#WhenIn Milan (& Como)
In the past, I mostly associated Milan with fashion (and my Marsell boots that are meticulously handmade there). Though this city is highly recognized for its international fashion scene, it has so much more charm and personality to express, and luckily after my recent stay in this lovely place, I can add many more associations to my mental picture of Milan…
Where to stay:
Hotel Sanpi Milano near Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (a pretty garden with a very long name) has great deals and is conveniently located. It is listed as a 4-star hotel, but we agreed that perhaps it was 4 baby stars. Don’t get me wrong, it is very comfortable (with a nice view of the lovely balconies on the quiet street), and the service was good, but we thought it needed some upgrades (including a better breakfast) to get 4 grown-up stars.
How to get around:
Walk, Uber, and DriveNow are all very viable options for getting around. We enjoyed walking around as much as possible (particularly because I was tremendously helpful at calling out the amazingly beautiful doors we passed — “Door!!”). When I got too tired and hungry to call out more doors, my boyfriend was kind enough to haul me into an Uber and revive me with some fresh pasta. Then, when we had the sudden fancy to pretend to be in a scene from Casino Royale, we jumped into a DriveNow BMW convertible and drove off to Lake Como, of course with the top down.
Where to eat:
Grab cappuccinos and cornettos on the go.
Osteria del Binari has a fantastic patio area completely immersed in green trees and bushes. This little jungle of heavenly Italian food (oyy, osso buco) and un-presumptuous wine is definitely worth a lunch-time visit.
Tartufotto was amazing. Oh my… truffle me here, truffle me there, and truffle me a little everywhere. We tried the beef tartare with freshly-shaved truffle, the fresh tagliolini with freshly-shaved truffle, the sea bass and ricotta-stuffed ravioli with freshly-shaved truffle, and a very delicious dessert with (you guessed it) freshly-shaved truffle. Truffle heaven, it is…
What to eat:
Pasta, pasta, basta! And if you do as I say, you will go to Tartufotto and get pasta with freshly-shaved truffle.
What to do:
Marsèlleria is the only Marsell store in the world and is really quite an alternative shoe store (with a bafflingly bad website) that hosts various cool art exhibits. This is the original home of Marsell shoes, the most well-crafted shoes I have yet to come across (imagine designer shoes that are immensely comfortable — Christian Louboutin, please learn from them).
Walk along the Navigli and find the little side streets and courtyards that are simply charming.
Walk around Via della Spiga for the wonderful atmosphere.
Hang out at Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli (the pretty garden with the long name) and read a book or enjoy the sun.
Have a martini at Bulgari Hotel. With their quiet and luxurious outdoor area and delicious Marcona almonds, we loved spending our after-dinner hours sipping on martinis and talk about anything and everything.
Get in a convertible and drive to Lake Como. It actually started with us going to the Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci (who wouldn’t want to know more about Leonardo da Vinci…), but we soon got that “uh oh” feeling when we were surrounded by screaming children ready to “explore” the science museum. Sooo, we escaped into the streets, and my genius boyfriend got the brilliant idea of escaping just a little further (“how about Lake Como?”). And right around the corner, lo and behold, there was a DriveNow BMW convertible, so we figured that must be a sign, jumped into it, and drove off. The lake is ridiculously beautiful, and it was incredibly romantic going around the lake on the increasingly narrow roads with old church bells ringing and gorgeous views following us wherever we went.
What not to do:
Don’t spend too much time in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II or around Duomo di Milano. The buildings themselves are very beautiful, and you should definitely swing by to admire them (which I certainly did), but hanging out with hordes of tourists is just far less appealing to me than running off to experience some of the other things Milan (or Como) has to offer.