To encapsulate Milan into one article seems an injustice to this city that I have since left a piece of my heart in. The surrealistic experience of walking around streets I had never been before and yet feeling the warmest comfort of being home. From the authentic area of Brera to the grandeur of Duomo, the beautiful canal-side bars in Navigli to the arty shopping paradise of Corso Como – how could I ever tire of this place. With fashion at the heart of its culture and the combination of modern and traditional art being the driving force, the Milanese ooze sophistication and live up to the utterly fabulous standards of their city.
One of the qualities I loved most about the Italian lifestyle was the pure serenity and simplicity of each morning. The Milanese can be spotted sat outside the modish café’s sipping on espresso’s and socializing with peers. I chose to enjoy a ‘Cappucino e’ cornetto’ in the café across from my apartment, or in other words ‘Cappucino and a croissant’.
Duomo Di Milano Roof
As we began trekking up the spiraling stairs, other worldly echoes of a street singer sidled through the minute gaps in the walls. As he bared his soul with his hauntingly beautiful voice, his rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ became the backdrop to my first experience of the Duomo Terrazza. After a solid 5 minutes of pushing my increasingly panic ridden thoughts to the back of my mind whilst claustrophobia took over, we finally reached the roof terrace. Out poured an overwhelming breath and in flushed the feelings of sheer awe.
Pinacoteca di Brera
This traditional Gallery would astound any lover of art and architecture. Albeit slightly confusing to walk around as most of the doors weren’t open and you were left wandering the corridors unsure of the main areas to visit. The collection that we did see however is small in breadth, but boundless in quality. The art covers works by major Italian artists from the 13th to the 20th centuries. On entry to the library we were soon hushed to silence and rather brusquely informed not to enter the rooms. Although luckily we managed to pinch a few snaps of the room before being hoarded out.
As I walked along the Navigili canal in a strappy red dress and heels, I’ll admit I felt a little like Sofia Loren in an old Italian movie. The setting was a dream and as picturesque as I’d imagined for our evening dinner. We were sat overlooking the canal outside Officina 12 where we enjoyed the finest of Italian cuisine. After filling our faces with pasta and pizza we sauntered the lively streets on a quest for Disarrono when we came across a quaint vintage shop. I spotted a Burberry mac coat and immediately shuffled my boyfriend into the store. The sweet little owner said she thought it was ‘from London or somewhere’…perhaps the only woman in Milan who isn’t clued up on her designers.
Galleria Emmanuelle + Prada Marchesi Cafe
As much as I wanted to emulate a true Milanese local – I did feel a slight pang for one of my ‘go to’ Venti coffees as I sipped on an espresso post a night of bottomless Disaronno’s. After shopping in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, we sat overlooking the shoppers whilst enjoying a pricey yet exemplary cappuccino in the new Prada Marchesi cafe. I’d heard about it’s opening a month before and wanted to briefly nosy at the interior, without any interest in making a purchase. However, unbeknown to my charade, my boyfriend had completely misread my intentions and took a seat in the overly priced coffee shop. Without wanting to appear rude (cheap), I sat down in a nonchalant manor trying to resist looking shocked by the expense of a thinly sliced cake. My only joy in this embarrassing moment was seeing my partner’s expression as he glanced over the luxurious menu and suddenly realising his mistake. In an attempt to shrug off the situation, we sipped extra slowly at our soya cappuccinos; trying to hide our disappointment, as we could now no longer afford dinner.
It’s no wonder Milano is resident to the opulent innovators in fashion, the champagne connoisseurs and the all round money-makers of Italy. And where I fit into that, I’m not quite sure. Although I invest in the odd designer garment, pawn my prossecco off as champagne and make very little money for Italy, I considered myself a true Milanese citizen…even if it was just for the weekend.