Tag Archives: lasagna

Incredible Milano


Yesterday, I headed out to Milan in order to attend the Macef convention today at FieraMilano. I used every method of transportation to arrive (except I guess, boat)! I got a ride from Ispra to a train station that had a direct connection to Milan. Once arrived in Milan, I bought a 2 day Metro pass so that I could navigate the city with ease. Milan’s metro system is extremely easy to understand and also very accessible from many parts of the city. After checking in to my favorite hotel, the Westin Palace on Piazza della Repubblica, I headed out for some adventures!

Hopping on the Metro in front of my hotel, I headed to the heart of this vibrant city – Piazza Duomo! Upon exiting the Metro station, I was faced with the incredible facade of the majestic Gothic duomo.

I sat for awhile at it’s door, enjoying a prosciutto panino and doing some people watching! The piazza was hopping! There were throngs of tourists, and also throngs of street merchants trying to sell you junky little souvenirs. Holding on tight to my purse, I sat and admired this architectural wonder. Once I got my fill, I headed out in search of the famed Naviglio Grande. At one time, Milan was compared to Amsterdam in that canals traversed the city. In fact, there was a canal right near the Duomo from which the marble from Lago Maggiore came to build the massive structure. Over time, the canals were filled in and the city was built over them. The Navigli district is the only area in Milan where the canals are still present. At one time, this part of the city was extremely seedy and dangerous…but it has been rejuvenated into a trendy area filled with boutiques and restaurants. I have to say that the shopping kind of disappointed me, but the restaurants looked wonderful.

After exploring this area, I headed back to the Duomo area to do some window shopping. Milan is the city of fashion, so every designer is represented here. The prices are exhorbitant, but if you are looking for designer labels, this is the place for you!

Heading back to the hotel, I decided to spend the evening at the hotel’s bar, enjoying an aperitivo. Aperitivos are always served with food…it helps with the tolerance of the alcohol!

I sat with my IPad and wrote and wrote! Sitting in the corner, I wasn’t disturbed by anyone! Just how I like it! For dinner, since I still haven’t mastered the art of eating alone in public, I played it safe by ordering room service. Lasagne with a glass of white wine….not too shabby!

Today, I attended the giant Macef convention. This event is dedicated to Italian design and gifts. I came for for the sole purpose of looking at bomboniere (favors), but ended up finding so much more. I am inspired to open a gift shop in order to showcase all the gorgeous Italian designs I witnessed today! There is something about the absolute simplicity of Italian design that captivates me! And the ideas I came away with are an inspiration for some future endeavors. I will have to do some legwork in order to introduce the bomboniere concept in the USA! And who knows, maybe some other items will sneak their way in!

After wandering the convention today in my “gladiator” shoes, I had to call it quits! I dressed for success today, but fashion comes with a price!!!! But I came away with such a sense of Italian design, and also a dream of sharing it back home!

And tonight’s “loner” dinner was bruschetta! Yummy!

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


I’m Back…


Hello, everyone!  I am happy and sad to say that I have returned from my very quick jaunt to il Bel Paese!!!  I’d like to share my adventures with you as well as offer some recommendations for anyone who may be travelling to the places that I visited on this trip 🙂


Our trip began with a flight from SF to Zurich, Switzerland.  We chose Zurich because the air fares were so much more reasonable.  We flew U.S. Airways – a good and comfortable airline and airplane!  The seats in coach were spacious and comfortable.  The only drawback was that on the domestic part of the flight (to Philadelphia and back), there was no food service.  If we wanted food, we could purchase it, but it consisted of yucky sandwiches 😦  So we actually bought food at the airport prior to our flight and brought it on board with us.  Lots of passengers had the same idea!

After arriving in Zurich, we immediately boarded a train for Italy!  Our route left directly from the Zurich airport and ended in Baveno, Italy.   The train passed beautiful Swiss scenery via Brig and Domodossola.    Baveno sits on the western shore of Lago Maggiore, just north of Stresa.  The Borromeo Islands sit right offshore and they are easily visible from the shores of Baveno.  Please see my previous post about the Borromeo Islands

We spent our first night at the Hotel Rigoli in a lakefront room.  The hotel is very small but well appointed.  It is extremely clean but the rooms are on the small side, with REALLY tiny bathrooms.  But the size of the room didn’t matter at all once I looked out onto a gorgeous balcony overlooking the lake.  Being that I still wasn’t quite used to the time change, I spent a part of the night out on the balcony.  The sliver of  moon over the lake and the twinkling lights on the opposite shore made me feel like I was living a dream.  It was absolutely heavenly 🙂  The hotel has a lovely breakfast room.  As with most hotels in Italy, breakfast is included with the price of the room.  The breakfast consisted of pastries, breads, cold cuts, cereals and fresh fruits.  Espresso coffee drinks are made to order and the service is perfect.  The breakfast room opens to the outside, and we were able to enjoy our breakfast lakeside at tables with geraniums to add just the right touch of color to the ambience!  All in all, this hotel’s setting is very romantic and the scenery was a dream 🙂

Sunrise over Lago Maggiore from the Hotel Rigoli

Baveno boasts an elegant Lungolago promenade where you can soak in the wonderful lake front vistas.  We stopped at a small lakeside cafe for a glass of white wine and some relaxation, which we needed after having been awake for about 30 hours!   We found a WONDERFUL restaurant for dinner called Piccola Napoli.  The prices were reasonable and the food was excellent.  I had been craving real Italian lasagna – and it did not disappoint!  But get there early, as the restaurant fills up very quickly.  Our first day in Italy did not disappoint!!