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Posted by on Jan 14, 2015 | 0 comments

I Heart My City: Diana’s Milan

Texas native Diana Skok Corridori traded the Lone Star State for the Old Country when she moved to Milan to live with her Italian husband. In addition to raising her two sons, she spends her time writing about the quirks and beauty of life in northern Italy through her travel blog Vino Vita Viaggi. Here’s a look at Milan through Diana’s unique lens.

Follow Diana’s adventures in Italy on Instagram @vinovitaviaggi.

Milan Is My City

When someone comes to visit me, the first place I take them to is the Duomo. This might seem obvious, but no photo can compare to the real thing. When you exit the metro, walk up the stairs, and see the massive, white marble cathedral in person, it is breathtaking.

Autumn is the best time to visit my city because the temperatures start to cool down and there is a lively feel to the city as residents return from their summer vacations.

The Gothic Duomo di Milano is the largest cathedral in Italy. (Photograph by josangel_ap, Flickr)

The Gothic Duomo di Milano is the largest cathedral in Italy. (Photograph by josangel_ap, Flickr)

You can see my city best from the top of the Duomo. If you want to see the top of the Duomo, head over to the 7th floor of La Rinascente for a drink or a meal and take in the beautiful view of the Duomo’s intricate spires and the square below.

Locals know to skip any restaurant that has pictures of food on its menus and check out quaint family-run eateries instead.

Any museum in Milan is the place to buy authentic, local souvenirs.

In the past, notable people like artist Leonardo DaVinci, composer Giuspesse Verdi, and singer Terence Trent D’Arby have called my city home.

My city’s best museum is the Pinacoteca di Brera because it has works by Raphael, Caravaggio, Rubens and Titian (just to name a few). Also, when a painting is being restored, you can watch as conservators do their careful work.

If there’s one thing you should know about getting around my city, it’s that Milan is a very walkable city. But if you find yourself with achy feet, take a step back in time and hop on an old-fashioned tram—wooden seats and all! To figure out how to get from point A to point B, use the Milan Public Transportation site.

The best place to spend time outdoors in my city is in Sempione Park. There you will find families, romantic couples, runners, a playground, and plenty of places for a picnic or a gelato break with Castello Sforzesco as a backdrop.

In addition to operas, the Teatro alla Scala stages concerts and other performances. (Photograph by sfer, Flickr)

In addition to operas, the Teatro alla Scala stages concerts and other performances. (Photograph by sfer, Flickr)

My city really knows how to celebrate a soccer victory. After a win, everyone will get in their cars and drive around honking their horns!

You can tell if someone is from my city if they wear heels to the grocery store.

For a fancy night out, I go to Teatro alla Scala, the most famous opera house in the world, to take in a performance.

Just outside my city, you can visit many lake towns by train in 45 minutes such as Como or off-the-beaten-path towns such as Lecco or Varenna.

My city is known for being a fashion capital, but stores like H&M and Zara exist here, too.

The best outdoor market in my city is found on Viale Papiniano. Here you will find food, flowers, clothes, shoes, and household items.

Varenna, Italy, occupies prime real estate on the banks of Lake Como. (Photograph by Matus Klaisky, Flickr)

Varenna, Italy, occupies prime real estate on the banks of Lake Como. (Photograph by Matus Klaisky, Flickr)

Pasticceria Marchesi is my favorite place to grab breakfast, and Ristorante Pizzeria Rosy e Gabriele is the spot for late-night eats.

To find out what’s going on at night and on the weekends, read milanodabere.it, an online magazine with up-to-date information about restaurants, activities, and events around the city.

When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I hit the saldi (nationwide sales) that start in January and July.

To escape the crowds, I go to Cimitero Monumentale, (Monumental Cemetery). A cemetery? Yes, because this cemetery is full of moving and diverse architecture and statues, each one more impressive than the last. It’s my pick for the most peaceful and inspirational place in the city.

The dish that represents my city best is ossobuco, and Campari spritz is my city’s signature drink. Sample ossobuco at Buongusto and enjoy a spritz at any trendy bar in the Brera or Navigli areas.

Blue Note is the best place to see live music, but if you’re in the mood to dance, check out 11 Clubroom.

The Prime Minster being attacked at a political rally, losing two teeth, and later nominating his 26-year-old dental hygienist to run for a position in his party could only happen in my city.

In the spring you should go for an aperitivo—a happy hour drink typically served with olives, bruschetta, and other finger foods—at an outdoor café.

Cimitero Monumentale, established in 1866, is one of Milan's largest cemeteries. (Photograph by trepini, Flickr)

Cimitero Monumentale, established in 1866, is one of Milan’s largest cemeteries. (Photograph by trepini, Flickr)

In the summer you should enjoy Milan by bike using Bikemi, the city’s bike share system. Summer is the perfect time because many residents are on vacation and there is very little traffic.

In the fall you should take a stroll on Corso Vittorio Emanuele, a pedestrian street full of shops, cafes, restaurants, and ice cream shops that’s found between the Duomo and Piazza San Babila.

In the winter you should enjoy a hot chocolate at any café. Hot chocolate in Italy is so thick and decadent you have to use a spoon to drink it. It is a dessert all on its own.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart), you won’t want to miss the Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli, a historical park in the center of the city complete with a playground, a café, ducks, and a railroad.

The best book about my city is The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown because although not specially about Milan, it inspired a lot of people to see DaVinci’s masterpiece.

In 140 characters or less, the world should heart my city because Milan is a dynamic, international city full of subtle surprises.

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