As I am writing this, I have just finished watching Eat Pray Love and all I want to do right at this moment is to pack my bags, go back to Italy and enjoy this beautiful country yet again. But instead, I decided to write this blog post and reminisce that wonderful Italian Summer holiday.
The first time I set foot in Italy was over a decade ago when my husband and I visited Rome. We were mere newlyweds then. On our recent visit, we were newlyweds no more but parents to a seven-year-old. A lot have changed for us the last time we were in Italy but the country has not changed. Italy remains the same. It still has the same beautiful weather, the same great food and the same lovely people.
Our Italian adventure kicked off in Milan. We were at the airport at the crack of dawn for our 7 am flight to Malpensa. It was a quick two-hour flight from London Gatwick airport. We arrived at our hotel which is conveniently located right across Stazione Milano Centrale just after lunch. We did not want to waste time so we started our sightseeing straight away. Just a few stops on the metro and we were right in the middle of the city.
I can still remember coming out of the metro and coming face to face with the Duomo. I kept my cool but inside, I was screaming with excitement. The view that I have been dreaming of for days was actually right before my eyes. It is the most magnificent cathedral I have ever laid eyes on, in all its pink marble splendour.
The magnificence of the Duomo did not stop from the outside. The gothic architecture and marble elements continue in its interiors with impressive patterned black and white marble flooring.
We took the lift to the rooftop of the Duomo and I have to say it is a must for anyone visiting it. Aside from sweeping views of the city, you come face to face with spires and pinnacles that make up most of the cathedral. I stared in awe at how beautifully carved each and every one of them.
After our tour of the Duomo, our next stop was Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the first shopping malls in the world. It is not only a shopping destination but a tourist destination as well. The beautiful architecture will keep you admiring it for hours. As it is right next to the Duomo, it would be rude not to drop by.
On our second day, the first thing on our agenda aside from having another gelato is to visit Teatro La Scala, one of the most prestigious theatres in the world that has seen the likes of Mozart, Verdi and Puccini.
The second thing on our agenda and one of the highlights of our trip to Milan was to visit Santa Maria Delle Grazie church which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and which houses the mural of Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper on the wall of its refectory.
Having the original mural of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper right before me was surreal. I have always thought that the original painting would be similar to The Monalisa (which I saw at the Louvre) hanging in a frame. But no. The Last Supper was larger than life. The 15 minutes that was allotted for the group was not enough. I was not listening much to the tour guide as all I could think was how lucky I was to be able to experience it. The daughter, on the other hand, was so impressed and in awe of the history that was behind the mural listening to the tour guides every word.
The rest of our second day was spent walking around the vicinity of the Duomo, enjoying the wonderful vibe that surrounds the city and of course, eating some more gelato.
Stay tuned for the second part of our Italian Summer Holiday as we explore the beautiful Lake Como.