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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

7 Great Things to do in Milan

1) La Rinascente, where food look fashionably good.

I was only told on my last day in Milan that the infamous street where fashionistas see and be seen is at Montenappolena. May told me that there is an Armani cafe along that street where Giorgio himself lives upstairs. He once came down to mingle with the cafe patrons, and her friends asked about his next collection. He went upstairs to bring down some draft sketches for feedback!!! How cool is that. Then again, if i was there, i am probably as ignorant as a baby. I don't know how these famous fashion designers look like!

My only fancy shopping is at La Rinascente, next to the Domo. La Rinascente is a multi-storey departmental store that has apparel, accessories, designer homeware and food. It also has an alfresco roof top (level 7) cafe that has a nice view of the Domo. I spent 2 hours in La Rinascente just in its basement gawking at creative homeware and upstairs drooling at food souveniers.
Balsamic vinegar in an ink bottle for EUR 8
Mustard with Cognac
Pretty bow of sugar for your cup
 

Escargots in a can and empty shells to complete the experience?
I bought this bowl 'There's a Shark in my Soup'
Very tempted to get this old-school Italian coffee maker too.
Except that i'm no coffee drinker.
If your sole reason in Milan is to shop, try Corso Buenos Aires. It is the shopping street that the locals go. While there is international labels like H&M and Berska, they also have other Italian labels i've not seen or heard of. It's like our Orchard Road, but not malls.
 
I stumbled upon a shop along that street that sells Italian leather shoes, all for EUR 20 per pair. Get off at the metro station Porta Venezia.
2) L'Isola Del Tesoro
was recommended by our friend to eat at. This Italian restaurant hand-make their buffalo mozzerella and their delicious dishes are served generously. Prices are also reasonable. You can find it near the Missori station.
The seafood pasta comes in a bread bowl and cute bibs!
After food, it is the Italian way to finish off either with Lemoncello (a shot of lemon liquer) or Morrocino (shot of coffee with cocoa powder).
I found Italians the smoothest operators. Their pick-up lines are super original and they make any woman feel beautiful all the time. Standing at the counter, is the Italian's way of grab-and-go coffee. Prices are different if you sit to drink and eat a crossiant.
3) Duomo
This stunning peice of architecture is not to be missed. We climbed the 120 steps to the top instead of using the lift to save EUR 4 and to work off all that pasta.
 

4) San Bernardino alle Ossa
I thought Milan's bone church was the highlight for me. It seems very understated because no one quite knew where we were asking for. As i have never seen a bone church before, i was determined to find it. It is near the Duomo, Google maps it here. If you see Star Hotel, you are very near. It is just across the road.  An unassuming church facade, we couldn't find it at first because we wasn't expecting it to not look like the usual cathedral.
This is how it looks like from outside
Next to it stands a misleading cathedral which we thought was the bone church at first.

We thought we were misled by wrong directions and were about to give up when i spotted this peice of paper by the unassuming building next door!

It states the name of the bone church! It only opens till 12 noon on weekends.

Shrouded with mystery, bones (as i thought they would) did not greet me the moment i stepped in. In fact, we had to poke our noses around in that empty silent church to find a passageway leading further into a seperate chamber. There, rows and rows of skulls greeted us.

Perhaps there is some sort of serenity in a church, my hair didn't stand and i didn't find it creepy to come face to face with thousands of skulls.

 If you follow me on Instagram, you'll find a video of the church as well as many other fun pictures.
The Italians are known to treasure odd items of important religious people. It could be a withered finger of a priest, a beheaded nun or even a veil of blood. Such are relics.
 We found slips of paper inserted into some skulls at eye level. I think they are prayer requests.

 
 
History says that the San Bernardino alle Ossa is a medival church and the side chamber is filled with skulls because the cemetry and hospital next door was full. We met an Milanese lady in the courtyard and her story was different. She told us that in the 1200s, there was a plague. Many people died and the priest decided to use the victims skulls for the chapel as a celebratory sign that they are now in Heaven with God. It was meant to give grieving families comfort and give hope to the community in that depressing period. I prefer her story, LOL.

The church is free to visit, but we gave a donation of EUR 1 each.

5) Cardona Castle
Located just out of Cardona station, take a walk in Milan's castle and surrounding garden for free.
6)  Getting a value-for-money aperitiv
I can't understand how the Italians stay slim. It truely is I Ea(TALY). When night falls, Porta Genova (station name too) offers a whole line of watering holes. You can take your pick to park your bum and have an aperitiv for only 9 EUR. This covers your first drink and unlimited buffet of Italian eats (salads, pastas, small selection of dessert, cheese, ham, grilled vegetables, cooked food and pizza). Our friend recommends Manhatten for it is one that has good cocktails and food.

This is much better than our Clarke Quay!

7) Spin the Bull's Balls
Lastly, you cannot leave without spinning on the bull's balls found at the famous Galleria (next to Duomo. Myth says that if you spin 3 times with your heel, you will return to Milan!
 I like how she sympathizes the bull as she drive her heel in.
Never say never. 
 

8 comments:

Paleorina said...

Love your t-shirt!

Anonymous said...

thank you! i bought it from JB city sq factory outlet. its Junk Food.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recommendations! Everyone always says there's not much to do in Milan

Anonymous said...

So any examples of original Italian pickup lines?

C'mon, help us guys out a lil! :D

Xtine said...

@anon: well, my gf was fiddling with her phone and one guy peered over her shoulder and said, 'my number is .....' we thought that was rather original and smooth!!

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