Friday, April 29, 2011

Our Italy Trip - Part 2 - Milan

We stayed in Bellagio for 2 nights and moved on back to Milan. In Milan, I chose to stay at Best Western Hotel Galles. This is the hotel which I got a cheaper deal by being a member of Nozio Traveller. I chose this hotel primarily for its location which was close to the railway station and that it had a Metro subway entrance right outside the hotel.

On the first day back in Milan, we did not do much, just walking around Corso Bueno Aires, enjoying some delicious gelato from a place called Grom. It is frankly one of the best gelato we have tasted for a long time. There is an Italian restaurant named Ristorante Sabbatini just 2 blocks down from the hotel and the menu as well as the food were great. So great that hubby and I went back there 3 nights in a row...I think the waiter was beginning to think we were nuts..Basically, we were just lazy to look for another place to eat. LOL..

Day 2 in Milan was tour day. I had booked a tour which included viewing of the original 'Last Supper' painting by Leonardo Da Vinci through Viator. The tour is actually operated by Zanni Viaggi, a local tour operator so if you preferred, you could book directly with them instead. The tour guide spoke very good English and you get these little headsets so that the guide does not have to yell to ensure that all of us could hear. It was the first time I had come across that gadget and thought it was great!

The lobby or waiting lounge at La Scala Opera Theatre

We visited the La Scala Opera Theatre but sadly were not allowed to take pictures inside. This theatre is one of the oldest in the world. We would have loved to watch an Opera but everything was sold out even when I checked 3 weeks before time. Maybe next time. But from the one picture above, you can imagine the opulence of the inside of the theatre.

The roof of the Gallerie

Next we went to Gallerie Vittorio Emanuelle II which is basically a shopping gallery with a VERY expensive hotel in it as well. Here you will find all high end shops but the building itself is beautiful and full of history and the architecture is amazing.

Milan Duomo

Walking through the Gallerie, you will come to the Milan Duomo. It is by far, one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen and one of the most intricately structured. This is a definite must see when you are in Milan. Note however that security is very strict and oversized bag packs will not be allowed in the church.

The last stop was the viewing of The Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie. There are no photos to be shown as photography was strictly forbidden. Suffice to say it was really awesome to be able to see the painting in person after seeing so many versions of it and hearing so much about it. It really does take your breathe away. Only 20 visitors are permitted in the room at any one time and you are only allowed 15 minutes to view the painting. The temperature in the room is closely monitored in order to best preserve the painting as is. The building in which it was painted was actually destroyed by a bomb a long time ago. However, the painting itself was spared (somehow) and only bits of the painting had fallen off. I would say that 90% of the painting is still intact.

Stadio Giuseppe Meazza

AC Milan Changing Room (much nicer than Inter's)

On day 3, I had arranged for hubby and I to visit the home football stadium of AC Milan and Inter Milan, of which hubby is a fan of Inter. All the tour operators called it the San Siro Stadium BUT it is actually known as Stadia Giuseppe Meazza. Don't forget! It was easy to get there as we took the Metro but it got a little confusing once we got to the stop and was basically walking in circles to find the stadium. Anyhow, we finally made it and it was kinda cool to see the changing rooms, shower area and get to know a bit more about the teams. I'd like to think that I managed to sit on the same chair that Jar Jar Binks, also known as Ronaldinho set in before he left AC Milan. One interesting fact I took away with me is that the grass on the football court is changed every quarter. Do you know how much is spent on grass in a year?? ONE MILLION EUROS...To me, that seems a little obscene when the money could go to better causes, but hey, that's me...

Note : It is easy to get to the stadium with a proper map and asking people for directions. Also, we decided to go on our own instead of taking a tour (through Viator, for e.g.) because apparently, you are not allowed to take photos if you don't take the stadium's own tour.

Inside of Cova Cafe

The rest of the time was spent shopping or window shopping. I forgot to take photos of the shopping streets. Hehe..But I do want to show you Cova Cafe which is on Via Montenapolene. It is approximately 200 years old and we wanted to grab a quick lunch in the little charming place. Tables were too tiny and the menu was too expensive. Let me show you.

My one piece of Croque Monsieur costs 6 Euros!

Anyhow, Milan was a great experience and somewhere I've always wanted to go back to since my honeymoon in 2005. Thanks hubby, for bringing me back there.

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