Next stop Milan by train from Verona. The Italian trains have been very comfortable with reserved seating and drinks and snacks being served in business class. The express trains get up to nearly 200 kilometers per hour so they are also much faster than driving.
After settling into our Airbnb we had lunch and walked to the nearby Villa Necchi Campiglio which was built in 1932-35 by architect Piero Portaluppi and served as the home of Angelo Campiglio, his wife Gigina and her sister Nedda Necchi. This family belonged to the Lombard industrial bourgeoisie and had this house built for them in the center of Milan. In spite of being in the city it is nestled in a beautiful garden complete with tennis court and swimming pool. The tennis court is now a cafe. The house features walnut paneling, parquet floors and beautiful steel embossed pocket doors. Its rooms are filled with extraordinary decorative arts and furnishings as well as art collections and many of the family’s personal items. This is the type of museum that we enjoy the most.
Our second day in Milan was rainy so we took a Hop on Hop off bus tour which gave us a little better feeling for the city.
Our initial impression was mixed as there are a lot of modern buildings in this fashion capital.
By the third day though we really love Milan. Not sure if we will return for a long stay but we will see. We hopped off of the bus once at the train station and walked to Limone, a restaurant that Henry and Andrew had been to twice before. It is also recommended now by us. Our last full day we finally went to visit the beautiful Milan Cathedral which was only steps away from our Airbnb with the steeple visible from our balcony.
The Duomo di Milano is dedicated to St. Mary of the Nativity and took 600 years to complete. It is the largest church in Italy (St. Peter’s Basilica is in Vatican City) and the third largest in the world. This is Sandy’s favorite so far winning out over Notre Dame in Paris and Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. After admiring the gothic cathedral from the outside we purchased tickets to enter it and climb the 250 stairs to the roof. The interior of the cathedral is not as impressive as the exterior and the roof but definitely worth a visit.
The climb to the roof is well worth the time, money and effort as the roof and the views are breathtaking. They say there are more statues on this gothic style cathedral than on any other building in the world. There are 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 100 figures that decorate the Milan Duomo.
After viewing the Duomo we planned on having breakfast at Savini in the adjacent Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II as it had been recommended by Peggy but it was too expensive and we settled for cappuccino and croissants for only €25.
We walked to the nearby Teatro alla Scala which is the Milan Opera House and viewed their museum and the opera house itself after rehearsal ended.
Our last night in Milan and our last night with friends we had a memorable meal with Andrew and Henry at Il Salumaio di Montenapoleone which had also been recommended by Peggy. The restaurant was in an amazing space in Milan and the decor, service and food did not disappoint.
We bid our adieus to Henry & Andrew the following morning and took a taxi to Milan’s central train station to get on our train to Rome while they went to the airport to fly back to their home in Berlin. This was a memorable trip with good friends. Thank you Tina for planning this birthday trip for your 60th, Henry’s 70th and Margaret’s 75th. 2018 was a big year for all of you. Jim will turn 70 on Nov 1 2019 so let’s start planning now.
Next up Roma.