Saturday, 02 July 2011 09:53
Written by Gemma

I was in Milano recently and was very impressed with the city. It had been a number of years since I had last visited and I was pleasantly surprised.  There were a lot more trees than I remembered – large oaks lining the streets and many beautiful buildings in the city center.  The avenue for shopping  was very impressive. After travelling to the other major cities in Italy I was amazing in comparison at the size , the incredible design of the shopfronts and the spaciousness. Milan grows on you. It is not a charming city but a city of style – I would call Milano a designer woman as it is the city of haute couture in Italy. -  Be seen and be queen!!

One thing I love about Italy is that my breath gets taken away often. The Duomo in Milan is I think one of the most magnificient in the world. It is simply breath taking. When the Italians do a restoration they cover the work being carried out with a huge advertisement-see photo!  There was a huge add for a movie on the front side of the cathedral and the juxtaposition was really surprising but incredibly done-the ancient and the modern! I loved it. If only the ancient architects could see their beloved cathedral dedicated to a movie in the 21st century....!!! I love how the Italians do this type of things so well and so tastefully.  Design is everything in Milan. Be here or be square!!

If you are a serious shopper and wish to find all the best places to shop in Italy – I suggest you buy Susy Gershman’s book – ‘Born to Shop Italy” published in 2008 but things do not change fast in Italy  However there is a new version coming out in 2012. She offers the best places to shop for all budgets and not just designer clothing. 

Summer in Italy and the piazza outside the Duomo was filled with concerts and bands playing all weekend.  Next time I want to spend a week in Milan and explore the cities museums and shops seriously and so that I have time for a siesta after lunch for energy restoration.   As there is so much window shopping  and real shopping to be done – make Milan your last port of call and save all your shopping  and a space in your luggage until then and fly out from here.

I was walking up the designer street Via della Spiega where the famous stores like Armani and Gucci and Cartier… It was on a Thursday evening at 6.oo pm and all the stores were having cocktail parties with a waiter at the door holding a tray of champagne and a name list. I wanted to join them  - they looked like they were all having fun and I wanted to join the parties!! I was tempted to try to gate crash but unfortunately I looked down at my walking shoes and thought – “no not a good look for gate-crashing Armani”!!  – I would get caught at the door!! Now would be embarassing!!