Being a general lover of the sun and summertime, I’ve never understood why anyone would choose to sub out a minute of sunshine for the cold. My boyfriend Cam and I were lucky enough to spend some time in Milan over men's fashion week which falls in the peak of winter. I now understand the magic in a proper winter (not a Sydney winter where a light jumper will do the trick). It feels so good rugging up in coats and hats (faux fur always). Turns out the rude slap of the wind on your face followed by the enveloping hug a bowl of pasta and a glass of wine in a cozy restaurant is molto bene!
We were lucky to have some very good tips on where to eat so no carb was wasted. Below are our top hits to EAT / SEE / STAY when in Milan and Florence during winter.
THE most unbelievable food, wine, service and setting. A very special place to visit in Milano. My favourite meal of the trip. Seafood with an Italian/Mediterranean twist. The menu is locally seafood-focused and changes depending on what is in season.
They also have a cracking wine menu. Order the tuna tartare and seafood spaghetti.
Cozy from the cold and a great spot for lunch and people-watching. During the week the crowd is a mix of well-dressed Italian businessmen in navy suits and very thoughtfully dressed women who wine and dine. Order the egg with truffle. A new food discovery for me, you can find this on a few menus around town when it is truffle season.
A favourite of the fashion crowd. Great for dinner and more people watching. They serve the egg with truffle dish here too so worth going just for that and have a good Barolo selection
A beautiful setting for lunch. Sit in the courtyard if it’s a warm day otherwise lovely to sit inside the converted monetary and watch the fashion crowd roll in. The tiramisu is particularly good here.
Very old school Italian – the menu is all in Italian. Order the Osobucco and Milanese risotto.
Order all the pasta dishes! Also has a great wine list.
Gucci Mens 2023 FW show
The show took place at Gucci Hub about 45 mins out of the city centre. This was the first collection presented since Alessandro Michelle left so there was a palpable level of buzz and mystery outside of the show. Personally, I loved it and enjoyed what felt like a palette cleanse for what is to come next. The classic, paired back tailoring (perfect for sharing) was particularly good.
Gucci Resee – Gucci Hub
We visited the Resee for the collection which was held at Gucci Hub. Modern tailoring, bags that could be mistaken for pets, Motorcycle pants, and punchy pirate boots.
Guided tour at Duomo Cathedral
This would be my number one must-do when visiting Milan. Our guide Massimo had the most wonderful wealth of knowledge. I was blown away to learn that they started building the Duomo in the 1300s and only completed building in the 60s. You walk to the very top on the building which gives you the most incredible view of the city.
Georgio Armani Mens FW 23 Fashion Show
Held at Mr. Armani’s private residence in the middle of Milan city, the show took place on a runway in the basement of his home where he used to show collections in the 80s. The full length leopard fur coat was a standout piece.
Grand Hotel Milan
Running since 1863, if you want old-world Italian charm look no further. Worth having a drink in the lobby just for the interesting people watching.
Recently opened, this hotel is a converted 13th-century monastery right in the centre of the city.
Stay here if you're looking for a fancy place to rest your head. If you hit peak carb load then stop by this hotel for a bowl of green minestrone soup. Like a big hug for your tummy.
FLORENCE / FIRENZE
We were lucky to be invited to visit the Gucci Archives in Florence which is an easy train ride from Milan. The archives were set up by Alessandro Michele and are a place that the creative team comes to for research and inspiration (which is why you’re not allowed to take photos). We learned about the rich history of the brand which started out as a saddle and luggage brand in the 1920s. It was interesting to see how progressive the handbag designs were even in the 40s. Very modern for the time and still very relevant in today's design terms.
Less touristy/more of a local crowd. The six-euro wine by the glass is amazing value. If you like meat make sure you order the Bone Marrow (I do not but Cam assures me this was wonderful).
Gucci Osteria da Massimo Bottura
Something special to experience when in Florence. We did the 12-course tasting menu – which isn’t usually my preferred style of eating but it was epic. The meal was cooked by a Mexican and Japanese married couple who met in Sydney coincidently. It was a nice change from traditional Italian. You could see both Japanese and Mexican influences coming through on the menu.
Old school, home-style Italian. A cozy spot for dinner with lots of traditional Florence dishes.
Known for its Renaissance art, architecture and monuments, there is lot to see and do in Florence. Everything is within walking distance in Florence so you can see a lot of the art and monuments by foot as it is displayed publicly. I loved walking around looking at the monuments and then ducking in for espresso and chocolate to warm up.
The Gallery contains some masterpieces of Renaissance art including the original Michelangelo’s David sculpture.
Walk over this very old bridge which is said to have been built as early as 996. The bridge plays host to lots of little jewellery stores which are nice to poke your nose into.
This square offers a lovely view of Florence, the Piazzale Michelangelo sits high on a hill near the Boboli Gardens and the Palazzo Pitti.
Gucci Garden includes a two-level exhibition of past collections and inspiration from Alessandro Michele and a store with one-of-a-kind items available to purchase.
Charming hotel located in the old town. Close to lots of great galleries and shops.