On our recent Euro trip we were especially looking forward to visiting leading fashion capital, Milan. Milan grew on me with each passing day. As a fashion stylist who appreciates good eats it was easy to be captivated by the fabulous fashion, great style and yummy food no matter where you are in the city.
We stayed in the city’s Historic Centre which is home to the world’s largest Gothic Cathedral, the Duomo. It took 400 years to complete and is spectacular to say the least. Even I made it to the top and I’m scared of heights. The 360 degree views of Milan from the roof were amazing — a great way to get perspective on the layout of the city.
Alongside the Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emmauele II which claims to be the oldest shopping arcade in the world. It’s beautiful glass roof and mosaic floors give it such timeless presence. Another breathtaking piece of architecture.
We tried to see Milan’s number one tourist attraction: Leonardo Da Vinci’s fresco of “The Last Supper” in a church called the Santa Maria delle Grazie. Alas, we did not get in. You need to make a reservation to view the painting and the next available slot was two days later — the morning we would leave for home. We did go to the nearby Pinacotea di Brea, an art gallery that houses some of finest works of Italian renaissance masters like Francesco Hayez, Piero della Francesca and Raphael. It was an impressive collection, but I prefer modern art (the periods from Impressionism onwards) so the classic works in this gallery did not really light my fire.
Greg and I love, love, love Italian food. You can have a fantastic meal on almost any budget, and compared to Zurich, the prices felt cheap. Generally a ristorante is a more expensive place and a trattoria is more basic and affordable. We prefer the simplicity of the latter, and our best meal of the trip was at Trattoria Da Pino Sas. They were right at the end of their lunch service, but that didn’t stop them from serving us and once we had our food the whole staff sat down at the next table and had their own meal. The chef spoke the best English, so he served us himself and was very gracious.
We ate lots during the day because you get hungry when you walk the streets flat like we do. For breakfast — pastries, like the nutella doughnut and custard-filled croissant below, cappuccino (for Greg) and a pot of tea (for me). Mid morning was time for some Cioccolata, an extremely thick and dense hot chocolate that you have to eat with a spoon — definitely a hit for chocoholics like me. Lunch time was all about pasta and bruschetta. Late afternoon snacks consisted of drinks on the sidewalk of a trattoria with free eats. Yes, FREE eats. It’s custom to get snacks like crisps, olives, finger sandwiches, savoury pastries, cured meats and other anti pasti along with an evening drink in Milan. So Greg would get his gin & tonic and I’d order another pot of tea. This ritual was very, very relaxing and a much needed break from all the activity! Supper was different every night, but gelato afterwards was a staple. There are no shortage of places to get it, even late at night.
We’re very near the end of our European coverage. Still to come: street style and shopping in Milan.