Your answer may surprise you?
As my wife and I considered our first post-pandemic (pandemic-break?) trip, we had a lot of pent-up energy and many options to consider. We love to travel and have been missing all of our regular excursions — hiking in the mountains, surfing, wine tasting, and big cosmopolitan cities. It was tough to choose, but we knew we wanted to combine at least a couple.
We landed in Italy — a few days in Milan for a larger city experience and then a few days on the Piedmont wine region. We had never been to Milan but have heard fantastic reviews of the culture, shopping, and history — mostly the shopping. And Piedmont — Barolo wines are amongst our favorites, and we’ve always loved visiting small wine-growing areas. So it felt like it would be the perfect combination.
We decided to start with the urban experience and landed in Milan a few days ago. We had a gorgeous hotel in a trendy district close to the main attractions. It was interesting — and I say this in a way that implicates both the good and the bad.
The fashion reputation of Milan is definitely on full display. In fact, you cannot miss it. A gorgeous gallery mall in the middle of the historic district is litterally choc-a-block with Versace, Channel, and Buggati — all of the storied names in fashion. We had a guide walk us through the downtown area, and I can appreciate the history of these brands in Milan, but — to be honest — it felt like being in an opulent American shopping mall. No Bueno! This was strike one in Milano.\
During the same tour, we got introduced to some of the histories of Milano. This was impressive. Italy is, as we all know, a country that has bounced from occupation to occupation for thousands of years — the Austrians, the Spanish, the Moors — everyone has wanted a piece g Milan, and it was fascinating to see how the nobility of the area worked through these political quagmires.
And DiVinci. Wow!! Between painting the Last Supper and having it preserved through the bombings of World War 2, planning weddings for Milanese royalty, and designing their canal system — what didn’t this guy do? The history — Milan is redeeming itself.
But then you return to modern Milan. Maybe we could not find the unique enclaves we…