Friday, July 22, 2011

Milan: 30x30 Outfit 9

Skirt: J Crew / Top: F21 / Shoes: Clarks / Necklace: AE / Belt: Ruche / Fountain: Milan

Our first morning in Domaso we walked to the market and stumbled upon a vendor selling clothes from the nearby Milan. I snagged a nude dress {nudes are all the rage in Europe } and an emerald green sequined top { jewel tones were popular in Italy}, which I've added as the last item to complete my 30x30 items. I also kind of haggled for the very first time. I was short by 1 euro 80 cents and he took me up on it. That totally counts.

We made sandwiches for lunch, then caught the train to Milan. Fashion capital extraordinaire. Home of the Via Monte Napoleon, or Montenapo, an elegant street along the lines of Les Champs Élysées. Headquarters of Gucci, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Armani, and Valentino. I was very excited. Not that I intended to purchase any designer duds. But it was exciting just to be in their midst. And to see what people were wearing. I'll do a post on European style at the end of my Europe posts. 

The first thing we noticed about Milan is that they are not afraid of a little PDA. Or even a lot. When we arrived at the station, we sat so my friend could feed her baby and witnessed a couple making out for at least 3 minutes before the woman boarded the train. I'm talking PG-13, major tongue-age. So what do the boys do? Laugh and point, then the Husband grabs me and starts slobbering all over my face while I fight him off. He's so classy.

We then made our way to the Santa Maria delle Grazie monastery:

This is where Leonardo daVinci painted The Last Supper on a wall in the late 1400s. I had no idea it was a mural. Or that it's been restored multiple times. In fact, the monastery was bombed during WWII. You have to purchase tickets in advance and they let in small groups for 15 minutes at a time. Absolutely no photography. It was pretty amazing to see all the detail. It made me want to read The Da Vinci Code again.

Milan has a long, long history dating back to 400 BC when it was ruled by the Celts. Since then, it changed hands many times and at one point was ruled by France's Napoleon Bonaparte, who had the Arco della Pace { Peace Arch } constructed in a fashion similar to his Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

It's at the end of the beautiful Parco Sampione, where residents sunbathe and play games, festivals are held, and vendors sell delightful baked goods and treats like gelato and cracked coconuts.

On the opposite end of this park is the Castello Sforzesco, an old Visconti {ruling family of medieval times} fortress that was transformed into a luxurious castle by the Sforza dynasty that ruled during the Renaissance.

It was crowded so we walked the grounds, skipped the tour, then headed towards the Piazzia del Duomo, the main city square, via the Via Dante, a famous pedestrian street lined with shops, cafés, and gelaterias.

So of course we had to get gelato. I got strawberry and chocolate. Fresh whipped strawberries. YUM!

We finally made our way to the Piazza del Duomo and the famous Duomo di Milano, or Milan's Cathedral. It's breathtaking, with white marble Gothic architecture topped by the famed Maddonnina, a baroque gilded bronze statue of the Virgin Mary { it's in the very back. }

Originally a basilica built in the 5th century by Romans and later destroyed by fire, it was rebuilt as a huge cathedral for the people, first commissioned in the late 1300s by an archbishop. Six hundred years later it was finished under France's Napoleon, who was crowned King of Italy there.

Now that you've had your history lesson for the day, here's something you'll probably find more interesting. The rooftop. For 8 euro { beware, they don't give change! } you can walk the vast and beautiful rooftops of this duomo. They even have concerts up there it's so big. It's totally worth it. See?

I think I may have unintentionally nailed the Virgin Mary pose here...

We probably spent an hour up there, walking around, enjoying the city views, and examining the detail of the many statues that grace the spires.

At one point, I stayed with my friend while she fed her baby and the men took the kids exploring. Later, this photo was posted to the Husbands Facebook with the caption "Being in Europe has really broadened my horizons. Meet my new modern family." 

Oh my. I can only imagine the surprise of the poor soul they got to take the photo when Scott leaned in for the kiss. You never know what will happen when you get old college roommates together...

We ended our day in Milan at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, which connects the Piazza del Duomo with the Piazza della Scala, where Milan's famed opera house sits. The streets here were covered with arching glass and cast iron to create a famous shopping arcade in the 1860s, thought to be the world's first mall, in honor of Emanuelle II, the first King of United Italy.

We strolled through, laughed at the fancy McDonald's directly across from the fancier Louis Vuitton, then settled on a restaurant for dinner before catching the train back to Lake Como. Our camera died as soon as we reached the Galleria, unfortunately, so I've no photos of the delicious white cheese and tomato pizza we ordered. I do, however, have a warning. Beware eating in the Galleria. They charge an extra 2 euro per person convenience fee and won't give you tap water. { The no-tap water thing is pretty standard in Germany, though in most of France and at the restaurants we've tried on Lake Como, they'll give you a no-charge carafe if you ask. }

I thoroughly enjoyed Milan, and I'd definitely go back, but it still can't hold a candle to Paris in my heart :)

P.S. Francophone Fridays are currently on hold till I finish my Europe posts. As soon as I'm done, they'll resume. I've got lots of new inspiration from my trip :)


Grammy Goodwill said...

Thanks for letting me share your trip through these pictures. I hope I get better at picture taking before my next trip to Europe. That cathedral is awe-inspiring. (My husband is still talking about gelato, 2 years after our trip.)

Anonymous said...

Wow! You're photos are amazing. Thanks for the tour. I'd love to visit Milan one day. I thought The Last Supper was painted on canvas. Weird. Now I know.

BTW, good work on the 30 for 30. I finished mine last week and it's great to see what others are doing.

Vanessa, Take only Memories said...

These photos are so pretty! And I love your outfit!

Tamera Beardsley said...

oh my, thanks so much for sharing! I LOve the history lessons and the gorgeous photos my dear!!!

Whitney Jay said...

oh these pictures are beautiful! Milan looks spectacular.


Barbara said...

You look amazing! We're getting ready to do the same trip up through Italy and finish up in Austria! I loved your pictures!

Tinfoils Tiaras said...

Beautiful photos- I love your green skirt with the striped top- very European! Italy is my favourite country but I am yet to go to Milan- it looks fantastic! Can't wait to see your new purchases.

Anonymous said...

AllI can say wow, wow and wow.What an amazing visit, great tour-guiding in your blog post and last but not least....GREAT OUTFIT!!!!

Ana Paula said...

Bella Italia!

I can't wait to visit Italy either.

I'm a Euro-sucker. Haha!


Ana Paula - Pretty in Polka Dots

From Suns To Moons said...

The only thing better than your green-and-stripes is... Milan! Seriously amazing photojournalism.

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