Perfumes and aromas of typical fine food and wine products
This is the Italian city that produces more than any other in agriculture. It's a city that devotes more than 3,000 hectares to cultivation: one sixth of its entire territory. Don't believe the false tales and legends people tell you: Milan is a green city! And it's a city where entrepreneurial spirit, inventiveness and creativity have always found the right outlet for their energies.
Milan is abuzz with recipes, dishes and typical products that have become icons of Italian cuisine... and it is home to brands and industrial concerns in the field that have grown to become major multinationals. But there's more: Milan, the world's true design capital, is obviously the benchmark for food design, the perfect blend between the pleasures of the palate and the most glamorous aesthetics.
This metropolis is the ideal starting point for venturing out into other areas with plenty of promise. Take Verona, for example: the quintessential romantic city is literally embraced by Italy's two most interesting winemaking areas - Valpolicella, home of the legendary Amarone, and Soave. Then there's Florence, cradle of the Renaissance, where fine dining has been raised to an art form.
If you are convinced - as we are - that good food is the fulcrum of a truly rich, complete hedonistic experience, then venture out along our Routes of Flavour. Give way to the temptations of the most tasty addresses in Milan, all waiting to be discovered with Go!Excellence.
Established in 2007 and designed by the star architect Michele De Lucchi, Italy's first museum devoted exclusively to design has adopted a quite unusual policy: once every year, it changes its thematic set-up radically. That makes for continuous renewal. If food design is your thing, there's plenty here to get your teeth into. The pieces on show in the collection include the "Nuovo Milano" collection of cutlery by Ettore Sottsass (1987), along with a host of creations by Richard Sapper for the legendary tongue-in-cheek brand Alessi.
Viale Alemagna, 6
open from Tuesday to Sunday
10.30 am - 8.30 pm
Located in Milan's Bovisa neighbourhood, this is the only industrial facility still operating inside the city's ring-road: known for their famous digestive, the Branca distilleries are an icon of the city. Their nearly two centuries of history are told in the company museum that stands on the production site, featuring a gallery of some five hundred historical barrels, a reconstruction of the herbal laboratory and a rich section devoted to the firm's gadgets, advertising posters and memorabilia.
Via Resegone, 2
open Monday, Wednesday and Friday
10.00 am - 3.00 pm
Historical Villa Campari is where it all started over a hundred years ago (these days it's home to a highly regarded restaurant and a cocktail bar). Then came the business park designed by Mario Botta: just over the city line from Milan, heading north, is the head office of the brand that has taken the red aperitif out all over the world. Inside the firm's gallery is the history of the world-famous advertising campaigns that created the Campari legend: from Depero's Futurist posters to the creations of Bruno Munari and Ugo Nespolo.
Via Gramsci, 161
Sesto San Giovanni
open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday
ore 2.00 pm - 6.30 pm
open on the first Saturday of every month
It all started with Pietro, the son of the Dante Alighieri who found refuge in this part of Italy when he was exiled from his native Florence. The great poet's heirs have owned these lands and vineyards since 1353 and now partner with the Masi winery to produce one of the world's finest and most highly regarded Amarone wines. The estate, with its tasteful guesthouse, wine shop and excellent restaurant, is open for fascinating guided tours that progress from the vines to the cellars where the wines age and from the villa's elegant park to the building where the grapes are set out to dry.
Via Stazione Vecchia, 272
Gargagnago Sant'Ambrogio di Valpolicella (VR)
Why single out Palazzo Pitti as a recommendation, of all the many splendid museums in Florence? Because a pleasant wander through the Boboli Gardens will take you to the Casino del Cavaliere, an annex now occupied by the Porcelain Museum, with its rare, highly-prized collections of rococo and neo-classical tableware services. They date back to the times when the Grand Dukes of Tuscany would buy works of the finest craftsmanship from the Royal Factory of Capodimonte, in Naples, or the German manufactory in Meissen, in the days before the city gave birth to the great adventure of the Richard Ginori works.
Piazza Pitti, 1
open Tuesday to Sunday
ore 8.15 am - 6.50 pm
Wine is not the only product that comes from the hills around Florence: there is also olive oil. One of the many firms worth visiting is that of Cesare and Cesara Buonamici, in Fiesole. The oil produced here - you can also try it and buy it directly on the spot - is one of Italy's most highly-regarded biological olive oils. If you reserve in advance, you can also take part in one of many workshops devoted to discovering typical local products: try your hand at traditional cuisine or learn how to prune a fruit tree or even how to use strictly natural methods to dye a fabric.
Via di Montebeni, 11
Milan is an international city by definition: so this is the place to discover not only native flavours, but also gastronomic emotions from every corner of the globe. Iyo is the city's only ethnic restaurant to have won a Michelin star: it is one of the best places in town for Japanese cuisine, with delicious gunkan and highly original creations that introduce a touch of other products and flavours into Japanese traditions. Why take our word for it? Try for yourself: Taiyo with unparalleled red shrimps from Mazara del Vallo.
Via Piero della Francesca, 74
open from Tuesday to Sunday
12.30 am - 2.30 p; 7.30 pm - 11.30 pm
What the energetic young owners had in mind here was to revive some of the old atmosphere, aromas and flavours from healthy snacks our grandmothers used to make. Mission accomplished: in a handful of years, a trip to Pavé has become a "must-do". Every kind of bakery is made and sold here (you can eat it on the spot, too): puff pastry sfogliatine, Viennese-style kipferls, cakes and of course bread, all made with 100% biological Italian flours. And then there's the traditional Christmas panettone, made all year round and distributed all over the world through e-commerce. This is a bakery in the 2.0 version.
Via Casati, 27
open from Tuesday to Friday
8.00 am - 8.00 pm
Saturday and Sunday
8.30 am - 7.00 pm
The >barchessa - the farmhouse occupied by the farmworkers who once served the local aristocracy - at Villa Cordevigo, a splendid eighteenth-century stately home now converted into a five-star resort, is home to the Oseleta Restaurant, which won its first Michelin star in 2013. Chef Giuseppe D'Acquino keeps faith with his Mediterranean roots as he celebrates the genuine simplicity of traditional flavours: a stopover on an ideal Grand Tour through the gastronomic marvels of Italy, passing from Piedmontese Fassona beef to Piennolo tomatoes.
Cavaion Veronese (VR)
open from Tuesday to Sunday
7.30 pm - 9.30 pm
From Thursday to Sunday
12.30 am - 2.00 pm
To describe the Enoteca Pinchiorri merely as one of Italy's finest restaurants is possibly to do it an injustice: its three Michelin stars and the launch of a second venue in Nagoya, Japan, make it an international benchmark. This is the place to savour the apex of contemporary Italian cuisine and also to indulge in trying some of the desserts created by pastry chef Luca Lacalamita, who has already worked in restaurants with Gordon Ramsay, Ferran Adrià, Carlo Cracco and Massimo Bottura… and is still only 30!
Via Ghibellina, 87
open every evening from Tuesday to Sunday
Located inside Florence's Central Market, an attractive mid-nineteenth-century Art Nouveau building with a riot of colours, smells and impressions, the Baroni shop occupies a significant position as heir to a tradition that goes back to 1912. In what is a veritable boutique of flavour, you can find leading Italian and international brands, as well as all the best that Tuscany has to offer: pecorino cheese from the Val d'Elsa, prosciutto ham from Pratomagno, truffles from San Miniato and the regions' finest wines and oils.
Inside the Central Market
Via Galluzzo - Firenze open from Monday to Saturday
7.00 am - 2.00 pm
Bilal - In Another Life, 2015
neo-soul: the musical equivalent of fusion cuisine
Benjamin Clementine - At Least For Now, 2014
chamber-pop: a black voice for a really successful composition.
Somewhere between Stromae and John Grant
Francesca Lago - Mirror Against The Sun, 2015
Songwriter: the Milanese singer-songwriter tradition makes a comeback, with an atmosphere borrowed from P J Harvey
Titus Andronicus - The Most Lamentable Tragedy, 2015
Punk: a spicy concept album for those who go for strong flavours.
The Hundred-Foot Journey
by Lasse Hallström (2014)
with Helen Mirren, Om Puri
An Indian family moves to the French countryside to open a restaurant in the village that is the home and workplace of the severe Madame Mallory, a star chef and fearless defender of local culinary traditions. The clash of gastronomic civilisations ends in the only way possible, with the two sides meeting, understanding, becoming curious and developing an urge to get to know and accept the other.
The Devil's Larder
A novel in 64 short stories that share the topic of food, treated with humour and a cynical streak, lashings of originality and a touch of curiosity.
The routes of knowledge
Varese - Milano - Mantova
Cultural, historical and artistic treasures to be found in each area.
The routes of secrets
Milano - Parma - Bologna
Curiosities and revelations on the less trodden paths.