Day two in Milan! We started our day off with an Italian crash course where we learned how to say and properly pronounce some key Italian phrases. Learning what vowels and letter combinations create what sounds, the formal and informal words and when to use each, and the meaning behind some popular hand gestures all helped us to gain some important knowledge that will definitely benefit throughout our time in Italy. It was also interesting to learn about some of the culture differences from Americans here in Italy, such as not having a cappuccino after 11a.m. and that men are discouraged from wearing flip flops in Milan.
With our newly learned Italian phrases in mind, a group of girls and I headed to lunch to get some food and practice ordering in Italian. We found a cute little cafe style restaurant where we sat outside and enjoyed the sun while we ate.
We then walked back to the hotel to meet up for our walking tour of Italy, which was my favorite part of the day. After only spending a day in Milan, the tour was a great way to introduce us to some of the areas Milan has to offer.
The tour started off in a neat, newly developed part of Milan. Full of contemporary buildings, the area hosts a mixture of various apartments, offices, and shops and restaurants. Past that area was a strip of restaurants and high-end shops that provided a great opportunity for some window shopping. We then took a quick stop for some very tasty gelato! I thought it was interesting to learn that most gelato is made with all natural ingredients, as opposed to all the artificial ingredients that are found in many of the ice creams in America (a fact I will be reminding myself of as I consume way too much gelato on this trip)!
To wash down the gelato, we stopped at a water fountain on the side of the road. The water is constantly running in order to prevent bacteria, and in order to drink the water you had to hold down a button that causes the water to fly a couple feet out and do your best to aim and control it, which is very different from the water fountains in the US.
We continued walking, and I loved getting to look in the windows of all the shops and restaurants we passed. Every store had such a unique and interesting interior, a quality which I found fascinating and loved getting to see. While many stores is the US may have a somewhat similar set up, the stores here each seemed to have their own atmosphere.
At the end of our walking tour we arrived at the two most beautiful buildings I’ve seen yet in Milan; I was absolutely blown away by the architecture. The first was the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, which is Italy’s first shopping mall. Partially indoors, the ceiling and walls are stunning filled with designer stores. It was by far the most impressive and beautiful mall I have ever seen!
Right next to the shopping mall was the stunning Duomo, which has impressively detailed architecture. Every part of it is extremely detailed and carefully crafted. I am really looking forward to visiting again and exploring the inside of the cathedral!
This was a great day for learning more about the language and culture as well as just the areas around Milan. I’m looking forward to exploring these areas and using some of the newly learned Italian phrases in the days to come!