Having visited much of Italy previously, I had some idea what to expect on my long weekend trip to Milan. Still, Milan managed to surprise me.
1. The way people dress may surprise you
Like Paris, my host city, Milan has a reputation has a high-fashion capitol. However, also like Paris, this is not necessarily evident in the looks you will see on the street. Everyday people are not walking around in couture, but rather pretty normal clothes.
2. There is a lot of graffiti
A lot of big European cities have no shortage of street art, or graffiti. But, of all the cities I’ve been, Milan has the most of it. It is not uncommon to see an important looking historic building covered in graffiti at the street level.
3. It is possible to have less-than-spectacular food, but unlikely
In my experience, Italian cities really live up to their reputation for unbeatable food; Milan was no exception. Both landmark places—like the must-see Cat Café—and small, family owned restaurants had food that did not disappoint. Still, like any place, it is possible to stumble across some just-okay food, but it seems less likely to happen in Milan.
4. Public transportation is quaint
The metro in Milan is a typical metro. But, the mode of transportation my friends and I frequented was the above-ground trolleys; they were more convenient and also more fun. Stepping into one of these trolleys (that just drive on the street along with cars—but certainly do not blend in) truly feels like stepping back in time.
5. Seeing the Duomo really is worth the trip itself
The Milan Duomo Cathedral is one of the largest in the world. It took centuries to be completed, and the entire city seems to be centered around it, in a way. From every angle and elevation, you notice more and more details of the ornate architecture. There is truly nothing like it—it will humble you, as if standing in front of a huge mountain.
Giavanna is a spring 2019 SAI Paris student from the University of Florida.