As I stumbled around in a drowsy haze from the airport to Milano and around the beautiful neighborhood, I noticed about an equal amount of similarities and differences, although, this could have been from the lack of sleep I got. Either way, I did not expect this, I figured comparing Milan to the United States would be like comparing apples to oranges. I noticed that the roads were very similar as well as the clothing. However, the food and architecture were very different. I also saw a lot of things that I did not expect I would see here that I am familiar with in the United States. Things such as a dirt bike track and a lot of farm animals.
As I gazed out the window of the shuttle bus, I noticed that the setup of the roads and a lot of the road signs were very similar to ones you would see in America, if not the same. This was surprising to me because I thought that they would be completely different and I did not think I would be able to understand them, but I could. One sign I did not expect to see was one warning drivers to watch for deer, I never really thought about them being an issue in other countries. Also, I did not expect to see tolls, just like the ones we have on highways in the United States. Although, the money they collect from these tolls seems to be put to better use than our toll money that is collected because their roads are much smoother and have a lot less potholes, at least compared to Pennsylvania. This seemed to make traffic move a little faster and definitely made the drivers a bit more wild than they are in Pittsburgh with cutting in and out of traffic. This aggressive driving techniques seemed to get a little crazy at times and it seemed as though there were not even lanes on the road at one point. The setup of the city is also a lot different from our cities, especially Pittsburgh, they seem to have a lot of roundabouts, I noticed quite a few while watching from the plane window as we approached Italy as well. They also had another form of transportation that I found cool in between their roads that were like trolleys, I’m sure this helps to eliminate some of the traffic, as buses do in Pittsburgh.
Once we arrived at the hotel, we next enjoyed some great food. While savoring every bite, I began to observe the types of clothing that the Italians were wearing. The clothing seemed to be pretty similar to American clothing, when Americans choose to look nice. Specifically, I noticed that the shoes they wore were nicer. This proved true for the men especially with them wearing the ideal fine Italian shoes, while most American men just wear some sort of tennis shoes. Other than that, I did not see any great differences in the way Americans dress to how the Italians dress, except the lack of care by the Americans, including myself. Now back to the food, we enjoyed a delicious and quite filling three course meal. This was quite different from how we eat in America, mostly because Americans do not generally enjoy pasta before their main course. However, I will not complain because that was some of the best pasta I have ever had and I’m sure it will only get better as the trip goes on.
Next, as we strolled through the neighborhood, I noticed the architecture of the buildings and realized that the Italians knew what they were doing when they designed this beautiful and unique city. There was a lot of very cool shaped buildings that were obviously designed by brilliant people to spruce up the city. There were also unique ideas such as a building pretty much completely covered in trees. We do not often see cool and unique buildings like this in the United States, at least not that I have come across. As far as homes and apartments go, they are pretty much what I imagined when I thought of Italy with all the balconies and a villa style look. Some homes in the United States are modeled after this, but it is the most common type of houses and apartments here. I also had great interest in the landscape of the country, especially while on the plane. While we were descending, I noticed the large amount of open land that I did not expect to see, it seemed that all the houses and buildings were in towns clustered very close together but surrounded by a large amount of open land that could have easily been spread out onto. To top it all off, there were beautiful snowcapped mountains in the distance, as if Italy could be any more perfect. This country is truly a work of art.