Read about my other trip to Milan: A Milanese Story
January 16th 2016, Doha, Qatar
My friend said see you next weekend in Milan. Next weekend? For me it’s an eternity until then. It cannot be next weekend. I Mean until then I’m going to Dhaka for one night, flying to Chennai and I’m tanning two days in Phuket. Living the fast life!
January 23rd 2016, Milan, Italy
I arrived in my room in Milan – as always 11 (1145). The #goingplacestogether ad is on BBC. Then news about the ones who travel by boat to get into Europe. Such a paradox, hundreds of people complaining about their Gucci life while others struggle to survive, be where their dear ones are, eat today.
The world is not a fair place that’s for sure. The world is not a safe place anymore.
Why can’t I remember? The train from Malpensa to Cadorna is at 26 past and 56 past. Missed it third time by minute.
In the airport there is a tile on the floor leading from the terminal to the train station saying “tutti I passi che ho fatto nella mia vita mi hanno portato qui, ora” meaning “every step I have taken in my life has led me here, now”. Couldn’t be more true.
On the train. There’s no fog this time, but it’s much colder, although sunny.
40 degrees less than my last destination and I hope I can stand it. I’m cold even in Doha when it’s less than 30 degrees. Now there are -6. I’m thinking about the interview for this job when I said I am adaptable, including different changing weather conditions. This leads to knowing my weaknesses. I’m for the hot and dry weather.
On the train I’m thinking I don’t consider I made any mistakes in my life. I’m more proud of some things that I’ve done than the others, but that’s all.
I walk the same paths I’ve walked a month ago and I see ten times more. Oh, there’s no fog now, that’s why. I head to the Sforza Castle (Castello Sforzesco) next to the Sempione Park and am amazed by the beautiful weather and the sunny day, at the end of January. The Castle includes many museum and collections.
A few men of color try to offer some braided bracelets and they run away when the bicycle police comes by. I’m not sure what their purpose is, but my friend I., now living in Milan, tells me they do this in case you want to give them some money, to avoid begging. I am with my map of the city and the notes of where I want to go, prepared after my last trip to Milan, in December.
Milan looks as if in autumn and the beautiful old tram on the castle background makes me nostalgic. I’m heading to the Equestrian Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II in front of The Dome, where I’m meeting my friend and on the way I stop on the Via dei Mercanti to photograph Palazzo della Ragione, where there is a photography exhibition (Henri Cartier-Bresson and others).
I. takes me to the Santa Maria Presso San Satiro Church, close-by to the Dome, built to safeguard a miraculous icon. The church is hidden between buildings and it is easy to ignore while walking by Via Falcone. It is very different than any church I have seen and the altar side is just a painting, yet it looks like it has perspective, being actually a 3D painting. The style is very rich with elements of most of the styles, all put together.
From here we turned left of Via Speronari where we entered in Princi – Spirito da Milano, a chain of espresso bars around Italy, where you can have great pastries or buy many types of breads. Here I see a couple from the flight travelling business class. I love these coincidences, as a matter of fact even last time I saw three men downtown by night and the following day they turn out to be a royal figure and his bodyguards travelling with us back to Doha.
As recommended by my friend E., we’re heading to the Ambrosiana Library (Biblioteca Ambrosiana), the historic library of Milan and one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. Here we could see The Original Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, only to complete what I have seen in the exhibition Leonardo3 – Il Mondo di Leonardo.
The library also has an art gallery – Pinacoteca Ambrosiana – and is a must-see when in Milan.
You can only walk the streets of Milan without entering any place to enjoy it.
The coquette balconies, small flowers at each door entrance, narrow and cricked streets, Armani advertisements, museum looking facades, huge jamon pieces hanging on some windows, fashion stores with the latest collections, Vespas, churches, people who seem to step down from glossy magazines, the sun, design shops, pizza, music.
We stopped for lunch at Ristorante Nabucco – having very good online reviews – in Brera, where we had a delicious seafood risotto and ossobucco alla milanese and of course complementing wine.
By now we are walking towards the Porta Garibaldi to get to Corso Como, where I want to see 10 Corso Como, picked by BBC as one of The World’s 10 Most Beautiful Libraries. I am really proud to already have seen the El Ateneo in Buenos Aires, also included in the ranking. 8 more to go!
Opened in the beginning of the 90s by the Italian Vogue’s editor-in-chief in a garage, it is an amazing concept with a café, a 3 room hotel, a high end fashion store, art gallery, book store, party rooftop garden overlooking at the new and posh area of the city, Porta Nuova Business District.
The book store concentrates on design, architecture, art, photography and fashion and here I have seen more than 100 book I’d like to own – about Zaha Hadid, Yayoi Kusama, Demarchelier, Helmut Newton and many others close to my artistic side of the brain.
The exhibition room (Galleria Carla Sozzani – the founder of the place) featured the photography of Daido Moriyama, some pictures revealing a very interesting and f***d up life.
From the rooftop garden you can see Milan’s tallest building – Unicredit Tower in the Porta Nuova Skyskrapercity, designed by the same architect as Burj Khalifa. Although a high-end place, 10 Corso Como looks very down to earth, approachable and natural. The real luxury. 10 Corso Como has branches in Shanghai, Seoul and Beijing.
We’re going to see the new city and then return since it is already Aperitivo time. The tradition of Aperitivo is a culture in Italy, meaning when you go out for a drink or for cocktails, you can eat for free tasty appetizers. In Milan you will find no difficulty in having some sips and enjoying fresh olives, slices of pizza, chips, spinach cake, pasta, vegetables.
I still need to see a show at La Scala, see The Last Supper, visit the Moseo del Novecento, go to some posh cafes I got my eyes on, but what is 2016 ahead for if not for this? Besides, I’m going back to Milan next month. Thank you for following my stories.