Ciao, Milano!

After my first beautiful, albeit rainy night in Milan, I woke up refreshed as the day. I set off with The List in hand. The List was a list of cultural sites, landmarks, restaurants, bars, and more that were suggested to me by my dear friend Lorenzo, a former classmate and soon-to-be graduate of the university in Milan. The List was added to by several Milanese that I met throughout the trip.

I set out immediately for the Duomo because what else is there really to do in Milan (besides eat? Jokes!) I had come at a great time as the line for the ascension to the terrace of the Duomo was quite short and I headed up with little to no wait time. The Duomo is absolutely, magnificently beautiful. Pardon my lack of understanding in architecture, but I like to think that the Duomo can accurately be described as an outstanding example of gothic architecture. The many flying buttresses soaring overhead, so perfect in curve can only have been designed by God himself. When I finally go to the highest terrace, the view of Milan was nothing short of magical. I felt so lucky to be able to look out on this beautiful city with such clear skies above me. I’m a strict believer that if you pay for entrance for something (i.e. museum, viewing, concert, etc.), you should make the most of it. The formula is simple, just double the amount you paid and that is the amount of time you should stay. I stayed up there for about 30 minutes admiring the city from different angles, watching little children run about the terrace while their fretting parents and grandparents urged them to stop.

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As I descended, I decided it was definitely time for gelato. Three scoops, because why not? Stracciatella (think Italian cookies and cream), pistachio, and tiramisu. Delicious to say the least. From there, I proceeded to Luini which is on a side street to the left of the Duomo. Luini is perhaps the most well known vendor of panzoretti in Milan. Panzoretti is basically a calzone but somehow so much better. I was a bit overwhelmed with the choices available so two obliging Milanese men in front of me in the massive line helped me order. Classic. Mozarella and tomato. It was amazing, and I was so temped to go back for another one– or five.

Afterwards, I looped back around, this time into the Duomo. I know it’s really uncultured of me to say, but stained glass is often just stained glass to me. But the stained glass inside the Duomo was beautiful and the light passing through created this lovely ethereal light throughout the cathedral. Unfortunately, the main alter was closed to visitors, but I was able to spend some time in one of the naves where I lit a candle and decided to have a conversation to God. For those that don’t know me, I’m not particularly religious. I’m fascinated by religion, but I consider myself to be agnostic. But as I like to say, “when in Rome (Milan), do as the Romans (Milanese) do!”* My conversation with God was longer than I expected, and in fact quite reflective.

Afterwards, I headed for a coffee, which thank God the Italians do much better than the French and wandered around through some shops around the Duomo. Feeling recharged from my caffeine boost, I headed to the Palazzo Reale which is currently featuring an exhibit on Gustav Klimt. I am a huge fan of art (and audio guides!) so I headed in eagerly. I definitely was not disappointed. It was an incredibly well-curated exhibit which showed the progression of Klimt’s work throughout his life parallel to the events that transpired in his personal life. It was also really cool to see some of the pieces that were on loan for the exhibit as I visited the Belvedere Museum in Vienna a few months prior and saw the same pieces heres. Unfortunately, The Kisswas resting at home in Vienna but it was still lovely to see some of his earlier pieces that I had never seen before as well as classics like The Sunflower. I indulged in some post cards as well as a Klimt mug in the gift shop and headed out to explore some more.

My next stop was a bakery on a side street off the main Via Torino called Princi. The amount of breads and pizzas in there were astounding and had I had more time (and money), I would have stayed all day. I wandered down Via Torino until found The Church of Saint Satiro. It’s actually a really wonderful visit, although apparently most tourists don’t stop in. I won’t post any spoilers but if you’re ever in Milan, I highly encourage you to stop by!

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I finished off the day with some light window shopping along Via Torino and decided finally that it was time for aperitivo! The rest of the night, I’ll keep to myself but it was a wonderful night filled with tons of laughter. I ended up crawling into bed around 2am, looking forward to my last full day in Milan!

* I had a lovely conversation with Allah whilst in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

[Originally published May 31, 2014]

Photos posted are my own: @finding_nimo Instagram

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