From Milano to Firenze: the road to la dolce vita

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As seen from my previous articles about several hotels, I firstly spent a few days in Milano then went to Firenze! I haven’t been traveling that much lately but I’m definitely working on the travel section of the blog! It also seems like there’s a lot of Italy around here too… stay tuned, I’m on it, fun things are coming soon. For now, let’s see what we spotted in both cities.

Here is the journey, divided into three days in Milan and six days in Florence. This is the right ratio if you want to visit the two of them, I will explain why. To begin with, I always have this insecurity while going to Italy regarding the pickpockets because once you got stolen, you kinda learn the lesson. It happened a few years back in Bologna, the one and only time, but ever since, I have become hyperaware. Following with a positive note, traveling is what boosts me, just like a lot of people on earth. You arrive somewhere you don’t know at all, full of mysteries and wildness. And the best way to discover a city is to wander, even more exciting if you get lost haha. Oh and don’t get me wrong but I’m still old school, I need a map – not on my phone but a paper one, trust me, it helps a lot, especially your visual memory.

First things first, when you have just arrived in the city, it is late, all you are looking for is food. Obviously. Arriving with an empty stomach and leaving La Locanda dell’ Amore satisfied. Wait what? A Margherita for 4€? It seems so unbelievable as in Paris you can only get a soft drink for the same price… I am sure this is common here, I wish I could see the reactions of Italian people discovering the French prices haha. Well, fresh products, wood-fired, pizzas made in front of you, definitely a good deal. While discovering other parts of the city such as the well-known Duomo di Milano, I discovered a nice gallery nearby, very touristy though. Not far away, my friends and I arrived on Via Dante, one of the main shopping streets. Despite the crowd, it was pleasant to walk through then we got caught by a funny waiter at Caffè Dante. Despite all the negative comments you can find online, we enjoyed our experience there. I don’t know if it depends on people or anything, but we didn’t have any issues. The waiter suggested the aperitivo and I would actually recommend it! You order any alcoholic drink, could be wine or beer, and the buffet is all yours! We had reasonable choices between vegetables, small sandwiches, charcuterie, and so on. One of my friend ordered spaghettis and she really enjoyed them. I was surprised while reading all the opinions as it seems like we had a completely different service… What was funny is the organization there. A young man is dedicated to drag people in, while each person has a specific task. You will have someone serving you wine then someone else coming with the meals and again, another one bringing you the bill. Pretty unusual when we think about the French service. The more you see different people, the worse it is because it becomes confusing in the end. But this is also interesting to see other types of management.

During the day, I would advice going to Fondazione Prada or to Armani Silos. Both are creative places to discover the brands’ universe. At Armani Silos, I found it interesting the massive steel walls in a grey and mysterious atmosphere. The plus? They have a restaurant on the ground floor with a terrace. I remember that day was very sunny and we enjoyed a very affordable lunch surprisingly. Now, one of my favorite place to visit was the Villa Necchi, a beautiful residence designed by Piero Portaluppi, full of history. Then of course, how could we leave Milan without stopping by 10 Corso Como, the must go for fashion sensitive or aesthetic aware people. Shopping tired? Well, the café restaurant in the middle expresses serenity with touches of plants all around. Have a peaceful rest in this tropical area and you are good to go for another round!

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10 Corso Como

Three and a half hour later, the train arrives in Firenze. Map in hand, ready to go! Who said it was difficult to find nice spots? Walk, stroll, wander! It takes time, but isn’t it the point when it comes to travel? Isn’t it amazing when you end up finding a cute restaurant or a beautiful area to take pictures? Well, the satisfaction remains surprising because it was so random that you wouldn’t even expect such a thing right?! The goal is to hunt local addresses, cool and trendy, but not too touristy (please). After a while, a sign appeared: urban garden, street food, free-wifi.  What else? I mean, you do not have to ask me twice, curiosity at its best is doing its job. Same as when someone tells you a story and stops, the only thing you are looking for is what comes next. A little hidden in the back, lost in the small alleys, here is the Serre Torigiani in piazzetta!

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Aventures go on, but you still have to visit some key places such as the Duomo which is just a church surrounded by thousands of people everyday in the end… ok, just kidding, the architecture is a little more colorful compared to other European cities. The truth is I am always impressed by these huge cathedrals, the human work behind, the time needed to build such a masterpiece. Besides the Gucci and Ferragamo museums that are dedicated to fashion curious, it was also interesting to go to la Scuola del Cuoio and to see the handcraft process. How to put a golden pattern on a piece of leather – pictured above. Now listen read carefully if you are a paper lover just like myself. I could never give up on notebooks and I found an amazing stationery shop selling gorgeous hand drawn ones. Il Papiro. But. I won’t let you go there knowing that you can find the exact same products for half the prices somewhere else. Tourist trap you say? I randomly bumped into A. Marzotto, held by a local man. You gotta meet him. I obviously went crazy on notebooks, gift packages including a pen, postcards and even soaps with adorable drawings on the packaging!

As a true Parisian, there comes a point when you look for a caffe… Rivoire is located at the other side of the piazza facing the Gucci museum. Easy to describe it, it is basically like the Italian version of Angelina. You are welcome to have a hot cioccolata (since 1872) with or without whipped cream as you wish! Not a fan? If you are looking for one of the best gelato in town, have a look at Vivoli. Then pictured bellow, we have a look of the inside of Richard Ginori 1735. The luxury brand is known for its porcelain tableware so if you have time to go by, I wish you won’t be as stressed as I am surrounded by delicate dishes ready to be shattered in a thousand pieces. Otherwise, if you have a few hours or let’s say half a day and if you love shopping, you can also go to The Mall. The luxury outlet overhangs the heights of Tuscany with a beautiful view. Moreover you can enjoy a meal at the Gucci Ristorante & Caffè there where the food is really good!

Back in the city for dinner, different options are available. La Ménagère is a concept restaurant that is quite trendy with a very nice deco, halfway between rustic and nordic. Obicà Mozzarella Bar is famous for its…? Mozzarella of course! haha, so an advice, I took a risk by trying out the Sfumato one, weird, very uncommon, just go for the normal ones. The pizzas are delicious too. Last but not least, La Cocotte is also a nice place to eat. You have the choice between salads, a large range of soups, burgers and also pastas. Well, you have all the information in your hands, so enjoy the experience!

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