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Milano: Pizza of my heart

Milano. A city radiating with energy, fashion, culture, design, and beauty at every corner. Most travellers would mistake Milan for a city from any country other than Italy, with high-rise towers ascending above smaller inviting churches and antique roman structures.

Often left underrated, this culIMG_1383ture-rich city has something to offer for everyone. A city of romance, of wine, of cheese, the multiplicity of flavours; first courses of pasta nestled against particularly indulgent pizzas and married to a crisp red for the gastronomic journey. Small hipster cafés and traditional bakeries sit conveniently dispersed within high-end fashion boutiques boasting names of Ferrari, Armani and Versace, and if sophistication of these shops don’t catch your eye, try latching on to the beautiful churches, architecture, and icons that the city has to offer.

The Duomo di Milano, also known as the Milan Cathedral, can be seen as the beating heart of this metropolitan city. Taking a staggering 500 years for completion, the cathedral’s intricate stonework and craftsmanship is absolutely spectacular from every angle. It comes as no surprise that theIMG_1508 icon takes everyone’s breath away with its carefully carved statues on each single pillar. Entrance is free; allowing everyone to have a glance inside this majestic structure without any economic restraints. If the weather allows, making your way up to the roof is a must in order to enjoy a view of the immediate cityscape. The first glance of the city will shortly be overcome by the hypnotising beauty of the Alps when refocused and extended to the horizon. After visiting the Duomo, a slight turn of the body to the left will invite you towards the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a visually captivating shopping mall with nothing but the most well known brands in fashion and jewellery, cushioned between gourmet restaurants for the sneaky miday wine or the appetite-endorsed shopping break. The mall is overarched by a glass dome, which makes it weather proof and a perfect date location for those rainy days that are frequent in northern Italy. For all the gelato lovers, a useful tip for your food-related adventures: Cioccolati Italiani lays adjacent to the mall and offers the best ice cream in town. With rich chocolate, coffee and fruit flavours, all coupled with a snappy cone, topped off with a scoop of fresh meringue, and balanced with a small wafer on the side, it genuinely is mouth-watering.

IMG_1502Heading further west of the city, one can find the big ‘Sforzesco Castle’, which houses art spanning from Michelangelo to da Vinci. Built in the 15th century, this castle remains an essential touristic destination
when visiting Milano to get a glimpse of – and to grasp – the city’s rich cultural history. The first steps across the large wooden doors exude a feeling of invulnerability, an observation that can be felt glowing throughout the courtyard, which of course, are surrounded by sturdy mahogany walls, slightly faded with age. The guard towers standing at each corner watch over the courtyard and the outer surrounds with authority, allowing visitors to be explicitly reconnected with the regal historical context of the icon.

Within walking distance of the castle, one can find themselves in the historic and artistic quarter of Brera. The Via Brera, the main street of the district, can guide visitors along various museums, small cafes and restaurants, bars and pubs, and talented street musicians such as those who pride their music on tapping different glass bottles, or those who reinforce Milan’s romantic atmosphere with a classical piece on the violin. Small, narrow side streets can give the impression of being in a ‘traditional’-styled Italian city such as Florence or Rome, accomplishing an entirely different experience than the rest of Milan. As a quieter district, Brera is a getaway from all the rush and stress emitted by the fast-paced lifestyle it is surrounded by; however, the district does not seem to be tainted by the fluster from its surrounds in the slightest way.

Central to Milan’s popularity is its convenience when walking around. Indeed, getting around the city is possible in various ways, be it by public transport, bikes, or by foot, but even though Milano has the looks and traits of a giant metropolitan city, visitors can comfortably sightsee by walking to and from destinations.

Of course, no weekend in Milan would be complete without nourishing one’s body and soul with an authentic and hearty Italian dish. Every five metres a different scent will captivate your nose and guide you in a certain direction. Quickly leaving behind all the overpriced, but certainly not bad restaurants surrounding the Duomo and Galleria, one can find a variety of great restaurants scattered within the city. The choice of what to eat can be strenuous, since every pasta or pizza sounds, looks, and certainly smells more delicious than the last. A fine example is taking the opportunity to savour the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, having been ripened for the past 15 years, it releases its flavours in perfect harmony with cured ham and is served on top of perfectly crispy baked pizza dough.

Milan is a metropolitan that should not be underrated by any means, being able to offer something to everyone is not something a lot of cities can pride themselves on. While the main attractions can be explored in a day, the city offers a lot more than meets the eye, making it one of Europe’s top travel destinations for a weekend trip.

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