Day 2 was very eventful. First, we started the day out with some quick lessons on the basics of Italian language and culture from an Italian woman named Mirella. What struck me was how passionate Mirella was to share her culture, and I can tell that she is very proud to be an Italian. I also found it intriguing that despite being Italian, Mirella has somewhat of a French accent due to being raised in a part of Italy near France, and it was interesting to hear this come about through her speaking.
The walking tour of downtown Milan and to the Duomo was fun, and I though many of the facts that our instructor gave were interesting. I certainly think the tour was worthwhile. Seeing the intricacy of the Duomo’s architecture was mind boggling and to me proved why so many people were massed in front to see such a historic building.
Another thing today while browsing the high end retailers surrounding Duomo that I found very interesting was the almost constant prevalence of American culture. All of the stores and restaurants that we went into were playing popular English music. There were also many photos and paintings of American celebrities being sold in nearby vendors, and much of the fashion I saw in stores and being worn around referenced American pop culture. I also found it almost funny that right next to stores like Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton, and within a short distance from the Duomo itself was a McDonald’s and a Burger King. Two fast food restaurants synonymous with America. There was also a Starbucks Reserve nearby that was recently built and our tour guide told how at the time of its opening the line to get in was hours long. Yet, I am sure that there is better tasting coffee in Milan than Starbucks. It really makes me wonder why Italy adopts so many aspects of American culture despite having an extensive and much more historical culture of its own evident on display throughout buildings such as the Duomo.
Overall, Day 2, was an eventful and exciting day that gave me an understanding of Italian life and culture that I will surely continue to grow throughout the remainder of this trip.