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Monday, July 27, 2009

The Rooftop Terrace Of Rinascente In Milan

When Giuseppe needs to go into Milan for business I am like a golden retriever who knows she's going to go for a fun ride in the car. I can't wait to get there... And because I've been many times, I don't feel the need to always do something touristic. I've long ago figured out what I like to do, and I know how to 'do' Milan, my way, on about 10 Euro, piu o meno, more or less... Here's my routine:


My days in Milan always start in Centro, in the middle of it all, near Via Dante and il Duomo. I start with cappuccino, but cappuccino in Milan has an Old World style and elegance all its own, even if, wonderfully, that cappuccino costs about the same as elsewhere. And the selection of brioche is much, much better. Add another euro if you'd like a brioche... how about one filled with Nutella?


For another euro, if I want to, I take one of the old orange trams and ride around the city just sight- and people-seeing. This is Milan after all, fashion capital of the world, and beautiful-people-watching is as much a part of the scene as anything else. I stay on the trams, maybe reversing direction to return to my starting point, or disembarking at any other point I'd like to stroll back to the Duomo from. I have not yet been able to decipher the Milan tram system.



Then, my secret, favorite spot. There is the department store, Rinascente, directly across from the north side of the Duomo. Rinascente is upscale enough to be filled with beautiful people and goods, but not so expensive or exclusive that I can't shop there. Anyway, mostly, I just window shop. So far I've only spent a few euro today after all... I'll look around for a while on the seven levels of the store, but the whole point, eventually, is to make my way to level seven, the top. Here, one finds the food shops and the restaurants. There are several, the sushi bar, the panini shop, the romantic bar with sofas and lounge chairs. But I go directly outside, onto the rooftop terrace.




Here, one is at the same height as the top spires of the Duomo, and only some meters away. The view provides a backdrop unlike any other for an aperitivo. My prosecco costs a bit more than Stresa, but less than other places in Milan. I enjoy a tall champagne glass of prosecco, which arrives with a platter of olives, nuts, and chips. If it's not busy there, if my table isn't needed, I'll usually stay there as long as I can, reading or watching the sun set, waiting the phone call telling me it's time to jump back into the car, tired but refreshed.


From this very central area it is easy to reach many of the main sites in Milan, such as the Castello Sforzesco and its beautiful park, La Scala Opera House, and the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele. All of these can be seen, and walked through to some extent, for free, but all also offer more extensive, longer, behind-the-scenes tours. For example, you can climb to the top of the Duomo, my other favorite rooftop, which I wrote about in the previous post here.


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