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  • from moment to moment

Notes from Milano

Wouldn't you rather go to Rome? What about there?

I work as a content manager for glamping cabins and spend my days working on how to get people to relax without regret. I do it so honestly that I'd need to stay in our cabins for at least a fortnight. It makes sense. Like the idea of going to discover Italy in the least Italian city in Italy.

And so I stand in front of Milano Centrale and check off the first item on my to-see list. This is exactly what I want to do here. To stare in amazement. To taste something delizioso. And most importantly, not to contemplate rest.

  1. I thought I'd be eccentric in my running clothes here. Why didn't I ever think that Milanese people run? Morning, afternoon, evening, Friday, weekend, downtown, and beyond. Probably so they can catch their siesta, which isn't observed that much here, or a private aerobics class in front of the Arco della Pace. Seeing a senior citizen doing sit-ups on a bench in a playground is my new level of an active lifestyle.

  2. I was expecting Milano to be hard-working, determined, lively, fast-paced, and full of people. Passing through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II at any time of the day makes that perfectly certain, but the Italian capital can please in other ways. Like standing in Brera at 6.30 am on a Saturday morning. A beautiful old quarter with colourful narrow streets and an artistic touch. No one is anywhere. Everywhere closed. Great silence for a short time before everything rejoins the city's life. I like it here. I would like to live here. But only until I check the rental prices.

  3. A brief respite amidst the hustle and bustle of Milan? Brera Botanical Garden.

  4. “Milan is very different from all other Italian cities: a place where the balance between the beautiful and ugly, the old and new has become an identity over time. Its ability to preserve hidden places and experiences, not very visible or known, is a source of continuous discovery,” mention in the book Milan Chic Vincenzo De Cotiis, architect and artist, and Claudia Rose De Cotiis, co-founder of Vincenzo De Cotiis Architecture and Gallery. I can't disagree. The mix of old and modern, quiet and busy, colourful and grey, clean and dirty fascinates me at every turn.

  5. Like the historic trams.

  6. And at the same time, Milan Transports Utility's (ATM) plan to have all public transport electric by 2030.

  7. And also OpenWifi Milano.

  8. “Ragazzzosodiventenocasamitrecheperchemia…” "I'm sorry, can we please speak English?" From the more intense gestures and volume, I'm guessing we can't. I walked in, got in line, looked at the pizza menu, and now I'd rather run to another place. I have no idea what was wrong. But maybe it was just a trio of exuberant Italian women complimenting my hand-sewn jacket. :)

  9. How can everyone tell you're a tourist? You don't cross at a red light.

  10. You know it from the stories, the Instagram photos, the media, every "What to see in Milan" tip... and yet it amazes you. Duomo di Milano. I wonder how long before unique objects become commonplace for us. How long before we stop being tourists in our own city and bow our heads to our telephones and everyday life? And do Milanese even come here, or is it just an open space for our tourist poses, smiles, and cameras?

  11. The pizza was good. But shouldn't it be delicious in Italy?

  12. You never know when you'll meet the love of your life – I noted somewhere years ago in connection with Italian stylishness. My dreamer's heart smiles, my inner cynic laughs.

  13. I was expecting a Milano perfectly dressed, full of chic people, stylish outfits, flashy windows, fancy motorbikes, polished cars, shopping bags with famous labels... ticked off. Just like throwing five euros to the first homeless man. I hesitate at the second one and bypass the next ones in line uncompromisingly. Their ubiquity in parks, in front of boutiques, in the subway, in every other street is supposed to compensate for the Italian elegance? To balance the modern skyscrapers looming a little further away and the luxury of Citylife?

  14. I left out the Quadrilatero della moda.

  15. Milano is Italy's richest city and, with the sticker of economic development, attracts Italians and immigrants alike with the prospect of better job opportunities.

  16. Milano is home to the largest homeless population in Italy.

  17. Milano is a city filled with famous monuments, culinary establishments, breathtaking galleries, renowned clothing houses, shops and artisan workshops. It is a place sought after by architects, artists, designers, businessmen, scientists and others with great ambitions.

  18. Milano and Rome are the two worst Italian cities to live in.

  19. Milano is a city open to trends, progress, creativity and people from all over the world.

  20. Milano is a city for those who can afford it.

  21. The greenery calms me. Luckily there are plenty of freely (and secretly) accessible areas, like the Giardini Porta Venezia a few steps from the hotel. It's less crowded than Sempione and has lots of dogs like everywhere else around here.

  22. Castello Sforzesco near Sempione Park is, however, a delight. I like the idea of running through a fortified complex while I train. Especially at dusk, when the sun casts pretty silhouettes and makes a beautiful atmosphere. It's also the kind of place where the locals will have a quiet chat with you (oh, Praga, Praga, perfetta), meanwhile, they'll put a plain cotton string on your arm, tighten it properly and then charge you two euros for it. Oh, Milano, Milano, perfetto.

  23. Runners don't greet each other.

  24. And there's only flat terrain. The only (man-made) hill, Monte Stella, won't make you a climber.

  25. And a lot of mini fountains. Drago Verde. Green dragons, of which there are reportedly 418 scattered around the city. These mini drinking water fountains are free for passersby (and those running around - verified) and are meant to encourage a reduction in plastic bottles. And to save people from the heat, I guess. You might not feel it as much in November, but imagine summer, forty degrees, hot concrete. Ouch.

  26. You know it from the stories, the Instagram photos, the media, every "What to see in Milan" tip... and yet it doesn't amaze you that much. Teatro alla Scala. How else can you explain that you passed it three times yesterday without noticing and didn't even think it was there? I must go in next time.

  27. Navigli, i.e. the old Milano frozen in the eternal moment.

  28. Via Torino, a shopping street with lots of world-famous brands, Corso Porta Ticiese, an alternative zone with boutiques, vintage shops, design stores, and small family businesses... and Colonne di San Lorenzo.

  29. Colonne di San Lorenzo, i.e. a mini corner of ancient Rome.

  30. Coffee, please. If you don't want a fancy hipster cafe, go for an Italian classic.

  31. All roads lead to San Siro when you come from a football family. I have "La Scala del Calcio" immortalized, but now I'm more interested in the residential neighborhoods that were walked through. Homes that are hidden behind large entrance gates. Enclosed micro-worlds where strangers can't get in. Outside, Milano is often grey, but what is it like inside?

  32. No need to describe. It is necessary to see and support. Bosco Verticale.

  33. No need to describe. It is necessary to see and ask. Did every ultra-rich company build an ultra-modern building here in the hope that it would somehow fit in ultra-phenomenally with everyone else? Piazza Gae Aulenti and the surrounding area.

  34. "Good morning, we have tickets for the 8:20 bus, but we're an hour early, could we come with you now?" “No problema!”

  35. Milano is a city that doesn't play love at first sight. It reveals its secrets gradually and gives you time to fall in love with its diverse identity. Or not.

  36. So ciao next time.

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