Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Luxury in 24 Hours: Milan, Italy.

I am so excited to tell you all about my recent trip to Milan! It was so wonderful just being back in Italy with the incredible food and oh-so-stylish men. This blog post is the first in a little mini-series I'm doing called 'Luxury In', designed to tell you how to have a luxury weekend away to maximize your holiday days, if like me, you only have a limited amount each year due to work. I feel like it's so easy to write listicles with a list of things to see and do, but this series will really show you and explain exactly what we did and in what order we did things to see as much as possible in a short amount of time.

The first in the series is 24 Hours in Milan, then in August I'll bring you 24 Hours in Geneva, and 48 Hours in Marrakech (because it's a little further away than the others ;)). So, what can you do exactly with just 24 hours in Milan?

Day 1 - Saturday

Jasiminne and I landed at Milan Linate around midday (we chose Linate as it's much closer to the city centre), and jumped into a taxi to our hotel, the 5* Palazzo Parigi. We loved our hotel, it was in the perfect location for exploring the city and had a real boutique luxury feel to it, with a certain contemporary grandeur. Also, obviously anywhere in this post where you see photos of me, Jasiminne took them (apart from selfies, duh).

After checking in and getting changed and freshened up, we headed for lunch at the incredible il Salumaio. I highly recommend this place for a relaxed and authentic lunch surrounded by the local Milanese. We had the most amazing burrata to start with, as well as a main course of fresh pasta, and just look at the cheesecake!

After lunch we walked it all off and wandered over to the Duomo via the pretty Milanese streets and one of the world's oldest shopping malls, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. A stunning example of late 19th century Italian architecture, it's a four storey arcade filled with a plethora of luxury stores and overpriced tourist restaurants.

The Duomo is situated just outside the shopping mall, and is the second largest Catholic church in Italy after St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. A breathtaking building of Gothic architecture, it looked glorious in the sunshine. Unfortunately the queue to go inside was absolutely huge, so we didn't go inside, however being Catholic myself I went to mass here on Sunday morning while Jasiminne went to explore an art gallery, and it was honestly one of the most wonderful experiences. 

I always love going to mass in European countries, there's just something different about listening to it in a different language in a church that's hundreds of years old. They make me feel so at peace and so relaxed. 

Yeh. My huge butt and thighs make my body in this photo look SO deformed.

To go to mass is free, however I always make a donation anyway and light a candle in every church I go into. If you go to mass you're only allowed into the area of worship, you can't wander around the rest of the cathedral, and you must go outside and join the huge queue and pay if you do want to go into the 'tourist' areas to see the cathedral. Anyway, Jasiminne and I took a few photos outside the Duomo, rejected the numerous immigrants trying to sell you corn kernels to feed the pigeons, and then walked across to the Terazza Aperol for an afternoon drink.

The cafe and cocktail terrace dedicated to the traditional Italian aperitif, Aperol, is located right on the Piazza Duomo, and is easily accessible via an escalator that's inside a small supermarket type of shop. The view from the Terazza Aperol is one of the main appeals, but if you want to sit at a table right at the front overlooking the piazza and Duomo then you'll need to order food. We just went for a quick cocktail, but the food here looked really good! Also you get free crisps with your drinks and they were pretty amazing. I ate most of them. And even though we were stuck at the back sipping on our cocktails, the view was still pretty awesome.

After cocktails it was time for a bit of shopping. We popped into Valentino quickly so Jasiminne could buy her and her mum some new shoes, and then got our first gelato of the trip and went back to the hotel for a nap. Also, thank you to Jasiminne for capturing hilarious photos of me in the middle of eating food...

We'd both been up since 3am to get our crazy-hour flight, so were pretty exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel and needed to be on top form for later! After an hour's nap and phone recharge session, we started to get ready for dinner. Jasiminne had to practically drag me from my sleepy slumber though. I'm telling you now, it's a really good job we're both good sleepers otherwise one of us would have been done in that reception demanding the twin room we'd requested (we think there was a room mix-up, you can read about it here).

We were going straight from dinner to the D&G Bar and then the Cavalli Club, so needed outfits that would guide us effortlessly from evening to night. 

I went for black jeans, a green silky top, black blazer, and black heels. Jasiminne opted for a cut-off jumpsuit and her new Valentino's. Obvs we had to take a lift selfie on our way out of the hotel...

We took a taxi to the Piazza Duomo to ObicĂ  Mozzarella Bar, which was once again recommended to us by Adam. Located on the rooftop of the luxury la Rinascente department store, this popular rooftop restaurant and bar has a prime view over the Duomo, which was just spectacular at sunset. It was a pretty special place, and the food was once again incredible. 

As they specialize in mozzarella we started with a plate of mozzarella to share, and then moved on to mains. I had a vegetable pizza and Jasiminne went for pasta. The pizza was so huge I couldn't finish it and only ate about half, but it was SO good! Dessert was some sort of tart/cheesecake-y thing for me (I can't for the life of me remember, and it's no longer on the menu), and creamed buffalo ricotta with black bee honey, orange peel and Italian pine nuts for Jasiminne.

After a very slow and relaxed dinner we wandered down to the piazza to see the Galleria Vittorio and Duomo all lit up at night, and then tried to find a taxi to take us to the D&G Bar. Uber's in Milan are crazy expensive, and even a taxi just 5 minutes down the road cost us around 20 Euros. There was no way we were walking in heels though. 

The D&G Martini bar was awesome. So sleek, so chic. You know you're there when you see s a security guard loitering outside under a large exterior doorway, but we asked just to make sure, and he smiled and nodded and gestured for us to enter. We went through the door and walked through a courtyard, and up to the main door of the bar. Even when you go inside the bar has a very inside/outside feel to it, with an inside bar and then a further outside area. 

I sipped on my Dolce & Gabbana Martini and took in the sleek black and silver garden we were sat in. We spent an hour or so people-watching and trying to decide who was a tourist and who was a local, and then paid our bill and went in search of another taxi (we took a lot of taxi's this trip - it's the key to saving time, and your feet, on such a short trip). 

On our way to finding a taxi we stumbled across the prettiest Italian street. How gorgeous is it!?

Finally we found a taxi and before we knew it we were driving into a park...a what? Yeh. I actually thought our taxi driver was going to murder us in a park, then I remembered the Cavalli Club is located in a park. Oops. Once again thanks to Adam (seriously, he basically planned our entire trip for us, I'm calling him my personal travel concierge service now), we were on the list for Cavalli with the manager himself, so we were given a VIP stamp and drinks token and let inside. 

It was certainly an experience. We enjoyed it for the first 10 minutes while it was quieter, but then it got super busy and the clientele were young, try-hard, and Jasiminne said; "Hello, Paris Hilton circa 2002 called, she wants her uniform back". Not to mention the Italian men who just never seem to learn what the word 'no' means, and insisted on asking to dance with us/swap numbers/buy us drinks multiple times despite us each time saying a firm but polite 'no thanks'. To be fair Adam did warn us, but we were determined to go and see the place for ourselves.

After an hour or so swatting away the Italian men and dropping our jaws at the outfits on display (one woman was actually wearing a velour tracksuit), we went to find a taxi to take us back to our marshmallow hotel bed. 

Day 2 - Sunday

We slept like babies, and awoke to another beautiful sunny day. I headed off to church at the Duomo via the Brera district, and left Jasiminne to do her arty thing and go to Fondazione Prada. The Brera district was SO cute, and I highly recommend wandering down this adorable neighbourhood to see a different side to Milan outside of the main Duomo area. I also snuck into the Brera Art Gallery to see the inside courtyard.

After church I went to meet Jasiminne at Colonne di San Lorenzo. It was super hot and I walked all the way there. Thankfully I was wearing a dress that is perfect for looking good in hot sweaty days. We took a few photos by the colonnades, and Jasiminne captured a few HILARIOUS ones of me...she literally said 'flick you hair around or something...' *ahem*...

Then we walked back to the Duomo to find somewhere for lunch. The walk to the Piazza Duomo even involved a Fiat 500 rally! HOW CUTE ARE THEY!?

We got back to the Piazza Duomo and found the pizza place that was recommended to us by EVERYONE. Except there was a huge queue (obviously everyone else had the same idea!) and it was a takeaway place with no seating inside. This was when I had a hangry diva fit. 

I hadn't eaten since the night before because I couldn't eat before church (I woke up too late to have breakfast), and by now it was around 1pm. If I don't eat regularly my muscles go all weak and I collapse. I can feel this happening a while before it happens, my muscles start feeling weak first, my legs feel like jelly, then my head goes fuzzy, my breathing becomes heavy, my chest feels empty, and I can't walk properly. Looking at that queue and looking at the no-seating thing I was like 'I literally can't stand for that long, I have to sit down and eat something before I collapse' (usually I can eat before this happens, but it has happened a couple of times). 

So we went to the nearest food place that had no queue. And it was the shittest pizza I have EVER had. Ever. In the world. It was disgusting. It tasted like cardboard and every bite made me want to vom, but I had to eat it so I could actually walk properly again without stumbling along grabbing onto things for support. Jasiminne was lucky and got to leave most of hers. I was so jealous. And SO sad that the last pizza I had in Italy was so bad. 

Anyway, hangry diva fit aside (this is why I will never be a size zero), we found an adorable little square on our search for another taxi (it's right behind the taxi rank on the Piazza Duomo). It looked like a scene from Shakespeare!

We found a taxi and directed the driver to a gelato place called Bianco Latte that was - you guessed it - recommended by Adam (FYI: I feel like everyone needs a friend like Adam in their life). The gelato was incredible, but a rude lady made me sad.

I was trying to speak in Italian and tell the guy what I wanted. I wanted the coconut flavour, which in Italian is 'coco', so I was saying this, and he just couldn't understand me. I think it's because I have quite a British accent, so I was pronouncing it like 'coa-coa' instead of 'coh-coh' like the rude Italian lady pronounced it, so it sounded like I wanted chocolate. 

So the gelato guy pointed to chocolate and I say 'no, coco' (coa-coa in my accent), and this Italian women tells him what I mean, I thank her in Italian and then she says to me 'You know, in Italy, it's polite to speak in Italian. It's rude to speak in English' I literally wanted to shout at her 'I WAS SPEAKING IN ITALIAN!' but instead just quietly muttered 'sorry, I did try'. I felt so hurt and it really bruised my confidence for the rest of the day. Anyway, I ate my delish coconut and blackberry gelato, got a large amount of the blackberry gelato in my hair and on my white dress, and then we went back to the hotel to collect our things and get a taxi to the airport. 

Our flight was around 4:30pm so we left the hotel at 2ish, and THEN our flight was delayed by 3 hours. I found myself questioning why everything seemed to go wrong after I'd been to church (the hangry-ness, the gelato, the delay), and just put it down to one of those days. But despite the lack of luck in my day, we had a pretty awesome 24 hours in Milan! A little taster of Italy to keep me going until I can get back over there for a decent length of time (next time I want to do a roadtrip; Venice - Verona - Bologna - Florence - Pisa). 

On the plus side though, we did get to meet the pilots of the airplane and take a funny face #cockpitselfie with one of them!


Pin For Later: How to have a luxury weekend in Milan in just 24 hours! Perfect for taking a quick weekend break to Europe without using any holiday days, or if you're on a tight itinerary and want to experience the best that Milan has to offer!

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  1. I love the idea for a series so useful. Milan is such a fantastic city to explore and kind of underrated compared to the other Italian 'biggies'. I actually feel sad about your last pizza, I would have thrown a diva fit too. We had a bad sushi for lunch one day in Japan and Mr S had to take me for a second lunch to make up for it!

  2. Taste of France20/07/2016, 09:55

    I love Milan. I was there at Christmas once, so almost everything was closed. I found a little wine bar that, luckily, was open, and had the most DIVINE gnocchi. Little pillows of heavenly flavor, dressed with just a little olive oil and parmesan. So simple, yet so otherworldly delicious. So Italian!!!

  3. Hayley Rubery20/07/2016, 11:34

    Girl your pictures look stunning! (the food looks INSANE) - in love with that off shoulder floral top you're wearing too!

    Hayley xo

  4. Looks like you enjoyed every second of your stay there! I can't wait to visit Italy!


    Tamara -

  5. Thank you! The food was so incredible, we were so lucky we had such great recommendations!

    Forever 21 ;) a bargain at around £15!

    C x

  6. Thanks Angie! It really is, we totally loved it and it was perfect for a short break - nice and easy to see and do everything in a short space of time. I'm so sad too :( I really wanted a second lunch when I was feeling more with it but we just didn't have time. So disappointing!

    C x

  7. The food there is just SO good isn't it!? We loved it!

    C x

  8. It's such a beautiful country!

    C x

  9. I've loved reading these posts about my favourite city, it really took me back!! Glad you had a great time at Obica, last time I went it was terrible but it's an old favourite so I'm happy to see it's back on form! Ahh so much nostalgia... and your body is NOT deformed, you look great! xxx
    Lucy @ | Life Travel Italy

  10. Oh what a great little series! I've not done as much exploring this year cause I'm off on a big two week trip soon & I never feel like one or two nights in a place is enough but you've totally proved me wrong! It's all in the planning - if only we all had our own Adam eh? x


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