I will preface this post by saying that we all know that I have this strange habit of falling madly in love with cities.
Well— I’ve done it again. This time with an Italian lover, Milano.
I arrived in Milan less than 6 hours ago and I’m already in love. No, as I stepped out from my 7 hour train ride from Paris (Keep in mind, I absolutely abhor any form of travel that lasts more than 2.5 hours), I was already feeling the tinglings of a new crush. The infatuation set in about 2 hours later as I settled down at a table with a glass of Italian white wine and an impressive, yet daunting spread of aperitivo delights before me.
Aperitivo, you ask? It’s an Italian thing- kind of. More of a Northern Italian thing, but definitely very big and very lauded in Milano. You grab a drink at the bar, and for 2-3 hours you have unlimited finger foods at your beck and call. Perhaps not so much finger food, but some really delicious pastas and salads. I called it free dinner.
I’m currently staying at the most adorable little hostel, appropriately named the Ostello Bello. The staff is friendly beyond belief, speaks English (and even a bit of French as they thought I was French when I checked in… what in the world is that about?), the facilities are clean and modern, and it’s a 10 minute walk from the Duomo. When I checked in, lovely Federico (saint that he is) spent a good 30 minutes explaining Milano to me. I had come prepared with recommendations, must-sees. and must-eats*.
*We all know my end-game is food.
Federico was an aboslute angel and very patiently, and with an excellent sense of humour, mapped out the next two days for me. People always tell me that Milan “can be done in a day.” I beg to differ. I will be here for a total of two days and three nights and I already know that this is definitely not going to be enough time.
First order of business? Well, obviously that would be to attend a free concert in the Piazza del Duomo. The Filarmonica della Scalla (yes, Scalla— as in the world renowned opera house) held a free concert tonight playing Piano Concerto Number 2 by Rachmaninov (I believe, to be confirmed) with guest pianist, LANG LANG followed by Le Sacre du Printemps by Igor Stravinsky. The Duomo was lit up, the square swathed in a soft twilight light…. when the rain started to fall. I happened to make friends with an adorable gay couple standing near me. As I explained to them, the heavens were crying at how beautiful it all was. Cringe? Oh, definitely. It was quite funny seeing the umbrellas going up and then closing when the rain would temporarily cease. Overall, amazing. Quelle chance, no?
As the last chords of the finale of Le Sacre du Printemps came to a ringing close, I escaped from the massive crowds in attendance (just a few high-heeled steps ahead, it is Milan after all, guys. Fashion first, si?) and teetered back to my hostel. I sat down to plan down my massive two days ahead and do a little light journal-ing when the woman sitting across the table from me commented, “Your handwriting is perfect. It looks printed!” To which I laughed and politely replied, “Oh, you are far too kind, but I beg to differ.”
We got to chatting, and at the end of it all, she and her boyfriend had hunkered down my list with another 4 restaurants and wine bars I “absolutely had to visit!” As for now— it is true that Milan is (one of) the fashion capitals of the world… but this regazza will be spending what little money she has left on food— and tons of it!
[Originally published on May 24, 2014]
Photos posted are my own: @finding_nimo Instagram