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Europe Travels

Eternal Rome

Have you ever found a views that you can watch for hours and you are never tired of? The Eternal City could transport you directly back to the history behind the monuments, between the streets.

I came to Rome more than a couple of times, and every single time I can’t help but falling in love even more with this city. This is one of the most outstanding places you could ever go to, with its gorgeous ancient buildings, to the magnificent colosseum. Everything is magical about this city, and any city is amazing at night, not even Paris maybe, and you know how much I love Paris. I hope you will come here very soon, because trust me, pictures doesn’t give this city justice.

What to see and do:

Climb up St Peter’s Basilica Dome and you will have all the eternal city at your feet. If you go up during the daylight hours you will have the interior lights plus sunlight and the atmosphere will be quite unreal.

Trastevere, As far as I concern this is the best neighborhood in Rome. Fullfilled with vintage stores and cute restaurants, here it you feel like you are in another world. You could spend hours wandering around without getting tired. In the evening, find you favourite restaurant and  have dinner here, you won’t be disappointed.

Fontana di Trevi, I know, pretty touristy right? But this place is so magical and I can stop myself from writing about it. It was recently restored, so now it’s white as snow, and the contrast it makes with the water is awesome. And don’t forget to make a wish by throwing a coin in the fountain.

Villa borghese, this place is soooo calming. You will constantly find statues, but the best part is the little lake where you can get a boat and having the time of your life there. You won’t be disappointed. And don’t forget to check the views from “Terrazza del Pincio”.

Rione monti, you probably know how much I adore finding beautiful doors (and snap them)… I can say that in this district you can find my favourite ones (check out the picture scrolling down), in summer these two doors are covered by a waterfall of green leafs that make the doors even more pretty.

Villa Pamphili, besides the amazing villa, the gardens around it are so gorgeous. Awesome place to spend an entire afternoon by doing completely nothing.

Don’t miss the sunset from the bridge of Castel San’t Angelo overlooking the St Peter’s Basilica Dome. This is something I will never forget..

Where to eat:

Grazia & Graziella, to taste the best Cacio & pepe (pasta with cheese and pepper), typical of Rome.

Caffè Propaganda, near the Colosseum, this black and white bistrot is probably one of the most elegant ones in the city. They have a great selection of teas and tasty macarons.

Ladurée Salon de The, this is the first (and the only one in Italy until now) Salon de the of Laduree opened in Italy, go there to taste the best french patisserie in the hearth of Italy.

Coromandel, if you wander in & between the little streets in the city center and your are searching for the perfect spot where to brunch you might find this cute café. Besides being pretty, their waffles and pancakes are A-W-E-S-O-M-E.

Tiramisù da Pompi, while I was strolling around the city with Moeko (check her blog here moekomunaretto.com) she took me there and when I ate their tiramisù (that you can try in so many flavours) I felt like I couldn’t stop myself from having more and more. There  are many spots where you can try it, so find the perfect one for you.

Ristorante Angelina, on Sunday you can have a super brunch here before strolling for the rest of the day around Rome.

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Avete mai trovato quella vista che guardereste per ore senza mai stancarvi? La città eterna vi trasporterà indietro nel tempo tra i suoi monumenti e le sue strade.

Sono stato a Roma più volte, ma ognuna è così unica e non riesco a smettere di innamorarmi di questa città. E’ davvero uno dei posti più incredibili che si possano visitare sulla terra: con i suoi fantastici edifici che rivestono ancora tutta la storia che c’è dietro, e ovviamente il magnifico Colosseo.

Spero davvero che la visitiate al più presto (o magari di nuovo se ci siete già stati), perchè credo che delle semplici foto non rendano la sensazione di vivere davvero questa città.

Cosa fare e vedere:

Salite sulla cupola di San Pietro per ammirare la città eterna dall’altro, qualcosa che credo non dimenticherete facilmente. Se salite durante il giorno vedrete la luce  esterna filtrata dalle finestre che renderà l’atmosfera davvero surreale.

Trastevere, è il mio quartiere preferito. Negozi vintage e i ristorantini vi faranno vivere in un altro mondo. Potreste passare interi pomeriggi a girovagare tra una stradina e l’altra senza mai stancarvi. E alla sera… cercate il vostro ristorante preferito (ce ne sono davvero tantissimi) e concedetevi una cenetta romantica, sono sicuro che ne resterete entusiasti.

Fontana di Trevi, Anche se forse troppo turistica (magari visitatela al mattino presto per godervi l’atmosfera di calma) non posso non inserirla tra le mie cose preferite. E’ stata recentemente restaurata, ed è tornata a splendere di nuovo e il contrasto con l’azzurro dell’acqua la rende ancora più caratteristica. E non dimenticatevi di And don’t forget to make a wish by throwing a coin in the fountain.

Villa borghese, nello scappare dal caos cittadino rifugiatevi qui. Troverete qua e là statue, una vista incredibile su Roma (Terrazza del Pincio), un antico orologio ad acqua, ma la parte migliore sarà noleggiare una barchetta nel laghetto con qualche amico.

Rione monti, saprete probabilmente quanto mi piace cercare ovunque le casette caratteristiche, e sopratutto i loro portoni (e fotografarli, immaginando come se ognuna potesse essere mia) e posso dire che in questo quartiere trovate i miei preferiti, durante l’estate sono completamente incorniciate da una cascata di foglie verdissime che le rendono ancora più belle.

Villa Pamphili, oltre alla bellissima villa troverete anche un parco dove potervi rilassare o passare un intero pomeriggio esplorando i giardini.

Non dimenticate di vedere il tramonto dal ponte di Castel San’t Angelo guardando la Basilica di San Pietro. E’ stato uno dei momenti più magici di sempre, davvero mozzafiato..

Dove mangiare:

Caffè Propaganda, se siete vicino al Colosseo concedetevi una pausa qui, vi assicuro che non vi deluderà! È probabilmente il bistrot più elegante della capitale.

Ladurée Salon de The, è il primo “Salon de the” di Ladurée  aperto in Italia, anche se non tipico del luogo ai macarons non si resiste mai, non è vero?

Coromandel, lo troverete girovagando per le stradine di Roma, ed è anche questo a renderlo così tipico, oltre all’arredamento interno. Provate i pancankes sono giganti e deliziosi.

Tiramisù da Pompi, mentre Moeko (date un’occhiata al suo blog qui moekomunaretto.com) mi faceva da guida turistica mi ha anche portato a mangiare il tiramisù da Pompi. Non troverete solo il classico ma ce ne sono di tantissimi tipi e gusti, ero davvero indeciso su quale scegliere ma alla fine ha vinto quello alla fragola.
Ristorante Angelina, di domenica concedetevi una piacevole sosta per il brunch prima di una bella passeggiata romana.

Grazia & Graziella, a Trastevere per provare gli spaghetti cacio e pepe tipici di Roma.

Food

10 best cafés in Milan

After moving to Milan, one of my priority was to find all the cafés this city could offer me. Now that I’ve been living here for more than two years, I’m finally able to write down the best 10 café “milanesi”. From the fanciest toast ever, till a cat filled café; in this article I put cafés for any taste, so I hope that whether your a tourist or a long term Milan citizen, you’ll be able to find a place that suits you.

1. FANCYTOAST, Via Alessandro Volta, 8 (M2 Moscova)

Federica welcomed us by telling the history of this place. After spending some years in California, she has fallen in love with this particular type of toast, which features a 5-inch bread made of 7 different type of cereals. After coming back to Italy, she had the most amazing idea, opening a selling point of these toast in Milan. The place is very small, so I don’t suggest you to come here on Saturday, but with its unique toast, it definitely stole my heart.

2. Pavè, Via Felice Casati, 27 (M3/M2 Centrale)

This place is one of the first one I tried once I moved to Milan. Here you can find the best pastry you can possibly have. Located in a small but well designed bar, you can also look at the pastry chef while they create the pastries just seconds before you might eat them. Coffee and cappuccinos are very good here, even if at first glance it might look like a patisserie.

3. Macha Café, Viale Francesco Crispi, 15 (M2 Moscova)

Newly opened, this place quickly conquered my heart. If you know me well, you will obviously know that matcha is one of my favorite things. In this little café you will find food for every taste rigorously green, which means matcha is the star here, but this place also offer avocado based meals. The matcha cheesecake is definitely my favorite, along with the green pancakes with salmon. And there is also the Avocado Burger, an entire burger made of avocado instead of bread: INSANE.

4. 22 Milano, Via Principe Amedeo, 2 (M3 Turati)

From outside, this place might seems simple and essential, but as soon as you walk in and order a cappuccino you will find animals drew on them. Amazing right? I believe this is the only place in Milan which offers this type of latte art, so I was obviously delighted when this place opened in my town. Besides cappuccinos, I suggest you to try their brioches, especially the pistachio ones. This place is also a good choice if you are looking  for a place to have brunch.

5. oTTo, Via Paolo Sarpi, 8 (M2 Garibaldi, M5 Monumentale)

Located in the Milan’s China town, this place is definitely unique. From the staff to the food they offer, in this simple and essential location but well designed, you can have theirs “quadrotto”, a slice of bread topped with different and tasty ingredients. Here you can also feel welcomed if you are planning on having a good coffee while studying or working, bur keep in mind that during the busiest hours (lunch) you must switch off your computer and enjoy your amazing meal. I highly suggest you to try this place also for sunday brunch.

6. Crazy Cat Café, Via Napo Torriani, 5 (M2/M3 Centrale)

Cat and coffee? You can definitely count me in! Besides being a well designed place, here you will find some cats playing and sleeping around you while you eating your favorite cake. The rules are clear, do not feed them, do not wake them up, do not take photos with flash on. Pretty simple right? This place is also suitable for vegans, since many of their plates are made without any animal-derived products. Do you know how their cappuccino is called? Catpuccino. How cute is that?

7. Riad food garden, Viale Piave, 17 (M1 Palestro)

This place is full of cactus, plants of every type and pillows. That’s the best way to describe it. Located in a very cosy place, if you’re looking for a hot tea and brioches stuffed at the moment, this café is for you.

8. Mint Garden Café,  Via Felice Casati, 12 (M2/M3 Centrale)

If you love cactus you must come here. The most particular thing about this place is that besides being a café, it is also a flower shop. Unique right? It seems a nord Europe café. I won’t lie, I came here only once, but it was definitely a good experience!

9. Pandenus, Via Francesco Melzi d’Eril, 3 (M5 Domodossola)

In this colorful local you can have one of the best bruch in town. You can choose from six different menus (depend on the week) but they are all extremely delicious! Just a quick advice, if you are planning on doing a brunch on Sunday, remember to make a reservation. They are usually pretty busy!

10. Dedans, Piazza Riccardo Wagner, 3 (M1 Wagner)

This is one of the cutest café you can possibly find in Milan. The atmosphere is so calm, and even during winter, you can have your coffee and brioche in a garden well designed also with particular lights made from pottery. Is not the cheapest café you can find, even if their prices are not expensive, don’t worry. My favorite is definitely the brioche filled of pistachio of Bronte cream. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

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Europe Travels

Big dreams start in small places

Cinque Terre meaning ‘Five Lands’ are five little towns of the Italian Riviera, that maintain the charm and character of Italian villages of the past.

Cinque Terre National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site from 1997.

Historically, the villages were walled to protect against attacks from the sea, because this area of the coast was often attacked by pirates.

This constructed fishing villages can bolster the most jaded of spirits.

Sinuous paths traverse seemingly impregnable cliffsides, while a 19th-century railway line cut through a series of coastal tunnels ferries the footsore from village to village.

The tiny harbors features boat ramps, picturesque buildings tripping down the ravine and the town’s swimming hole. Although there is mostly no real beach here, it has some of the best deep-water swimming around and you can climb up the rocks and dive in if you love a little adventuresome swimming.

The Cinque Terre is a destination with timeless appeal, and it’s impossible to do it justice in a day trip. It really is the kind of place that rewards taking it slow, I suggest to spend about 3-7 days to get lost in those pictures towns.

With last minute plans to visit, I had no time to research the best hotels to stay in. So I decided to book an apartment on Airbnb and was totally worth it: waking up every single morning with the dawn which makes the colored houses even more colorful. If you decided to go there during the high season (summer) and you could not find where to stay because it’s fully booked everywhere, don’t panic, you can always search something in  La Spezia, that is not so far from there (15 minutes by train).

About the villages

Monterosso al mare, is the most popular town, the first one you can reach from Genova, it has the best beaches of the Cinque Terre.

Vernazza, is my favorite town. Its a natural pier with an amphitheatre shape making it perhaps the most picturesque village (and harbour) of the Cinque Terre. Even if always crowded the village’s trademark caruggi (narrow lanes) are full of life during every part of the day.

Corniglia, is the only one of the five not right next to the water. Instead, it’s pearched high up on the cliffs, and you have to make 365 steps to reach the center of the town. Once you have got there you can enjoy an amazing view from above all the other towns. It’s quieter and smaller than the other villages, far from the crowds of tourists.

Manarola, is surrounded by vines and is situated along a stream. This town is a near-vertical cluster of tall houses piggyback up the hillside. Because it has no harbor, just a landing, its main drag becomes a parking lot of boats that are hauled up each day after the morning fishing’s done.

Riomaggiore, is the most eastern and the nearest village to La Spezia. This village, the biggest one, acts as the Cinque Terre’s unofficial capital and presents typical features reflecting its history and traditions. The town stretches along a vertical axe where steep staircases are the only means to move around the town.

What to eat:

The Cinque Terre aren’t just beautiful, it has some great food, too! Because Liguria, is on the coast, seafood and fish are a big part of the diet here, and many of the region’s famous foods and recipes were first invented, or eaten, on ships or by fishermen.

You must try pesto pasta, a typical dish of the Italian Riviera. It’s D.O.P. protected, meaning it can only be made in a very precise way, with specific ingredients, to be considered the “real thing.” The ingredients themselves are simple: basil, pine nuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic, salt, and olive oil, and when it’s done properly, it’s absolutely delicious over pasta!

This part of Italy is also famous for ‘Focaccia’. A flattened bread (like a pizza without tomato sauce), it’s meant to be eaten straight from the oven. And it’s a street food, so don’t feel as if you have to be sitting down at a restaurant to enjoy it. Fritto misto, fried fish served in paper cones fitted to eat on the seaside rocks

And obviously, you are in Italy so don’t miss to eat some ice-cream.

Where to eat:

Nessun Dorma Cinque Terre, to enjoy the most beautiful view of the most romantic village among the five, delicious drinks and yummy appetizers, you can’t go wrong.

Ristorante Belforte, in the Village of Vernazza, built inside a historic fortress overlooking the ocean. The food and the view is heaven.

Da Eraldo, to taste antipasto platter and pesto pasta with some local wine. A tiny little restaurant with authentic, fresh Italian food. Lovely Italian music created a romantic and fun atmosphere.

Gelateria Vernazza o Gelateria il Porticciolo for some ice-cream.

What to see and do:

To explore further south to Portovenere, you will need to take a boat. Portovenere is not a part of the Cinque Terre, and it is impossible to reach to it by train. But it is as beautiful as any borough of the National Park.

For centuries walking trails were the only way to travel between the villages of the Cinque Terre and often provided the only link to the outside world. The walking trails remain the main attraction of the Cinque Terre.

Famous destination for young lovers from around the world, The Way of Love (Via dell’Amore) is part of the complete path, called the Blue trail that links all the five villages. The best time to walk through this footpath is in the early morning or around sunset, not only to avoid overcrowding of visitors, but also to enjoy much better light and weather conditions.

If you take the trail between Vernazza and Manarola, the perfect reward after the most difficult part of your hike is absolutely the view over the village of Vernazza. This view is stunning, you couldn’t forget it and makes your trip to Cinque Terre worth it.

Some trails are not always accessible during winter and autumn, as it rains a lot during this period. You should keep in mind that during July and August the weather usually gets pretty hot, and it is not so easy to walk around in mountains.

Don’t forget to see the towns by boat and watching sunset every evening, especially from the rocks in Riomaggiore where you can see the sun disappearing below the sea.

If Cinque Terre is not on your bucket list, add it now.

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