One really should try and visit all of Italy’s capital cities. Rome, Florence, Milan, Naples – these historical arts and cultural European capitals warrant a call.
Not merely is it an epicurean treat, but it evokes the senses: the eyes are treated to the delights of Roman and Renaissance architecture. Furthermore, these cities are an education on fashion, art, history, culture and language.
Naturally, I’m hardly impartial (I’ve lived in Italy), but I do feel there is a lot to gain from spending some time in these European cities.
Hence, we shall start with Italy’s economic and possibly least visually stimulating city from the list: Milan.
Milan is the perfect weekend trip. To stay longer, you would have to venture further afield. Ie. The lakes or mountains (yet I can hardly imagine there would be any complaints there). Any shorter and it’s a flustered trip only encompassing the Duomo and Galleria Vittoria Emanuelle.
48-hours in Milan? Here’s what you must do (as told by someone who’s boyfriend is Milanese):
Morning – take the underground to the centre and stop off at the Duomo. Ensure you perk yourself up with coffee at Camparino in Galleria. My suggestion? Espresso with a brioche, preferably with nocciaolo inside.
Enjoy the sights, sounds and baroque saturation of Galleria Vittoria Emanuelle. Even take a visit to the grandiose shops that sit within this enclave.
Also, make sure you take a spin on the ‘bull’s balls’ – three spins for good luck.
Midday – Visit the Duomo. It really is a majestic site and one of Italy’s landmark monuments.
Also, it took six centuries to build. Anything that was pondered and placated over for such an extensive period of time must be admired.
Lunch – by this time you will be hanging out for pranzo (lunch).
If you’re really feeling like splashing the cash, head back to the Galleria and set your gastronomic sights on Ristorante Galleria. Order the saffron risotto, or Osso Bucco – it’s a local speciality.
Afternoon – Enjoy a ‘giro’ around the city centre, making your way up to Brera.
When in Brera, make sure you stop off at the Pinacoteca di Brera. It’s the main public gallery for paintings in Italy. There’s an impressive collection: Mantegna, Cagnacci, Tintoretto and Rubens are among those displayed.
Evening – It’s time to enjoy the splendors of appertivo, and Brera is the perfect location. Head to N’Ombra de Vin and savior a vino or aperol spritz with a selection of Italian nibbles.
If you’re feeling in the mood for a party or dance, make your way to Giorgio Armani’s Prive club. It’s not uncommon in Milan for famous designers to own hotels, clubs and restaurants that are constantly frequented by the Italian elite.
Morning – quench that hangover with a delightful brunch at Marc Jacob’s café near the Duomo. Slurp your coffee and have a brioche (or two!).
Now, it’s time to see one of Milan’s most famous sites: Di Vinci’s Last Supper. This 15th century mural painting is housed in the refctory of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Gazie in Milan.
It really is a masterpiece, and if you only do one cultural or artistic thing in Milan, make it this! It’s a painting that should be seen by everyone at least once in their lifetime.
Lunch – Close by you’ll find Bar II Cenacolo. Located on Via Giovanni Boccaccio, the in-house specialties include cured meat and fresh tortellini.
Afternoon – if you’re interested in doing a bit of shopping in Milan, forgo the overprized Galleria in favour of something more unique: exquisitely curated vintage designer clothes!
The best to visit our Cavalli e Nastri, Madame Pauline Vintage and Humana Vintage Milano.
Evening – have a final tipple at Bar Basso, which has been Milan’s mainstay since 1947. The trademark drink is Negroni Sbagliato, which interestingly enough was also invented there.
Have one, or two, before getting a cab and heading to the airport.