I’m beyond excited to be starting a little travel series on Pebble & Pearl! Travel is such a huge part of who I am and if I could do it non-stop I would. I love going on adventures around the globe– there’s nothing quite like it, in my opinion! There are tons of incredible places I’ve yet to discover, so, in the spirit of summertime adventure, I want to take a trip around the globe explore some of these wonderful places! Every Monday for the month of July, we’ll explore a different city through the eyes of some of my favorite fashionistas and travel bloggers. Expect some great tips on place to eat, sleep, and (obviously) explore!
Starting off this series, we’re going to explore Milan, Italy with Ingrid of That Scandinavian Feeling! I “met” Ingrid through a mutual friend, Instagram, when she reached out and sent me places she recommended I see during my time in Florence, Italy last summer. After we connected, I fell in love with her minimalistic style and her great eye for detail. She drew me in with photos of her dreamy home, adorable fringe, and love for adventure. I’ve been stalking her ever since and I know you’ll want to too!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your blog?
My name is Ingrid and I am originally from Norway. After living and working many years in London, I decided to move to Italy with my boyfriend who is Italian. In London, I used to work as a graphic designer. Now, I am more of a social media and all-around creative professional for my clients and also managing my own blog. I’m also working as a freelance journalist for Scan Magazine, a magazine showcasing Scandinavian brands, travel, and lifestyle.
After moving to Italy, I started focusing a lot on my heritage and wanted an outlet where I could share more. As a Norwegian living abroad, I’m trying to find a Scandinavian feel from my surroundings so, I created the blog “That Scandinavian Feeling”. I want the blog to represent the feeling of coziness and calm, with a Nordic simplistic and minimalist style. The blog is intended to share my knowledge and love for Scandinavia; it touches upon everything from interiors, design, and lifestyle. “Scandinavian Feeling” is still quite young, but I have a lot of ideas on how to evolve the brand further.
Coming from Norway, did you find it easy to adapt to the Italian way of life?
Norway and Italy are very different but, before moving here I had visited many times so I was aware of this. Adapting to their way of life was both easy and hard. I have, for instance, realized that after moving here it is better to take things slow and enjoy the moment. Sometimes everything is so hectic, but the Italians sure know how to practice slow living while enjoying themselves. I think for me, I have created a mix of the Italian and Scandinavian lifestyle which seems to fit very well. When it comes to food, I am sticking more to the Scandinavian way of having a healthy and hearty breakfast instead of going for the Italian biscuits and coffee. When in comes to dinner, I am getting used to eating later in the evening which is true Italian style. I think that it is always good to adapt to your new surroundings, but still keep to your own traditions and ways of life.
You often talk about incorporating hygge into your everyday life, can you explain what hygge is and how you bring “that Scandinavian feeling” to life in Italy?
Hygge is a state of coziness & calm that you will get from enjoying life’s simple pleasures. It is a Scandinavian word that has become very popular this last year. It’s a feeling that can be achieved in your home by lighting candles, or enjoying a cup of coffee while reading a book wrapped in a blanket. Hygge is not just for your home, it can also be things like enjoying a picnic with friends, having a walk or going on a bike ride. Hygge is basically those little moments that makes us happy and relaxed.
I bring “That Scandinavian Feeling” to Italy by creating a home that is bright, minimal and clean, but also cozy and homely. I’ve been focusing on adding little personal elements in my home to make it cozy. Having little details like photos and decorative items remind me of where I’m from and the memories that I’ve shared with loved ones. Candles and plants bring more of the outside in. I enjoy creating my own little Scandinavian nest here in Italy. When I’m in my apartment, it makes me feel like I am back home in Norway and when I step outside I am yet again in Italy.
What do you love most about living in Milan?
After living in London, I was used to being in a big, vibrant city so I wanted to be close to something similar. I live on the outside of Milan near a smaller city called Monza, but Milan is not far away. I love the fact that I am so close to the busy city life, only 20 min on the train. Yet, is also very close to a more authentic smaller Italian village and one of the biggest parks in Europe, Monza park.
There are so many things that I love about living here; the food, the weather and the friendly people… But if I have to say one thing that I love the most is that it has to be so easy to travel around and experience the country. One of my favourite things to do on the weekend is having a little getaway or day trip to a new place. Italy is so diverse. You can experience those large, famous cities, but also discover small, idyllic towns and villages along the way. Because Milan has very good connections, you can reach places like Rome, Venice and Florence. You can also explore lovely places like Lake Como or even take a day trip to Switzerland – the opportunities are endless.
Another thing worth mentioning is the fact that Milan hosts the annual Design Week in April each year. It is a time when the whole city is buzzing and full of international people. Here you can find all the latest trends within the design and interior world. It is where all the brands show off their new products. It’s an amazing time to visit Milan if you are an interior geek like me 😉
I’m all about the food scene in a new city. Where are your favorite spots to taste what the city has to offer?
•Carlo e Camilla in Segheria- The coolest restaurant hidden in a old warehouse. In the restaurant you find two long tables inviting guests to sit together instead of separate which creates a warm and unique atmosphere. The food is amazing and the cocktails are very creative. The last time I went there, I tasted a Caesar salad cocktail for instance.
•Crazy Cat Cafe – A very particular place, if you like cats you will love it. Here you can play with cats and while eating lunch and cakes in a friendly and relaxing environment.
•Bar Luce at the Fondazione Prada – A place worth visiting. This is a cafe designed by Wes Anderson, he has re-created the atmosphere of a typical Milanese cafè with a 1950s style full of pastel colours and quirky details. The perfect place for a drink or a coffee and a bite to eat while you pretend that you’re in your favourite Wes Anderson film.
•Fancy Toast – Right now in Milano, toast is the hottest thing. This is a very tiny but very instagrammable place with all kinds of toasts on the menu.
•Cioccolati Italiani – If you are after a good gelato make sure you stop by this place right near the Duomo! It is heaven.
•Terazza Aperol – It might seem a bit touristy, but if you are in Milano and want to have an Aperol Spritz with the best view, I would recommend stopping here. It is located right opposite the Duomo, so you can enjoy a cold drink while looking at the most beautiful and iconic building in town.
•Tram Ristorante At Mosfera – A lovely experience and a great way to discover the city. Dinner served on an old tram while it drives past all the sights in Milano.
Where are a few places people who are visiting Milan must go?
As I mentioned above, the Duomo is the most iconic building in town and a must-see when visiting Milano. Purchase a ticket to visit the roof and get a view of the city as well as a closer look at the details of the architecture. While you are at the Duomo, be sure to walk thought Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and take a step back in time. This is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, and it always takes my breath away.
I always recommend tourists to visit Eataly, this is a large store dedicated to food and eating. Something Italians know a lot about. Each floor has different sections dedicated to pasta, meat, cheese, wine etc… as well as different restaurants where you can enjoy everything from a pizza to just a glass of wine.
If you want to do some vintage shopping, then head to Navigli for the weekend market. This area is also good for aperitivo with endless bars and restaurant on each side of the canal, so after the shopping be sure to sit down and enjoy a glass and some nibbles in true Italian style.
Milan is a major fashion capital, what shops do we need to visit during our travels?
For fashion, you can find all the large flagship stores in the main shopping street behind the Duomo. Here you can also find the department store La Rinascente with clothing, household and beauty products. This is a pricey store with big brands, but you can also find a new section with Urban Outfitters and smaller up-and-coming brands. Another department store in Milan that I enjoy visiting is The Brian & Barry building in San Babila, 12 floors of shopping and food.
Via Torino is also a great area for discovering both big brands, as well as, smaller storesand independent brands. At the end of this long street you will find Milano’s version of Brick Lane, a trendy area full of younger people.
When it comes to design for the home, I love visiting Design Republic, it is a large store dedicated to Scandinavian design, as well as some Italian classics. Here you can find a beautiful curated showroom with a lot of inspiration. Also, the basement in the La Rinascente has a lot of great design and homeware.
Another place worth visiting is 10 Corso Como, a hidden backyard with a outdoor bar and fashion store downstairs. Upstairs you find a gallery and a bookstore selling a variety of creative & fashion related books.
After all that exploring, shopping and eating, we’ll need a place to sleep! Where are the best areas to stay in?
If you are planning to stay in Milano there are a few areas that I would suggest looking into. Go for Brera if you want a trendy and cool area but you are ready to spend a bit of money. Navigli is also a great area to stay in, and more affordable. Here you are close to the nightlife and bars on the canal. If you want to be close to the main attractions, then have a look at anything near the city centre and Duomo area as you will save on not having to take much public transport.
Where should we go to find you and stay connected?
I hope you enjoyed reading all about Milan, Italy! Thank you so much stopping by.