The day began with another relaxed morning, and we met Walter’s personable wife Evelina. They are such a great couple – hospitable and warm and both very devoted to making their guests’ stay special.
After speaking to Walter about places to see, we decided to wander in the old town area of Brera, to check out the Fashion District, and to lunch in the Navigli district beside a canal. We rang a cab and asked to be dropped off in Via Mazoni and as we headed towards Brera, we fluked another place we wanted to see, La Scala. I must say I was surprised at how austere it appeared from the outside, compared to the Palais Garner in Paris. We realised when we stumbled upon it, that we had been virtually right beside it when we came out of Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele yesterday.
Moving on, we could see we had hit the Brera district as the architecture became softer, prettier and more colourful. We came upon the Palazzo di Brera, an impressive building which housed amongst other things, a library. The open courtyard is huge with a massive statue in the centre. In the surrounding streets, cafes and restaurants were filling up and we could see pretty, boutique style shops, and buildings with colourful shutters and adornments. Small perfume shops had petals scattered on the pavements in their entrance ways – very eye-catching.
We retraced our steps back towards the Duomo, walking again through the magnificent VE arcade and out onto the the Piazza del Duomo – what a difference a day makes. The Piazza was filled with colourful tents, musical equipment and vans – perhaps setting up for a concert of some sort, and it was much busier than it had been yesterday – maybe because Milanese were out doing their Saturday shopping.
Next we moved on to the Navigli district via cab – it was a crazy ride with a driver who seemed hell-bent on getting us to our destination at break-neck speed – thankfully we survived! There were three canals and we chose to stroll along the prettiest and busiest of the three – the restaurants were starting to fill up so we chose one which looked to have an appealing menu, and offered a good vista for people-watching – or at least people and dog-watching. Everyone seemed to be out walking their pooches today! We had a very simple lunch of toasties and salad and moved off again to find a cab.
The cab driver dropped us at the main street of the Fashion District, Via Monte Napoleone, where we walked in the footsteps of the rich and famous. It is chock full of high end fashion stores, most replete with tall and elegant male attendants at the entrances. Expensive vehicles were parked outside, of every make and model. Way out of our league, but it was interesting to see the glorious displays in the windows of Dior, Gucci, Hermes, and so many more. Those of you who know me will know I love to shop, but I haven’t bought one thing here – there is too much to see and do.
It is thirty degrees outside again today, so we felt a retreat to the cool apartment to start packing before we leave tomorrow would be prudent. Suitably rested and cool, we headed off to the Bar Basso, (the local popular watering hole), for an appertivo, followed by dinner at Ristorante Aladin, where had a very tasty Middle Eastern meal. The Bar Basso has fascinated us each day as we have walked past on our way out to dinner – they serve their aperitifs in the most enormous glasses, almost fish bowl size – you have to take it easy!
My impression of Milan is that it is a stylish city which somehow seems to have a relaxed air to it, despite being such a centre of business, industry and fashion. We have all enjoyed our stay here and have satisfied our thirst to see some fascinating historical sites, while experiencing the lifestyle of today’s Milanese – living in an apartment, honouring the ubiquitous appertivo happy hour, and eating out in delightful local restaurants. Arrivederci Milan – on to Varenna and the Italian Lakes now….