5 minutes reading time Italy
As I emerged out of the dark subway cave, in Milan, I did not expect the Duomo to be waiting right there for me. Dressed in white with hues of pink, she was easily one of the most intricate and intimidating monuments that I had ever seen. As I walked towards the Duomo, still recovering from its beauty, I quickly scanned the square as it quietly displayed excess history, taste for high fashion, and a love for art and faith.
The Landmarks in Milan
Excited to see the view of the city from the top of the Duomo, we bought a €17 ticket for an elevator, which transported us straight into another era. The rooftop no doubt offered a sweeping view of the Roman empire, but we were not expecting the other things it came with. I am talking about elaborate gothic spires and stained-glass art, antique gargoyles, giant figurines, and carefully placed viewpoints. It was a surreal experience on top of the Duomo and the closest I had come to see fiction come alive.
As we began exploring the area a bit, we realized that Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest shopping arcade is right next to the Duomo. Enclosed within a glass-shaped dome, which flooded the place with warm June sunshine, I couldn’t take my eyes off the ceiling which was filled with renaissance art and neoclassical architecture. The gallery is not only a shopper’s paradise for luxury fashion and haute couture, but it’s also dotted with multiple cafés if you wish to lounge and soak in the beauty of this place.
Daytime Activities in Milan
By now I had completely given in to the Milanese charm and aimlessly walked around without a plan as I realized that the city is full of architectural marvels. Then the sound of a violin player somewhere nearby pulled me. I walked straight into Piazza Mercanti another historical square closely packed with medieval Roman buildings that towered over me. I had read Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar as a high school student and suddenly I was reliving the pages from the play right in front of me.
By now all the walking had made us hungry so we hopped onto one of the dilapidated yellow trams running all over the city and made our way to Navigli. For those that love a slow-paced vacation, I would say the trams in Milan are one of the best ways to explore the city as they are well connected and allow you to capture the multiple sights and essence of the place. The Navigli is the canal district in Milan, which is lined with quirky bars and gourmet restaurants with a view of the aerial waterways. We decided to gorge on some glorious Napoli pizza and wine, all the while hoping that the time would just stop here.
Do Nothing in Milan
Tired from all the walking and eating but unwilling to return to our hotel, we decided that the best thing would be to laze at Parco Sempione, a large city park in Milan. We got some artisanal gelato and continued conversations about art, history, food, and politics under a shady tree in the park till we were ready to move on to our next adventure. Even without realizing we had slipped into “il dolce far niente,” which translates to “pleasant idleness” and is considered an art form in Italy.
Must-Visit Museums in Milan
Once we felt sufficiently recharged our next stop was the Milan archaeological museum, which houses remains of the Roman city wall. After a brief tour of this museum, we moved on to an event that I had been eagerly waiting for. In the monastery of Santa Maria Della Grazie in Milan, you can see Da Vinci’s most famous mural the Last Supper. Just a word of caution, tickets to this mural are always in high demand so it’s best to reserve it in advance and visitors are allowed to spend a maximum of 15 minutes viewing this painting.
A Night to Remember
After a long and eventful day, it was time to let our hair down and we headed towards the Brera district. The pedestrian area here is filled with narrow cobbled streets, lined with quaint curio and art stores, and as the sun sets the district is filled with twinkling yellow lights and the sound of laughter and music that immediately put you in high spirits. As we found a table in one of the many cafes in this area, the food, the wine, and the service that followed were beyond par. We went all out and ordered all the famous Milanese dishes from risotto to spaghetti and tiramisu and each dish was food fit for the gods. The waiter an old Italian gentleman insisted I eat my risotto the right way with an inhuman amount of grated cheese on top and I would say when in Italy, it’s the only acceptable way to eat your risotto.
Milan a Work of Art
After a long night as we trudged through the cobbled streets back into the cave of the subway towards our hotel, I realized that Milan evokes similar feelings that letters from an old lover do. It’s a symbol of timeless romance, glorious history, and how simple things in life like good food and ample sunshine are the only kind of happiness you ever need in this world.
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