Milano’s discreet charm is perfectly embodied by its own inhabitants, especially the Milanese women: elegance here is a matter of being polished and relaxed, a sophistication that is never flashy, nor ostentatious. There is an old term in Italian language known as “sprezzatura”, a concept invented by Baldassare Castiglione, not by chance born in Mantua, a city not far from Milano: there is no direct translation for this word but you can define it as a certain nonchalance, so as to conceal all art and make whatever one does or says appear to be without effort and almost without any thought about it. Think of Miuccia Prada as Milanese female archetype—the embodiment of the city’s style. Milano, and by extension most of Lombardy region’s cities, from Cremona to Bergamo, from Mantova to Vigevano, from Pavia to Monza, have the same effortless elegance: liberty palaces whose facades conceal fabulous courtyards or gardens, museums with incredible masterpieces and ever-present Leonardo da Vinci, who found in Milano the freedom to express his genius to the fullest.
If elegant discretion is the quality of Milano, Lake Como’s essence is romanticism: “This lake exceeds anything I ever beheld in beauty" once wrote the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. No other words can describe better this blissful place, coated with charm and romance. The main attraction is the lake itself, shaped like an upside-down Y, the charming village of Bellagio at the intersection, the Alps, ever present, majestic and dreamy, mirroring in the lake’s silver blue water, villas strung along its shore, some converted into magnificent hotels, some private homes, always of huge neoclassical dimensions, splendours form the Grand Tour era. In the charming villages, where you can sip your foamy cappuccino in outdoor cafés, waiters in white uniforms, wherever the village, whatever the time, the sense of zinging bliss hits you in the face like the warm ray of sun, peeking out of the majestic mountains. Sorridete ..siete in Italia!