After our whirlwind 24 hours in Venice, we hopped on a train and arrived late at night in Milan.
We checked into Hotel Berna and it was lovely. This hotel actually emailed me after I booked our room several months ago to let me know that they were looking forward to our stay and wanted to know what special requests we had. I got to go online and pick what the thermostat would be set at when we arrived not to mention what type of pillows and toilet paper we preferred (among other things – there were pages of options). I’m so not kidding. Maybe this is normal at swanky hotels, but I’ve never stayed at a place that wanted to know my every preference, haha! Anyway, it was just as delightful once we arrived. And their breakfast options were unbelievable! Best hotel breakfast we had! Unfortunately I have no pictures of it because I totally forgot to grab my camera when we walked out of our room that morning. But just trust me – 2 thumbs up to Hotel Berna!
Our biggest reason for going to Milan was to see Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper at Santa Maria Delle Grazie. Just like every other “I’ve seen this my whole life and now it’s IN PERSON” thing… we had that surreal moment when we actually got to see it. No photos are allowed inside so my shot there is actually from the brochure, haha! Because the painting is so fragile, they only allow 25 people in at a time to see it for 15 minutes each. It was a lot to take in with only 15 minutes to see, but still very cool.
We also got to see the Sforza Castle and walk around the grounds. Built in the 15th century, it is one of the largest citadels in Europe! Today the grounds are used as a public park.
The La Scala Opera House! It opened in 1778 and since then many of the best singers in the World have performed here. We aren’t necessarily opera fans, but this place was beautiful!
We walked over to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II which is just a huge mall full of classy stores. We enjoyed window shopping. It was really pretty to walk through. I definitely love Memphis, but our malls do not look like this, haha!
In the very center of the Galleria is a mosiac of this bull. There is a tradition that if you step on this poor bull’s more private parts and spin around on them that you will have good luck! We watched hoards of tourists and locals line up to do this and then decided we might as well join in too.
Lunch was at Di Gennaro. A classy place with reasonable prices (a nice change after Venice which seemed so expensive). I actually really enjoyed this marinara pizza and ranked it #4 of all the pizzas I had on the trip.
Next up we went to see the Milan Cathedral! The fourth largest church in the World!
This lion statue in front of the Cathedral was cracking us up. He looks SO serious and like he’s roaring, but all those pigeons were still sitting right on top of his head pooping away as if they couldn’t hear his roar. 😉
Inside the Cathedral was much darker than we anticipated just based on the white color outside. Very Gothic inspired. Not quite as dreary as St Mark’s in Venice, though. There was a lot inside this church to explore so we enjoyed walking around and seeing it all. Especially all the magnificent stained glass! And of course the statue of St Bartholomew carrying his own skin (middle right photo).
Dinner was at the Majestic Cafe and it was WONDERFUL! The bruschetta was on the house thanks to our super friendly waiter, Mario. We asked him for his recommendations for dinner and he told us what people typically order there then he made a face and told us that he didn’t think it was all that good in truth. It made us laugh and we appreciated his honesty. So we took his advice and I ordered the bolognese and Christopher got the pasta carbonara. He said it was the best he’s ever had! So two thumbs up for the Majestic Cafe. Especially their service! In fact, after we left we had trouble finding the metro (the exit we had used earlier was closed by this point at night) so we walked back to the restaurant and asked one of the waiters. Instead of just telling us where it was, he personally walked us to the metro (probably a 5 minute walk). I couldn’t believe it! Very friendly and helpful service!
After dinner we went back to our hotel and packed everything up so we could be ready to jet the next morning when our alarms went off at 5:15am (we were on a 6:10am train). It was a short night of sleep, but worth it to enjoy so much time exploring Milan! This city was by far the most like home that we visited. It was easy to forget that I was in Italy and not just another major US city. It reminded me of Chicago in that it was clean and had great architecture and a pretty skyline. 🙂 Up next… I will share about the wonderful Cinque Terre. Remember how much I loved my Bella Roma? I loved the Cinque Terre just as much! Stay tuned! 🙂