Milan Calling

Yes, I know! The purpose of this blog is cultural life in London, and not in other cities, or countries for that matter; however, how could I resist? I’ve never been to Italy before and Milan has always been on my “to-do” cities! But now that I’ve been there, I can honestly say that I am a fan and I’ll try to visit every year! It’s a beautiful city with plenty to see and experience.

Firstly, I have to comment on how close it is to London! In just 90 minutes we left cold and dreary London and we arrived at an… even colder Milan! I’m sure that the temperature wasn’t above 5 degrees during our time there. But who’d mind? Not us of course!

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So, on Saturday we had a hearty breakfast, courtesy of the amazing hotel we were staying at, and after that we began exploring this city, full of (you know it) culture. After passing through Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II, our first stop was the Duomo, which is the Milan Cathedral, dedicated to St Mary. It is so beautiful and huge. Can you imagine that it took almost 5 centuries to complete and it is the third largest in the world? I felt so lucky to be there! The museum opposite the Duomo is also very nice and has preserved a lot of items connected to the history of the place. A fascinating museum, so if you have time to visit, it is definitely a must!

Within a short walk from the Duomo, you can find the magnificent Teatro alla Scala! It is so unfair that such a place exists and remind us of the musical geniuses that once walked its halls and stage! As soon as you enter you feel this energy, this passion, only associated with great achievements in music of decades gone by. As you can imagine, I was very impressed with it. We had the opportunity to see the theatre, look around the first floor, where we saw Franz Listz’ piano, and then go to the second floor. There is a Maria Callas exhibition until January there, so if you plan on visiting Milan, put it on your list.

Teatro alla Scala houses all the best that Italian opera has to offer. Rossini, Bellini and Verdi have all performed there (or rather their operas did) and walked around its halls, it was so mind boggling for me! Above all though, this place breathes La Divina like no other! Maria Callas certainly left her presence there and for more than a decade was the undeniable star of La Scala. A fascinating woman and one of the most talented and influential opera singers that have ever walked this earth, she certainly deserves all the glory associated with her name and this exhibition proves just that! La Divina is simply a legend!

After Teatro alla Scala, we walked down Via Guiseppe Verdi and reached La Pinacoteca di Brera (the Brera Art Gallery). Housed in a beautiful palace, the Palazzo Brera, and dating back from the 18th century, it is worth a visit. Paintings confiscated from all over the Napoleonic Europe were brought here in order to study them. Caravaggio and Raphael, Rubens and Tintoretto, are all there for you to look at and marvel. If you are interested in classical art, this is definitely a place to check out and get lost in time.

In the evening, we met a friend from my Master’s programme and had the opportunity to walk around (in the cold mind you) in nighttime Milan. We visited the Palazzo Sforzesco, which is magnificent even at night, and then we went to the Quadrilatero della Moda, the place to be for fashionistas. Again even at night, you can find much to look at.

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On Sunday, we didn’t do a lot of walking, mainly because we were exhausted from the day before, but we did visit Como. I have no words to describe how picturesque it was, how we spent hours at the Christmas market and how amazingly tasty the paninis and pizzas were! If only it were warmer! My friend bought everything cheese related, and I was half envious all the time! I loved it and look forward to go there during summer!

I believe though that one of the best parts of Sunday was the evening, when we were surprised by an invitation to dinner! My Milanese friend invited us to his place to eat homemade pizza! We were both tired, but how can you say no to that? It was easily the best homemade pizza I’ve ever tried!

From private pizza-making lessons to all the cultural life breathing in the city, this was a trip that will remain unforgettable for me! In my short time there, I think that Italy is something seductive and charming, while London represents my stability and routine. It’s like having a lover and a husband. I will be back for sure! Next stop, Viareggio!

I would like to thank my Milanese friend for the lovely main image!

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