Even though Italy is so close to Germany and France we’ve never visited this charming country. It was definitely time to change that. So after our two beautiful weeks in England we landed at Bergamo airport, ready to spend a few days in Milan. Our flight was delayed and we were tired but the sun gave us the most beautiful welcome possible and we felt so happy to be there. We found a shuttle driving to Milan centre where we could admire the incredible sunset during the whole journey.
Welcome to Italy!
We arrived at the home of my awesome friend Marie-Caroline, who is studying in Milan for her Masters Degree. We cooked pasta with her and ate it with the vegan parmigiana we brought from England. All that on a red-and-white checked tablecloth, talking with her funny Italian roommates. Couldn’t be a better start to the Italian culture, right?
Where we lived
As you know we travel in a different way than most of people. In exchange for free accommodation we take care of other people’s pets and home- if you want to know more about it check out our blog post right here. Our house sit was near to Porta Romana. We hadn’t seen any pictures of the flat so we were wondering what to expect. Answer? A stunning apartment, with a looot of space, cute pets and a super nice family to explain everything we needed to know. We felt very welcome and we already knew it was going to be a beautiful week.
Organic stores and vegan food
The first organic store we visited in Italy was one we know from France called “bio C bon”. Unfortunately it was way more expensive than in France so we thought we’d have to select what we want to buy organic because of our very low travel budget.
Walking around the city, we found our new favourite organic shop: Naturasi: It was cheaper than the first one. We found a delicious vegan cheese there: a mix of mozzarella and blue cheese, made out of nori seaweed. It had a strong cheese smell/taste and a great consistency.
We randomly found a vegan café restaurant called Radicetonda. The staff were super nice, spoke good english and the atmosphere very warm and welcoming. The prices were very affordable. We both had a cappuccino with delicious Italian cookies.
The rest of the week we decided to be careful with our budget and so we cooked at home most of the time. Milan has many vegan restaurants that we’ll be happy to visit next time we’re in the city.
Some people explained to us that due to the large gluten free intolerance in Italy -caused by the pizza-pasta Italian diet we guess- there are lot of gluten free options to find. We quickly realized how true it is: even in regular supermarkets the gluten free products were everywhere. Perfect for us. We also found out that these products were unfortunately barely combined with veganism. Too bad. You can find vegan options, gluten free options, but almost never together.
We visited two gluten free bakeries in our neighbourhood and noticed once again that their choice was huge but that they had nothing vegan except from bread and some focaccia like the plain one, onions or tomatoes.
The gluten free bakeries we visited
Two locations : Via Curtatone, 6, 20122 Milano & Viale Gian Galeazzo, 6
Their website here
Viale Monte Nero 57, Milano
We liked PanPerMe the most. It was such a nice place with friendly staff. They had soy milk for hot drinks and the cappuccino was super cheap (1,30euro!)
Their website here
Most of the time during our travels we don’t appreciate sightseeing. We enjoy our trips the most when walking through the places we visit till we get lost. That’s what we did in Milan. We loved the beautiful streets and charming balconies of the city. The city was exactly like people told us it would be: an industrial city, different from the rest of Italy.
It’s true; Milan is not representing the typical Italian style like Rome or Venice, it is more a fashion and designer place. That’s why we have to come back soon and visit the other cities. Everyone told us that if we liked Milan a lot, they know we will like all the other cities in Italy even more. We had a wonderful week and we’re really looking forward to discover the other treasures of Italy.
Huge plastic waste: we were sad to see that in so many different supermarkets the fruit and veggies are already packed: Instead of having items you can buy and weigh they use a lot of paper and plastic, probably to make to make it easier and quicker.
Fur everywhere: we were shocked to see all the down coats and fur hoods. No matter if they were young or old, women or men: everyone in Milan seems to possess fur and to wear down coats.
Hygiene obsession: we had no idea how important hygiene us for the Italians. They live in perfectly clean apartments, they never leave clothes on their chairs and don’t put their bags on the table.. And, they still use the bidet. As a French girl I was very surprised because it is such a forgotten thing to me. You can still find them in French bathrooms but almost nobody uses them. In Italy everyone seems to care about it and even the young adults use it after using the toilets.
Dog situation: the importance Italians seem to give to hygiene is unfortunately forgotten whem it comes to the total lack of care given to public places: people don’t bother picking up dog excrement. Talking about dogs: we could only find small dogs in Milan, we almost never saw big ones.
Lights: one of our biggest struggles during the week was probably finding the light switches. By that I mean: they are almost never in the right place. For example you are at a café and want to go to the toilet: you will probably have to search for a while to find the switch.
That’s it for this week guys, we’ll tell you next Sunday about our week in Paris!
Find all our other travels right here