I miss Milan.

Don't let this simple-looking dessert fool you - it is quite literally the most divine dessert ever for anyone who loves chocolate as much as I do. Gelato al Forno from La Libera

I haven't been for over six months. The last time I was there properly was in May - but not for happy reasons.

For a long while, I didn't feel ready to go back. The city was tinged with a certain sadness and loss. Being there felt aversive and when we finally left, I was relieved. The hot summer had begun to roll in with its oppressive air and we needed space and freedom away from those concrete walls and everything they had come to mean in the preceding months.

Yet things have changed. Seasons have cycled past. I still have that sense of loss yet the city is no longer painted by it. Now, that loss is compounded by the way I've distanced myself from somewhere that was once my home.

I really miss Milan.

I have loved it so much. I fell in love a hundred times within those ancient city walls; with a man, with his wonderful father, with my newfound friends, with every new meraviglia the city revealed to me.

I miss it's eternal beauty. I miss the Duomo which to me has always looked like the intricate wax drippings on the necks of wine bottles that have held candles for years. I miss the imposing palazzi framing the city's cobbled streets with their various wonderful embellishments. I miss the streets which you can recognise in a heartbeat from black and white films.

I miss the smell of it. I miss the cool, damp smell that rises from basements like the scent of rain on tarmac. I miss the smell of woodsmoke, curling up from ovens that have been cooking the same dishes for the past hundred years.

I miss the sounds of it. I miss the sonorous tone of church bells and the clinks and clashes of hundreds of knives and forks and wine glasses. I almost miss the incessant horn honking that comes from every road.

I miss the taste of it. Oh my goodness, do I miss the taste! I miss the heady mix of sunshine and hope that beams from every single sun-drenched flavour - the ravioli in sage butter, the fresh tomato sauce on the pizza base, the pistacchio gelato, the olive oil sinking deeply into the roughly torn bread.

I've booked my flights and I'm going back. I can't wait. For two glorious weeks in April, I'll be back in my second home of sorts. And whilst I may not find everyone and everything that I miss so profoundly, I'll at least find part of it and that's enough for me.

(P.s if you want to see more reasons Milan is the best city in the world, have a look at my Pinterest board which I update most evenings as I lie in bed and think longingly of times gone by!)