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Food and Fashion in Milano

November 22, 2016 (8)

*This is a sponsored post, however the ideas and opinion expressed in this post are my own and I always stand behind the companies I represent and recommend in my blog. I only suggest experiences I have actually experienced myself and products I actually use.*

When you first arrive in Milano, there is nothing extraordinary about it, the city is grey, drab and pretty ordinary. But like all good things, Milano is a city that needs to be discovered. Piece by piece as the city reveals itself to you, you will find all its hidden gems. I only had 48 hours in Milan and I wanted to make the most of it. Doing some extensive research beforehand I decided to contact 3 tour companies I was interested in. When I first arrive in a new city I like to take a little tour to get acquainted with the city, find out where all the major sites are and get my bearings. I figured a bike tour would be the best way to see the sights of Milano and get some morning exercise. I joined a tour with Bike & the City and met up with my guide Marta at 10am. Milan is an extremely bike friendly city with separate bike lanes. It’s a great way to see all Milan has to offer. Marta took us through Brera, Castello, San Lorenzo, Duomo-La Scala, and Navigli. She showed us how Milan has merged old and new architecture and explained all of the important monuments and Roman ruins. Marta explained how to reach each point of interest by metro so that we could go back and see it later. This was the perfect way get acquainted with the city, figure out my points of interest and find my way around.

After working up an appetite on the bike tour I met a friend and fellow blogger Valentina of Guenda’s Travels for lunch. One of the most amazing things about traveling is all of the people you meet all over the world. I feel as though I now have friends in almost every city and it’s awesome to be able to grab lunch or a coffee with a familiar face when you pop into a new city for a few days. We spent the afternoon walking around, exploring, and catching up before my next appointment.

When you think of Milan you think of fashion and I knew I could not leave Milan without discovering what the fashion district had to offer. Italian designers take the same approach to fashion as I do, it’s all about quality over quantity. When we are talking about high end Italian fashion each bespoke piece is meant to be an investment in your wardrobe. Something that will never go out of style and will look just as good ten years from now as the day you first tried it on. I met Antonella from Milano Fashion Tours at the Armani Hotel for 5:30pm. After some previous discussions she was kind enough to make a series of private appointments with brands she thought I would find interesting so that I could learn about their history and discover them personally. This was an amazing opportunity as it gave me a private meeting with each of the brands where I could learn their story, understand the process behind how their clothing was made, ask questions and if I wanted to, I could shop, but that was not the purpose of the tour.

Milano Fashion Tour is not a shopping tour, their aim is to educate their clients about Italian Fashion and give them VIP access to brands that they would not get just walking into a store. It gives you unique access and experiences such as visiting a designer showroom that only buyer working for big companies would have access to, or private appointments with luxury Italian fashion brands so that you can understand the true meaning of “Made in Italy”. For Italians, fashion is more than just the clothing you put on your body, it is a craft and an art.

Our first stop was the Monte Napoleone VIP Lounge. Their goal is to create the world’s first VIP Lounge in Milano offering elite travellers a personalized luxury concierge service as well as luggage transportation directly to the airport. They also offer VIP assistance to all tax formalities avoiding stressful lines. Located at 23 via Montenapoleone, MonteNapoleone VIP Lounge enjoys an absolutely prestigious vantage point at the heart of the world’s most important luxury shopping area, i.e., near via Verri, via Sant’Andrea and via Santo Spirito. Access to the VIP Lounge is made possible only by walking across a secluded inner courtyard which acts as a natural screen to ensure privacy to guests wishing to enjoy the lounge and it’s services. The 1600 square-foot lounge is two storeys and it includes different relaxation areas and a fitting room for personalized shopping. Access to the VIP Lounge is by invitation only, for a limited number of select VIP travellers, and the invitations are usually handed out by the luxury brands to their top clientele. Since I am currently not a VIP client with any major luxury fashion brand gaining access to this lounge was a privilege that I was able to experience only with the help of Antonella.

Our second stop and my favourite stop on the tour was Etro Boutique. My first impression walking into Etro was that it is way too colourful for me. My Wardrobe consists of black, grey and occasionally white, I’m not a fan of colour at all. But as I started to learn more about the brand an appreciation grew. Etro is known for their custom designed fabrics and particularly their scarves. Each piece of fabric they produce tells a story. Each piece of fabric produced is inspired by art, a painting or a destination the designer has travelled to personally. The brand fuses past and present and incorporates a story into each design. Taking fabrics from past paintings and bringing them to life again. This is a family own and run business and the amount of detail and care that goes into the creation of each piece is extraordinary. I left the store wanting to own a piece of this beauty and plan to invest in a scarf in the future.

Throughout the tour we were able to see numerous other showrooms and meet with designers and representatives from each brand, even see how some bespoke brands tailored and hand stitched their garmets. This would not have been possible without Milano Fashion Tour organizing this for me and I am so grateful for the experience of learning about the interesting and rich concepts of Italian design rather than just spending an evening shopping. This tour gave me a new appreciation for Italian Fashion and Italian Fashion designers and all of the thought and work that goes into their brands.

After the Fashion Tour I met with Leandro, the founder of Milano Fashion Tours for a private preview of their night tour. We hopped on his motorcycle and spend through the streets of Milan, stopping for the best aperitivo in the city. Leandro explained that the night tour generally lasts 3 hours and covers all the best local spots in Milano. It is a combination of art, street culture, bar and nightlife and scenic walks. Although not everyone gets a private ride on the motorcycle, this tour is absolutely worth it if you want to experience nightlife in Milan like a local. Learn to eat, drink and experience Milan like a Milanese. If you are planning on visiting Milano I would highly recommend you get in touch with Milano Fashion Tours and book the tour that interests you most. The team is friendly, accommodating and whether it’s fashion, culture or nightlife you are after, they will help you achieve the experience you are looking for.

Italy is known for two things, fashion and food, so my second day in Milan I spent eating. I booked a tour with Milan Food Walking Tour and spent the day walking around Milano, and learning about and trying traditional dishes. I loved this tour because I truly felt as though I was supporting local businesses and shops. Each shop we visited the owner of the shop was eager to share their passion for cooking with us, feed us and tell us all about the tradition of the dish, meat or pastry we were trying. The Milanese take a lot of pride in the things that they create, be it food or fashion and that pride and passion certainly shines through in their cooking. We tried everything from pastries, to lasagna, saffron risotto, even local wines and grappa from the region. All from small, locally run, family owned businesses. I felt like a guest in a home rather than a tourist and left the tour with an appreciation for the culture and hospitality of Milan and the people who live there.

Unfortunately I only had 48 hours in Milan and after some extensive research, I am confident I picked the best tours the city has to offer and made the most of my time. I met amazingly warm and welcoming people, tasted some of the best food I have ever tasted and found an entirely new appreciation for Italian Fashion. I will absolutely be back.
To Book The Tours Above Visit:

Bike & The City Tour
Milano Fashion Tour
Milano Night Tour
Milan Food Walking Tours

Was there anything I missed? What were some of your favourite things to do in Milan? Leave your suggestions in the comments 🙂

*This is a sponsored post, however the ideas and opinion expressed in this post are my own and I always stand behind the companies I represent and recommend in my blog. I only suggest experiences I have actually experienced myself and products I actually use.*