What a day! We visited the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the center of Milan. This was the very first Starbucks in Italy and it opened last fall. Italians were very apprehensive of a chain American coffee company entering Italy because coffee is a huge part of the culture here. But, Starbucks went ALL OUT for this store in order to assimilate into the Italian culture. Upon entering the store, I was mesmerized by the beauty and design of the interior.
I was so into the tour and cannot even explain how cool it was being in this store. There was a giant silo looking container and tubes coming out of it which snaked all over the ceiling. When I first entered the store, I assumed it was a decoration. However, everything is all functional! The beans are roasted on site in a massive machine right in the center of the store. The silo container was used to store the roasted coffee beans and the tubes were used to transport the them straight to the coffee bar. The whole set-up reminded me of Willy Wonka.
During our tour I was eyeing up this dark chocolate, glossy cake and after the tour I had some (it was delicious). All of the bakery items were baked in-house. Another cool aspect of this store was that they carry special coffee, grown in small batches, from different countries around the world, and every few months they will get new coffees. Today we sampled the Guatemalan coffee with “hints of chocolate and citrus” which I really enjoyed.
The whole tour, interior design, and effort that Starbucks put in to this store impressed me beyond measure. To summarize, the Starbucks Reserve Roastery was amazing. We had a few hours of free time after Starbucks until we met again, so a group of us walked to a castle (which was more like a fortress) a few blocks away which was right in the city. It was a beautiful morning and just simply strolling the streets of Milan was fun.
The second activity of the day was a visit of the official Armani museum. The museum was full of past Armani designs and it was like walking through an art museum. Our tour guide talked about the background of Giorgio Armani, his values, and about specific garments. I had little to no background information going into the museum, but after the tour I have a new appreciation for Giorgio Armani and his brand. In the late afternoon I traveled back to the Duomo and purchased tickets to go to the rooftop terrace – what a view! The rest of the evening consisted of a little shopping, dinner, and gelato. We sat on the Duomo steps for hours tonight talking and listening to the live music. Today was such a great day and I am loving every experience I have here.