Il Giorno Settimo: Invasione degli Alpini

Our seventh day in Milano started with a visit to 10 Corso Como, which is a designer brand retailer located in a part of the city known as “l’isola”, or the island. The store contained a variety of stylish clothes and accessories, including Gucci belts and suits. However, as most of the merchandise was relatively expensive (a Gucci jacket cost two thousand euros), I decided just to look around and be careful not to touch anything.

After our visit to 10 Corso Como concluded, we began our walking tour of Milan’s fashion district. Along our tour, we stopped at a canal lock engineered by Da Vinci and the San Marco Church, which dates back from the middle-ages and was where a young Mozart resided for several months while making his tour through Italy. While walking through the fashion district, we were able to pass by the stores of familiar brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Versace, and Armani, all of which had extraordinary window displays and very tall security guards in the doorway.

The tour of the fashion district was our last scheduled activity of the day, and afterwards several of us decided to grab some pizze, calzoni, and pasta from a nearby restaurant. Il ristorante gave each customer a complementary bottle of water, which was a godsend because free water is almost impossible to come by in Milano. Following lunch, I decided to spend some additional time walking around Il Duomo and La Galleria because several of us had planned on attending mass this evening at the cathedral and, being a little worn-out, did not really feel up to making too many Metro trips. The piazza around Il Duomo was packed with thousands of Alpini who were there to celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of their founding; I was able to watch a group of Alpini with bagpipes and tambourines play their marches and traditional songs as others joined in by singing the lyrics. The music was beautiful and uplifting, and it was phenomenal to see a group of guys who did not really each other bond over their common identification as Alpini.

The sad part of the day came when we were unable to enter Il Duomo for mass because it was reserved for Gli Alpini only, but luckily we were able to find San Babila parish less than a mile away who had a Saturday evening mass. Attending an Italian mass was an incredible experience, starting with how we were welcomed to the church before mass by a friendly lady who also led the congregation in the rosary. The mass itself was different from any mass I have attended, as the sign of peace came after the homily and there was only one reading; however, we learned after mass from the parish acolyte that Catholic churches in Milano follow the Ambrosian Rite, which is only common in northern Italy and Switzerland, instead of the Roman Rite. The mass was also a great way to practice my Italian, particularly my listening comprehension skills during the homily.

Milano was amazing and I am really excited to be leaving for Verona tomorrow! Ci vediamo domani e Buona Giornata!

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