Once again I am off and this time to none other than the fashion capital of the world….Milano! This is where you can find designer everything right down to the cafés that are owned by some of the most well-known fashion houses of the world. Having heard about the city in a Shopaholic book years ago, I had always been intrigued. From the Duomo to the Galleria Emmanuele I, there was lots to see! What I found one of the nicest parts of this city was the lack of tourists. Although there were ample in and around the Duomo as well as other prime locations like the Castle Sforzesca, there were still many niches in the city I was scavenging in order to avoid those typical Bermuda shorts (no offense) and maps being held to the sky. I had to see what the locals were up to!
Definitely some of the highlights to my short but sweet visit were the aperitivos. Common elsewhere in Italy as well, an aperitivo is basically a happy hour or 5 à 7 that includes food and can go on for hours. Most places charge 10 euros for the first drink and then the usual rate thereafter but with that comes a buffet of foods and hors d’oeuvres to munch on as you admire the scenery or chat with friends. Not to mention, this is a great deal for anyone trying to stick to a budget because for that price I ate a healthy dinner both nights. After running into the café by accident, the first night I aperitivo-ed (I just made that a word) was at Marc Jacobs Café where I had the pleasure of chatting with their manager for hours on end about our favourite parts of Italy as well as our love for back home (both of us from North America). The drinks were good, and relatively strong, and the food didn’t disappoint either. Little bowls of orecchiette, cheese, crackers, mini sandwiches, and fruit were all cut into perfect bite-sized bits. What’s great about this is you can also try a bunch of different snacks rather than sticking to one meal for the night. Saturday I also went out for an aperitivo with a great friend of mine who also happened to be in Italy. Apparently we can no longer meet up in Canada because it’s been months since I last saw her but we caught up over an aperitivo along the canal in the Navigli area that was booming with excitement. It sounds so simple and it’s so easy for the restaurants to put up without tons of waiters needed to keep the event going. If we had those back in Canada, I don’t think I’d eat dinner ever again. Definite must when visiting Italy in my books!
After countless kilometers of walking in the past few days, my feet are definitely tired. From all this scavenging I found the church of Santa Maria presso San Satiro to be one of my faves for the weekend. Because of a lack of space to expand the church, the genius painter Bramante devised a way to make the nave look far longer by using linear perspective methods. From the entrance it’s impossible to tell that the nave ends not too far in front of you, even as you move to the front, the perspective is done so perfectly that it takes a while to notice how small the space really is. For anyone at all interested in architecture, painting, the renaissance, it’s a must.
The Duomo of Milano was also a stunning sight and with my sense of curiosity I found a way to admire the beautiful gothic spires while eating the best pizza in town! At the top of the Rinascente (a massive department store of Milano) you can find their food court on the top floor and houses multiple restaurants. Having spotted one within my price range I got to eat at Obika Mozzarella Bar where I had the freshest mozzarella you can possibly imagine on a bed of homemade tomato sauce and basil leaves. Yum! While chatting with my waiter I was educated on what makes their cheese so creamy and fresh. I don’t want to give too many secrets away but once the mozzarella balls are made they sit in their milk as they continue to release liquid in order to form a denser ball of cheese. Their peak is only 90 hours after being made into the massive balls of cheese we either cook or eat raw often with tomatoes or other fresh veggies. It sounds silly but I swear I could taste the milk and the cow the cheese came from, it was that fresh! Definitely a welcoming and fun restaurant to visit when in Milano, the waiters are so friendly they even asked I come back next time I’m in Milano.
With sights under my belt and excellent food in my tummy I had to call it quits for the time being and head back to reality where school awaits for me tomorrow. But before I leave I want to wish my brother a happy birthday because the little squirt turns 18 today! I’m wishing you the best birthday possible Lar!