Disclaimer: A long long long travel post! So in case any of you experience any dizziness while reading this post, suggest take a break, take a deep breath, make yourself a a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, and then resume reading
Surprised to see the Italian title?? Dont be. Its the after-effect of a holiday I went on recently, to Milan.
Visiting Milan was one of the most enriching and beautiful experiences. With a vast and rich history behind, exploring the city was a revelation to me. Every monument, every museum, every church, every lake, every village had a story to tell.
On the face of it, Milan may not seem like a traditional holiday spot. ‘Fashion capital’,'Business hub’, Financial center’ are one of the first few terms that come into mind at the mere mention of the city.
Of course fashion is very much ingrained in Milan. If on one side of the street one may find umpteen boutiques, chic shops that showcase the Armanis, the Versaces, the Pradas and the likes, then on the other side, there will be these discount outlets selling last-season’s cast offs making bargain hunters like me craving for more . The city is a haven for ardent shoppers and window-shoppers alike!
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele- a glass-vaulted double arcade designed in 1861 an dbuilt between 1865 and 1877
The arcade houses most of the major premium brands.
And when Mc Donalds decided to open a joint in the galleria, there was apparently a major furore by these premium brands to protest against its opening as they feared it would harm the reputation of the arcades. But McD was not the one to get disheartened by that. It still found its way….
Mc Donalds agreed to change the colour of its logo from the trademark yellow to golden as a compromise to suit the repute of the area and managed to find its way to the Galleria
To reiterate further that fashion is indeed a statement in Milan let me attach below a hoarding which is a huge landmark in the city.
Giorgio Armani has been booking this hoarding for the last 30 years and it is apparently the largest hoarding in the city.
Having said that, there is far more to the city than just fashion and business.
La Scala Opera House, Duomo di Milano- the Milan Cathedral, Castello Sforzesco- one of the biggest castles in Europe ,built in 14th century , Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper are some of the treasures that the city proudly showcases not just because of the architecture and history behind them but also because these were buildings that were heavily bombed in World War II and survived the extensive damage.
La Scal Opera House, inaugurated 1778, is one of the leading opera and ballet theatres in the world
Duomo di Milano- the largest Gothic Cathedral in the world took 500 years to complete
EDITED TO ADD A SNAP OF THE INSIDE OF THE CATHEDRAL
Evidently not as impressive as the exterior, but the designs were quite intricate.
Castello Sforzesco- the castle houses many museums and art collections
Unfortunatlely we couldn't click very many pictures of the insides of the fort as Namnam was very tired by the end of the day
A visit to see The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci’s was truly a memorable experience. After hearing about so many different interpretations of the painting, the most prominent being, of course,the one done by Dan Brown, seeing the original painting was indeed awe-inspiring and enlightening. But here again we couldnt click any photos as photography was not allowed However I have kept the museum tickets safely as a souvenir which I’ll share below..
Entrance tickets to Last Supper
One of the other high points of our holiday was a trip to Lake Como which is about 50kms away from Milan. We booked this excursion though Lonely Planet who had highly recommended this trip. And it was undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and unforgettable experiences I had had.
The lake is the second deepest lake in Europe measuring over 400m deep and it is the third largest in Italy. The lakeside town of Como is surrounded by snow-capped mountains where numerous villas and palaces are housed. Some of the villas have even been bought by celebrities.
Villa Margherita- owned by my boy-friend George Clooney
A closer look at Villa Margherita
Bellagio, a lake village- had the most delicious gelatos from here!
I was also immensely impressed by the people there, much contrary to the impression I had of them before. I always thought Italians were rude and snobbish. But I was pleasantly surprised to be proved wrong. They were warm, friendly and very helpful.
There were days when Namnam & I used to head out by ourselves to do our own bit of exploring. Let me tell you if you know which tram or train or metro stops near your hotel or the place where you’re staying you can move around the city without any problems. I found the trams so very well connected there and the people always ready to help. The fact that not many spoke English was not a constraint at all. Found them extremely forthcoming despite the language barrier.
The only downside to our stay was the hotel we chose. We stayed in AC Milano, a hotel recommended by New York Times and even reviewed by Trip Advisor. I didnt find the reception staff very driven or service oriented. None of them gave out a very warm vibe. They didnt have a 24 hour room service which was something I hadnt expected of a 4 star hotel. And they didnt even have an adapter!
Aside that every bit of our stay was worthwhile! And on that note let me wake you all up with this final snap.
So did that wake you up, all you peeping toms??