Of all the places I’ve visited in Italy, Milan may be my least favorite. It’s a very generic European big city: expensive, generic and really, really smoggy.
Now if Milan were a city in any other country, I might have liked it more better. Coming off of a two week high in Rome and Bologna though, it just couldn’t stand a chance. Milan was too business-like, too sophisticated, too un-italian to really make much of an impression on me.
I try really hard to see the good in everywhere I go though: I’m an optimist and I think every city has it’s charms if you rummage around enough. Even in a city like Milan which was not my favorite, and not one I’m dying to return to like Bologna or discover Bari, there was still some pretty neat stuff to enjoy.
It may be controversial to say, but I think Milan’s elaborate gothic cathedral blows the Duomo in Florence out of the water. It’s the largest in Italy, took six centuries to build and is full of gorgeous details and towering spires.
Plus, for a small fee you can ascend a giant winding staircase and walk around ON TOP of the church. You can wonder among the stone beams and see the details up close while tourists huddle like ants in the square below. It was one of my favorite activities of the whole trip.
Sometimes I forget how much I love wandering around public parks on the weekend and watching the locals enjoy themselves. We accidentally wandered into this enormous green space (which is attached to the medieval Sforza Castle). There was a traveling carnival going on with cotton candy and rides, further afield we found an African drum circle, dogs playing with frisbees and this Napoleonic Arch. Definitely a peaceful way to spend a warm afternoon.
Panzerotti at Luini’s
Our last meal in Italy before we hopped the plane to chilly Germany was panzerotti at Luini’s, a famous shop hidden behind the Cathedral. Panzerotti are a savory pastry stuffed with filling, similar to an empanada or a calzone but with softer dough. You can get them fried or baked, we tried one of each and they were unfathomably delicious with warm cheese spilling out the ends. I’m getting hungry just typing about it.
Actually, we did eat some pretty great meals in Milan, not counting the All-You-Can-Eat-Sushi place I flat out could not resist (I’m only human). Cheap and crisp pizza, softballs of mozzarella and legit pistachio gelato.
Anyways, I would come back to Milan, just for some more Panzerotti.