Instilled with a sense of restrained elegance, Pasticceria Marchesi is rich in period detail; the exterior dates back 700 years while an original ornate ceiling, solid steel bar and lots of polished brass can be found inside. Rich flaky pastries are baked each day and displayed beneath vintage counters alongside chocolates, pralines and biscotti crafted from fine quality cocoa. Its displays are stunning, so be sure to take a camera to capture the seasonal offerings.
Pasticceria Marchesi, Via Santa Maria alla Porta 11A, 20123 Milan, +39 02 862770
Located next to La Scala theatre, Cova has attracted a refined yet artistic clientele since its opening in 1817. Cova’s products have a similarly rich legacy; its famed panettone is still made using a recipe from the early 19th century while the house speciality chocolates, gianduiotti, are made on-site and come wrapped in traditional gold paper. Take a seat in the elegant tearoom to enjoy the full Cova experience, with service provided by waiters in black tie.
Cova, Via Montenapoleone 8, 20121 Milan, +39 02 7600 5599
Taking inspiration from American traditions, the bright and airy California Bakery is one of Milan’s more unusual cake shops. Stretched over three floors and with a kitchen open until midnight every day, it’s a good place in which to treat yourself. Bread is baked fresh each morning and topped with seeds, wheat, dried fruit and honey, while the hand-kneaded bagels are an ideal breakfast choice. The cakes are made using traditional US family recipes and are especially decadent as a result; the classic New York cheesecake is wonderfully creamy, but the stacked apple cinnamon walnut cake makes for perfect comfort food on cooler days.
California Bakery, Via Larga 19, 20122 Milan, +39 02 3952 1840
Vizio Virtù excels at combining tradition with modernity to create sweet treats that are as unusual as they are delicious. With a welcoming atmosphere and the attention to detail that comes with creating handmade chocolates, the store has a traditional feel, but the existence of an on-site laboratory hints at the creativity going on behind closed doors. Each recipe combines established ingredients with new methods to create distinctive chocolates, as well as a range of macaroons, cakes and biscuits offered alongside a clutch of homemade jams.
Vizio Virtù, Calle del Campaniel, San Polo 2898A, 30125 Venice, +39 041 275 0149
A local institution in Rome, Andreotti is one of the oldest pasticcerie in the city; opened in 1931 it is now run by the third generation of the Andreotti family and prides itself on upholding the principles that have helped it stand the test of time. Quality is of utmost importance, along with the use of fresh ingredients, while the combination of generations of experience with an experimental approach has led to the creation of a surprisingly diverse product range. The pastry selection is particularly impressive; be sure to try the delicately glazed fruit tartlets and miniature butter croissants fresh from the oven.
Andreotti, Via Ostiense 54-56, 00154 Rome, +39 06 575 0773