First stop today was the Fondazione Prada. Like many other ateliers they have donated a foundation to Milan to house contemporary art exhibits. They also find great designers to develop them so they are pretty cool to just wander around. This is in an area that used to be industrial where no-one went and it still feels edgy in a good way. Loved their 50’s retro cafe too.
The Fondazione has a golden wall and everyone has to take a pic there – so we did. This is with my dear and long time friend Sabrina who lives in Milan and was kindly showing me around the less obvious spots to visit.
I didn’t know there were canals in Milan but there are and it is another hip area that has had some money spent on it to make it a more attractive place to wander around and to eat and drink.
And now that I’ve left Italy here are:
Things I loved about Italy
The scenery – mountains, lakes, cities, wine regions (I did no beach on this trip)
The medium sized towns like Bologna, Padua, Ravello, Lucca and Verona – nice for a couple of days
But also for me – Rome and Venice were places I would go back to as I think they will always have new things to see
The vast amount of superb art and architecture – traditional and contemporary – and the museums they are housed in
The weather in September and October – great for doing things and not being too hot or cold or wet. Less crowds too
The food – home made pasta and artisanal gelati especially
The local wines – and the prosecco , aperol spritz and negronis
The quality handicrafts – glass, pottery, fabric, gold,lace etc
The history and how each period is layered on the previous one so some places are like “a lasagne” from pre Roman to modern day
Their belief that their will be hiccups every day but it will all work out in the end
The traditional hotels from an era that is long gone elsewhere
Most of the places I visited were very walkable so I did a lot of that which improved my fitness levels and gave me an excuse to eat a gelati most days!
What is annoying (at times)
Lousy wifi connections in some places (not necessarily the small ones).
A very elongated understanding of “a minute” so if the walk is supposedly 5 minutes assume it is really 15 and scale up
If I never hear O Solo Mio, Que Sera sera or Volare again – it won’t be a moment too soon.
The fact that’s no restaurant will give you tap water – even if you beg (and I did) and even though it is safe to drink. Bring your own bottle and fill up at the numerous handy water fountains. It is sold at inflationary prices.
Prices for many things are higher compared even to London and certainly to the US – no real bargains here.
Many shops still close from 1-3pm every day. What the ??? Also restaurants close around 2.30 and reopen around 7.30. If you want to eat outside of those times – good luck or revert to McDonalds.
Taking a few days off the blog now. Next stop Oman.
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