After a long day of traveling from London to Milan, I arrived at the Milano-Malpensa airport mid-day. Upon getting settled, I decided to take a walk through the neighborhood of my hotel, Porta Garibaldi. The Milanese enjoy “aperitivo” (think happy hour) every day between 6 and 10 PM. Once locals have left work, all restaurants offer unlimited bites with drinks. The street Via Garibaldi is filled with restaurants like this, creating a picturesque image of typical Italian life, moving at a much slower pace than life in London.
The middle of July in Milan is very warm and still, making it difficult to keep up with sight seeing, especially when traveling by foot. I woke up on my first full day in Milan and wandered through the fashion district, Quadrilatero Della Moda, in linen shorts and a breezy leopard print blouse. Here you can find every designer retail store imaginable: Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford, Jil Sander, and a string of outlet shops. The impressive Il Duomo Di Milano, where the sculpture of Leonardo Da Vinci stands nearby in Piazza Della Scala, is just steps away from the stores. The beauty of Il Duomo is inconceivable. The gothic cathedral occupies the most central location in Milan, where streets either circle it or pass around it.
It is also apparent that the heart of Milan lies in fashion, specifically in retail. This is the industry in Milan. The typical attire of an Italian man is specific, ornate, and tailored. Women are stylish but easy going, their dresses fluid and classic. Women rely heavily on accessories to complete their looks, and wear neutral colors like beige, olive green and black. For lunch, I stopped at the Armani Caffé nearby, and snacked on a prosciutto e melone salad. Although it is a beautiful space, it is more scene than cuisine.
Finally, my day ended with dinner in the beautiful garden of the Bvlgari hotel. Same story as lunch. The hotel/caffe is a spectacular space, but is worth visiting for the scenery rather than the food. On the agenda for the rest of the week are Il Museo Della Moda, a visit to Porta Romana to view the exhibition of Anish Kapoor, and a walk through Il Triennale. Stay tuned!
[photography by Leonard Frank]