Italy Trip Report

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Advisor - Jill Albino
Curated By

Jill Albino

  • Food & Wine

  • Active Travel

  • Italy

  • Romantic

  • Sightseeing

  • Girls Getaway

Italy Trip Report
Curator’s statement

Last month my daughter and I traveled to Italy. We hit up Milan, Lake Como and Venice.  It was the perfect mix of destinations!

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Our first stop was Milano. We stayed at the Bvlgari Hotel Milano located in Brera. Set next to the Botanical Gardens it is one of the few properties in Milan with such a large outdoor space. It offers 58 rooms and suites, most with garden views. There is a restaurant, bar with terrace, lounge in the garden, private dining room, cigar room and spa. Two boardrooms seating up to 35 guests and a private dining room for meetings/events. It was the first ever Bvlgari hotel and it used to be a monestary, the reason for the large outdoor space.

The rooms were clean, modern and spacious with black, brown, beige and gold tones. Bvlgari framed jewelry images on the wall and books stacked on the desk. We had a large terrace that had lounge furniture and a dining table. We ordered room service every morning just to take advantage of it. The service and staff were fantastic. From the moment we arrived, we were greeted with warm, friendly smiles. Concierge was so on top of helping us every time we walked through the lobby. It felt as though everyone at the hotel knew who you were and they were there to make your stay special. One afternoon we had our bathing suits hanging in the bathroom to dry.  When we came back from dinner, we found our bathing suits nicely folded in paper and dried for us.  I have so many positive feelings for this hotel. They really know the hospitality game and it feels genuine. They also arranged cars for us, theater tickets, restaurant reservations and proposed a silk tour in Lake Como.

In Milan we did a lot of shopping, eating and sightseeing but our two favorites were going to see La Boheme at La Scala. The theater is breathtaking and the show was phenomenal.  The other thing we did that I thought was so cool was QC Terme Spa. My daughter chose this activity and I was pretty sure it was going to be crowded and dirty. To my surprise it was so well done. They had so many rooms to choose from and you have five hours to explore them. They had a large outdoor pool with cold plunge tubs, vichy showers, rain rooms, multiple scented saunas, steam showers, foot baths, infrared rooms and napping pods. They also have one in Govener's Island in NYC, but not sure if it is the same. I did a quick tour there but never went into the spa.

Our favorite two restaurants in Milan were Solferino and 10 Corso Como.


Next, we headed to Lake Como at the stunning Passalacqua with only 24 rooms. Right when you enter the iron gates you know you won't want to leave. The lush green grounds, overflowing fountains and overall opulence are what dreams are made of. Every room of this meticulously curated hotel was better than the next. Opened last, June this hotel sits on 7 manicured acres in the village of Moltrasio. It's sister property Grand Tremezzo is about a 30 minute drive. You can also use the facilities at Grand Tremezzo. Passalacqua has two boats, a Barbara Sturm-focused spa with a sauna and steam shower, clay tennis courts, bocce ball, a small farm, rose gardens and a very fun La Double J designed pool area. There is even a private villa close to the water you can rent.  Also in the works is an indoor pool in one of the underground tunnels that we got a chance to take a look at. The Pasta at the restaurant was the best I had in all of Italy and the service was so lovely. You truly feel as though you are staying at a friends home. It is so comfortable. You can go into the kitchen at any time during the day and grab food that they have laid out for you. The bar is also always open for a quick bite, you will never go hungry here. They have daily programs like cooking with the chef, collecting eggs from the henhouse, yoga or watching the lovely Daniela who stands at a table between the Villas and the Palazz arranging flowers for the property.

We loved our Barbara Sturm facials, dinner at Il Gratto Nero, our 2 hour boat tour with Guido via Passalacqua, casual dinner in town at Moltrasina, the pool, tennis, yoga and just enjoying the luxury of walking the property.


Next stop was Venice. We decided to to split our time between the Gritti Palace and Aman. 

The Gritti Palace we really didn't have enough time to explore but it was beautiful. The rooms were very much old world charm and the service was warm and friendly. When we walked in they greeted us with a "welcome home" and grabbed all of our luggage quickly.  Our room set up was wonderful with two large French style windows on the the 4th floor overlooking the water. We loved watching from the window as the gondolas passed by.  The bar at the hotel had really good drinks in a cool setting and of course the famous Venice cicchetti. The breakfast in the morning was also very good from eggs to chocolate chip ricotta cakes.

The area around Gritti was the nicest to me because it was in quick walking distance to all of the designer stores and many of the good restaurants. We had a great experience at Da Ivo restaurant. It was such a fun vibe watching patrons dogs sitting at tables or walking around and just chatting with people at our neighboring tables. We got home from dinner at 1am somehow! We also loved our tour via Queen of Clubs that took us to Murano and Burano.

The last two nights we stayed at Aman Venice on the Grand Canal. It is breathtaking! You walk in and all you want to do is go from room-to-room to explore the architecture and art.  The hotel is actually someone's home and they still live on the 5th floor. There are 24 rooms total in the hotel with a spa featuring Sisley products and services. There is also a bar, restaurants, a few lounges, a library, a meeting room, a small gym and a rooftop terrace that you can call to order your cicchetti to. The view from up there is spectacular.  If you want to feel like a royal or a celeb this is the place for you. The room we had was on the 4th floor and it was designed so well. Super tall ceilings and again French windows overlooking the Grand Canal. The bed was so comfortable but my favorite part of the room was the enormous bathroom. It had enough room for a seating area and for no one to get in each others way while getting ready. I can see why this hotel attracts a certain clientele.  They almost make it where you don't want to leave your room because it feels like a home.  It is also very private. I rarely saw anyone walking around or in the lobby other than at dinner.

The dinner at the hotel restaurant was delicious. If you go to Arva you have to order the foccacia and the burrata, so good. The service at the restaurant was nice with a relaxed, quiet ambiance. We also loved The Penny Guggenheim museum, that is a must. Overall, it was a wonderful stay.

I think this was the perfect time in my opinion to visit all of these locations.  We really lucked out with weather in the high 70's, less crowds and more availability in restaurants.

Need to Know

This trip report is part of our ongoing series on travel to Italy. In need of further inspiration? Check out Cindy La’s guide, Exploring Italy: Positano, Florence, Venice.

Advisor - Jill Albino

Travel Advisor

Jill Albino

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