A Few Tips for Exploring Milan
Tony and I lived about 45 minutes outside Milan (in the city of Cremona) for over three years, so I feel that we got to know the city pretty well. This January, after my sister- in-law Cassie got married in Camogli, I was able to take a trip back to Milan and then on to the snowy paradise of Cormayeur.
One of the best parts of being back in Milan was finally getting to see the Duomo (main church) in it's full glory without any scaffolding (or should I say, minimal scaffolding). It really is a spectacular church, and it's fun to spend a crisp morning wandering around the plaza and nearby surroundings.
After admiring the church and exploring the plaza, my next stop is usually the original Campari bar called the "Camparino", located in the Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery (the entrance is to your left if you're standing in the plaza and looking at the Duomo).
Campari happens to be my favorite alcohol in the world, so I was very excited to visit it's birthplace. Although the drinks are expensive, the atmosphere takes you back to old-world Milan, as does the service. When I asked about the history of Campari, the waiter ran and brought me back an entire book, insisting I take it with me. It turned out to be one of the most interesting things I read while in Italy--- I learned that this bar was the birthplace of the aperitivo tradition, which as I mentioned in a previous post, happens to be my favorite Italian custom. I also learned about how Milan developed as a city, which made my walks around the different neighborhoods much more meaningful.
After enjoying your aperitivo, I recommend that you stroll through the rest of the Vittorio Emanuelle II Gallery, admiring the designer store windows. Under the large dome you might see a group of people gathered around-- they are taking turns stepping on a mosaic depicting a bull and spinning around three times for good luck (the trick is you have to step on the bulls balls!). If it's not too crowded you can give it a try yourself. ll's balls for good luck!