We’ve spent the last 2 days tromping the streets of Milan, and for a city that doesn’t get great reviews we’ve really enjoyed our time here. Our hotel the Palazzo Segreti has been awesome and the sun even shone for us yesterday :). Milan is quite a compact city with most things you want to see located in the city centre so all within walking distance. The main draw cards here are the Duomo, Da Vinci’s last supper and of course the shopping. We spent our first afternoon doing a 3 hour walking tour which was a good intro, our guide a lovely Milanese woman very passionate about her city and its history.
The Duomo is the 3rd largest cathedral in the world and took almost 6 centuries to construct. The building is made of a very porous marble and is under constant restoration which costs many hundreds of thousands of dollars each year and bizarrely to raise some of these funds they allow advertisers to post billboards on the side of the cathedral. We went to the top of the cathedral which was awesome as you get more of an appreciation of the intricacies and the detail of the around 3,000 statues that cover the building, as well as a great view of the city.
The last supper was painted on an entire wall in the refractory building of the Santa Maria delle Grazie church and took Da Vinci 4 years to paint. Entry to the building is strictly controlled to help preserve the painting which has been so heavily restored during the last couple of centuries that there’s a lot of contention about how much of what you now see is even Da Vinci’s work. Entry tickets need to be purchased months in advance and if you miss your 15mins of allocated time on the day you don’t get a 2nd chance.
High end fashion is somewhat of a religion here as most of Italy’s big name fashion houses call Milan their home. The Milanese ladies love to wear fur and a lot have small dogs that go with them everywhere, often carried in their designer handbags. We checked out the Armani Hotel the bottom 2 floors are a Megastore filled with all things Armani and the hotel sits above, there’s a restaurant and lounge bar on the top 2 floors which are all glass, so lovely views soaked up with a lunch time cocktail.
We visited the Lend Lease office here which was great to put faces to the names of people I only knew from emails. Met the lovely Micol who gave us some recommendations on places to see both here and in Rome as well as names of a couple of local restaurants (Trattoria Milanese, via Santa Maria 11 & Rovello 18) So, thanks to Micol last night we finally found the Italian hospitality we’d been looking for and had an awesome meal, the local speciality is Risotto & it was the best we’ve ever tasted! We had complementary Prosecco and prosciutto to start and Grappa to finish….. maybe why a have a headache this morning ;).
Today we go to Rome by train which take a little over 3 hours arriving there mid afternoon.