Milano

Oh Milano, where do I start from? We reached Milano Centrale station from the Lake Como region in the evening of the 29th of June 2014. We booked a hotel room not too far from the station because we saw that it was well connected and we knew we’d need to catch a train straight to Bergamo airport from Milano Centrale the following evening so we just wanted to be practical.

We dropped off our bags and got ready for our first meal in Milan. Our dear friend Reem lives in Milan so she sent us lots of tips of where to dine, what to see and do during our stay. For dinner, we decided to go to the Naviglio Grande, a canal in Milan which is so lively with restaurants and bars. We dined at Luca e Andrea for local Milanese cuisine and wine. The menu was hand written in small note books which I found less formal and a great idea. We finally ordered risotto alla Milanese to share as a starter then each had a different main. Risotto alla Milanese gets its yellow colour from the saffron they put in it. It’s a typical dish from the region which we eventually had to try. It was delicious, creamy, rich and simply satisfying. Both food and wine were yum and we really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere of the place. The pictures speak for themselves and will probably make you feel hungry – sorry! It can’t get more Italian than this And yes, the bottom picture on the right is tiramisu because it was about time we had one in Italy. It was our first course of dessert though…

We walked up the canal and took some pictures, enjoyed the night life and just being around lots of people. It was a Sunday evening and people were still out having dinner and drinking. It felt great!

At the top of the canal was a famous gelataria and crepes house. Yes, both at the same place! What more does one need when such places exist? Brilliant idea! So we obviously went there for our second dessert. Toufic and I went for gelato but Youssef and Leene tried the crepes. They were fluffy yet still quite thin and were made with so much love. I can still remember their texture because it was so different to the usual ones you get in France. Definitely worth a stop if you’re ever in the area in Milan: Rinomata Gelataria.  What a perfect ending to our first evening in Milano!

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The second was finally sunny! It was about time we saw some sunshine over the weekend. It was warm, sunny and perfect weather for a day of sightseeing in Milan. We started it with a lovely walk to the Opera to see if we could go in and visit but we were a bit early so we couldn’t. We then walked to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, a half open beautiful shopping mall with high end luxury and designer brands. It is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. Its beautiful tiles and splendid ceilings explains why Milan is known for its fashion week.

A must visit when in Milan
A must visit when in Milan

By that time we were peckish and decided to grab a quick bite from the most famous panzerotti place in Milan: Luini. We were very lucky and went before lunchtime so we didn’t have to queue at all but on a normal day at lunchtime, there could easily be a queue of about 75 people waiting patiently to be served. To be honest, after having tried it, I would happily queue any day and any time for it! Panzerotti is savoury filled pastries, very similar to a small version of calzone. The dough was so soft and perfectly baked, the fillings were just melting in our mouths. It was probably the best food we had all weekend. Simple yet perfectly executed. We tried a couple of their sweet pastries but I wasn’t as impressed as their savoury ones. Honestly, the best food we had all weekend was there!

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We were very blessed with the weather so the views from the top were simply clear all the way to the Alps. To go to the top, you have to buy tickets which are sold on both sides of the Duomo. We joined the first queue we found but then overheard someone say that there was a much shorter queue on the other side. So make sure you check both queues before waiting for ages. We visited the cathedral from the inside which was magnificent but because the lighting was not great, we couldn’t get good pictures.

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However, we took our time on the top and enjoyed the stunning views we got.

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I can probably fill this page with more pictures from the Duomo but we moved on to so many other spots so I’m saving my space for them too. A quick gelato stop was necessary in this perfect weather so I went to Cioccolati Italiani which was near Luini. Another lovely gelato in the country of gelatos. Will I ever find an average gelataria in Italy? I highly doubt it.

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We headed towards the Castello Sforzesco, which is a castle in the middle of the city. It has a stunning park, where many locals go for picnics, to sunbathe or simply to enjoy a lovely walk. We didn’t visit the castle from the inside but ended up wandering in the garden.

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We were on a mission to see as much of Milano as possible so we carried on walking and got a bit lost (it was my fault actually because I didn’t really want to stop walking so I kept making the rest of them follow me). We were aiming to head towards Eataly, a posh supermarket with lots of Italian delicacies: heaven on Earth for me! Everything there was fresh, well presented and perfectly packaged. They sell fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, cold cuts, breads, drinks, packaged biscuits, chocolates, sweets, spreads, pasta, as well as kitchen and house equipment. I was like a child in a candy store. I wanted everything! We had a quick look but didn’t buy anything because we decided we’d come back before leaving to the airport so that we don’t carry around mortadella in the heat. We then decided it was time to stop for a drink nearby and I had been wanting to try the Aperol cocktail everyone has in Italy. It was nice but quite bitter. It’s become my favourite summer drink!

After all the walking we did, we actually wanted to eat again but we were also running out of time and the boys wanted pizza. We had a quick walk around in the area but as it was neither lunch nor dinner time, no proper restaurant was open. As we were getting tired and hopeless, Leene and Toufic found a pizzeria on a side road and called us inside. At first sight, it looked like one of those horrible takeaway pizza places but as we read their menu, we realised that they made their dough form scratch, left it to rise for at least 12 to 15 hours then filled it with lovely toppings and baked their pizzas.

They ordered the very few remaining slices and were amazed at how delicious it was. We were having a great day in terms of food! Milan has so much to offer and it’s definitely a perfect city for foodies, fashionistas and cultural tourists. It has the perfect balance of all three worlds.

We went back to Eataly, grabbed lots of goodies and made our way back to the hotel to get our bags and head to the airport. We were rushing but we couldn’t leave without our last gelato, could we? We managed to stop on our way to the bus station from the hotel to have our last gelato of the weekend. What can I say, I am obsessed!

I hope I’ve given you lots of ideas of places to visit in the Lombardy region, inspired you to try new types of dishes or just made you smile from our little foodie adventures in Italy!