Milan- Why You Must Visit Even if You Aren’t into Fashion

Milan- Why You Must Visit  Even If You're Not Into Fashion

Here's why.

Yes-Milan is undoubtedly one of the world’s fashion capitals. 

But even if you're not into fashion, this city has a lot to offer. 

Looking for eye popping architecture?

Look no further than the iconic Duomo di Milano, one of the world's largest—and perhaps most stunning—Gothic cathedrals. 

Marvel at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, just a heartbeat away from the Duomo. The exquisite mosaics and glass vaults are as impressive as its luxury boutiques and quality restaurants.

Museums are your thing? Then visit the Castello Sforzesco, a 15th century castle housing several museums or the impressive museum Pinacoteca di Brera.

All are within walking distance from the Duomo.

If you're a bit of a culture vulture, treat yourself to an opera or ballet performance at the opulent La Scala opera house. Again just a stone's throw from the centrally situated Duomo.

No visit to Milan is complete without an inspiring visit to view the fresco The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci

Experience the culture of Milan a little further and sample one of the many "unique to Milan"  food offerings at one of a plethora of restaurants, cafes and gelaterias.

For further information drinking and dining information don't miss-

Milan-10 Unique Dishes and a Custom You Must Try

Milan-Why You Absolutely Must Visit Starbucks Reserve Roastery

And don’t forget to indulge the longstanding Milanese tradition of aperitivo in one of many of Milan’s rooftop watering holes.

Top 5 Must See in Milan

1. The Duomo

The Duomo is an absolute must see!

It took six centuries to build this show stopper. But it was worth the wait!!

Also known as Santa Maria Nascente (Saint Mary of the Nativity), this jagged, "International-Gothic" style behemoth defines the city’s traditional skyline.  

The literally thousands of flying buttresses, parapets, gargoyles, pinnacles and spires, crowned with the statues of saints that decorate the exterior of this pink hued white marble edifice, are stunning!

And the interior is pretty impressive as well.

Fifty two towering sculpted-marble columns reach majestically to the ceiling. One for each week of the year. 

The eye-catching polychrome floor, created in the 15th century, is illuminated by light that floods through the numerous intricate stained glass windows.

The floor consists of large, now well-worn, square tiles made from pink Candoglia marble from the cathedral's own quarries. They are inlaid with small slabs of black and red marble in a geometric floral design.

Adorning the walls of the cathedral are large paintings, depicting scenes from the Bible. Spread throughout the building lie skeletons of various saints in glass caskets. 

Positioned in the right transept of the cathedral is the statue of St Bartholomew Flayed (1562).

This work depicts the martyred Bartholomew, one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, who was flayed alive and then beheaded. 

He stands completely naked, wearing his own skin and his decapitated head thrown over his shoulder. Despite it's rather gruesome subject, it is one of the most realistic artistic depictions of the saint.

It's definitely well worth a look.

After viewing the interior, you will want to climb the stairs or take the elevator (for a fee) up to the rooftop terrace of the Duomo.

Why you may ask?

Because here you can enjoy one of the most beautiful panoramic views of Milan.

Visitors are allowed to walk the perimeter of the roof which is covered in openwork pinnacles and spires crowned with statues that overlook the city.

On the highest spire is a gilded statue of the Virgin Mary, the Madonnina, representing the heart and soul of Milan.

 So a trip to the roof is a definite must do!!

We bought the "Skip the Line" ticket which included admission and guided tour of the interior of the cathedral, then an elevator to the guided tour of the roof. 
Book your "Skip the Line" ticket here.

2. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

Named after Victor Emanuele II, the first king of the Kingdom of Italy, this stunning structure is just steps away from the Duomo.

It comprises two glass-vaulted arcades intersecting in a glass domed octagon, connecting Piazza del Duomo to Piazza della Scala.

And yes-the Galleria boasts many of the luxury retailers.

But it is also home to some of the oldest shops and restaurants in Milan, such as Biffi Caffè, the Savini restaurant, Borsalino hat shop and the Art Nouveau classic, Camparino.

3. La Scala

A 3 minute walk from the Galleria is Teatro alla Scala. 

Long regarded as one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world the exterior isn't tremendously impressive. But the interior of this "Holy Grail"  of opera and ballet is sumptuous and well worth the experience.

Most of Italy's greatest operatic artists and many of the finest singers from around the world have appeared at La Scala. Maria Callas, Placido Domingo and Luciano Pavarotti to name a few. 

La Scala was the venue chosen by the composers Verdi, Puccini and others to debut their works.

Ballet greats Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn partnered for many performances at La Scala. Most renowned were Romeo and Juliet, Marguerite and Armand and Giselle.  

That said-if you don't manage to snag a ticket for a performance, consider taking a tour of Museo Teatrale Alla Scala-the La Scala museum.

Here you have the opportunity to view the opera house from one of the interior balconies, possibly listen to a rehearsal and view both opera and ballet memorabilia.

Book your "Skip the Line" ticket here for a 11/2 hour English speaking tour in the morning.

Book your "Skip the Line" ticket here for a 1 hour English speaking tour in the afternoon.

4. Sforza Castle and Museums.

Take a 15 minute walk along Via Dante from the Duomo and you will arrive at Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle). 

It was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, on on the remnants of a 14th-century fortification. His son, Ludovico became a great patron of artists. Most notably- Leonardo Da Vinci who he commissioned The Last Supper as well as numerous frescos in Sforza Castle.

There are many museums within the Castello complex.

The Pinacoteca del Castello Sforzesco has an art collection that includes masterpieces by Canaletto, Titian, Tintoretto and more.

There is The Museum of Musical Instruments, The Egyptian Museum and The Museum of  Ancient Art.

The Antique Furniture and Wooden Sculpture Museum and others including The Museum of Rondanini Pietà which house Michelangelo’s final sculpture, “La Pietà Rondanini.

If you haven't had your fill of art- view another outstanding collection at the Pinacoteca di Brera. It's a 10 minute walk from Sforza Castle or the Duomo.

Works by Bellini, Tintoretto, Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens  and Canaletto abound, as well as the iconic 'The Kiss' by Francisco Hayez

For a guided tour of the castle and Michelangelo's La Pietà Rondanini, book your "Skip the Line" ticket here. 

5. The Last Supper

This huge Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece, commissioned by Ludovico of Castle Sforza fame, covers over 40 sqm of the dining room wall of the former Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie.

The fresco depicts the emotional reactions of each Apostle the moment Christ declares that one of them will betray him.

The ever-innovative Leonardo chose to abandon the traditional method of fresco painting. Instead, he painted the scene "dry" on the wall of the refectory using tempera and oil on a gypsum preparation.

Sadly, the paint surface quickly deteriorated because it was painted using this experimental treatment. 

For centuries it was subjected to invasive restorations and heavy-handed re-touchings.

Fortunately more recent successful restorative methods have been used. They have eliminated traces of paint applied in previous attempts at restoration and brought back, as closely as possible, the original colors. 

Various measures are now in place to protect the paint from deterioration.

One of which is to restrict visitors to a group of 25 people every 15 minutes to ensure that the fresco is maintained at room temperature.

So with this in mind it is imperative to book well in advance.  

The availability of tickets to view one of the world’s most poignant and beautiful works of art is very limited so plan ahead.

To guarantee a viewing, book your "Skip the Line"  ticket here.

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Milan-10 Unique Dishes and a Custom You Must Try

Milan-10 Unique Dishes and a Custom You Must Try

Art and architecture will reveal an attractive but limited aspect of Milan. 

Therefore, to literally get the full flavour of the city, you must savour a few of the unique Milanese dishes and customs . 

Thankfully the list of Milanese culinary delights is lengthy so you have plenty to choose from.

Risotto alla Milanese, Cotoletta alla Milanese, Osso Bucco with Gremolata, Cassoeula, Mondeghili, Polenta, Panzerotto, Michetta, Cannoncino and Panettone all hail from Milan. And Aperitivo is a very well loved Milanese custom.

These delights are listed with an explanation below. 

And to help you with your decision making, recommendations as to where to sample them are also included in our Expat Tips.

So when you’re choosing restaurants, do keep these options in mind.

Risotto alla Milanese

Creamy Risotto alla Milanese gets its vivid color and flavor from  saffron which infuses the rice.

This rich and intense dish, customarily flavoured with bone marrow, is the perfect accompaniment to osso buco, another signature dish of Milan.

Expat Tips

Ratanà-Via Gaetano de Castillia 28, Milan
Trattoria Milanese-Via Santa Marta 11, Milan
Nabucco-Via Fiori Chiari 10, Milan 
El Brellin-Vicolo dei Lavandai, Alzaia Naviglio Grande 14, Milan
El Barbapedana-Corso Cristoforo Colombo 7, Milan

Osso Bucco with Gremolata

One of the most revered and popular dishes in Milanese cuisine is Ossobuco alla Milanese.

It is traditionally made from the hind legs of the veal which are sliced horizontally through the bone, hence the name 'ossobuco' which translates to 'hollow bone'.

This cut exposes the marrow, which is what gives the dish its buttery richness.

The osso buco are slow-cooked in a broth until tender.

They are then served with risotto or polenta and finished with a topping of gremolata. This is a zesty herb relish made with minced garlic, finely chopped flat leaf parsley, lemon zest and occasionally mashed anchovies.

Expat Tips

Enoteca Regionale Lombardo-Via Stampa 8, Milan
Antica Trattoria della Pesa-Viale Pasubio, 10, Milan
Trussardi alla Scala-Piazza della Scala 5, Milan
Il Solferino-Via Castelfidardo 2, Milan

Cotoletta alla Milanese

Cotoletta alla Milanese is a breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet.

The cut of meat traditionally used to make it, is a nearly inch-thick bone-in veal chop.

This is breaded with bread crumbs and fried bone-in with butter.

A slight variation also found in Milan is the cotoletta a orecchio di elefante-elephant ear cutlet.

It is a thinner, larger cut of meat which is deboned, tenderized and breaded prior to frying. 

It's called 'elephant ear' due to its shape.

Expat Tips

Osteria Brunello- Corso  Garibaldi 117, Milan
Trattoria Arlati- via Alberto Nota 47, Milano
Il Ristorantino della Carne-Via Andrea Solari 12, Milan
Da Martino-Via Carlo Farini 8, Milan
Osteria Conchetta-Via Conchetta 8, Milan 


Another dish dear to the Milanese palate is cassoeula.

It was the favorite dish of the great conductor of the La Scala opera house,  Arturo Toscanini. He described it as "a pleasure that it furnishes the soul as well as the palate, especially on a wintry day.”

It is a deliciously hearty stew made from pork meat and cabbage and usually served on soft and creamy polenta.

A really authentic cassoeula is a classic example of a true snout to tail dish.

The less desirable cuts such as ears, snout, rind, ribs, trotters and tail are used along with small pork sausages called verzini and cabbage. 

Expat Tips

Antica Hostaria Della Lanterna-Via Giuseppe Mercalli 3, Milan
Al Matarel-Via Laura Solera Mantegazza 2, Milan
Osteria dell'Acquabella-Via San Rocco 11, Milan 
L'Altra Isola-Via Edoardo Porro 8, Milan


Another expression of Milanese culinary culture are Mondeghili, which are Milanese fried meatballs.

Like cassoeula, they are another delicious way of letting nothing go to waste.

The ingredients provided in the first known texts included leftover cuts of beef, enriched with sausage, raw salami, liver mortadella and other pork meat.

Other ingredients can include potatoes, milk-soaked bread crumbs, eggs, cheese, garlic, onion and nutmeg.

They are perfect to enjoy with an aperitivo, but may also be savoured for lunch or dinner.

Expat Tips

Trattoria Masuelli San Marco-Viale Umbria 80, Milan
Osteria Del Binari-Via Tortona 1/3, Milan
La Pesa Trattoria Dal 1902-via Giovanni Fantoni 26, Milan
Antica Osteria il Ronchettino-Via Lelio Basso 9, Milan 


Whether an appetizer, first course, or main plate, polenta is the Milanese go-to comfort food.

Polenta, which is a cornmeal porridge made from coarsely ground yellow corn, is famous for both its simplicity and versatility.

Fragrant, warm and rich, it is delicious enough with just a little butter and cheese.

Polenta is also frequently eaten with meats and ragù, cheese such as Gorgonzola or condiments like mostarda d'uva, a grape-and-nut jam from Piedmont.

This versatile dish can be eaten either freshly cooked, as a thick hot porridge, or cooled and then sliced and fried, grilled, or baked.

Expat Tips

Trattoria Sabbioneda-Via Alessandro Tadino 32, Milan
Ristorante Nabucco- Via Fiore Chiari 10, Milan
Sciatt à Porter-Via Monte Grappa 18, Milan
Al Garghet- Via Selvanesco 36, Milan


Although Panzerotti originated in Puglia, they have become a very popular "street food" in Milan.

They resemble small calzone pizzas, both in their shape and the dough used for their preparation.

But instead of being oven-baked, panzerotti are usually deep-fried.

The classic panzerotti filling consists of merely tomatoes and mozzarella, but they can be filled with pretty much anything savoury or sweet.

Expat Tips

Il Priscio Duomo -Via Santa Tecla,  Milan
Il Panzerotto- Via Spontini 4, Milan
Luini- Via Santa Radegonda 16, Milan
Il Panzerotto-Ripa Di Porta Ticinese 13, Milan


Michetta is another key gastronomic symbol of Milano.

It is the only bread that has obtained the “De.Co” certification as being from the city of Milan.

It was officially granted a municipal designation of origin in 2007 which categorized it as a traditional gastronomic item of the region.

It is a historic white bread characterized by a round and bulbous shape, reminiscent of a flower or a star. It has a hard crust and an interior which has an airy, slightly hollow texture. 

It is best served fresh and it is typically filled and enjoyed as a sandwich.

Expat Tips

La Michetta De.Co.- Via Sismondi, 38 ang. Via Lomellina, Milan
Michetta- Corso Cristoforo Colombo 11, Milan
L'Antica Michetta-Via Giovanni Pezzotti 59, Milan
Michetta Porta Nuova- Corso di Porta Nuova 32, Milan 


Cannoncino literally means "little cannon", a reference to the pastry’s slim, tubular shape 

Also known as cannoli milanesi, they are made by rolling a single strip of puff pastry dough around a thin metal cylinder, then baked. This produces a hollow tube-shaped shell which is filled with a sweet and creamy filling.

There are four classic fillings.

Pastry Cream which is the most popular, Zabaione, Chocolate Cream and Pistachio Cream.

Ideally the pastry is filled just before serving to keep the puff pastry crispy.

Expat Tips

Serge Milano-Via Giuseppe Manzinni 8, Milan
Panarello- Via Speronari 3, Milan
Pasticceria Castelnuovo- Via Dei Tulipani 18, Milan
Alvin's-Via Melchiorre Gioia 141, Milan
Pasticceria Vecchia Milano- Via Francesco Reina 14, Milan


Panettone is one of Italy's most exported products.

Legend has it that it was invented by a Milanese noble as a means of conquering the heart of the local baker's daughter with whom he fell in love.

This delight, now traditionally enjoyed at Christmas, was supposedly served at their wedding.

The jury is still out on whether panettone is a bread or a cake.

Having been leavened with yeast, it has a slightly light and airy bread-like texture which belies its rich and buttery taste. 

However, like a fruitcake, this large, dome-shaped creation is studded with raisins, candied orange and lemon peel. And it's not terribly sweet.

To serve, panettone is sliced into wedges and can be eaten at any time of the day.

In the morning with a cup of coffee, as a midday snack, or as dolce after a meal with a glass of Marsala or Moscato d’Asti wine.

Panettone may also be served with hot beverages like eggnog and hot chocolate.

Adding ice cream is also a popular option, and depending on the region, some Italians will serve this sweet bread with crema di mascarpone or zabaione.

Expat Tips

Marchesi 1824 -Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan
Panettoni Giovanni Cova & C. -Via Cusani, 10, Milan
Pavè- Via Felice Casati, 27, Milan
Vergani-Via Saverio Mercadante, 17, Milan
Pasticceria Martesana- Via Giovanni Cagliero 14, Milan


Nobody does aperitivo, the beloved pre-dinner ritual of cocktails and heavy snacks, like the Milanese.

The aperitivo is definitely an important part of the culinary traditions in Milan.

Around 6pm, 'spritz o'clock' haha, Milan's bustling pubs and wine bars start to prepare for the aperitif.

A northern Italian tradition commonly called "happy hour", the aperitivo consists of a drink such as wine or beer.

It can also be a cocktail.

A spritz, for example, which is a sparkling white wine with a bitter liqueur like Aperol or Campari, topped off with soda water. 

Or the classic Negroni which is gin, sweet vermouth and Campari.

A word about Negroni Sbagliato.

Literally translated as -"the incorrect Negroni" -the story goes that a bartender was trying to make the classic Negroni but added Prosecco instead of gin and this drink was born.

The classic place to get this drink is the place is was created, the old-school, Bar Basso.

The drinks are then paired with food such as meats, cheeses, vegetables, breads and other delicacies served on a small plate. 

Expat Tips

Bar Basso- Via Plinio 39, Milan
Cresio 7 - Via Cresio 7, Milan
Mag Cafè- Ripa di Porta Ticinese 43, Milan 
Terrazza Aperol- Mercato Del Duomo, Piazza Del Duomo, Milan
Pisacco- Via Solferino 48, Milan

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Milan-Why You Absolutely Must Visit Starbucks Reserve Roastery

Why You Absolutely Must Visit Starbucks Reserve Roastery In Milan

 You’ve travelled halfway round the world to the birthplace of coffee culture and are now planning a visit to Starbucks?


I know it sounds like a crazy thing to do-but trust me.

Despite what coffee connoisseurs may think-it IS worth visiting Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan. 

Why, you may ask??

My answer.

To experience, in the words of Starbucks emeritus chairman, Howard Schultz, 

“the story of Starbucks coming full circle.”

Starbucks !!! In Italy????!!!!!!!??? Blasphemy!

If there’s any culture in the world that takes its coffee seriously, it’s the Italians. 

So opening Starbucks in a country that loves coffee and is deeply protective of their reputation as the Holy Grail of coffee culture was bound to be a daunting task.

Firstly, Italians don’t take kindly to American corporations trying to change their culture. Many aspects of American coffee culture, and by extension Starbucks, befuddle Italians.

Secondly, Starbucks was also aware that Italians abhor American-style coffee. It's regarded as a sort of dull black beverage and they scoff at Starbucks’ attempts to replicate espresso, the national brew birthed in Milan.

Even Howard Schultz was a skeptic.

“I never really thought we were ready, all these years, to open in Italy.” 

Which is why it took Starbucks 47 years to not only open their first branch in the country that inspired the brand, but to daringly open in Milan.

 Why Milan?

Let me explain.

Coffee has a long history in Italy. 

Venice was one of the first European ports to import coffee beans in the 16th century.

But it’s the baristas, inventors, engineers and investors in the city of Milan who shaped coffee culture as we know it today.

Italy emerged as the global leader in coffee thanks to Milanese manufacturer Luigi Bezzera. Several centuries after the arrival of coffee into Italy, he invented the world's first single-serve espresso machine. 

Patented in 1901, this machine used pressurized steam to “express” or “press out” water through finely ground coffee to produce a short, concentrated shot of coffee.

Voila the espresso.

Caffè espresso literally means "pressed-out coffee."

Patron Saint of Baristas. 

In 1903 Desiderio Pavoni, another Milanese native, bought Bezzera’s patents.  He improved on the original design with his invention of the first pressure release valve.

This innovation meant that hot coffee wouldn’t splash all over the barista from the instant release of pressure, earning Pavoni the gratitude of generations of baristas.

Luigi Bezzera and Desiderio Pavoni were the Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs of espresso. 

They worked together to perfect their machine, which Pavoni produced commercially (one a day) in a small workshop in Via Parini in Milan.

At the 1906 Milan Fair, the two men introduced the world to “cafeé espresso”

Bring on the Crema!!

Continuing the Milan contribution to coffee culture was the man responsible for shaping modern espresso, Achille Gaggia.

A Milanese barista turned inventor, he was dissatisfied with the pressurised steam extraction process from his existing machine, which he felt scalded the coffee and made it bitter.

So Gaggia determined to develop an alternative extraction process which would improve the flavour of the coffee. 

In 1938 he filed a patent for the first piston system from which the first modern steam-less coffee machine was born.

By cleverly incorporating a spring into a lever-operated piston, his mechanism used hot water pressure instead of steam. Both the pressure and temperature of the water applied to the coffee were independent to that of the boiler. 

This system produced a delicious espresso, characterized by a soft layer of "crema naturale".

It defined the art of making the perfect espresso and marked the beginning of the modern era of espresso.

Gaggia registered his second patent  for a lever-piston brewing mechanism. This enabled the barista to obtain a creamy and flavorful espresso in just 25-30 seconds.

In a case of American invention inspiring Milanese innovation, rumour has suggested Gaggia’s inspiration was the piston engine of an American Army jeep that used a hydraulic system. 

Democratising Coffee

The journey of coffee in Milan continued.

In 1948, Ernesto Valente, the head of Milan-based coffee machine manufacturer, Faema, bought Gaggia’s patent.

But there was strong disagreement between Valente and Gaggia about the machines’ market.

 Gaggia thought the espresso machine should be a luxury item, enjoyed only by higher end establishments.

 But Valente believed otherwise.

He wanted to democratize the market and produce more affordable espresso machines so all coffee bars could afford them.

This philosophy led to the creation in 1961 of a cheaper, more resourceful version of the espresso machine, the FAEMA E61.

This machine is the forerunner of all modern espresso machines today.

Rather than relying on the manual force of the barista using a lever, the E61 was the first machine to use a motorized volumetric pump. It pushed the water onto the coffee cake at a pressure of 9 atmospheres- the ideal pressure needed to produce the espresso.

It was the first semi-automatic machine that required no elbow grease. 

It allowed the barista to manage the extraction parameter, making it both versatile and labor saving. 

This modification helped create the unique atmosphere of the Italian bar, where the barista chats with the customer while the espresso is made.

And this in turn led to an explosion of the neighborhood espresso bars and cafes in Italy which were the source of inspiration for Starbucks.

So therefore, in light of the history of espresso in Milan, Starbucks was right to honour the city as its entry point into Italy.

The Culmination of a Dream, Decades in the Making.

Every detail of the 2300 square metre Reserve Roastery is designed to honor the indelible magic of Milan.

It’s a momentous statement of the company's prodigal return to the birthplace of espresso that inspired the brand. 

The Roastery is housed in the historic turn-of-the-century Palazzo Delle Poste (Palace of the Post Office), formerly the Milan Stock Exchange.

You can easily walk to it from some of Milan’s top tourist attractions - the Duomo, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the La Scala theatre and Castello Sforzesco. 

It’s a nearby destination in which coffee is celebrated, both as a product and artform, against a backdrop of heritage and innovation.

On arrival you are offered unprecedented visibility into the art and science of coffee roasting. You experience 360-degree, theatre in the round, walkaround views.

On the left upon entering is the Milanese bakery icon-Princi.

Here you will be tempted to compliment your coffee and order from a selection of breads, pastries, pizza and desserts. These offerings are baked in the wood-fired oven, hand-built on site, brick by brick, using a crew of masons and artisans. 

To the right is a curated collection of Starbucks merchandise-gifts to give or get. Get out your wallet either way.

This physical retail environment is complemented by an interactive augmented reality (AR) experience throughout the Roastery.

Using your mobile phone, you can discover more about the history of Starbucks.

Learn about the Reserve coffee roasting process and the artisans whose craftsmanship helped bring the dream of the Milan Roastery to life.

Steampunk on Steroids

Centre stage in the Roastery is a “steampunk on steroids”, locally manufactured coffee cask. 

This is where all Starbucks Reserve coffee beans are held after they are roasted in the bright green Milanese-manufactured Scolari Roaster. 

Standing an impressive 8 metres, the bronzed brass cylindrical cask is equipped with mechanisms for the automatic opening and rotation of the doors. 

These fold and rotate like a giant blooming flower.

This innovation gives you a rare glimpse of the degassing phase of the coffee bean roasting process.

Stretching in front of the Roaster and Cask is the main bar.

Here you can purchase classic espresso or opt to try one of the more than 100 cutting-edge coffee variations.  These range from pour over and chemex coffee brewing, to siphon and cold brew.

You can also sample the Starbucks version of affogato, Italy’s beloved liquid dessert. 

In theatrical ‘Fire and Ice’ fashion, the artisanal ice cream is frozen to order using liquid nitrogen. It is then “drowned” with a steaming hot espresso shot.

Alternatively, you can choose to take in the atmosphere of Piazza Cordusio.

Sit outside on the terrace and enjoy your coffee,cocktails and cuisine in a distinctly European outdoor cafe environment.

Adorning the portico which protects the terrace is a hand carved carrara marble statue of a siren, the symbol of Starbucks.

A Cultural Exchange in the Heart of Milan

Old mixes with new at the Milan Roastery, a perfect metaphor for the meeting of American and Italian coffee cultures. 

The interior is designed as a homage to traditional Italian design. But the same time the latest technology is used to showcase the theatre of roasting coffee, brewing, and mixology, recreating the experience that inspired Howard Schultz.

With a nod to the old, local artisans, using a uniquely Northern Italian technique, hand-laid the multi-hued mosaic floor in a traditional Palladian style. 

The pink-hued Candoglia marble in the terrazzo floor comes from a quarry owned by the Citizens of Milan. It was previously used exclusively for the Duomo of Milan and buildings in the surrounding piazza.

Materials of old are used.

For example, the Calacatta marble countertops throughout the Roastery, are sourced from quarries mined since the time of Ancient Rome to construct the Pantheon and Trajan’s Column.

They are a subtle hat-tip to the traditional coffee bars in Italy, which have stone countertops.

And in a nod to the new-the counters stay warm thanks to an innovative hidden radiant heating system.

Upstairs on the mezzanine is a further nod to the Italian tradition of pre-dinner drinks and snacks.

Here you can discover the Arriviamo Cocktail Bar.

This is where mixologists create over 100 varieties of cocktails behind a 10-meter long marble bar carved from a single block of Calacatta Macchia Vecchia. 

It’s not just about the Product. It’s about the Experience.

The traditional Italian coffee bar is a narrow place with very little comforts.

Customers just step in, order a coffee (nearly always an espresso) down the brew whilst standing at the counter and then exit. 

Some bars don’t even have tables and seats.

Others do, but you may be charged extra to be seated. 

FYI- “banco” is the price if you stand at the counter and “tavolo” is the price to be seated.

So it’s generally not a place to linger, unlike Starbucks.

At the Roastery Milan you can sit in a comfortable seat or sofa. 

Enjoy free wifi if you need to work, catch up on emails or share your stunning photos of the nearby Duomo with your friends.

Here you are encouraged to linger, enjoy the art and science of coffee and literally drink in the essence of Milan. 

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