Christmas in Milan

Few years ago I visited a farm next to Milan where they grow the corn Peroni use for making their beer.

The passion of the farmers showed me the connection between the brand and the real people who help make it.
For this reason, and as a real beer enthusiast, when they asked me to be part of their Christmas campaign, I just said: YES!

A day of laughs an talks, memories from my childhood in Sicily at my grandma’s house in Palermo.
Now, I celebrate Christmas in Milan with friends, hosting dinners and parties.

Usually, I’m on the other side of the camera, so forgive me if I look a bit shy. An intense day of work made pleasant and fun thanks to an incredibly professional team.

Video Locations
Mercato della Darsena
Clori, Home and Flowers
I Pesciolini
Caffè Pasticceria Dè Cherubini
My apartment 🙂

This blogpost is in paid partnership with Nastro Azzurro Peroniall opinions are my own.

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lauraChristmas in Milan

Senigallia, a port town between the hills and the sea

Probably I like the sea during wintertime more than in the summer.
I grew up in a city surrounded by the sea and, now that I’m mostly based in Milan, I recognise how lucky I was I could escape to the beach all year round when I was a teenager.

I spent less than 48 hours in Senigallia, a port town between the hills and the sea.
We can consider this my very first time in the Marche Region. My friend Luisa told me only good things about this place, as well as all the people who stopped by or are from there.

was my Cicerone and she invited me to join her on this trip to discover more of this small city through the eyes of Mauro Uliassi: a 2-Star Michelin Chef from Senigallia.

We visited the Santa Barbara winery where this young lady, Elena, is in charge of the communication dept.
Sipping a glass of their brand new bitter, she told us the story of this family company started by her grandfather. She is now working together with her uncle, Stefano Antonucci, to export their wine outside Marche and Italy.

The day after we started our tour from the fish market, right in front of the port, and then we moved to Foro Annonario for the farmer’s market. A mix of fall colours and fresh fruit. A quick visit to Palazzetto Baviera before – finally – tasting some of the best dishes Mauro Uliassi created in the last years: red prawns with a citrus sauce, small squids in a skewer called Rimini fest, and a so-simple-so-good spaghetti dish with tomatoes and clams. B U O N I S S I M I !

I know I’ll go back soon. If this is just what you get from a 48-hour trip, imagine staying there more…
A country full of nice and welcoming people, proud of their land and local produces: fish, fruit and vegetables; enjoyable wines like Vermentino o Lacrima di Morro.
A presto, Marche!

Senigallia | What to see
La rotonda a Mare
Palazzetto Baviera
Foro Annonario
Rocca Roveresca

Senigallia | Where to eat
Ristorante Pagaia

Senigallia | Where to sleep
Locanda Strada della Marina

This blogpost is in paid partnership with Marche Tourismall opinions are my own.

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lauraSenigallia, a port town between the hills and the sea

The Pragser Wildsee | Il Lago di Braies

The color of the water and the fact that is one of the few lakes accessible by car, thanks to a parking lot few meters away, made this of the most instagrammable – such a bad word, I know – one in Italy.

The Pragser Wildsee, also known as Lago di Braies in Italian, is located between Cortina d’Ampezzo and Bozen, in South Tyrol on the border with Austria.

There is a possibility to rent a boat and explore the lake on your own, without getting to close to the shore or the boat will fall apart. My personal advice is to take some time to hike and explore the lake by land.

On a sad historical note, in 1945 the area was the scene of the transport of concentration camp inmates to Tyrol during the final weeks of the Second World War in Europe.

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lauraThe Pragser Wildsee | Il Lago di Braies

Cortina d’Ampezzo | Where to sleep

If you are looking for a place to stay in Cortina d’Ampezzo, look no further.

I was on an assignment for in the Dolomites and this was my second time in the area. The ski resort it’s just a 4-hour driving from Milan and high season starts in December, with the first snow, until spring.

I remember my mom’s stories about Cortina: it was so much popular when she was young, it was one of the last places in Italy where you could ski even in Summer – or maybe it’s just a story I like to remember.
These memories brought back to my mind scenes from a past I never lived but I only saw on old movies: dance floors from the 1970s, après-ski parties, thermariums and of course good food.

For all these reasons my first choice in Cortina was the Hotel Cristallo, a Luxury Collection Resort & Spa, probably the most iconic hotel in Cortina. Inspired by the Art Nouveau movement that characterises its architecture it’s also famous for the Monkey, one of the first dance floors opened in the area in the 1960s, and its beautiful SPA, where to relax and warm up at the end of a downhill ride.

Gianluca welcomed us at as soon as we arrived. He is from Valtellina but he moved here few years ago.
As a huge fan of The Shining the first impression I got from this place was quite close to the Overlook Hotel, but in a good way!

Chef Mirko Pistorello, originally from Venice, delights us with creamy cod and seasonal ingredients. After a couple of Lagrein red wine glasses I was ready to get a good night sleep before exploring Cortina and the area nearby in the next days.

Cortina d’Ampezzo | What to see
Lago di Misurina
Tre Cime
San Candido
Lago di Braies

Cortina d’Ampezzo | Where to eat
Locanda del Cantoniere, Cortina
Enoteca Braita Fraina, Cortina
Ristorante Pizzeria 5 Torri, Cortina
Ristorante Ra Stua, Cortina
Stauderhof, San Candido
Lanz, Area di Servizio, Sud Tirolo

Cortina d’Ampezzo | Where to sleep
Cristallo, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spa

This blogpost is in partnership with Cristallo, A Luxury Collection Resort & Spaall opinions are my own.

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lauraCortina d’Ampezzo | Where to sleep

Summer in Sicily

It’s been a while I did not spend any summertime in Sicily, for two main reasons: prices to fly there in August are extremely expensive and everywhere is insanely packed.
Living in Milan for most of the year means I don’t want to spend my time on holiday stuck in traffic and I don’t want to fight with the person next to me at the beach for some more room.
So, my personal piece of advice is keep reading this post to know how I escaped the crowd, but book your flight to get there in spring or fall to enjoy the best from this beautiful island and save some money you can reinvest in food 🙂
Read till the end, where my best recommendation is, but don’t skip there: there is a panino surprise in between!

I landed in Catania early in the morning, the same day my friends, Alessandra and Elena, were flying to Sicily.
I spent some time with my parents and after lunch I joined my companions for a couple of days together: off to Syracuse and Ortygia.
When in Sicily, my only religion for breakfast is granita and brioche, something really hard, I realised, for a non-Sicilian to understand.
The first day we went up north to Augusta to spend a nice day by the pool with some friends and to enjoy a warm sunset at Sbarcatore dei Turchi. Good wine and fresh seafood for dinner in Brucoli.

The day after we drove to San Lorenzo and the Vendicari Nature Reserve. If you are in this part of the island you can also go and visit Noto, a typical Sicilian Baroque town, UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2002.
We already visited the city so we decided to skip it this tipe, and admire the sun going down at dusk in Capo Passero. Marzamemi, a fisherman village, was our choice for dinner.
My personal advice: don’t go to Marzamemi in August. It’s a beautiful and traditional village but really too small to handle the amount of restaurants and people gravitating there in summer. But again, go in late spring or beginning of summer and you’ll be fascinated by Marzamemi and its beauty.
The third day, was the best one if we are talking about food.
A crazy, in a good way, man is running the Caseificio Borderi cheese shop in Ortygia, the island of Syracuse. His name is Andrea and, as he said, he spent his entire life being a cheese maker, and his name was famous only in Sicily. He is now making sandwiches since the last two years and he is renowned in the entire country of Italy. The reason is simply said: these panini are simply delicious. A sandwich with all-inside: fresh cheese – at least 4 different types – fresh herbs and vegetables and, if you are not vegetarian, some charcuterie from his shop.
Wait in line for your turn, he will delight you with jokes and stories while playing with food for making the most appetising panino you can get in Italy. His very patient wife at the counter will surprise you, again in a good way, with the bill.

I left my friends in my hometown, Catania, where I joined back my family. Some quality time with them and my nephew. Days of relax and healthy food. The day the the beach and the night some freshly picked tomatoes and zucchini from the vegetable garden, eggs from my dad’s chicken, and the most amazing shooting star I’ve ever seen while drinking a beer with my parents lying back looking up at the sky.
If you are in Catania and want to try something different go on a hike on Mt Etna – perfect at sunset – and enjoy a glass of Nerello Mascalese wine, or – and that’s my favorite thing to do when there – join Carmelo and his Surf School for a class. Impossibile to be disappointed – unless there are no waves around!

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lauraSummer in Sicily