The Perks of Living in Italy

So, so far it probably looks like all I’ve done is moaned about how difficult things are here in Italy and how it's lack of organisation is enough to drive anyone crazy. So I thought I’d write a post about all the things I’m loving about being here at the moment (this turned out to be a very long post!) because let’s face it, leaving the frustrations aside, Italy is awesome. And if there’s anything that can make a bad day better, it’s icecream. Which leads me on to my first point:


Not only is it delicious but you can eat it whenever and wherever you want! Morning, noon and night; any time is ice-cream time in Italy (some even open until midnight!). I have made full use of this by occasionally popping by my local Gelateria after a long day's work (9 to 6 i'll have you know). It’s just what you need!

And forget Vanilla, Strawberry and Chocolate there are so many different flavours to choose from. I usually spend about 10 minutes in the shop trying to decide (and there's the italians who seem to be able to decide in 2 seconds, must be the years of ice-cream eating that makes them such experts). My personal favorites (and my go to if I panic and can't decide) are Stracciatella (a sort of milk chocolate with chocolate chips) and
Pistacchio. At first you might think it’s weird because, well isn’t ice-cream supposed to be sweet? Wrong, so wrong! Pistacchio is amaaazing.

And the best ice cream I hear you asking? The Gelateria della Musica in Milan. You just HAVE to go, it's definitely worth the extra travel to get there as it's not in the very centre. Which is better really. because you don't get all those pesky tourists, only people in the know, get to go ;)

The afore mentioned BEST icecream EVERRR
Let me give you an example of why it's awesome. They had THREE types of Pistachio ice cream (which doesn't help with my indecisiveness). Naturally i just had to try one of them and I paired my Pistacchio with Cheescake. It was beautiful! So rich and creamy and the flavours were so distinct that it tasted like the real thing.
Some more icecream...

A trip to Milan just for that ice cream is definitively on the cards.I mean my house is only a 40 minute train's perfectly acceptable. You can even buy a big tub and fill it with scoops of your choice, which actually makes the whole trip to Milan for ice cream thing fairly feasible…if it wasn’t for the heat that is…

Un caffe per favore

There's something comforting about waking up to the smell of fresh coffee in the morning. The rich aroma slowly filling the house. No instant rubbish here, just pure espresso: sugar, no milk. People here seem surprised when I say I drink coffee (like them), because I guess for an English person it must be pretty strong. I wouldn't know however, as the half Italian in me says that I like it.

Italians have an espresso at breakfast-great for waking you up in the morning. They also have one after a meal which is also great if you're like me who always gets really sleepy after a big meal (which is pretty much every meal here, think pasta course, meat course and free bread!).

And guess what I discovered the other day: an espresso with a shot of spirit/liqueur is an actual thing! The first time my colleague ordered an espresso with a Sambuca shot I was a little worried. Was he some kind of alcoholic? No, this is apparently very normal in Italy and is called a caffe coretto! But word of warning never have a caffe coretto with Grappa. Or alternatively order at you own peril.

This brings me on to my next point:

Alcohol at Lunch

A Classic Italian Caipiroska Cocktail

Even during a lunch break at work, we get on the old vino (one glass mind). Most places encourage it by offering a set menu including two courses, coffee and wine for 10 euros! If you really want to push the boat out you could have wine AND a caffe corretto (the alcoholic coffee) but then this is perfectly acceptable too really.

And talking of alcohol, its so much cheaper than in England, even in bars you can get a cocktail for 5/6 euros, even ones in the centre of Milan. And...guess what they don't measure, so be careful, they're pretty strong! If you're a beginner stay away from the Negroni. Oh and guys, its fine for you to order a cocktail... no, really you can no one will call you a girl.

Independent Shops

In Italy you still get a lot of Independent shops which means in my town there is still a grocers and bakery, which I made a point of going to because you can't really in England (not where I come from anyway) and because I had this image in my head of me cycling along with some freshly made bread in my basket.

Literally 5 Minutes from my House

There we are, I did it!
There's also a pastecceria just around the corner which I gather from peering through the window sells cakes and yummy pastries. That's definitely my next stop.

And although you can find global brands such as Mcdonalds here, they are far and few between (why would you want a Mcdonalds anyway when you could have a pizza?!) which is really refreshing because it makes going out for dinner so much more interesting. I love going out to eat, but in England when it's the same old choice between Pizza Express, Nandos or Ask, it gets a bit boring. But here, despite the main choice seemingly being between pasta or pizza (it is NEVER as simple as that) there are so many resturants each with their own character and feel. 

For example, in Milan, if you fancy a pizza you can go to il Doge di Almafi pizzeria where there is a crazy owner who wears a napkin as a bandanna and shouts hola! at you. Sometimes musicians with a trumpet/trombone come in from the street to serenade the diners. Such craziness!. 

However, if you're after a more sophisticated affair there's a beautiful restaurant, also in Milan, called El tombon de San Marc where chandeliers dangle over the tables and you can order dishes such as Salmon tartare.  

And the nicest thing is, more often than not it's a family run business so you can feel good that you're not just making the rich, richer :)


Similar to the ice-cream thing, I can have pizza whenever I want! And it’s a thousand times better than any dominoes or pizza hut. There are so many different ones to choose from, I'm talking about 30 on a menu...No wonder I am having problems with indecisiveness here! Then there’s thick pizzas and thin pizzas and pizza’s from a restaurant or pizza slices to takeaway. And unlike England they’re cheap! Even in Milan you can get a pizza for 6-7 euros. Yum Yum.

But here's one I had in Monza and like classic italians we didn't eat until 9.30 pm.

A Yummy Pizza by Candlelight at the Trattoria Caprese

Just Look at the Puddings!!

Cheeky Tiramisu for Two!

Buon appetito!

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