Fashion capital of the world, perhaps not, fashion capital of Italy, it sure is. Even though I think Florence is slowly rising to become equally fashion capital of Italy, the people of Milan know the difference between the two fashion extremes of urban street wear and elegant, chic Italian wear.
My first time in Milan, I didn’t feel like I was in Italy. Modernity and innovation have over run the classical and traditional aspects of the city. Perhaps the only obvious artifact that can remind you that the super busy city still has its authentic Italian history is the Cathedral.
The city has more to it than just designer boutiques. Milan has something for everyone. Hipsters in the latest Nike trainers walk along Gucci suited refined gentlemen; an image for the fashion conscious that proves fashion is a continuous inventive industry, looking into modernity and youth, but also maintaining the timeless sophistication and tradition.
Designer bars are among artisanal restaurants, keeping the locals and visitors interested and with a desire to return. Given that the city will host the Universal Exposition this year, huge developments have only started taking place, however, it is the perfect location in Italy to host the food themed event.
As it was my first time visiting Milan, it turned to be a cultural and relaxing trip. First thing is first, go to the Duomo and take a classic tourist photo!
Located in Piazza del Duomo, it took nearly six centuries to construct Milan’s Gothic Cathedral, which is dedicated to Santa Maria Nascente. It is the fifth largest church in the world and the largest in Italy. In 2012, a campaign was announced in order to raise funds for the cathedral’s preservation by asking patrons to adopt the building’s gargoyles. Pollution has caused many issues regarding the up keeping of the 14th Century building, therefore the Duomo management launched this campaign offering its 135 gargoyles up for ‘adoption.’ Donors contribute a certain amount of money and have their name engraved under their gargoyle, which are perched on the roof of the city.
We went a little photo crazy and took a mini photo shoot on the roof of the Duomo, enjoying the warm sunshine.
We took a stroll through Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is the oldest covered shopping arcade in Milan.
Having a few hours to wander the center on my own I got lost in the shops. Yes Milan really does have some amazing shopping streets that are uniquely Milanese and aren’t to be found anywhere else. A few we visited, which is a must for window shopping are Via della Spiga and Via Monte Napoleone. Around this area, the so-called “Quadrilatero d’Oro” (rectangle of gold) we paused for a coffee at the bar of Cova café.
Excelsior concept store
At Excelsior, the customer is in for a unique shopping experience. The Milanese boutique, ANTONIA, has curated the areas of the store dedicated to men and women’s fashion and accessories. Tiffany & Co is found on the same level as pastry store Ladurée, a space dedicated to books, stationery, technology and beauty. On the upper floors, contemporary International designers can be found, among them, Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone and Theory. The menswear floor is dedicated to informal style and denim with the looks of up and coming designers.
An afternoon energy stop was needed at the famous Luini bakery, located on a back street behind the Duomo. There we had apanzerotto, a fried doughy pastry filled with tomato and cheese. This has to be Milan’s favourite quick eat. Ever since 1888 the street outside is crowded with people eating these tasty delicacies.
At Corso Como
Sant’Ambrogio church, where evening mass was taking place when we arrived.
We took an antique tram, that still run throughout the city to Navigli, where we went for dinner at Vetusta Insigna. The canals there were designed by Leonardo da Vinci that connect the city centre to the countryside.
We had spent a leisurely Sunday, walking around the city and through the main attractions such as the Castle, to the main park in Milan and had lunch outside by Acro della Pace.
We strolled through Brera in the afternoon and saw the architecture installations in the cloisters of the Università Statale.
Pattini was the breakfast spot we went to and I could say I could go there every morning for a pastry filled with cream accompanied with a coffee. I know, it’s not healthy to eat that every day, so I would choose some of the healthier options that caffé also serves.
At Cioccolati Italiani I must have had one of the best ice-creams ever. No, really, I’m not exaggerating. Salted chocolate, rose white chocolate, marron glacés and to make it more perfect, the cone was filled with milk chocolate. Sounds good right?
For lunch we went to Signor Vino, where I had a light but good red wine, Valpolicella Riapasso and one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever tried, Pizzoccheri.
There is only so much one can do and visit in three days in Milan. It impressed me and made me miss London. The galleries and nightlife are expecting me for a future visit very soon! A presto!