Italy: Milan

Me with Milan’s Duomo behind me.

As part of our Italy experience, we spent a little time in Milan.  Of course, most fashionistas know Milan for the fashion shows (one of these days…).  Those into racing know Milan as the site of one of the longest-running Formula One races, with the first race being held in 1921.

A window at a food market named Peck. They were ready for the Italian Grand Prix.

Our two days and two nights provided only an overview of the city.  To quickly get acclimated, we had scheduled a walking tour with Tours by Locals.  Our private guide, Barbara, took us through the Duomo (Cathedral), to the Royal Palace, to the Sforza Castle, through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, through the Piazza della Scala, as well as the Piazza del Mercanti and the medieval streets of Milan.  Barbara was very knowledgeable; a passerby stopped to mention he had never heard such a good explanation of the architecture of the Royal Palace.   Barbara provided lots of great information about the culture, the food, the historic sites, etc.

The medieval market square.

While in Milan, you must watch out for pickpockets and the guys wanting to give/sell you thread bracelets.  You must be stern with the thread bracelet guys and keep walking.  My travel partners were a bit too kind, so I had to step in.  Later I noticed at the Royal Palace that one of the bracelet guys was chasing my adult nephew around in circles.  I have never laughed so hard!

The Square Milano Duomo at night.

Our Milan hotel was fabulous!  The Square Milan Duomo was centrally located and within walking distance of everything we wanted to see and do.  Upon arrival to this modern hotel we were greeted with a bottle of champagne!  The food in the restaurant was great as well!

One of the shops at the Galleria.

In the Galleria there are several shops and restaurants, from McDonalds to Louis Vitton.  It is Italy’s oldest shopping mall, having been completed in 1867.  It is beautiful.  On the ground in the center of the mall are four coats of arms.  The one for Turin, a bull, has a tradition associated with it.  If a person spins three times with their heel on the bull’s genitalia, then he or she will have good luck.  There was a line for this!

Turin’s coat of arms.

Our food adventures included Piz for pizza on our first night.  It was a brightly colored, hip place full of young adults.  It had a fun vibe with its brightly painted yellow walls and packed upstairs and downstairs.

The wonderful pasta alfredo at Majestic Cafe.

For breakfast we ate at the hotel restaurant, which had a large buffet of hot and cold items.  A great way to gain energy for a day of sight seeing!  Lunch on our first full day was at Majestic Café in Via Dante (literally, we ate in the street!).  The food was actually good.  I don’t really care for Alfredo sauce, which too me tastes a bit to floury and heavy.  But I tasted my lunch companion’s pasta alfredo and it was really good!  It seemed to have chicken broth in it, which made it much lighter and more flavorful.  I opted for a healthy salad.

Exterior of the Duomo. It is so ornate!

For dinner, we went to a quaint little restaurant that had barrel ceilings and low lights.  our table was tucked into the corner.  After a long day of sight seeing, Rossini was the perfect place to unwind.  I had the spaghetti fatti in casa ai frutti di mare (homemade pasta spaghetti tossed in seafood), which was delicious.

Milan is known for its rooftop gardens.

I always feel you have to leave something to see for the next time when we travel.  There is plenty I did not get to see on this trip to Milan, so I am really looking forward to my next opportunity.  The fashion district is on the top of my list!

The Duomo from afar.
Inside the Duomo.
The inside of the Duomo.
The Duomo has a sun dial (solar calendar) in the floor. It is pretty amazing. A pin hole in the ceiling allows a person to know when it is noon which is when the sunlight passes the brass rod embedded in the floor. It also indicated what month it is by what zodiac sign the light is near.
The Galleria.
The inside of the Galleria.
The Royal Palace.
Coat of arms at the Royal Palace.
The moat at the Royal Palace.