“What we do in life echoes in eternity.” – Marcus Aurelius As I was looking through some photos of a visit to Rome this summer I stumbled on this one of the Colosseum, which I love, particularly because as I was taking it a bird hovered just above it and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It made me think of the movie Gladiator, with Russell Crowe, one of my all-time favorites. There’s the famous line “What we do in life echoes in eternity” and it’s so powerful. The thing is, it’s never too late to make life count… and there is always the beauty of hope and redemption. 🙂
Milan is definitely starting to feel festive around this time of the year and it’s great. We ventured out for a little walk around the center yesterday evening and saw this amazing candy cane tram for the first time … it reminded me of the CandyLand board game I used to play with my brothers and sisters as a child… anyone else remember that?? I imagine that anyone who wasn’t feeling the holiday cheer would have to smile at the sight of it. I’m loving the creativity of this city 🙂
Simply gorgeous. No matter how many times I walk by the Duomo in Milan, I can’t help but admire the cathedral’s intricate details. It took almost six centuries to complete, is the 5th largest in the world (the largest in Italy), and is considered a work of late Gothic style.
Happy fall everyone! One of my favorite things about fall in Milan is walking through the city center and smelling the scent of freshly roasted chestnuts in the streets. The air is crisp, the streets are busy with bustling tourists, the trams are decorated, and it’s just a beautiful sight.
Italians are romantic down to their lovely stoplights.
One of our favorite days trips from Milan is to the quaint little city of Cernobbio, located on Lake Como. It’s probably about a mile long (or less), sits right on the lake, and is beautiful year-round, especially in the summer months when you can walk through the little city, sit outside in a restaurant with a refreshing glass of Prosecco and delicious cheese platter, or sip on a cappuccino in a cute cafe. I took the featured photo after a hike up the mountain that brought us to this gorgeous panoramic view of Lake Como.
If you ever head to southern Italy, do yourself a favor and make sure you try the mozzarella di bufala, a delicious specialty from the Campania region (Naples area). Honestly, it’s the best mozzarella I’ve ever had in my life. I guess you can say we have some pretty good imported mozzarella di bufala and burrata cheeses in San Francisco (we have a pretty big Italian population and “Little Italy”), but there’s just nothing quite like the real deal over here. It’s moist, dripping with buffalo milk, soft and the flavor is fantastic, especially when paired with prosciutto crudo: it’s a winning combination. If and when we move from Italy one day, this is one of the things that will top the charts in terms of things I miss.
Every meal is an important part of Italian life and culture – especially on Sunday when families gather together for a long lunch, one that usually last for a minimum of three hours. For Easter (Pasqua) this year we headed down to Gaeta, a beautiful city along the coast in southern Italy where some of my husband’s family lives. (It reminds me a lot of Sausalito, California if anyone is familiar with the Bay Area).
One of the first things I loved about Italy was their attention to detail – their presentation of food and desserts – which is such an important part of their culture. I remember seeing this gorgeous display of gelato when I was in Florence and almost couldn’t believe it was real… and not only does it look amazing, it’s equally as delicious. My favorite flavors are limone on a scorching hot day when I need something refreshing, or the combination of caffè and mascarpone e noci (mascarpone with walnuts) when I’m in the mood for something a little richer.
While visiting Sicily last spring we decided to check out the quaint little city of Taormina. The layout is unique as Taormina has a beautiful beach with gorgeous clear water, but the city itself is located on a mountain – so since there’s limited space for car traffic (and parking), there’s a tram available to transport people who have parked at the base of the mountain up to the top. It’s really an incredible place to visit – with lots of food stands on the side of the streets, plenty of cafes and bars, historic buildings and museums. I loved wandering down little alleyways (such as the one pictured) and stumbling on markets and treasures. Taormina is also famous for “aranchini” which is basically a fried rice ball stuffed with a variety of different things: my favorite is the mozzarella and spinach, but some have pomodoro sauce, mushrooms, ricotta, prosciutto and cheese, sausage, ragu… the options are endless!
While Italian cuisine is delicious, I’ve always liked variety when it comes to food – something that was completely normal growing up in San Francisco as the area is famous for its diversity (not only in terms of people, but restaurants as well). Anyone who’s been there knows you can find anything you’re in the mood for: sushi, Thai food, Chinese food, Korean BBQ, Greek, French and Italian cuisine, Mediterranean restaurants, Steakhouses, Salad Bars, Brazilian Churrascaria’s, Dim Sum, great Mexican food, Lebanese and Indian food… and the list goes on. We even have Little Italy (Italian quarter), Chinatown and Japantown in San Francisco.
Today was one of those gorgeous, crisp autumn days in Cernobbio (quite possibly our favorite little city/town on Lake Como). I had quickly snapped this shot as we were heading to the Wine & Food Style event that was being held at a venue across the lawn from this castle-looking structure – it was just too beautiful to pass up.
A friend was visiting from San Francisco last week and we spent the day exploring Milan together… we started with the Duomo and the Castle, but then wandered through cute neighborhoods eventually making our way to Brera all the while admiring the beautiful cobblestone (side note: but wondering how the women are able to walk around for hours in stilettos on such uneven and uncomfortable streets?! Never ceases to amaze me).
When I first moved to Milan I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the city. I had always thought of Milan as a fashion capital where the majority of people you see walking down the streets are gorgeous Italian models, wearing mostly black attire and heading to some type of posh event. Either that, or a very “corporate” city, as it’s also basically the business hub of Italy.
An essential part of my morning consists of a little 10 minute routine that results in the perfect cappuccino, latte or iced-latte… so for those who love delicious coffee or even just fabulous foam, I’m giving you a heads up that this little collection of items (see photo above), if given a chance, will become your new best friend.