THE TRIP OF DREAMS TO ITALY | 2/2 THE FASHION CAPITAL - MILAN
With our feet resting on our suitcases and the Italian countryside flying past us, we started to miss Lake Como a little less and get more excited for the hustle and bustle of the fashion capital of the world!
Ok, ok, you might not be with me quite yet. If you haven't read the 1st instalment of this trip last week then nip across to The Trip Of Dreams To Italy - Lake Como, because today we're onto our second destination and I can't wait to show you the beauty of Milan! I do have to admit, while I was away I didn't plan to share my trips on Get The Gossip, so my photographs from this point onwards are all iPhone worthy ones - while we were in the city I decided to leave the camera in the hotel room and fully experience all the food, drink and shopping this city had to offer!
I have to admit, we didn't really have a plan of action for this city, no daily itinerary, or well researched restaurants. I usually always plan a mini holiday to-do list, I did with the Lake Como section of the trip but for Milan we decided to make it up as we went along!
As our beautifully air-conditioned train pulled into the station we jumped off and dragged our enormous bags behind us in search for the nearest taxi-rank. Piling into the cab we quickly asked to be taken to Hotel Viu Milan and I couldn't control my excitement! I'd found our hotel via one of my favourite booking websites mrandmrssmith.com. It's THE WEBSITE in my eyes to find jaw-dropping beautiful hotels, and as soon as I lay my eyes on this hotel I just had to get it booked! After being told by our taxi driver that our hotel was the only one in Milan with a rooftop pool we instantly knew we made the right choice, (while sweating into the cabs leather seats in 34 degree heat!)
From walking into the hotel you couldn't take our smiles off our faces!
We moved from the rustic natural beauty of Lake Como to the serious glamour and elegance of Milan, and oh-boy, we were ready for it!
After acting like two kids in a candy shop playing with the little room gadgets, checking the mini bar goodies and realising there was a hidden window between the bedroom and showroom, (I'm not quite sure why that was needed!), we made our way up to the roof for our first taste of bubbles overlooking the wonderful city.
After chatting away a few hours up on the roof, we decided to see what the city had to offer and ventured out, (with our city mapper app helping direct our way!) We ventured in and out of some beautiful shops, made our way through china-town, and walked through a lovely city centre park, but as the afternoon passed by we realise it was getting hotter by the minute and with a quick glance at our weather app, (how could we have lived without phones?!), we realised that in the centre of Milan, the hottest part of the day was actually 5pm. With a blistering 36 degrees beating down on us for the past four hours and the heat starting to take it's toll even at 7pm, we decided to make our way to find somewhere to eat.
After being incredibly indecisive and walking by every restaurant we saw, we decided to head back to the hotel because we were sure we saw some kind of restaurant on the ground floor... what we didn't realise was this was the best decision ever! Our hotel housed both Bulk Mixology, (a bar with perfectly crafted cocktails, and food to match), as well as Morelli, a gourmet stunning restaurant with the wonderful chef Giancarlo Morelli at it's helm. The later of those two we unfortunately didn't get to experience the latter since it was closed during the days we stayed, but by the look of the menu and the stunning dining room I'm positive it would have been amazing!
Bulk however, was nothing short of incredible! Throughout our time in Milan we drank our way through the cocktail menu, to a point the staff started making up new cocktails for us to try, and both the nibbles and the mains were just stunning!
Day two we had an action plan. We weren't getting caught out by the late afternoon heat again! We got up early and were out on the streets by 10am, (hey! That's early when you're on holiday!) We shopped until we dropped and viewed The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Italy's oldest active shopping mall and a major landmark. Housed within a four-story double arcade in the center of town, it was obvious to see why this is one of the 'must-visit' spots in the city!
By the early afternoon the sun was taking it's toll and we headed back to the rooftop pool to cool down with a drink. After plenty of nibbles and champagne-spritz, (yes that's a thing over there!), we easily made new friends with other guests doing the same thing and chatted the afternoon away!
The afternoon soon turned into the evening and we decided to jump in a taxi and head to the Navigli neighbourhood, a place famed for the Naviglio Grande and Naviglio Pavese canals. With its great bars and boutiques, the Navigli was definitely one of our favourite areas in Milan! It's got a buzz about the area which is infectious and considering it was a Monday night... you would never have known! Every single bar was packed out, with people spilling onto the pavements resting their drinks on the wall of the canal.
As time ticked on we headed back to the hotel and met up with some people we'd got chatting to earlier in the day and decided to head out to see what the city centre was like at night. By 11pm the streets were bursting at the seams with people catching up with friends and having late night cocktails and gelato. We soon realised the city comes alive in the late evening and early hours of the morning, and at 26 degrees it was a much manageably temperature to wonder the streets and experience the city at night!
After a late start the following morning we decided to hit the shops! We passed hours venturing around little unknown boutiques, as well as some of the bigger branded shops and even caught up on some of the latest Pronovias designs from their flagship store window! Since both Jessica (my travel buddy) and I both work in the wedding industry, we admired together the stunning Italian lace and intricate beading on each and every dress. So many of my brides have picked Pronovias dresses for their big day, and with their classic feminine style I can certainly see why!
After spending a touch too long drooling over the stunning Pronovias dresses we headed back to The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II where we lost hours in the Annex Rinascente Milano - basically their version of Harvey Nichols! With our feet pounding from the pavements and the desperate need for hydration, we headed to the rooftop bar of the department store and relaxed on the comfy sofa's overlooking the Duomo di Milano, Milan's Cathedral and the largest church in Italy.
We'd initially planned to do a walking tour of this stunning landmark but every single day there were queues wrapping round the back of the Cathedral and with temperatures over 35 degrees, we just couldn't stand waiting in a queue that wasn't even in the shade! Admiring it from the rooftop bar next door would have to do for this trip!
We woke on our final day in Italy's most fashionable city a little sad that our adventure was over. After breakfast overlooking the beauty that is Milan from our hotel's roof we jumped in a taxi and headed back to Milano Centrale to jump on the next train heading to the airport.
With an hour to wait we couldn't help but look around and appreciate the beauty of even the railway station, which is the largest railway station in Europe. In this moment I spotted a thing of beauty!
Tugging on Jessica's arm I started whispering, "Jess, Jess, Jess. Look!! Look!! Look!!" As a girl walked by looking effortlessly cool carrying a handbag I instantly fell in love with.
7 months later on Sloane Street in London while trying on the bag for size I decided I needed to buy it. The Marignan, or as I like to call him "Louis The Second", will always remind me of my love of Italy, the effortless fashion, and the most amazing week of my life with my great friend.
Photo taken from louisvuitton.com