The Milan weekend – couldn’t have been better!

17 09 2007

As I already mentioned, my first impression of Milan 7 years ago was not very favourable, so when my dear friend P No 1 and I decided to choose that Italian city for our September weekend trip, I was curious to see what I would think this time…

We arrived late on Friday evening, I waited for P’s train from Geneva at the Milano Centrale – first impression: I was left alone! Most of the time if a girl is standing on her own, in the evening, somewhere in a public place in Italy, especially in a seedy train station (actually also true for Brussels and other bigger cities), she can be sure to be harrassed, either by weirdos, drunks/druggies or just by men who feel that it is their mission to make you less alone… Nope, it didn’t happen on Friday and was I happy about that!! The only comments I got was a few bless you’s when I sneezed!

Our hotel (Hotel Windsor) was walking distance from the train station on Piazza della Reppublica and the room was really ok – 100 EUR/night including breakfast. We asked in the reception for a suggestion for a bar and we were recommended Corso Como, a pedestrian street 10 min walk away. The street was buzzing with life, people standing around having drinks, gelato (ice cream – it was still 25 degrees at midnight) in cool clothes (the girls wearing the shortest mini-skirts ever) and sunglasses. We found a bar in a court yard that looked nice and a little calmer than the bars and restaurants on the street. We had great cocktails (I had a Green apple martini) for 9,50 EUR. In Italy drinks are always served with a little bowl of crisps, or olives – in 10 Corso Como as the bar was called, we got three bowls with olives, crisps and roasted almonds. A nice touch!

Piazza della Repubblica, Milan, Italy
Piazza della Repubblica

We had an early night as we were quite tired and looking forward to getting up bright and early the next day… it didn’t really happen that way but we did have a good night’s sleep and a nice, big breakfast the next day, despite rattling trams outside the window and the Italians preference for cookies to start off the day.

The sun was shining and we walked to Il Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, passing La Scala (the opera) on the way. In the galleria, with a beautiful mosaic floor (I always tend to look down in these kind of places: I love the floor of San Marco in Venice for example) and a huge glass ceiling, we popped in at Gucci’s to look at the shoes and bags. A bit out of our price range but it was nice to look! Il Duomo, the third largest cathedral in the world (after St Peter’s in Rome and the Sevilla cathedral) was closed for lunch so we just walked around the piazza where a huge MTV stage had been set up for a MTV concert in the evening. We continued our walk on Corso Vittorio Emanuele and in Furla I found a nice, black leather wallet for 62 EUR – not too bad for a designer piece! P found a beautiful dress (for work) in Max&co (MaxMara’s cheaper brand), which she bought.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, Milan, Italy
The beautiful floor in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele

Our shopping continued at an interior design shop, Moroni Gomma with lots of affordable design and gadgets – they were selling among other brands Swedish Sagaform, Danish Normann of Copenhagen and the Tivoli radios that I love!

We had lunch at the Armani Caffè, the best roastbeef sandwich that I have ever had – a ciabatta filled with rucola, some kind of mustardy mayonnaise and roastbeef, buonissimo! I don’t know if it tasted better because of the trendy environment?

Cimiterio monumentale, Milan, Italy

P had read in one of our three guidebooks that the Cimiterio monumentale was a striking graveyard with big mausoleums – we visited it just before sunset (and closing time). It has a huge, renaissance style entrance in black and white and it really doesn’t disappoint once inside – it is so beautiful with old monumental graves with spectacular statues, and private chapels. It had a real mystical atmosphere, especially with the sun setting and the stillness away from the noise of the city.

A monumental grave in Milan, Italy

On our way back to the hotel we went back to 10 Corso Como once again as we had read in the guidebooks that it was also a designer shop, art gallery etc. We looked at expensive clothes by Comme des garçons, Triptyque candles (45 EUR or so for a candle, however good it smells is just too expensive for me!) and cheapish design by Kate Moss for TopShop. After all our walks we decided that we deserved an aperitivo, and we sat down in the same court yard as the evening before for some prosecco (Italian bubbly).

In the evening we took the metro to the Navigli district, where the the last remaining canals of the city are situated. The crowd was a little more relaxed than the Corso Como-people, and we sat down at the Luca & Andrea Caffè Bar at the table by the canal. It was great for people watching, sipping some Nero d’Avola wine (Sicilian, one of O’s & my favourite wines) and waiting for our dinner to be served. I had a very simple tagliatelle con pomodoro e basilico, as they had ran out of carpaccio (the only time I eat raw meat!) but it was so tasty! I have learnt from O that very often the simple dishes in a restaurant are the best… at least if it is a good restaurant!

On Sunday we got up almost as late as on Saturday but the sun was still shining and we walked (despite the many blisters on my feet but I’m used to it by now, and I am quite good at blocking them out!) to Il Duomo for a visit inside. It is really huge with a very high ceiling but very bare walls for being a catholic church. Mass was held while we were inside and we heard some beautiful singing from the choir. Afterwards we strolled around the Quadrilatero d’Oro (golden quarter or something similar) with all the designer shops, some were open despite it being Sunday and we looked at tacky Prada shoes and bags (sorry for all those Prada-fans!) and peeked in through the shop windows at the [closed] Viktor & Rolf boutique – it is upside down!!

Victor & Rolf shop window, Milano
The Victor and Rolf shop window

In the Moscova area, we had the best focaccia ever (I can’t decide if the Armani ciabatta or the focaccia was the best food I had!) at a bakery called Princi. Italians like to complicate life and it was not easy to figure out how to order – first you took a number, then you chose what focaccia you wanted (I had one with prosciutto and ricotta plus one with zucchini), it was weighed and you were given the receipt, which should be brought to the cash register where you also indicate what drink you’d like. Pick up your focaccia, go to the bar and show the receipt and order your drink, then you are ready to sit down and devour!! Even the Italians were confused and I had to explain it to one guy – in Italian! (Please remind me again why I need to learn Spanish – Italian is so much more fun, probably because I can already make myself understood!)

The Milan weekend was finished off with a nap in the Giardini Pubblici, one of the many parks in the city, before heading back home after a great Italian weekend! I would really recommend Milan for a weekend getaway – as long as you remember that it is not Venice or Florence when it comes to beauty, however you eat far better than in Venice and people are definitely friendlier as well!

Tired feet after a walking weekend in Milan
Tired feet in the park

PS I have always claimed that Italians don’t know how to queue – yesterday I saw the worst chaos ever, created by Belgian pensioners at the check-in desks at the airport! My fellow Belgian [younger] travellers and I had to tell them off for jumping the queues (they even pushed and shoved among themselves). It was hystrical!! 


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12 responses

17 09 2007
Maria

Tack, snälla du för en – som alltid!! – intressant och trevlig reseskildring!
Du skulle kunna skriva egna guideböcker!

17 09 2007
desvon

Låter som en jättehärlig och mysig helg. Underbart. Jag får ett riktigt europasug när jag läser det du skrivit. Den där katedralen verkar klart imponerande. God mat förstår sig verkligen italienarna på och god dryck. I italien behöver man aldrig gå hungrig. Kul att även du är en kyrkogårdsturist. Vi har kollat in några kyrkogårdar och de kan faktiskt vara otroligt vackra.

18 09 2007
Anne

Europa känns exotiskt på nåt sätt när man inte längre bor där…Tänk så det kan bli…
Jag gillade verkligen gesten med olivskål till drinken, det är nåt för andra länder/barer ta efter.
Kyrkogårdar, ja de kan vara vackra. Så stilla och massor med öden och stenar man kan fascineras av. Min gravida kompis hittade ett namn på en gravsten (då hon flanerade runt på en kyrkogård) som hon gillade så mycket att de gav sin dotter det namnet. Rätt kul, tycker jag.

18 09 2007
Annika

Du skriver verkligen bra! Jag vill också åka till Milano nu och dricka drinkar och äta god mat och titta på fula Pradaskor som jag ändå inte har råd med, ha, ha!!
Här har du en till som sällar sig till kyrkornas och kyrkogårdarnas skara. Tycker verkligen om att ströva runt och titta på gravar. Kyrkor är nästan alltid vackra och intressanta.
Nu är jag klart Italiensugen!

18 09 2007
Petra H

Mor, tack för komplimangen! Det är ju så mycket roligare att skriva om resorna när jag bara behöver göra det EN gång istället för att upprepa allting i olika email/telefonsamtal, på svenska och på engelska. Jag är nog lite lat nuförtiden men samtidigt kan jag ju då beskriva resan lite mer ingående.

18 09 2007
Petra H

Desiree, när jag berättade för min italienska kollega från Neapel som har bott i Milano att jag tyckte att maten var så god och folk så vänliga så tittade han konstigt på mig… så sa han “det är klart, du är från Sverige så kanske i jämförelse..” – jag svarade, “nej, i jämförelse med Venedig!”. Han kontrade med att det är ju självklart, ha ha! Dock har han rätt i att ju länge söderut man kommer i Italien desto trevligare är folk och maten godare.

Anne, det är säkert så att jag också kommer att tycka att Europa är mer exotiskt när jag flyttar längre bort – just nu är ju så lätt och snabbt (1h15min med flyg) att ta sig till norra Italien.
Visst är det trevligt med lite snacks till drinkarna, vissa barer i Belgien bjuder också på lite chips eller nötter när man beställer. Annars kan man beställa en portion med oliver eller “portion mixte” som är ostkuber och korv – serveras med senap och selleripulver!! Väldigt belgiskt har jag kommit fram till men väldigt bra om man tar en drink efter jobbet och man är lite hungrig (man får ju dock betala för en sådan portion).

Annika, vad kul att du gillar min reseberättelse och hoppas att du får tillfälle att åka till Italien snart😉 Men, det blir väl mest att ni åker till Sverige och Finland när ni åker till Europa.
Det finns säkert fina Prada-grejor också men lila lackskor är inte riktigt min stil!! Och stora Prada-loggor på väskorna, då tycker jag att Guccis diskreta mönster på väskorna är snyggare – inte för att jag är någon expert eller någonsin ägt någon designgrej (förutom min Furla-plånbok nu!!).

Tjejer, kyrkogården var verkligen spektakulär! Jag ska lägga upp några bilder på facebook, problemet är att grannens wireless är väldigt långsamt… Jag vet inte varför jag tänkte på den där filmen Midnight in the garden of good and evil (heter den väl?) som utspelar sig i USAs söder (New Orleans?) när vi gick runt på kyrkogården i Milano. Vissa gravar var helt övertäckta med murgröna, mossbevuxna statyer vakade över gravarna och solen höll på att gå ner – vilken atmosfär.. Jag har dock inte besökt så många kyrkogårdar på mina resor förut (förutom i Närpes i Finland, Annika) men det gav mersmak!

18 09 2007
desvon

Jag får ta och lägga ut ett av mina tidigare resereportage. Det är i Savannah filmen Midnight in the garden of good and evil utspelas. Utanför Savannah ligger Bonaveture cementary och den är riktigt snygg och häftig. Jag får återkomma med detta.

18 09 2007
Petra H

Gärna Desiree! Jag visste att det inte var New Orleans, men kunde inte komma på vad staden heter! Jag har läst en bok om Venedig som är skriven av samma författare, den heter Fallen angels – väldigt bra och intressant om märkliga personer som bor i Venedig. Boktips!

29 12 2007
The Top List of 2007 « Petchie’s adventures

[…] weekend of the year: P No 1’s and my weekend trip to Milan, […]

10 09 2008
Wednesday recipe: P’s Citrus & Avocado Salad « Petchie’s adventures

[…] September 10, 2008 Wednesday recipe: P’s Citrus & Avocado Salad Posted by petchie under Food & recipes   The following recipe is one of my parents’ big favourites – and I am not the P that the name refers to, but one of my best friends P No 1 (I am P No 2!) . P No 1, who is French but living in Geneva, and I studied together in Venice in 2000 and we became very good friends when we both lived in Geneva in 2002. Even though I left Switzerland to move to Brussels, we have managed to meet up a few times every year – either in Brussels, Geneva or any other destination where there is a girls’ weekend (a henparty in Venice, a luxurious weekend in the south of France, a cold weekend on the Danish island of Mön, or getting lost in the potatofields of Skåne) or a wedding (France, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden-Norway)! And almost exactly a year ago we went to Milan for a weekend. […]

14 11 2008
Friday theme / Show & tell: Windows « Petchie’s adventures

[…] a window reflection in Italy – my friend P and I checking out the Victor & Rolf shop window in Milan. The shop was closed as it was Sunday but looking in we were fascinated by the way the whole shop […]

3 11 2011
All Saints 2011 « Petchie’s adventures

[…] My father was as sceptical as Greek Y when I suggested to him and my mother to visit cimitero monumentale in Milan a few years ago, but on Tuesday he was talking about how fascinating that place was! Check out some photos from my visit to that Italian cemetery here. […]

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