Italy never gets old. I love the architecture, the people, and of course the food. We recently spent a few weeks visiting Milan, Bologna, and Treviso. All three were new cities for us. We had such a great time that I’m already planning our next Italian adventure.
After half a dozen trips to Italy, this was our first time visiting Milan. I was impressed by the gorgeous sights…Castello Sforza, Teatro alla Scala, and Galleria Vittoria Emmanuelle all lived up to the hype. The shopping was as good as one would expect. I really enjoyed the food though.
Bites and wine at Cantine Isola was probably my favorite experience in Milan. Isola is a classic wine bar that has been in the same spot since 1896. To call it an institution would be an understatement. It is now smack in the middle of Milan’s China Town, which has some great restaurants. You can sit at the bar or outside, and enjoy the small tapas that come with the wine or bring in food from surrounding restaurants. The guys at Isola really are wine experts, by the way. Just mention a few words about your tastes, and they’ll direct you to the perfect wine.
Another standout was Il Massimo del Gelato. It really lived up to the name. The flavors were so vibrant and delicious. It was definitely the best gelato in Milan, from my intensive research (lots of gelato stops during our four day trip).
We also took some great day trips. Lake Como was as beautiful as I’d hoped. Only George Clooney was missing, sadly. The city of Como is architecturally stunning and filled with great little restaurants. Bellagio is full of impressive villas and high-end shops. I really enjoyed the boat ride from Como to Bellagio, because the lake itself is beyond gorgeous and there are so many beautiful sights along the way.
We also made a day trip to Turin. The Cinema Museum there was one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen. It is a love letter to film. It encompasses literally every facet of cinema from its inception to the present. We also had a fantastic lunch at Al Gatto Nero. The tasting menu was sublime. I also had to try the famed bicerin coffee drink (espresso, chocolate, and milk), and of course Lily had to have hot chocolate.
Overall, I really enjoyed our time in Milan. So many people told us to skip it, or spend very little time there. I expected it to be boring and generic. That couldn’t have been further from the truth. If you look beneath the surface, Milan has a soul that draws you in and makes you want to visit again.