20 Feb 17 at 6:07 AM #5118
It was love at first sight when I first stepped foot in Milan, Italy, years ago, and the love affair continues til this day. And because of my wonderful experiences, I would like to share a few insights about this captivating city. If you have or have not visited this historical metropolis, I am sure you will find what I have to say a good read and hopefully inspiring.
Milan has always been an opulent, centrally located city. It’s full of everything you look for in a spectacular metropolis like a rich culture, stunning architecture, an endless amount of shopping, impressive museums, and delectable food.
If you don’t mind taking long strolls, I love it, the exquisite display of colossal sculptures, spires, columns, arches, and marble will have you goggling with every footstep. The craftsmanship is both breathtaking and provocative. In fact, Milan attractions alone can easily take one full day, or perhaps two, of sightseeing. Other inspiring sights include the Santa Maria delle Grazie. It was erected between 1466 and 1490 and adapted by Bramante. Inside this magnificent refectory hangs one of the most celebrated paintings in the world by Leonardo da Vinci: The Last Super. I’m not an art expert; however, I certainly know a beautiful piece of artwork when I see it. It’s amazing!
Magnificent architecture like the Palazzo Reale (Royal Palace of Milan) situated on the south-side of Piazza Duomo, is the heart of the cultural scene with plenty of exhibits and presentations throughout the year. Other long-familiar symbols of Milan’s history and allure are the Sforza Castle and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. These few attractions alone will endear you as you become more acquainted with the elegance and grand history of this venerable city.
Milan’s History is Both Grandiose and Fascinating.
Milan’s history is capacious. The more you know about it, the more you feel a part of the vibe of the city, especially when you have the visuals right in front of you. As I learned more about the city’s history, I was enthralled and even more tantalized by its allure.
Milan was overthrown by the Romans and taken over by the Roman Empire. After 313 A.D., the time of the Edict of Tolerance against Christianity, numerous churches were constructed and the first bishop was assigned. In fact, Ambrogio was so powerful that the church changed into the Ambrosian Church. The year 1300 saw the Visconti family, aristocrats from Parma, Brescia, Piacenza, Cremona, and Bergamo, govern and engender an era of prosperity and magnificence to the vicinity. In 1386, the Duomo was erected and became an insignia of Milan. Afterward, the Sforza family took over the Castle, and due to the Sforza duchy, Milan gained considerable knowledge of art, literature, and the sciences. Still today, Milan continues to be a vibrant and robust metropolis full of financial enterprises.
For example, Fiera Milano is the city’s Exhibition Center and Trade Fair proprietorship. Known as Europe’s largest open structured development, Fiera Milano is the biggest trade fair conglomeration of buildings in the world!
Shopping in Milan
Milan has a long history of fashion that influences retail markets and the catwalks around the world. In fact, Milan surpasses London and New York as a leading fashion capital. The attention to detail, innovative design, fine fabrics, and overall panache, will make you break your budget! If you need a good dose of retail therapy check-out the fabulous Galleria Emmanuel Vittorio II. It’s one of the oldest shopping malls in the world located smack in the center of the city. You will find plenty of upscale clothing labels and superb dining. The iron and glass roof is mind-blowing!
Another shopping place that is sure to leave you astounded is the Quadrilatero d’Oro (rectangle of gold) where many of the top designers like Prada and Armani are housed. Nevertheless, you don’t have to worry. Milan is on-point for shoppers on a tight budget too. Fashion outlets like the corso di Porta Ticinese or Brera. Better yet, try the corso Buenos Aires, via Torino or corso Vittorio Emanuele. For all around needs, trek to the well-known outlet of Il Salvagente (the lifesaver). This outlet offers three floors of goods for men and women, with a kid’s section called Salvagente Bimbi.
Dining in Milan
In order to truly experience Milan, you have to sit down to a good meal. Milanese restaurants offer the most diverse dishes of Italian cuisine in the country. You will find a choice of delectable creamy pasta, meats, and dairy products together with international cuisines like curry and maki.
A prominent place for dining al fresco in Milan is Antica Trattoria della Pesa. This popular restaurant is all the rage and serves the best funghi porcini pasta in the city with an ambiance to match. I’m a lover of good food just like the next person and luckily, even the local fare like polenta made from white or yellow corn meal is divine and works well with a number of side dishes. Panettone is another Italian staple. This delicious cake is adored around the world! OK, not everyone is in love with it, but you can’t say it’s not recognized across the globe. Hey, I’ve even seen drugstores in the U.S. with panettone on their shelves during the holiday season! The rich ingredients of butter, dried candied fruits, flour, eggs, and water, are what makes a true panettone a fabulous treat.
Be sure to try an appetizing pizza, which is also called a pie, at the S.P.I.B Restaurant. The setting is cozy and the pizza crust is thin and crispy. Just the way a real Italian pizza should be. Afterward, you can enjoy a tartufo and espresso for dessert. Or, take time to chill out at the Biffi Caffè, the pastries are to die for!
I’m not much of a beer drinker; however, I know people that are. Whenever they stop in Milan during the summer months, let’s say early August, the Milano Beer Week is a must-go-to event. You will discover a marvelous selection of beers from around the world and the admission is free! Lastly, you haven’t really connected with the sensation of Milan, or Italy in general, if you don’t indulge in one or more scoops of superbly flavored gelato. You will find gelato stands around every corner serving nearly every flavor that pops into your head. The taste has texture, is flavorful, and unforgettable!
Anyone who steps on the beatified soil of Milan, reveres its architectural splendor. In lieu of the innovative developments of this striking city, the architectural construction has kept its core grandeur and magnificence. The Duomo di Milano is a structure you don’t want to miss. Its gothic architecture, inaugurated in the 14th century, was only completed five centuries later! It’s an impressive structure situated in the heart of the city and the 4th largest cathedral in the world! In addition, the indigenous landmark Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II links to Milan’s most popular attractions, the Teatro della Scala and the Duomo di Milano come to mind. The church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is born of astounding exquisiteness and genius. Don’t forget to visit La Scala, the abbreviated name for the official Teatro della Scala, the internationally renowned opera house. Many of Italy’s foremost opera stars and singers from all corners of the globe have performed at this resplendent opera house over the last 200 years. The architecture in Milan is simply enchanting.
The pulchritude that illuminates the city of Milan would take masses of online pages to write about. Just look it up, there are oodles of online websites lauding this great metropolis. I have enjoyed each of my visits to Milan and I’m looking forward to many more in the future.
25 Feb 17 at 8:23 AM #10167
Ciao Deb, and thanks for this great write-up on Milano. I have to say, I’m not as experienced cruising Milan as you are, and it’s really nice to have these pointers.
I have visited a few great restaurants there, especially the osterie and trattorie that dot the city. Just for fun, here are three of my favorites. All of them require a quick call for a reservation, and folks staying in Milan can ask their hotel to book them a table:
- Trattoria Mirta, Piazza San MAterno 12, tele: +39.02.9118.0496, http://www.trattoriamirta.it
- Osteria Grand Hotel, Via Ascanio Sforza 75, tele: +39.02.8951.1586, http://www.grandhotelosteria.it
- L’Osteria del Treno, Via San Gregorio 46-48, tele: +39.02.670.0479, no website but email: email@example.com
Buon appetito e buon viaggio!
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