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- Karen Brown's Recommendation:
If you are flying into or out of Milan, the Locanda dei Mai Intees, a charming, family-run hotel with wonderful, traditional Italian cooking, about half an hour’s drive north of Malpensa Airport, makes a delightful choice for a place to spend the night. This small inn is managed by your charming host, Paolo Crosta, whose gracious mother, Carla, oversees the kitchen. Azzate, a town near Lake Varese, seems characterless from the outskirts, but at its historic heart you find a cluster of medieval buildings, including the Locanda dei Mai Intees. The hotel used to be several separate buildings and what was once the village square is now the hotel’s courtyard where meals are served in warm weather. On chilly evenings, dinner is served in one of several cozy dining rooms warmed by a roaring fire, where tables are beautifully set with fine linens. The original stone staircase leads up to guestrooms decorated with personal photographs, paintings, and antique furnishings. My favorite, Carla, a larger corner room, has windows on two sides, while Juliet has a cute carved wooden balcony. No matter what room you choose, you will be charmed by the warmth of the Crosta family, who welcome guests as friends.