If you are watching CNN’s new series Searching for Italy with Stanley Tucci you know he went to Milan in the last episode. The show started with views from the top of the Duomo. Don’t miss it. (See below) As for that veal cutlet, I had that everywhere I could!! And of course, never skip aperitivo! You can be sure I brought home Missoni scarves on two different trips. Don’t miss the link to Lake Como at the end of this blog.

A few years ago I had an opportunity to travel to Milan and the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. I only spent a few days in Milan near the Piazza del Duomo while starting my exploration of the Lombardy region.

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Milan is the capital of the Lombardy region in Northern Italy and is surrounded by the famous Lakes region. This city is usually associated with fashion, cuisine, design, finance and of course, architecture! It is widely considered one of the world’s fashion capitals, holding a multitude of fairs throughout a normal year. Be sure to save time for an aperitivo, especially the Spritz with all sorts of lovely finger foods! (Proseco, Aperol, soda) It is a must in Milan! This is also the land of Risotto alla Milanese.  This wonderful dish gets its color from saffron.

Milan’s stunning Gothic Cathedral (Duomo di Milano) towers over the Piazza del Duomo and is the 3rd largest in Europe. It is Italy’s second largest behind St. Peters in the Vatican (technically not Italy). The marble was quarried in the nearby lakes region of Lake Maggiore and took over 600 years to complete. On one side of the Piazza you will find The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele with its shops, all sorts of entertainment and rooftop bars and restaurants. The city has many museums, cultural events and historical sites that proudly showcase its history.

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If shopping’s your thing, well you have come to the right place! Beyond the trendy cafes, restaurants and historic sites the shopping is unrivaled! The impressive enclosed shopping arcade known as The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele features high end shops, like Gucci, Prada, Versace, Ferrari and Louis Vuitton. The 19th century Belle Epoque domed ceiling is the crowning piece of architecture. Oh and make sure you get some chocolate from Venchi considered one of the world’s best chocolates.

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The Galleria was the first building in the city to have electric lighting!!

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The paintings at the base of the dome represent the continents, Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

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The Cathedral has stood on this spot in Milan for 2000 years. The gorgeous white facade is adorned with 3400 statues, 135 spires and fifty-two 100′ pillars which represent weeks of the year. Hopefully you can make time to visit the interior as well as gawk at the amazing facade! The cathedral is topped by a golden statue of the Madonna.

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Don’t miss the chance to walk up to the roof as the 360 degree panoramic view is spectacular. (There is an elevator that takes you most of the way up)  All of Milan is laid out before you as you peer through the marble statues and spires that adorn the church’s rooftop. You can easily see all the new skyscrapers dotting the landscape and to the north a glimpse of the Alps.

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Milan’s streets radiate out from the Duomo stretching out to its very contemporary financial district. This is a very cosmopolitan city. From banking to family-run ateliers that have passed their craft down thru generations, Milan has it all.

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If you are in this region be sure to find a day to visit Milan! I know the temptation is to visit only Rome, Florence and Venice but Milan is worth a stop. From Milan we took day trips via the train to both Bologna and Monza before heading off to Lake Como, Florence and the Cinque Terre.  Click on the links if you would would like more information of these cities. The trains are very easy to navigate but I warn you pack light! Some of the stations have multiple levels and carrying heavy suitcases up and down is no fun!

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