A few weekends ago, Steve and I ventured to Milan to meet up with my friend, Meghan (who also happened to be travelling in Europe at the time). We woke up at 5:00am and walked the 32 minutes to the train station. At 6:20am we took the 3 hour train ride from Pordenone to Milan via Trenitalia’s FrecciaBianca. The only complaint I have about the train is that they advertised over the sound system that there was coffee “in the center of the train”. I walked the entire length of the train with not a single coffee bean to be found. Trenitalia you liars!
The Duomo is the 5th largest church in the world and the largest church in Italy. The cathedral sticks to a “Gothic” style (mostly) even though it took nearly 600 years to complete. There are over 3,000 statues at each of the peaks, which makes for an incredible view not only from the bottom, but also from the roof of the cathedral, which can be reached by stairs for a €7 fee. If I wasn’t fairly in shape I would have opted for the more expensive use of the elevator, but I’m young and cheap so after staggering up the 250 steps we reached the expansive roof.
It was a warm, sunny day and many people were simply sitting on the roof enjoying the weather. After relaxing and looking out over the city, we walked back down to the Piazza and took a walk through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Built between 1865 and 1877, this is supposedly one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. The Galleria houses several upscale cafes and restaurants as well as shops such as Versace, Prada, and Giorgio Armani. The vaulted glass dome ceiling in the center was beautiful and the mosaiced floor was equally as beautiful, if not a little chaotic since it was covered with confetti from Carnivale festivities.
After walking through Milan we went back to our hotel and met up with Meghan before heading out to the Navigli area of Milan. The area has two canals which, unfortunately for us, are drained in the winter so it doesn’t look very pretty. The area was busy with people strolling up and down the streets stopping at bars and cafes that offered “aperitivo”. This is basically a Milanese version of happy hour. You pay between €7 and €10 for a drink and are given access to the bars buffet of hor d’oeuvres (aperitifs). There is everything from the more sophisticated clams in wine sauce, caprese salad, and smoked trout to the simpler french fries, slices of lasagna, meats, cheeses, and olives. We did a fairly good job of controlling ourselves and not eating too much. This may have helped us disguise the fact that we were obviously foreigners, although, since we all have blonde hair (and two of the three of us are over 5′ 3″) I’m afraid it wasn’t a very good disguise. We continued drinking the rest of the night, but I’m afraid that while Milan has a great amount of culture and shopping, it lacks in nightlife (at least in February…when it’s been raining all night). Nonetheless, the three of us entertained ourselves and had a lovely trip in a modern Italian city.