Long time no see, but there was a reason for this to happen. Last week was a busy one at work and with the preparation for a city break in Italy, the entire time was easily gone.
I am fresh back from a 3 days trip in the North of Italy, my first trip on Italian land. The opinions are divided on the internet, many recommend the area, many don’t, but as I think that everybody should have their own experience, this is mine in Milan. First I need to say that I was expecting for Italy to be something like a bigger sister of Spain and since Spain is my second favorite country in Europe until now, my expectations were set right up high. Unfortunately, too high. I was expecting, maybe, for people to be rude and to be fooled in a restaurant or two (there’s no holiday without it), but I’ve never expected to pay so many money on food and drinks. To pay 6e for a normal beer I think it’s just too much, in a country in which the medium salary is 1600e/month. We’ve spent more than 75% of our budget on food, because everything was overpriced. I had a big shock because of the prices and I’m still a little bit the same, since I’ve found the area expensive as Denmark, so more expensive than The Netherlands.
I’ve divided the 3 days in: Bergamo, Bologna and Milan. We’ve rented an apartment on Airbnb in Navigli quarter, Milan, and pay attention – even if you rent through Airbnb you still need to pay the tourist tax. The name of the neighborhood comes from the 2 canals which are surrounded by terraces and pubs, a place in which young people come together to spend their free time, especially in the night. In each of the 3 nights the streets were crowded, you could hear the laughter and see the smoke of a joint shared between friends. It was almost similar with the center of Amsterdam, you could easily feel the smell of weed, people talking loudly, enjoying a nice evening out, even at 4 C degrees. If you would like to see another part of the city I truly recommend you to visit it during the night, especially around 1:00 am on a weekend. It’s just another world, born behind the gate of the fashioned financial city of Italy. The canals are only 2 km away from the heart of the city, passing through multiple gates of Tinicese:
In these 3 days we’ve walked 70 km, from which 30 in Milan, most of them during the night and on half of Sunday. One of the places I’ve liked is Castle Sforzesco, especially because through it’s gates I’ve admired in one morning the sunrise and in the last evening the sunset.
Between Giuseppe Garibaldi’s statue and the Arch of Peace you can visit Sforzesco Castle and Sempione park, which is not extraordinary, but can be a nice walk. Take only a lot of patience with you, because from corner to corner you will hear “ma friend, weed?” and you will need some nerves to keep on going. Or maybe we have something “special”, since this is the 4th country where weed is illegal but we are offered on the street?
And now if I’ve mentioned Garibaldi – this is also the name of the “financial plaza” of Milan, the place with the sky towers, the neighborhood in which corporations have their headquarter. A stroll in the evening is mandatory while visiting Milan, only to see the brightness of the buildings in the dark of the night.
From Garibaldi, the street brings us to Brera neighborhood, the one I’ve liked most. The paved streets, the old buildings, the terraces make the quarter unique in a metropolitan city and the beautiful churches – hidden gems behind the main boulevards. Another nice area not far from Garibaldi is Turati, where I’ve observed the nicest and tidiest balconies:
The top attraction of the city is considered Milan’s Cathedral (Duomo), the white cathedral built and rebuilt in a period of 600 years. Compared with the other cathedrals I saw until now, this one is one of the favorites, being the brightest one with the marble exterior.
Right next to the cathedral an impressive shopping gallery is placed. The prices are hard to read for a common human (like me), even a soup is 22e, not to mention the overwhelming labels of Prada or Versace products. Anyway a stroll in the small shopping area shouldn’t be missed especially because of the glass roof, which is surrounded by paintings.
With this being said I’m ending my story of Milan. My personal conclusion is that it is a true metropolitan city and should be visited if this is your type. For me, being totally unfashionable person, searching more the nature or history, the city didn’t offered much. Most of the time I’ve felt a little bit insecure, because, the irony of life, where’s too much wealth there’s too much begging too – in some of the areas people will push you to give them some money or they will analyze your pockets deeply.