Italy: Mantova – Charming beauty of Lombardy

Italian land is fascinating that I can never get over it. Being in this country no matter where I am at, I always find something so inspiring that I can write up and pour my feeling in it. It is colourful, it is intimating and somehow it is kind of sexy. That is what I feel for Italy and for Italian people.


Mantova or Mantua, the small town of Lombardy seems to get so much charm but not many people notice it. You could easily miss it while heading to Verona, Venice or Milan. It is, however, a place worth to make a stop for one or two days. The cultural and artistic aspects got me chilled when I took my first glance in the late evening while on my way to Beatilla – my country stay for the long weekend. I was amazed by its entrance from the highway to the old town leading by a bridge slicing the river into two. It was like the road to a new kingdom which was far lost in the mystery. It was found and it dazzled me by its charmingly Italian vibe.

I stayed in a farm resort and took a bike ride to Mantova one day. Crossing multiple land fields, cow farms, and I realised that was kind of fun, somehow different from most my travels. Staying in the city sometimes could be hectic even though I gotta admit the convenience. Mantova is not so big but going on a bike made me feel like putting myself into the non-tourist lifestyle. I was not yet in the old town but it was overwhelmed enough with all the old architectures and the massive Palazzo Ducale. The place is nowhere to be missed because of its performance on the outside and also it stands right at the beginning of the old town entrance. Each room of Ducale is a master piece and you wouldn’t help but wonder how all those paintings could be made. It seems to be something normal for those who visit palaces or castles often but Ducale could surprise you and give you a hint of what you could expect from this small town. If you haven’t found it impressive enough, you would be speechless by the time you stood under the roof of Sala dei Giganti painted by Giulio Romano at Palazzo Te, just like I was.

It was a calming walk in the sun to small alleys which I found so pleasant to be surrounded by old houses with full of warm colours. Being in Mantova reminded me of the time when I was in Genova because somehow the atmosphere was very similar – not packed by tourists, things going slowly and no hassle for tourist attractions.

It might be a small town but its popularity for food is known. Quattro Tette is the finest typical Italian dining which you gotta rush to try their food. They only open for more than 2 hours a day (12:00 – 14:30) but it is worth to try their Tortelli Di Zucca or Risotto con Salsiccia/Alla Pilota – the traditional dishes from Mantova.  The other day, I went easy on food so there I took a Piadina – a quick snack looking like a tortilla crepe at La Piadeniria. Even that simple tortilla Italy could make it so right. When the night came, I couldn’t miss that Aperitivo time when I could get my exquisite Italian wine with some small snacks. That stroll around Mantova got me discover Cue C’é C’é Bar which the design caught my eyes completely because of its contrast from the town. It is nothing like an Italian cafe bar and certainly it got the industrial look going on with a touch of French flavour. That chic bar turned from a hippy place for coffee during the day to a classy hangout spot for youngsters for the Aperitivo time.

By the end of the trip, I actually thought that I could move myself there one day. I got hooked by the Italian culture and lifestyle in this place.Things seem so easy-going, and people are always welcoming. If that could ever happen…

Quattro Tette

Vicolo Nazione, 4
(Opening time: 12:00 – 14:30)

La Piadeniria

Via Giovanni Battista Spagnoli, 18

Cue C’é C’é Bar

Via Calvi Pietro Fortunato, 11

Gelateria Pappa Reale

Via Giovanni Chiassi, 89
+39 0376 365517



Beatilla farm resort – A break from the city

Getting the city girl out of the city is not  easy but it is always great to have a bit of change. So there I left the city to the country. It could not be any better to be out in the countryside in a small town of Italy because somehow I knew that the farm life wouldn’t be boring in this colourful country. Certainly, I was right.

After arriving very late in the town called Mantova, I was fancy for a gelato even though the breeze was pretty damn cold but I always say – “It’s always the best time to eat ice-cream”. In that chilled night, I did not bother to think about anything else because that stay in Italy was going to be exciting. I got driven to Beatilla farm resort where I would be staying for the weekend. And there where I got to meet Bianca, a white cute little donkey who has her own hut from the whole farm resort.


Waking up in the warm sun and breathing the fresh air with a smell significantly from the farm, I realised that I was out of the city. It it not that the city cannot get quiet but the still from a farm house is different. The horse, Malebu, neighed first thing in the morning and made that an alarm for people to feed him, I supposed. People talking in the background in Italian got me feel that I was on a holiday. I walked up to the reception to get some breakfast and apparently, all the goodness from that breakfast were homemade – from the delish chocolate cake to grain bread, fig marmalade, yoghurt. The music from Damien Rice was playing, leading me to the home feeling in the weird way and getting me more comfortable with the quietness. Luca was the host who invited me to come over to get inspired and I was not yet inspired by the place but by him. He is an artist and creates his art in his own way with different dimensions. He created all pieces of furniture in the resort and you can see his art works in every room. Beatilla is a great place to be because you do not only experience the farm life which is not perfect as it is said by Luca, but you are going to live closer to the Italian culture in the artistic way. Thank Luca because he has created a cosy farm resort with tasteful self-made interior by reusing dumbed products.

Life isn’t perfect. Staying in hotels might give you all the comfort you need when you travel but not shows you the reality – said Luca.

The farm life is truly calming and has its own beauty. I was lucky to see it for a short period. I was surrounded by an Italian family, which made me learn a bit more about Italian culture and how they celebrate their lives everyday. Life seems to be more true and real out there… In the end, being out of the city might make me miss the hassle of the city life for a bit but we all deserve sometime to rest our mind and soul to stay true to ourselves. And that’s what Beatilla farm resort gave me – an eye open to see the real life, and a different lifestyle.


Beatilla Farm Resort

Address: Via Mantova 21, Corte Barco, 46045 Marmirolo MN, Italy

Italy: Cosmopolitan life in Milan

There was a hate I got for Milan because it ruined my 20th birthday somehow. But wait, 2 years has passed and that hate has become a love affair. Still counting how many times I have visited the city but wrapped up at number 4. There the story goes from ‘once upon a time, she made Milan as one of her stops during her hitchhiking trip’. The image of an Italian guy asking me sex in exchange for 100 CHF was still in my mind and that was how I entered Italy, and to be more specific, entering Milan. But that won’t be the story of Milan, will it? Absolutely not because it has something that fascinates me so much that brings me back again and again.

Surely, 2 years ago I would say something else about Milan. Dirty, overpriced, too ‘Cosmopolitanic’! Well, none of those has changed but the image of the city certainly has been different in my mind. If you look closely, you will find Milan not a touristic city. And it is not! It is just known by the fashion statement, fashion fairs and famous fashion designers. The shopping street has made so many people crazy about to come here and to tell that ‘hey, I shopped at Milan the other day’. It does look fancy but not different from other cities I have been to. But I believe we all need a bit of the ‘bling-bling’ every now and then, and of course, that Cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Sometimes I think I should be a better tourist because I have a blog to manage but I hardly mention a tourist attraction and same with photos. In the end, I should not give a damn about that because there are enough blogs out there doing that job and my job is to enjoy the short-period life of each city could offer. However, I was doing that right, especially there in Milan. After the 4th visit, I haven’t crossed any places that are in the list ‘Top 10 places to visit in Milan’. Duomo is still standing there gorgeously waiting for me to have a good shot but it never works out because of the amount of people standing on that square could not do good for my photos anyway. So I gave up and enjoyed my time in Milan as a non-tourist.



When I say there is so much to see, what I mean is the lifestyle. It could be the thing that fascinates me the most about this place, the living is Italian but not as much Italian as it seems. I won’t define it because I might turn it into stereotyping. People are busy glamouring up themselves to chase the image of a Cosmopolitan, but nevertheless having a moment to enjoy their Milanese lives. Whatever people do or work during the day will wrap up in an Aperitivo dinner. Just like other Milanese or Italian in general, I do enjoy my Aperitivo evening just as much. I mean, it is cool to dine out and you don’t have to pay so much but can stuff your face with the buffet. I have to mention that a drink is included, too. For me, I am not fond of the Italian cuisine Aperitivo because it seems quite normal. It would be better if you go to a real Italian restaurant for that though. So then, I decided to spend my evening in a Sushi bar which offers the same concept – buffet and a drink. I might sound weird – eating Sushi in Italy? Am I crazy? But trust me, I am not at all because I bet you might have not known, Milan has the best seafood around here. And why don’t you go for something different rather than the old routine? Italian cuisine is absolute adore but I prefer a change every now and then. And that led me to a Mexican Taco bar called Al Mercato the next night. The variety of tacos there is amazing and each of them is speechlessly good.


It was a little night out with my dear friend Manoela. We are absolutely two foodies and we certainly fell in love with Al Mercato. After finishing our last tacos, getting some tequila shots with a random Italian guy being seated alone at the bar and few chats later, we all went to Armani for a little luxury and maybe a cocktail. Of course, cocktails happened. We were about to call it a night and then:

“Have you checked out the room here? The bedroom is absolutely gorgeous and I would love to see you two in bed touching each other”.

I might have gotten into my friend’s nerve but not mine. “How could we say that we are not interested? We don’t look for guys, sorry!”

Shock? Yes!
Scared? For sure not. It was not my first time facing an Italian guy and talking about sex. I was asked to have sex in exchange for money, I got harassed while hitchhiking, so maybe that was a bit more gentleman of him to ask.

He was a Milanese guy having a successful business in the city. His English is incredibly good so I was sure he could understand me just fine. The only thing I had to question myself again – Are all Italian men like that? I was in Milan, not holding a cardboard on the road. And he was a charming guy, not a truck driver. What is going on?

Cosmopolitan huh. Maybe we need to have to rewind to define it all over again.




Italy: Verona

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Following my track from Bologna to Milan, catching up with some new friends then heading to Verona. A ride to the romantic Italian city sounded like a good deal and I had been looking forward to seeing that charming Verona, where the story of Juliette and Romeo began. Wandering around small alleys was the greatest thing to do because you wouldn’t see yourself anywhere else like here in Verona. Life went slower or was it because of the Italian summer. I wanted to see and touch to every single details of the city because it somehow gave me such a different feeling from other cities in Italy.

It seemed like the Italian sun was not hot enough, the warm colour of all buildings reflected on me and I just felt like I was in the Pizza oven. But then, it was a good summer, I had nothing to complain about it.

Do you get why when you travel to destinations that you do not plan to go, you see everything but know nothing what you are seeing? I felt quite ashamed of it because I call myself a travel blogger. I was supposed to know things to write for people. However, I realised that it did not matter to me at all. I write about a city by its feelings, its mood, and how it is seen through my eyes. Now the web has covered you all the details that you look for. And there I was, feeling absolutely loved by this romantic city. No man, but it should never be the reason to not feel the love and the romance.













Italy: Genoa – The Wonder Needed To Be Found

How obvious is it when we talk about Italy, Milan, Rome, Venice, Napoli come up first thing in the conversation. It is certain that those cities are highlights of the country by their history and wonderful landscape (and I do not even need to say out loud FOOOD). You know? It might be too crazy to hear but I do not have any desire to see those places, just yet, because I know what they look like since we have way too many tourism promotions for those cities. On the other hand, I enjoy wandering myself in smaller cities that are not known well from tourists. Genoa, or Genova, was definitely the destination I had been looking for for my one month stay in Italy.

If Italy has been known by its stunningly dreamy cities, Genoa should definitely in the list. At the first look, Genoa seems to be a bit dirty but I saw it as the touch of history. The whole city is covered by historic buildings with such amazing architecture designs. Stepping my feet out of the up-hill apartment, I could feel my chicken skin revealing because the vibe soaked me in immediately . If you are a fan of architecture and design like me, you would definitely feel the way I felt.


No transportation needed when you are in town. It is best to wander around the city and get lost which I found most of the time. I got into alleys to alleys and somehow I was nowhere to be found but I did not mind it. Wherever I was in Genova, there was something new to see. I was very much fascinated by the old architecture that I just felt myself going back to time and seeing the old Italy. From Via Garabaldi to Piazza Rafaellae de Ferrari, I was put in different eras, same place, but more modern.



One point, I found my way to the old harbour where all magical things was about to happen. It was a windy day and somehow quite cloudy. However, a breeze came at the best time because of the heat spreading all over the town. Strolling around the port, passing the aquarium, my feet met the deck in the far end of the port. Why did I say magical? I slowly closed my eyes, took a deep breath and lost myself in the empty mind. That moment I could sense the stagger of the deck because of being hit by small waves; the wind blew and brought the sea breeze zigzaging through my hair; seagulls nearby were squarking, chirping and wailing….

Try that, then you will feel the magic.







Road trip ’13: P1: Pizza & Spaghetti heaven – Italy

Lago d’ Orta San Giulio

We planned our holiday to go to Northern Italian lakes. With the car, we took a short ride by a ferry through the tunnel and we climbed mountains one after each other. We finally arrived to Lago Orta San Giulio after 5 hours driving – a quiet lake near by Lago Maggiore. Orta San Giulio is a little cute town. I loved every corner, every small balcony with many pots of flower decorated…

Orta square

Main square of Orta San Giulio

Orta Square Continue reading