After many months in southern Italy, Milan felt like an Italian epiphany. Here is a city filled with chic, beautiful Italian men and women, enjoying a certain percentage of la dolce vita, carrying on contentedly with their Mediterranean lifestyles, yet setting themselves apart from their distant southern cousins by embracing efficiency. Rome may be eternal in beauty and obstinacy, but it’s chaos and daily schopero’s add much unnecessary angst. Perhaps the chaos is a part of its charm, but at least the Milanese can count on a functioning transportation system. Most Northern Europeans and individuals from large, cosmopolitan cities will appreciate Milan’s efficiency, tidiness, and of course, magnificent stores.
Shopping in Milan is a national sport. Hotel Manzoni’s location was ideal for wandering the streets of the Quadrilatero D’oro in the early morning before the neighborhood awoke. The Milanese, similar to most Europeans, do not start their day until at least after 9, leaving opulent Via Montenapoleone, Via Della Spiga, Via Borgospesso, and Via Sant’Andrea a placid place. I had the cobblestone streets, the inventive window displays, and the early morning light all to myself. I cannot fathom how anyone lives here and manages to ignore these four streets. Ciao-ciao paycheck. A presto savings!
If you start to feel fatigued, pop into Ova for a cafe or morning cappuccino, and rub shoulders with the neighborhood’s most chic. Then stroll aimlessly, admire the warm colors of the buildings (similar to Rome’s palette) and choose your purchases wisely; Milan is a hot pad for at least half of the 7 deadly sins: lust, gluttony, envy, and pride (depending on your spending ability).