I have just come back from Milan, and I had a brilliant time there! There is so much to see and do, and it’s not all about the shopping (although that is excellent too!). I have been to Milan a couple of times now, and it is a city that I would love to continue visiting. I have no hesitation in recommending Milan as an excellent location in which to learn Italian, as for someone that is interested in Italian culture, history, art, music and shopping (like me), Milan is perfect! It is also an excellent location from which to visit other exciting locations in Northern Italy, such as the lakes, Turin, Verona and Genoa!
The first evening I arrived, I took a gentle stroll down to the Piazza del Duomo, which is in the heart of the city and very close to the school. In the evening light, the Duomo looked positively magical, glowing a bright ivory in the setting sun. Perched on the steps of the Duomo, I ate my gelato (the most delicious ice cream I have ever tasted!) and watched the Milanese heading through the piazza, on their way to aperitivo, and then dinner.
My second evening, I also took part in that Milanese tradition of aperitvo or happy hour. I decided to head to the Navigli district, famous for its fantastic nightlife, where at one bar, upon purchasing my cocktail, I was brought a platter of olives, pizza and crisps. In another bar, the aperitivo took on the form of a buffet. After buying your drink, you are then invited to help yourself to as much food as you like from the buffet. Pastas, risottos, slices of pizza, cheese, hams, breads, and grilled vegetables such as courgettes, aubergines and peppers were just some of the delicious food laid out on the bar. The great thing about aperitivo is that if you know the right bar to go to, you won’t even need to go for dinner afterwards!
Aside from the Duomo, other sights I took in during my visit included the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II (a large shopping arcade next to the Duomo), the Castello Sforzesco (built by the one-time rulers of Milan), and Parco Sempione (a fantastic park that is also home to the civic arena and the Triennale art gallery). I also ventured to the famous Quadrilatero d’Oro, home to some of the most exclusive luxury brands such as Prada, Armani, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana. Unfortunately, I was only able to window shop in this particular area of the city, although there were plenty of more affordable shops in other areas of the city, and the Brera district, with its Bohemian atmosphere, is my personal tip for picking up something beautiful and unique!
I really had a wonderful time in Milan, and am looking forward to my next visit to this amazing city!