25 Reasons Why We Love Living in Miano

There are weeks when Milan is dull and grey, and it always feels as if the rain starts to fall on Saturday morning and the sun shines brightly every Monday afternoon. However, although we love to complain about Milan, the truth is that we actually do love it very much. Here is a list of reasons to remind you why you love living in Milano:

25) In restaurants, a salad costs more than a plate of pasta or a meat dish, and yet you choose to order the salad every time.

24) There is a gelateria around every street corner, but you still walk for miles just to go to your favorite one.

23) You also do the same thing with your favourite pizzeria, and you can argue about this for hours with your friends.

22) It’s worth living here for the rest of the year just to experience the two weeks of Fashion Week.

Tree in park21) Lounging in Parco Sempione on summer afternoons, after trying (and failing) to study for your upcoming exam in the park.

20) You need four cups of coffee to sustain yourself through an average day.

19) There is no dearth of places where you can get good coffee.

18) You know the exact difference between a caffè, caffè lungo, caffè macchiato, caffè corretto, latte macchiato, cappuccino, marocchino and at what time of the day each drink is appropriate. You also look down on people who drink a cappuccino after 11.00am in the morning.

Cadorna sculpture close-up17) You use BikeMi to go everywhere even though you own a bicycle that you haven’t used in years.

16) Bumping into someone you know when you are out in the evening because there are just three main areas in the city where most people hang out.

15) Standing in the middle of the night with at least 15-20 other people waiting for the last tram to pass by.

14) You can’t help but support either Inter or Milan once you start living here even if you don’t actually follow football!

13) You start following football regardless of whether you like it or not, and you know better than to go out on the eve of a match.

12) You also know better than to leave your supermarket shopping for a Sunday evening.

11) You can take the metro, change lines twice and still manage to reach your destination well before a direct bus journey.

10) You have a complicated relationship with the public transportation system of the city. You love to complain about it all the time, but get very defensive when you hear other people trashing it.

Exterior and roof of La Scala9) Darsena on a Saturday night.

8 ) You proudly boast about La Scala to tourists and people you meet abroad, while never actually having been to a performance yourself.

7) Hearing the phrase Panzerotto da Luini automatically makes you nod in agreement.

6) The quality of your day is directly related to whether it’s raining or not.

Side view of Duomo cathedral5) Crepes and cocktails in Porta Ticinese right in front of the Colonne di San Lorenzo.

4) The Duomo takes your breath away every time you catch a first glimpse of it, even though you pass it almost every day.

3) Your love for the city can be expressed in just one word: APERITIVO.

2) It’s the only place in the world where everyone is on holiday for the entire month of August.

1) You can’t wait to leave when you live there, but when you are away you miss it and want to come back!

Easter Recipe: Torta Pasqualina

Europe welcomed spring this year with a partial solar eclipse (and in a very small area a full one) just a few days ago. In Italy, the coming of spring means that Easter must be just around the corner. This year the Christian/Catholic holiday will take place on Sunday April 5th. But how do Italians celebrate Easter? Like many other holidays around here, there are some unique Easter traditions, including mouth-watering traditions for the young and old!

The logistics
Easter is always on a Sunday and the day after – Easter Monday – is a holiday. So that means no school for the kids, no work for the adults and most shops will be closed. Good Friday, the Friday before Easter, is a normal working day.

The traditions
Lots of Italian families get together for a big meal on Easter Sunday, but the day after is often reserved for an outing with friends. The saying, Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua con chi vuoi (literally meaning Christmas with your family, Easter with your friends) makes it clear that the day after Easter (or if you want to make a long weekend) is up for grabs and you don’t necessarily need to celebrate with your family. That means a lot of people take advantage of the spring weather and take a train or go on a road trip for a day out of town.

The food
Traditional Easter foods include lamb, pasta dishes and lots of recipes with eggs. What about desserts? The most common cake is the colomba, which is a lot like Christmas’s star, panettone, but with the addition of crunchy pearl sugar and almonds on top and shaped into an abstract dove shape, a religious symbol.
Easter is a great time for chocolate lovers, too. Kids usually receive large, hollow chocolate eggs to open on Easter, which contain a small surprise gift. You can also find smaller chocolate eggs, sometimes with a candy shell and hollow inside or with a creamy hazelnut filling.

The recipe
Want to take part in an Italian Easter food tradition? You can make this classic dish: it’s tasty, vegetarian, budget-friendly and not too complicated to put together. This spinach and ricotta savory Easter pie (torta pasqualina) is originally from the Liguria area and versions of it are popular throughout Italy this time of year. The whole eggs inside the pie are what makes it especially perfect for Easter.

Torta Pasqualina: Spinach and ricotta savory Easter pie

 

Puff Pastry
If you don’t have much experience working with pastry, you might want to save some time and buy puff pastry (pasta sfoglia) from the grocery store. Two 230g packages, preferably the round version, should suffice.
If you’re feeling adventurous and have some time on your hands, you can make your own puff pastry. Use your most trusted recipe website or video recipe channel for ingredients and technique.

Filling ingredients

  • 1kg fresh spinach (or 400g frozen spinach)
  • 1 small onion (about 100g chopped)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 500g ricotta
  • 130g parmigiano reggiano (or grana padana)
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 sprigs marjoram
  • 1tsp nutmeg

Preparation
1. Start by preparing the puff pastry if making from scratch. While the pastry is chilling, prepare the filling.
2. Clean (if fresh) and cook the spinach in boiling, salted water. Drain water and set aside.
3. Dice the onion and saute in a large frying pan with a thin layer of olive oil until soft. Add spinach to onion, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.
4. Clean marjoram leaves and discard woody twigs. Add ricotta, parmigiano reggiano, 2 eggs, marjoram leaves and nutmeg to spinach. Mix well.
5. Place layer of puff pastry in a 30cm round baking pan. Fill with spinach and ricotta filling. Create six indentations for remaining eggs and carefully place each egg, being careful not to break the yolk. Cover with puff pastry and crimp the edges.
6. Bake in preheated oven at  180 degrees for 45 minutes. Crust should be golden when removed from oven.
7. Buon appetito!

Watch Movies in English in Milan

Now that last year’s Oscars winners have been announced, it’s time to catch up on all the movies that were nominated for and won awards! Fortunately, if you live in Milan, that will be easy to do, with the English-language film review chock-full of Academy Award winners.

Movies shown in their original language (read: English) are available in Milan each week at 3 different cinemas on 3 different days of the week. This is where they’re located:

Mondays – Anteo Spaziocinema, Via Milazzo 9 (Porta Garibaldi or Moscova stops, green line)
Tuesdays – Arcobaleno Film Center, Viale Tunisia 11 (Porta Venezia stop, red line)
Thursdays – Cinema Mexico, Via Savona 57 (Porta Genova stop, green line)

For more information on the program, go to the Sound & Motion Pictures website (information in Italian, PDF download in English). And always be sure to check dates and times with the movie theater.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the upcoming movies. Enjoy the show!

Sound and Motion logo23 – 24 – 26 February
3:00pm, 6:00pm, 9:00pm
BOYHOOD
directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette – duration: 165 minutes

2 – 3 – 5 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
THE IMITATION GAME
directed by Morten Tyldum, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley – duration: 113 minutes

9 – 10 – 12 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
directed by James Marsh, starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones – duration: 123 minutes

16 – 17 – 19 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
BIRDMAN
directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis – duration: 119 minutes

23 – 24 – 26 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:25pm
SELMA
directed by Ava DuVernay, starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo – duration: 128 minutes

30 – 31 March – 2 April
3:00pm, 6:00pm, 9:00pm
INHERENT VICE
directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin – duration: 148 minutes

7 – 9 April
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm
STILL ALICE
directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin – duration: 101 minutes

13 – 14 – 16 April
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
BLACK OR WHITE
directed by Mike Binder,starring Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer – duration: 121 minutes

21 – 23 April
1:00pm, 3:40pm, 6:15pm, 9:00pm
UNBROKEN
directed by Angelina Jolie, starring Jack O’Connell, Takamasa Ishihara – duration: 137 minutes

27 – 28 – 30 April
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
WILD
directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern – duration: 115 minutes

4 – 5 – 7 May
3:00pm, 6:00pm, 9:00pm
MR TURNER
directed by Mike Leigh, starring Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson – duration: 149 minutes

11 – 12 – 14 May
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:25pm
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring Colin Firth, Micheal Caine – duration: 129 minutes

18 – 19 – 21 May
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm
WHIPLASH
directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons – duration: 107 minutes

25 – 26 – 28 May
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm
MORDECAI
directed by David Koepp, starring Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow – duration: 107 minutes

1 – 4 June
3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
directed by John Madden, starring Maggie Smith, Richard Gere – duration: 122 minutes

8 – 9 – 11 June
3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm
RUTH & ALEX
directed by Richard Loncraine, starring Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton – duration: 92 minutes

2014 Christmas Markets in Milan

With the holiday season almost here, the time has come to think about exchanging gifts with friends and family and maybe decorating your apartment or dorm room with some festive trimmings.

As a predominately Catholic country, Italy celebrates the several important holidays in December and early January. In Milan, the season official kicks off on 7 December, the Feast of St. Ambrose, the patron saint of the city. That’s immediately followed by a national holiday on 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Then of course Christmas is on the 25th, and the day after, St. Stephen’s Day, is also a holiday. Winter vacation usually ends right after 6 January, which celebrates the Epiphany.

So now that you know more about the calendar, you can understand why Christmas shopping usually revolves around 7-8 December: everyone has some extra time to think about presents and seasonal decorations! Milan may not be as famous for its Christmas markets as some other northern European cities, but the Milanese do enjoy taking part in some annual holiday shopping. Find out more below!

Crowds at holiday marketL’Artigiano in Fiera
This huge event has been hosted in Milan for almost 20 years – it seems to get bigger each year. With over 3,000 stands (!), you really need at least a full day –and a lot of stamina – to see everything. Your best bet is to make a game plan beforehand so you can hit the countries or Italian regions you’re most interested in. And don’t forget to come hungry: this market is also a great place to taste some good food from all over the world.
Open daily from 10am to 10:30pm through 8 December. Take the red line (MM1) to the Rho Fiera stop, but make sure you buy a €2.50 transport ticket since Rho is outside the city limits. Admission is free.

Fiera degli O’Bej O’Bej
This traditional market reportedly dates back to the 13th century. It’s held on and around the city’s saint’s day, 7 December, and lasts about one week. For the past few years, the market is located in Piazza Castello. Crafts and other items are on sale, as well as typical winter foods like chestnuts and sweets.
This year the market will be held from 5 to 8 December. Located at the Cairoli Castello stop on the subway (MM1).

Corsa dei Babbi Natale
On 13 December at 3:30pm, hundreds of people dressed up as Santa Claus will take the streets on a 5km run starting and ending in Piazza Castello. The registration fee is €15, and all participants will receive a Santa hat, bag, a race number and a few coupons from sponsors. The website is in Italian so you might need a native speaker to help you navigate the online registration.

Other Markets
Various other outdoor markets around the city will also start springing up during the weekend of December 7th, and should last until Christmas. Locations include Duomo, Paolo Sarpi, Piazza Gae Aulenti, Affori, Portello, Isola and others!

Movies in English in Milan!

With the days getting rainier, colder and shorter, outdoor activities aren’t quite as fun as they used to be. So what better way to spend an evening than inside a dark, warm movie theater, munching on a bag of salty popcorn?

A series of movies shown in their original language (read: English) are available in Milan each week at 3 different cinemas on 3 different days. This is where they’re located:

Mondays – Anteo Spaziocinema, Via Milazzo 9 (Porta Garibaldi or Moscova stops, green line)
Tuesdays – Arcobaleno Film Center, Viale Tunisia 11 (Porta Venezia stop, red line)
Thursdays – Cinema Mexico, Via Savona 57 (Porta Genova stop, green line)

For more information on the program, go to the Sound & Motion Pictures website (information in Italian, PDF download in English).

Without further ado, here’s a list of the upcoming movies. Enjoy the show!

Sound and Motion logo17 – 18 – 20 November
1:00pm, 3:40pm, 6:15pm, 9:00pm
THE JUDGE
directed by D. Dobkin, starring R. Downey Jr., L. Meester – duration: 141 minutes

24 – 25 – 27 November
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
A MOST WANTED MAN
directed by A. Corbijn, starring P. Seymour Hoffman, R. McAdams – duration: 122 minutes

1 – 2 – 4 December
2:50pm, 5:55pm, 9:00pm
INTERSTELLAR
directed by C. Nolan, starring M. McConaughey, A. Hathaway – duration: 170 minutes

9 – 11 December
1:00pm, 3:40pm, 6:15pm, 9:00pm
GET ON UP
directed by T. Taylor, starring C. Boseman, V. Davis – duration: 139 minutes

12 – 13 – 15 January
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm
MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT
directed by W. Allen, starring E. Stone, C. Firth – duration: 97 minutes

19 – 20 – 22 January
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm
JIMMY’S HALL
directed by K. Loach, starring B. Ward, S. Kirby – duration: 109 minutes

26 – 27 – 29 January
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
PRIDE
directed by M. Warchus, starring B. Nighy, D. West – duration: 117 minutes

2 – 3 – 5 February
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm
SHE’S FUNNY THAT WAY
directed by P. Bogdanovich, starring I. Poots, J. Aniston – duration: 93 minutes

9 – 10 – 12 February
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
AMERICAN SNIPER
directed by C. Eastwood, starring B. Cooper, S. Miller – duration: 120 minutes

16 – 17 – 19 February
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
BIG EYES
directed by T. Burton, starring A. Adams, C. Waltz – duration 120 minutes

#FoodSavingBEC Initiative for Undergraduate Students

Calling all undergraduate students! Are you interested in spending 1 week in Milan with 199 other students from around the world, to come up with innovative and creative ideas on how to decrease food waste?

With Expo Milan 2015 starting in a few months (the international fair will begin on 1 May of next year), the city is gearing up with a bunch of related events and initiatives, including the Short Food Movie competition, which was discussed in a previous post.

Another competition is #FoodSavingBEC, open to students enrolled in any undergraduate program at any university around the world.

Students participating in the week-long event will attend lectures with Bocconi faculty members and experts from partners of the initiative. They will also be divided into teams to find creative and innovative solutions to the problem of food waste and then vote for the top five ideas. The top teams will compete on the final day of the competition at the EXPO 2015 Italy Pavilion in front of a qualified panel of judges.

To apply for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, all you need to do is fill out the online application, upload a few documents like your transcripts, and submit a video introducing yourself and explaining why you should be a part of the competition, in English.

The 10 students with the most votes online will automatically be chosen to participate, while the other 190 students will be evaluated based on their entire application. And the top 5 students with the most votes who are from outside Italy will be offered round-trip airfare to Milan! All participants will be given lunch vouchers during the week-long program and students attending universities outside Milan will be hosted at a local residence hall.

What an opportunity! What are you waiting for? Go to the #FoodSavingBEC website to get more information and to apply. And for a quick intro on what it’s all about, watch the video below:

Short Food Movie @ Expo 2015

Short Food Movie and Expo logos

Want to win a trip to Milan and the Expo? If you have some video making skills under your belt (or a desire to learn) and a passion for food, you could win by participating in the Short Food Movie initiative. Whether you’re interested food production, cooking, nutrition or you want to create a message aimed at abolishing hunger around the world, you can create a short video and share it with the world, both online and at the Milano Expo 2015.

Short Food Movie and Expo logosVideos will be on the Short Food Movie website, in addition to Pavilion Zero at the Expo itself. Pavilion Zero is the first area visitors will see as they explore the grounds of the fair. Designed by Michele de Lucchi, a large part of the project is a huge panel of TV screens focusing on food issues. This where the videos submitted by people from all over the world will be played (without audio).

When you’re creating your video, you should keep the main Expo themes in mind: improving the quality and safety of food; ensuring a healthy, quality nutrition for all human beings; preventing the key societal diseases of our time, related to nutrition; innovating the whole food supply chain by means of corporate and technology research; educating to a proper nutrition; enhancing food traditions as cultural and ethnic values.

Of course there are also a few rules you need to remember for the competition. Videos should work with and without sound (sound will be included when uploaded to the website, but not at the Expo installation), no logos can be included, they have to last between 30 and 60 seconds and copyright rules can’t be infringed upon.

Also, when you upload your video, you’ll have to choose one of the following categories:

  • Food & Life
  • Food & Nature
  • Food & Sustainability
  • Food & Culture
  • Food & Production
  • Food & People
  • Zero Hunger Challenge (UN initiative)

You could win a trip to Milan and tickets to Expo Milan 2015! The public will vote for their favorite videos and the 15 with the most votes will be eligible to receive this great prize. A panel of judges will choose 3 out of those 15 videos as winners to come to the event. Check the website, as details are forthcoming. Voting starts on 10 November 2014.

So warm up your camcorder (or mobile phone, tablet or camera with video recording functions), get your creative juices flowing and be a part of the Expo!