[travel] 1 week in Italy: Milan

I am updating my travel report too slowly. Bloody slowly. A few days ago I managed to pull together and wrote about the last city I travelled to with the bf: Barcelona, and Barcelona was only the 6th out of 13 cities I visited during my 1 month winter break… I am, unfortunately, leaving for my spring break in less than 36 hours. God knows when I will be able to finish writing about them all.
Let me start my travel report in Italy by a very boring, unenthusiastic post about Milan. I had never thought that I’d visit Milan. Actually, according to some friends, Milan should be the last city to visit in Italy. I only booked my ticket to Milan because it was cheap. The plan was to spend 2 days in Milan, 2 in Venice, and 3 in Rome. Alas, I should have only stayed in Milan for 1 day, or even a few hours, because the city was a major disappointment to me.

Here is why: there was nothing to do, and few things to see. Okay maybe there are lots of things to do if you have money to spend, i.e. going shopping, visiting the theater etc., but for a stingy gal like me, Milan ticked all the boxes of a place I never want to go back. Don’t get me wrong, the Milan Duomo is incredibly gorgeous, and the Sforza Castle is somewhat impressive, but that was that. I thought that the Duomo was very, very beautiful, but I was so churched out I couldn’t enjoy it as half as I had wanted to. The hugeeee garden right next to the Sforza Castle should make a great walk on a sunny day, but most of the time I spent in Milan the weather was a bitch. That, and plus the fact that I was in a bad mood (the bf and I said goodbye at Schiphol airport, him flying back to Asia and I to Italy; we wouldn’t meet until SEPTEMBER at the earliest), made my stay in Milan very unenjoyable.

The Milanese, or anyone on the street (except for casual tourists), however, are impeccably dressed, especially the men. They just look stunning. The suits, the trench coats, the scarves, the fedoras… everything screams good taste, style, and elegance. Indeed the fashion capital of the world. I am not a fan of fashion, but I was well aware of the amount of awesomeness moving around me.

Let’s jump to the photos shall we?
Milan’s most famous landmark: the Duomo. It is the largest cathedral in Italy and fifth largest in the world, with an exterior unlike any other of its kind: massive but still elegant, flamboyant yet understated. Seen under the sunlight, it shimmers like fine pearls in crystal water. The intricacy of the designs on the doors and the walls will make your jaws drop, although the interior is less impressive. The rooftop (7 euro entrance fee), I heard, is also very beautiful and offers you a panoramic view of Milan, but I didn’t try because I was not in the mood, lol.

Such intricacy:

The Duomo square always bursts with tourists and Milanese. And doves. So many of them. Too many.

Located right next to the Duomo is Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II–one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. The double arcade is quite a sight to behold, but the actual shops are not that great. Perhaps the most amusing there is how many people spinning their heels on the bull’s balls… Not the real bull with real balls, mind you… So, basically the designer of the mall, Giuseppe Mengoni, fell off from this very gallery’s roof. To avoid such very fatal misfortune, both locals and tourists to Milan will head to the mosaic of the bull (said to mark the spot where he fell) to grind their heels into its, well, balls. I abstain from comment.

The 15th century Sforza Castle should be on everyone’s list. It is obviously not the coolest castle out there, but has some interesting museums and exhibitions. After all, in a city with so few major attractions like Milan, there is no point in skipping this place.

Some random photos of Milan’s streets…
The world-famous Milan’s Golden square aka Fashion district, delightfully quiet at early hours:

Another famous landmark Monument to Leonardo da Vinci. Again, it is just a monument, but somehow it appears in almost every ad/leaflet about Milan tourism…

More randomness:

This is fun…

The only good thing in Milan was, however, and luckily, the gelato. After a quick search of ‘Best galato Milan’ I came across several options, but Rivareno Gelato was the closest to my hostel (it is quite near Sforza Castle too). Boy was it glorious. The shop is quite cramped, and only small selections of daily gelato were on offer at not the cheapest price in the world, but their ice cream was heaven. I stopped at Rivareno for dinner in BOTH days I stayed in Milan. No regret. I think it is 3 different fancy-named house special gelato in the first pic, and in the second is the pistachio and lime. Ugh the lime. Gosh. Just so good.

Don’t bother trying the gelato at the Duomo Square, very watery and tasted… synthetic…

And so my 2 days in Milan ended. At least my mood got a tiny bit better (thanks to the gelato!), the next morning I was up early and bright to catch my train to the city I had always dreamt of: Venice.


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