movie.”

Magnotta most enjoyed shopping along old cobblestone streets, which are lined with luxe boutiques (picture Cartier, Hermès and Fendi), and rambling through the Princess Grace Rose Garden, a sanctuary that boasts more than 4,000 rose trees. Her fairy-tale trip ended with a short visit with Monaco’s head of state, Prince Rainier, who was, she says, perfectly attentive to the group of women delegates.

Monaco at a glance

Location: Blink and you’ll miss this extravagant microstate located along the French Riviera 18 km east of Nice, France, near the Italian border.

Pop.: 32,410

Average temperature: Winter, 8°C; summer, 26°C

Best time to visit: Spring or fall, to avoid tourists

Attraction: Monaco is the epitome of decadence, glamour and opulence. Hit Monte Carlo, the richest of Monaco’s four quarters, and experience the casinos. Visit the Palace of Monaco in the district of Monaco-Ville, from where the Grimaldi dynasty has ruled for 700 years. If you’re an auto-racing fan, the Monaco Formula 1 Grand Prix is in May.

Tourists you’re most likely to encounter: All kinds, as it’s a popular day stop for travellers passing through; overnighters are likely to be rich and/or famous.

Claim to fame: Academy Award-winning actress Grace Kelly brought world attention to the principality when she married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, in 1956.

Where to stay: Hotel de Paris, $718 per night.

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