Did Milano live up to its meticulous reputation? I’m certainly a convert!
You can’t go to Milano and not be struck by just how impressive the buildings are – especially, and here’s the cliché, the Duomo. Claiming territory on both land and in the sky, the cathedral looms over the surrounding area and is an oasis of calm and tranquillity inside. If you want to go in make sure you’re dressed appropriately in summer (I had to convince the security guard that my shorts weren’t “too short”), or you can, as fellow Worldly Wellbeing contributor Holly did, and opt for a rooftop beverage with views of the impressive church at the Rinascente Milano.
Milano has a bit of a reputation of being on the snobby side of life, well known for its fashion and business hubs, and well-heeled residents. But you don’t need to look too hard to see that this really is only one side of the coin. Flip it over, and a whole other Milano is waiting to be explored. We stayed near China Town in an excellently located and well-priced aparthotel, and I’m so glad we did – as it’s full of creative restaurants, both classic and fusion. Not only that, but also delicious matcha gelato (paired with a classic fondente of course) at Chateau Dufan. It’s a great chance to enjoy some roadside drinks in a more casual and perhaps, ironically, a more typically Italian-feeling part of town.
Which leads me on brilliantly to another standout part of our brief visit to Milano: THE FOOD. I enjoyed two practically divine meals in this city, and one of them was in China Town. Before we visit a new city, I spend hours trawling blogs and reviews to find the restaurants I absolutely have to try and I knew as soon as I read about Ravioleria Sarpi that I had to try their dumplings. They were simple yet DELICIOUS, and the great thing about the relaxed atmosphere in China Town meant we could take them to a nearby bar and enjoy them curb-side.
The second was a much more Italian affair on our last day in the country, in which we dined on polenta with gorgonzola, as well as ravioli di zucca (and cured meats for the non-veggies) at the Brera outpost of Salsamenteria di Parma. Holly was also delighted by the wine in bowls, and their friendly pouring!
We also indulged ourselves to a variety of Milanese pastries (as always) and paid a few visits to the pricey but timeless Marchesi. We went wild with the crema on our final breakfast, with absolutely no regrets! For a truly Milanese brekkie, try the Cannoncino – a sort of softer cannolo.
4. Da Vinci
From one kind of meal to a wholly different one: Leonardo’s Last Supper is profoundly beautiful and a stop I’m so glad we factored into our trip. In many ways travelling during Covid-19 has been challenging, but this has also meant that some of the busier places have also been extremely quiet – which was definitely the case here. Only allowing no more than 20 people in at a time meant that we could get up close and personal with this classic piece of art without trampling through the usual herd. I spent most of our allocated time just staring at in awe.
Whilst clearly not exclusively Milanese, companionship is a big deal in Italy – and for me too! I’m so grateful to have been able to spend a month in Italy with my husband Steven, in what has been quite the year, and for my Worldly Wellbeing partner and all round migliore amico Holly to join us for the final 10 days. Travel is an experience that is completed by those you meet, and those who you journey with along the way – and I couldn’t have been happier to have these two by my side on this European excursion!