After hunting down products and trends at Salone del Mobile in Milan last week, I spent the nights at Airbnbs and got an insider’s look at Italian kitchen and baths. Both of the places I stayed were lovely (if you haven’t done Airbnb, I highly recommend it), but unless you pay a fortune, expect to be living like most of the locals: tight quarters and very old bones.
Location One: Milan
While at the show in Milan, I stayed a little outside the city center to be closer to the fairgrounds. The young couple I stayed with – a special needs teacher and an artist – had a little more room than most with this suburban locale. My section of the space included a fairly large bathroom by European standards that had obviously been recently remodeled.
There was the typical bath with a shower handle (always fun to maneuver) and a tiny shower squeezed by the door. The shower itself was missing interior lights and it only was hot for about three minutes – also very Italian – but other than that it was definitely an update. The sink was wide and featured a Brizo faucet, and the floor tile was some type of marble.
The couple’s kitchen definitely had some interesting character. As you can see, some of the cabinet doors were missing and instead were replaced with sheets of fabric. (I have heard that some Europeans literally take their cabinetry with them when they move, so maybe that happened here). The multi-colored drawers that remained looked rather fitting next to the plaid coverings. Other than that, it was just functional. The high point though was the balcony right off the kitchen. There was one off the main living space and my bedroom as well. Since the area was near a park and a soccer stadium, it was neat to hear the wildlife mixing with screaming Italian football fans late at night.
Location Two: Monterosso
My second stay was in Monterosso, a tiny coastal town in Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean coast. This was a studio apartment that I had to myself. It had a cheery palette of white, high walls and azure blue cabinetry and detailing. As you can see, this was more the teeny tiny kitchen you would expect. There was about a foot of prep space (I used the kitchen table instead) and the oven somehow became a storage area for extra pots and pans.
The bathroom as well was a squeeze, with a laundry machine propped between the toilet and the sink. There was a shower though, with hot water for about two minutes this time – but it gets you moving quick if nothing else.
All in all, it’s what I’ve come to expect from Italian homes over all my trips there – it’s tiny, functional, full of character (both good and bad) and always lets in the Italian air and surroundings beautifully.
And this is me eating gelato (pistachio flavored!) after a very long day of hiking at Cinque Terre. It was freezing there, but it’s never too cold for gelato!