There’s something terribly romantic about strolling through Italy, the movies tell us.
Perhaps this is true for all of Europe, but for every one of its great cities, it always takes a true native to champion the locales of his roots on foot—someone who can navigate streets and hours, so that a definitive introduction is accomplished, but never exhausted, within the confines of a day.
Italian luxury brand Tod’s has put together a digital city guide that aims to intimate readers with the best features of the most popular Italian cities, proving that knowing how to live well implies knowing the cities and their secrets. The newly launched Italian Notes takes from Tod’s recommendations and the personal selections of several leading art patrons and style figures to lead website visitors through the cities of Italy, like Naples, Rome, Florence, and Venice. The guides are also a means for visitors to discover the latest collections of leather shoes from Tod’s, as most of their undeniably Italian footwear figure into the guides among the elements. From restaurants to hidden nooks to specialty shops and the people behind them, Italian Notes is Tod’s personalized walkthrough of the country’s streets.
Here’s a look at the Italian Notes guide to Milan, ‘tutored’ by textile magnate Guglielmo Miani, whose family business Larusmiani began in the 1920’s, providing elegant bespoke suits to star clients like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin.
The ideal day in Milan starts at Camparino, the historic “in and out” bar, perfect for a stand-up breakfast in true Milanese style: for me it’s been the family bar for generations, and it’s incredible how it hasn’t changed in a hundred years – the counter’s inlay work, for example, is by the ebonist Quarti.
It’s also ideal for drinks before La Scala, our pride and joy, the world famous temple of music and opera: you should go at least twice a year, not forgetting its Museum next door. Two surprises on the first floor: you can look into one of the theatre’s boxes and also admire, in rotation, some of the sumptuous stage costumes.
My ideal lunch break is at the Bacaro del Sambuco, in via MonteNapoleone; time has stopped in this beautiful little courtyard garden with tables; the cuisine is exquisite and the management is a family – the father welcomes the clients, the daughter serves at table and the mother is at the stove in the kitchen. Some say that their tiramisù is the best in Milan, and who am I to deny it?
At least one afternoon should be spent at Villa Necchi, in the heart of the “Quadrilateral of Silence”; perfectly preserved, it reminds us what Milan used to be, secret and elegant. Even if you haven’t got time to visit the building, at least take a break in the garden, it’s regenerating, magical.
But if interior design is your thing, I’d suggest a place that very few know about: it’s called FLAIM and it’s run by a young man called Riccardo. The place has original furnishing accessories in 19th and 20 century styles that would delight any collector.
Check out the rest of Italian Notes on the Tod’s website.