When Howard Schultz visited Italy 35 years ago, he was not only awestruck by the architecture, art and culture, but most important, inspired by the city's espresso culture.
It was this trip to Milan that would inspire Schultz to dream up and build the massively successful coffee company we know today — Starbucks.
Starbucks already has stores in 78 countries in the world, and now, as a full-circle moment, Starbucks has just opened up its first-ever Italy store, the Reserve Roastery in Milan.
And it's downright gorgeous.
Housed in a historic former post office in Palazzo delle Poste, the store is surrounded by local landmarks — the most famous opera house in the world, Teatro alla Scala, as well as Duomo di Milano and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.
"Everything we have experienced, since that first moment of inspiration 35 years ago to now being a daily part of millions of people's lives around the world, we bring with great respect to Italy. On behalf of the 350,000 partners who wear the green apron and millions before them, I am so proud and humbled to bring our Italian customers an experience that is the very best of Starbucks," said Schultz, chairman emeritus of Starbucks, in a press release.
Reserve Roastery in Milan is the third Starbucks roastery in the world, the latest being Shanghai in 2017; and, of course, there's the Seattle roastery, which opened in 2014.
The Milan Roastery offers locally roasted arabica coffee sourced from 30 countries as well as freshly baked goods from local baker Rocco Princi, founder of Princi Bakery.
"Over the past few years with Starbucks, I've had the incredible privilege to share the flavors and passion of the Milanese people with customers in the US and in China. I'm now grateful to return the same hospitality as I join the people of Milan in welcoming Starbucks to Italy," said Princi.
As far as the design goes, the roastery boasts a 30-foot marble bar and floor-to-ceiling brass walls, which depict the company's story. You'll also spot a hand-carved Carrara marble siren, palladiana flooring and bronze bird cages outside that customers can sit inside. And there are Tuscan marble and copper pipe details throughout.
We can thank Liz Muller, Starbucks chief design officer, for designing such a beautiful space.
"We have spent the past year living and breathing the city of Milan, working closely with dozens of local artisans to bring to life our most beautiful retail experience that engages each one of our customers' senses — sight, sound, touch, smell, and of course, taste," said Muller. "From the palladiana flooring that was chiseled by hand to the bright green clackerboard made by Italian craftsman Solari, everything you see in the Roastery is intentional, offering moments of discovery and transparency."
Moving forward, Starbucks plans to bring additional cafés to Milan beginning late 2018.
Click through to see more images of the stunning roastery.