La dolve vita!

Welcome to Italy! As well as highlighting a visit to Milan, I also wanted to expand upon some very Italian traditions & their lifestyle or 'modo di vita' !

Coffee Guide: It would be hard to think of Italy without coffee. After all it is the national breakfast and the home to coffee drinks that have taken the rest of the world by storm. Without Italy, Starbucks would not exist and without coffee, Italy would grind to a halt. Today Italy is a country of coffee aficionados who will not tolerate (or visit) an establishment that has bad coffee. Italians will even skip coffee in a restaurant to have one at a favorite bar, it is just that important.


The Italian language when ordering a coffee:

If you don't want to be taken for a tourist in Italy, you should drink coffee as and when the locals do.

Espresso: known simply as 'un café in Italy, served in a demitasse cup. Strong in taste with a rich bronze froth known as a crema on top.
Doppio: Simply a double espresso.
Ristretto: More concentrated than a regular espresso that is made with less water.
Lungo or Cafè Americano: An Espresso made with more water - opposite a Ristretto.
Macchiato: Espresso that is 'marked' with a dollop of steamed milk on top.
Corretto: Espresso that is 'corrected' with grappa, cognac or sambuca.


Thou shalt only drink cappuccino, caffé latte, latte macchiato or any milky form of coffee in the morning, and never after a meal. Italians cringe at the thought of all that hot milk hitting a full stomach. But I break this rule and just apologise!


Cappuccino: Espresso with foamed milk and containing equal parts espresso, steamed milk and foamed milk.
Cappuccino Scuro: Cappuccino prepared with less milk and is a darker color.
Cappuccino Chiaro: Cappuccino prepared with more milk (but less than a caffé latte) and is lighter in color.
Caffè Latte: Espresso made with more milk than a cappuccino but only a small amount of foam. In Italy it is usually a breakfast drink.
Latte Macchiato: Steamed milk that is 'marked' with a shot of espresso coffee.

Pasta Guide: Pasta is an ancient food—not so ancient that it predates written records, but no one was taking notes when this popular food first came onto the scene. Please view my comprehensive guide to all the many variaties of pasta, their names and descriptions.


Pizza Guide: You can't visit Italy without eating an authentic pizza. Luckily Varenna has it's very own Pizza Parlour at the Victoria Grill in Piazza San Giorgio which also offers a take-away service!


Italian Fashion: In a country where police uniforms are designed by Armani, it isn't surprising that the women take dressing very seriously. Elegance is in the Italian blood, and most Italians would unhesitatingly give up comfort in order to achieve it. Italy is a nation that cherishes outward appearances. Yes, it is great if you have a good heart, but Italians would expect you to have well-groomed hair, an impeccable sense of dress and a really neat pair of shoes besides. So it is no wonder that some of the world's best sartorial artists are from Italy.


Milan: a glamorous city which provides the tourist with a number of delightful excursions that are tightly clustered in the vicinity of the Duomo, Milan's striking Gothic cathedral. 


Widely known as a fashion center of the world, Milan is a great place for shopping, so be sure to visit the famous 'Galleria Vittoria Emanuele II', part of the famous Quadrilatero d’Oro (Golden Quad). Boutiques stocking emerging labels, and chic concept shops also line the city’s streets, while discount outlets selling samples, seconds and last season’s cast-offs are a bargain-hunter’s Holy Grail.


Book your tickets ahead of your visit to see one of the most famous artworks in the world, Leonardo da Vinci's 'Last Supper'. Tickets are limited and sell out quickly, sometimes months in advance! Since the publication of Dan Brown's bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code, the famous fresco has enjoyed increased popularity.


Other treasures that survived WWII's extensive damage include La Scala Opera House & Castello Sforzesco which used to be the seat and residence of the ruling family of Milan and now houses several of the city's museums and art collections.


The city also harbours some lesser-known attractions such as the Navigli’s canal-side cafés and old-fashioned gelaterie (ice-cream shops) and the funky design district of Isola.

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