tours / 3 posts found

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!
Vertical Forest

Welcome to Far from the madding crowd – #3 Milan’s Far North.

This it the third of a series of posts which will guide you on a walking tour around less known neighborhoods of Milan, away from the busy center but where real locals go.

Vertical Forest

Vertical Forest

The Northern part of Milan is usually neglected by foreign visitors, and the reasons are many: it is too distant from the centre – Milan looks strangely asymmetrical, egg-like, having developed mostly towards north; it is too new; it is too big. All these reasons are true, but you would miss some amazing experiences by skipping this urban quadrant.

You’ll spend a lot of time on metro trains, so start your day with a good breakfast at Red, the cafè of Feltrinelli bookstore located in the beautiful Gae Aulenti Square, just in the middle of a new housing development named Porta Nuova. You will be sorrounded by some of the most daring buildings of Milan, such as award-winner Vertical Forests by Stefano Boeri: two twin tall residential towers hosting hundreds of trees and plants, distributed in relation to the façade’s position towards the sun. On flat land, each Vertical Forest equals, in amount of trees, an area of 7000 square meters of forest.

From Garibaldi metro station take the brand new Purple Line to Ponale, and after a 700-mt walk in a bleak neighborhood you will find yourself at the entrance of Wonderland: Hangar Bicocca. It is the successful result of a large conversion project (located in the hangars of the former Ansaldo-Brera factory, where locomotives and railway carriages were made), and represents one of the main contemporary art hubs in Milan. You’ll be greeted at the entrance by an elegant work by Fausto Melotti, La Sequenza, but you will plunge into sheer ecstasy with The Seven Heavenly Palaces by Anselm Kiefer (some of our guests once said that Kiefer’s work is worth a trip not just to this distant area of Milan, it is “worth a trip to Milan!”).

Casa Boschi di Stefano

Casa Boschi di Stefano

Get ready for your journey back after a cup of coffee at the museum cafè, then head to the Milanese Chinatown. If it is Tuesday or Saturday, do not miss the reknowned Mercato di via Fauché, a local street market in the top ten of best bargain spots. A shopping mall en plein air, it is rich in food’s stalls but you will also satisfy your hunger for fashion with brand shoes and cashmere wool goods of superlative quality.

Hop on a tram and reach busy Corso Buenos Aires, the longest, most crowded and popular shopping street of Milan, but do not be distracted by H&M or Zara and rather stop at Casa Boschi-Di Stefano, a museum-house hosting an utterly fascinating collection of paintings amassed by Antonio Boschi and Marieda Di Stefano during their lives. Donated to the city of Milan in 1974, it is an impressive overview of the Italian art of the XX century, making this apartment – together with its furniture of the Thirties and everyday objects – a thoroughly unique place.

For dinner, stop at Osteria del Treno, a bistro with elaborate cooking that has been the Milan centre of the Slow Food association since 1989. On Sunday, the Liberty-style dining room becomes a dance floor: so do not forget your tango shoes!


Olive oil Tasting

Olive oil tasting in Milan with Bella Milano Tours

Experience the new olive oil tasting in Milan with Bella Milano Tours!

Olive oil Tasting

Olive oil Tasting

Extra virgin olive oil is a pillar of Italian cuisine, but also an incredibly complex product that should be treated like wine: there are so many different types of oils, different ways to use it, and quality may be extremely varied.

That is why we now include in our food tours a training session during which you will learn how to taste oil and how to assess its quality.

Tasting session wil be guided by Astrid Vinatzer, manager of the cooking school Il Giardino dei Sapori, a lovely lady from the alpine region of Trentino who will host you in her elegant Art Nouveau villa.

You will experience a blind tasting in order to identify which, of a number of different oils, is the best and the worst, and above all why. You will train your senses to assess the organolectic characteristics of oil.

Astrid Vinatzer

Astrid Vinatzer