When I knew I was going to Genova, I quickly looked at the map and realised I really wasn’t far from Milan. I have been to Milan quite a few times, but not in the last couple of years and was really looking forward to it. And a walk in Milan with Walks of Italy plus much was all we had time for!
After a 90-minute drive, my friend and PR-guru Lynsey Devon and I arrived at the city centre on a beautiful sunny day. Ciao, Milano!
When I was in Girona earlier this year, I met one of the founders of Walks of Italy, who kindly invited me to walk with them next time I was in this fabulous country.
I thought that the day we had in town would be perfect opportunity and my friend Lynsey and I were really looking forward to spending 2h30m with Serena, our private guide. We were due to visit the Duomo, the Galeria Vittorio Emmanuelle and the epic La Scala – perfect, because I had never really seen these landmarks as the queues always put me off. Not a problem if you go with a Walks of Italy guide!
Despite the big hair (don’t laugh, we had a really early start, after another long night out!), and the crowds, we found the lovely Serena, just by one of the Duomo doors. After a quick introduction, we were told a lot about the history of this incredible building which is now “almost” restored. I particularly liked the bronze doors, which were only added in the 1950s.
We quickly entered the Duomo (Mrs. O loves the concept of no queues, yes) and were lucky that a mass was being held. There is something about Mass in Italian – it was very moving. We were also quite impressed by the technology used – large screens, slide shows, the lot. It is a large building and I suppose it makes sense.
I was raised Catholic and one thing I always do when I go to a church is to light a candle. I don’t think (or at least I can’t recall) seeing so many candles in one place. I loved it. We were told that different areas where for different “wishes”, so Lynsey and I took no chances – we wanted health for ourselves and our loved ones, and also love and others things. So we lit a few.
From the main part of the church, we were shown the archeological site which sits below the Duomo. Other churches had been built there before, and they were found in the 1960s when the works for the metro began. It was time to see some sunlight and get to the roof!
To get to the rooftop, you can either walk (no, thank you!) or take a lift. There is only one lift and this can take quite a bit.. it was better to wait a little bit than the alternative 😉
From the Duomo, we headed to the Galeria Vittorio Emmanuele. It was painful to see the rooftop bar at La Rinascente department store and knowing I didn’t have enough time to visit. Or see Tod’s and all the other shops I loved and not being able to help the local economy. These are first world problems, indeed.
I love the Galeria. It is, of course, one of Milan’s landmarks and I can’t get enough of it.
You may have heard about my love for shoes. I tried to sneek into Prada, but Lynsey dragged me out – I just wanted to ‘have a look’. However, as I did the walk of shame, I noticed that my shoes matched the floor (boys, stop reading – only girls will understand this). I am really into bordeaux this season and this was a happy coincidence.
From here, we walked to the fabulous La Scala theatre. I had visions of myself attending a white-tie event here – I would really like to do it one day.
I know we were not supposed to take photographs inside, but I couldn’t resist. The chandeliers at the foyer (no champagne being served, sadly) were incredible, and so was the theatre itself. I promise I will go back one day.
We couldn’t believe how quickly time had gone. We were due to meet my lovely friend Clara for lunch at the nearby super fab Excelsior. Getting there is worthy of a blog post alone, so watch out for it.
Some people think Milan is grey and industrial, but I am a believer that it can be a fantastic city break even if you are not into shopping (that would be a totally different story). This little taster really made me want to go back, and spend some quality time in this city, which I hope to be able to do in 2013.
Disclaimer: Lynsey and I were guests of Walks of Italy and went on one of the many private walking tours offered by this operator. Views and photos are, of course, and as always, my own.