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Wanda and Denis are avid travellers. They’ve been to over fifty countries (and counting) and have lived across multiple cities in three continents. Currently residing in Toronto, the two decided to explore their newest travel adventure – a home swap to Milan.

Wanda and her partner Denis are both semi-retired but by no means ready to slow down. The two are very active, with Denis a keen swimmer and Wanda having several half-marathons under her belt. Always looking for a new adventure, the two have lived across Canada in Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Montreal, over to Moscow in Russia and The Gold Coast of Australia.

Wanda, Denis and friends enjoying a meal in Italy (Source: Wanda Love)

 

How did you first hear about home swapping?

“We were casually aware of home swapping but hadn’t seriously considered it until a friend of ours joined Love Home Swap and encouraged us to do the same. Earlier this year I decided to give it a try – and I’m so glad I did! We just completed our first swap with a lovely couple from Milan, Italy, and we’re totally hooked.”

 

Where did you stay on your first swap?

We spent a month at Elizabeth and Paolo’s lovely home located in the trendy and fun Navigli district, with a canal right outside the front gate. Grocery stores, shops and restaurants are all located in close proximity. At night, the area springs to life with restaurants and cafés bustling about to serve the aperitivo crowds that flock to the neighbourhood. We spent many evenings lounging on a patio nearby, enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine and a generous buffet of snacks, charcuterie, salads, pasta and more – all for just 8 euros each!”

 

Can you give us some home swapping tips for Milan?

“Italy has been a vacation destination for us a number of times, however this was our first opportunity to explore Milan. And what a pleasant surprise! Famous for Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper”, Milan is bursting with a dizzying array of incredible museums, architecture, historical sites and shops.”

The Sforza Castle is a must see for art history buffs, as is the Pinoteca di Brera. The backstage tour of Teatro alla Scalla is fascinating and I wandered past the famous Duomo almost every day, just to stand in awe admiring the intricacy of the architecture. I highly recommend the sunset tour on the rooftop of the Duomo. It’s exquisite!”

“For wine lovers, don’t miss Cantine Isola, where the staff expertly guide you through wine tastings and quickly make you feel like you’re part of the family. One of them even shared a bite of his lunch with us after we commented on how good it smelled. He was thrilled to tell us it’s a homemade traditional beef stew – and it was even more delicious than it smelled!”

“Take an evening to visit Backdoor 43, the world’s smallest bar with seating for just four guests, and that makes for a snug fit so be sure you’re going with close friends! You’ll need to look closely to find it discreetly tucked away beside the canal, Naviglio Grande, but the setting is intimate and fun, and the cocktails are bespoke and delicious.”

Enjoying local Milan bars Cantine Isola and the world’s smallest bar Backdoor 43 (source: Wanda’s Instagram @travelspalife)

 

Milan serves as a great jumping off point to explore northern Italy, so we regularly hopped on the train for day trips to Florence, Venice, Bergamo, Turin and also spent a day on a boat tour of Lake Como. If you find yourself in Turin, don’t miss the Lavazza Coffee Museum!

 “The train from Milan to Verona takes just over an hour and our time there was definitely one of the highlights of our trip. The city is famous as the setting for Romeo and Juliet, and the ancient Roman amphitheatre provides a spectacular setting to experience a live opera.”

Views from day trips from Milan to Lake Como (left) and Verona’s amphitheatre (right) (Source: Wanda Love)

 

“We opted to see La Traviata, and though we’re not opera aficianados, you couldn’t help but get caught up in the performance and the history of the location. Traveler tip for you – be sure to take a small pillow to sit on. Your butt will thank you after three hours sitting on stone seats.”

 

What swaps do have planned next?

“We had such a great home swapping experience, we were already discussing our next possible locations on our flight home! It was a wonderful way to be able to spend a month away without worrying about the cost of accommodation. We definitely saved a sizeable amount of money and loved having a home away from home, where we could settle into ‘la dolce vita’.”

“We enjoyed our swapping experience so much, we now have both our condo in downtown Toronto and our vacation home in Palm Springs, California listed on Love Home Swap.”

Wanda and Denis’s homes in Palm Springs (left) and Downtown Toronto (right) are both available to swap on Love Home Swap (Source: Wanda’s Instagram @travelspalife)

 

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Interested in getting started home swapping? Build your own profile and start our free trial today. Or if you’d like to chat more, get in touch with our team – we’d love to help. Want to share your home swap story? Tag us using the hashtag #welovehomeswap on social for the chance to be featured on our blog 

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