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Brera market

Things to do in Milan this week – January 18-24

Things to do in Milan this week – January 18-24

The best things to do in Milan this week, including Music, Art, Museums, Shopping and Restaurants, chosen by Bella Milano Tours.

Die Fliedermaus at La Scala

Die Fliedermaus at La Scala

OPERA – An extraordinary debut at La Scala Opera House: Johann Strauss’ Die Fliedermaus is performed for the first time in Milan, conducted by Cornelius Meister and directed by Cornelius Obonya. It is such a funny, sparkling, surprising opera, or rather “operetta”, light opera, that in spite of being sung in German it can be enjoyed by really everybody. In any case, subtitles in English are provided. Find here more info about last minute tickets.

FREE – Saturday 20, at 9 pm, the choir “Amici del Loggione” will sing in Palazzina Libery, an Art Nouveau building located in the middle of a park. The address is Largo Marinai d’Italia. Palazzina Liberty used to be the headquarters of Dario Fo’s theatrical company, when the Nobel-awarded writer and playwriter was still considered by mainstream critics as a subversive agitator.

Sunday 21, at 5 pm, organ music is played in a magic location, the church of Saint Simpliciano, whose foundation dates back to the 4th century AD. It is located in Brera district, the fascinating neighborhood of Milan famous for its narrow streets of cobblestones, fine boutiques and cosy cafés.

FOODEataly means good food, and being housed in a former theatre it also means good music: every Wednesday at 6.30 pm, on Eataly stage, a jazz group will play while guests enjoy their aperitifs prepared by the Michelin-starred Alice restaurant. On January 24, the Bublitschki Band will entertain the audience with a mix of rithms from different cultures and traditions: Brazil, the Mediterranean, East Europe.

FLEA MARKET – Flea market may not be the exact definition for the antique-artisan-collectors market of Brera. Stalls will fill up of colours and scents the usually quiet Fiori Chiari, Madonnina and Formentini streets. Sunday 21, 10 am to 6 pm.

SPECIAL TIP – For cinema lovers, Anteo Palazzo del Cinema offers you the chance to enjoy fine food and film in the newly renovated Sala Nobel.  Usually movies in Italy are dubbed in Italian, unless the original version is played. This is the case for “Three billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Saturday 20 and Sunday 21, 1 pm).

MUST DO – A guided walking tour in Milan with us! :-)

 

 

Panettone

Christmas time is panettone-time

For the Milanese, Christmas time is panettone-time, and even though it seems that panettone has become an obsession for American bakers, well, for us in Milan this luxury bread full of rum-plumped raisins and candied citron is way more than that: it tastes of Christmas, of home, of family.

Baking panettone is a tough job

Baking panettone is a tough job

Baking your own panettone is a tough, demanding process that only the brave can endure, so for most of us the choice is between supermarket or bakery panettone. In either case, when a newly bought panettone comes to your table, the first thing you should do is to warm it slightly by keeping it close to a gentle source of heat. Beware: panettone should not be served hot, a little heat will simply enhance the delicate flavour of butter.

Slices must be generous: panettone represents Christmas, abundance, lavishness, bounty. So forget your daily calorie count and just abandon yourself to its cotton-candy texture.

Versatility is its strength, so do not be afraid to accompany it with other delicacies. One typical recipe is panettone with mascarpone cream, a soft, smooth cream made of mascarpone, fresh eggs, sugar and rum. Basically, that is the same preparation used to make tiramisu’. Just before serving the panettone, ladle a generous tablespoon of mascarpone cream over each slice and enjoy!

By the way, if you have some leftover panettone, simply replace savoiardi biscuits with panettone for a different – but equally delicious – tiramisu’.

But our favourite recipe with panettone is simple, quick and good, and we tipically serve it on February 3rd, Saint Blaise’s Day. By that time, the panettone bought for Christmas will have lost its softness. So cut it into slices, toast them until they are slightly brownish, then sprinkle each slice with vintage brandy and a cloud of powdered sugar. Food for the soul!!!

Lu' Bar at Gam

Art, beauty and a cup of coffee

It’s a hard work being a tourist, but who else is more entitled to enjoying a perfect combination of art, beauty and a cup of coffee than a visitor to Milan? So head straight to one of the elegant cafeterias  housed in some of the best museums of our city.

Villa Necchi Campiglio - swimming pool

Villa Necchi Campiglio – swimming pool

Our favourite is the cafe’ of Villa Necchi Campiglio, a jewel of the Thirties formerly owned by one of the richest Italian families. Sip your espresso while sitting by the swimming pool and enjoying the view of the park, and feel as if you were a character from the movie “I am love“, starring Tilda Swinton and shot precisely in this mansion, nestled in the heart of Milan.
Director Wes Anderson is the creative genius who designed Bar Luce. Located in glamorous Fondazione Prada, it will turn the gloomiest, November day into a joyful experience. Remenber the pastel coloured, vintage look of Anderson’s movies? You’ll start believing you are on the set of one of them. Enjoy a glass of amaro liqueur at a table next to the pinball machine, and then deep dive into one of the amazing exhibits of Fondazione Prada, which is housed in a former distillery dramatically renovated by starchitect Rem Koolhaas.
Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada

Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada

Galleria d’Arte Moderna (Gam) is a picture gallery focused on the 18th and 19th centuries. The building, Villa Belgiojoso Bonaparte, is a fine example of Neoclassical architecture, and its cafeteria, Lu’ Bar, enjoys a splendid view of the facade. Full of plants, embellished with wrought-iron details, and inundated with light, Lu’ Bar looks like a charming, old fashioned conservatory. Try the local speciality, typical Sicilian street food, with a pint of artisan beer. 

Finally Mudec, Museum of Cultures, housed in a daring brand new building, with a bistrot that is the perfect place for a break in your busy day. Loads of press at your disposal, plenty of room, and affordable prices, even though the chef in charge is the same of the restaurant upstairs, blessed with 2 Michelin stars.
Spaghetti al pomodoro: healthy and tasty

Italy is the healthiest country on Earth

When planning your holidays (destination, flight, hotel, guided tours), fun may be your first concern, but if you think about your health as well, there is just one perfect choice: Italy!
Yes, it seems that Italy is the healthiest country on Earth.
The Bloomberg Global Health Index has graded 163 countries according to variables such as life expectancy, causes of death and health risks ranging from high blood pressure and tobacco use to malnutrition and the availability of clean water.
Italy ranked first, followed by Iceland, Switzerland, Singapore and Australia.
Our country may be plagued by stagnating growth, high unemployment and excessive debt loads, but a baby born here can expect to live to be an octogenarian, with correct blood pressure and cholesterol and better mental health than in any other country.
But what is our  secret? Sunny weather? Relaxed lifestyle? The warm embrace of a traditional Italian mamma? Well, all of the above, probably, but scientists agree that the main key to our good health is food.
Italian cuisine follows the Mediterranean pattern of eating,  focused on simple, natural ingredients such as tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, dark leafy greens and whole grains. Research suggests that the benefits of a Mediterranean-style eating include improved weight loss, better control of blood-glucose levels and reduced risk of depression.
USDA Food Pyramid

USDA Food Pyramid

After all, every single Italian, from sun-blessed Sicily to mountainous Trentino-Alto Adige (the region with Dolomites mountains) has access to fresh produce, fruit, lean meats and fish.

So, if you aim for a long, healthy life, Italy is definitely the place to be.
And if you consider carbs as the devil, always remember that starches are at the bottom of the food pyramid as one of the largest portion of food you should consume.
Enjoy pasta, a generous glass of wine, and be happy!
Carnival in Milan

Fly to Milan for Carnival!

Mardi Gras is just a few days away and you are already missing Carnival street parades and masked balls? Follow the advice of your trusted local guides, Mirella and Valeria, and fly to Milan, where Carnival will peak next Saturday!

Chiacchiere

Chiacchiere

Yes, in Milan we celebrate Carnival a little later than the rest of the Christian world. But what is Carnival? It is the festive season of parades, street parties, weaker self-control and crazy costumes that is celebrated just before the beginning of Lent. Lent is quite the opposite: the period of time during which Christians get prepared to Easter, the Resurrection of Jesus, through prayer, atonement, and repentance.

In the Christian world, Carnival is celebrated on Mardi Gras, just before Ash Wednesday. But in Milan and its sorroundings, where we follow the so called Ambrosian Rite, Lent begins a little later, on the following Sunday. Therefore we have a few more days when we can indulge ourselves with crazy costumes, wild celebrations, masks and balls and above all with the typical delicious Carnival fritters. 

You’ll love tortelli, graffe, castagnole, ravioli fritti, and especially chiacchiere, that is angel wings, sweet crisp pastry made out of dough, deep-fried and sprinkled with powdered sugar. Chiacchiere in Italian means “small talk”, but the same pastry has a different name in the different regions of Italy: it is named bugie in Genoa, cenci in Firenze, lattughe in Mantua, maraviglias in Sardinia, and stracci, pampuglie, manzole, etc. etc. Whatever their name, next Saturday, or rather Fat Saturday, get yourself some chiacchiere and enjoy the parade floats that will fill Duomo square in the afternoon. But be prepared as well to a deluge of colorful confetti and streamers!

 

Street Food

Street food in Milan: a tasting journey through Italy with your local guide

A tasting journey through Italy in just one day. Is it possible? Yes, if you follow your local guide around Milan. This city is a crossroad of cultures, people and traditions and is the only place in Italy where you can find everything that you can desire in terms of food.

Italian culture includes a rich food tradition, as well as an incredible artistic heritage. So while visiting Milan, save some time for a mouthwatering food safari. Your stops should include cafés, deli shops, groceries, bakeries, farmer markets and definitely a feast of street food. 

Speaking about street food, we suggest an ideal travel from northern Italian specialties to southern delicacies. You should start with Sciatt: crunchy buckwheat fritters with a heart of melted cheese. This is a traditional dish from Valtellina, a valley in the Lombardia region bordering Switzerland.

Sicilian Arancino

Sicilian Arancino

For a taste of Tuscany assemble your ideal panino-to-go picking among a wide range of salumi (prosciutto, salame, pancetta, fennel-scented finocchiona, mortadella…), pecorino cheese, pickles and home-made tasty toppings.

Sunny south is warm and scrumptious as an arancino. For the ones who haven’t tried it yet, an arancino is a deep fried rice ball filled with ragù, mozzarella and peas. Arancino’s origin dates back to early Middle Ages, when Sicily was under Arab rule, and its shape is usually round but in Catania, the city at the foot of volcano Etna, it has a more conical shape and it’s so hot that when you bite it a puff of steam comes out.

Are you feeling hungry? Do you want some more? ;-) then ask your local guide for a tailor-made culinary tour in Milan.

Giacomo Bistrot

Far from the madding crowd – #1 East Milan

Welcome to Far from the madding crowd – #1 East Milan. This it the first of a series of posts which will guide you around less known neighborhoods of Milan, away from the busy center but where real locals go.

L'OV Milano

L’OV Milano

Start your day with a heart­warming breakfast at L’ov, a place where eggs rule (ovo = egg) and which offers the perfect breakfast for anybody: Italian, “energetic”, or American.

Then embark on a tour of the Milanese neighbourhood famous for its elegant Art Nouveau buildings: take a stroll along via Mozart, corso Venezia, via Cappuccini, via Barozzi, via Malpighi and enjoy the richly decorated facades and the amazing details (such as the century­old bronze doorphone in the shape of a human ear!).

Have a break at Giacomo Bistrot, where you will feel at home surrounded by shelves full of old books. Giacomo Bulleri, the owner, has been recently awarded with “Ambrogino d’Oro”, a Milanese high honour given to noteworthy citizens.

If you have kids, start the afternoon with a visit to MUBA, a centre of cultural and artistic projects and activities for children.

If you are interested in design, don’t miss Zanotta Shop, with its iconic furniture, or Flos lamps in corso Monforte.

Giacomo Bistrot

Giacomo Bistrot

For an ultimate fashion experience we recommend Coin departement store, but if you prefer something unique visit the atelier of Anna Lenti, famous for the colourful fabrics that she uses for her creations.

A truly Milanese dinner? Then head to Al Less. Boiled meat with sauces aside is a local speciality that you can’t miss.

Bella Milano goes to ITB

Bella Milano Tours go to ITB – Berlin

We’ve got some exciting news to share with you, Bella Milano Tours go to ITB – Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show. Here you find some moments of our first day in Berlin.

It has been a very long day as we had to wake up at 4 a.m. to catch the plane in Linate Airport

Lego cathedral in Linate

Lego cathedral in Linate

But as we got to Berlin, we had a fine reward…curry wurst with fries, so Berliner!

Yummy curry wurst

Yummy curry wurst

We’re so excited and can’t wait to visit the exhibition and meet our contacts

Messe Berlin

Messe Berlin

Bella Milano goes to ITB

Bella Milano goes to ITB

By the way, ITB is also a great chance to try exotic food, and our favourite choice is definitely a hot bowl of delicious Vietnamese pho soup

Our lunch from Vietnam

Our lunch from Vietnam

TBC…