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Milan, Italy’s capital of chic, art to admire and food to devour

Marla Martin |
When you think of Italy, you think of art and good food. Indeed, the Mediterranean country is the birthplace of the world greatest artists who shaped the culture of the world. And among all beautiful Italian cities, Milan is one not to be missed.

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This second most populous city in Italy is one of the most successfull cities in the world: the city itself is reacher than the Ohio state! Milan Malpensa Airport is your gate to the city and since Milan Fashion Week will kick off on September 20 and run until September 26, 2017, make your plans accordingly. Milan and fashion are like Dionysus and King Midas. One makes another everything that touches turn into gold. And where there is fashion, style and art, there is Brera.

Brera is where artists, stylists and designers meet up to chill and relax. It is a kind of the milanese Montmartre full of cozy cafes, restaurants, antique shops, flagship stores and fortune-tellers reading future from the palms and tarot cards. But don’t expect to find affordable meal there. This is Milan’s truly artistic place surrounded by Vogue style of life, art galleries, and from morning coffee to aperitivo, lunch and dinner, between visiting one shop and another, there are so many interesting things to see and do around.

Milan’s streets radiating from or circling Duomo, the third largest cathedral in the world built over several hundred years in a number of contrasting styles and designed by at least 78 architects from across Europe. There are police guarding the doors to make sure you’re dressed appropriately and your cell phones are off. Taking photographs or videos inside are banned. The elevator will take you up to the roof where you will see spires and sculptures from a close-up and enjoy magnificent view of the city.

Catch the yellow trams number 1 that will take you to see Milan’s monuments. Any city in the world has some attractions you simply must visit. In Milan, these are basilicas. Beautiful Basilica of San Marco is a mix architectural styles. Known for its gold ground mosaics, it was a symbol of Venetian wealth and power, and from the 11th century on the building has been known as Church of gold. Basilica of San Lorenzo Maggiore from the 4th century is the oldest church in Milan with marble and mosaics walls and 16 Roman columns.

And there is Sforza Castle surrounded by a massive wall, host to several museums today. Inside the walls there is a large courtyard, a lovely place, a calming one to spend time sunbathing. Adjacent to the gardens of the Sforza Castle and to the Arch of Peace - a very much alike to one on the Champs-Élysées in Paris - you'll find the Sempione Park, one of the largest green oases in Milan with aquarium, sports stadium, Napoleonic arch, and even a medieval castle. Milanese are friendly as all Italians, so don't hesitate to approach for a small chat.

But when it comes to food Italians stop everything for food preparation and eating. Start with Minestrone soup you know so well - but you don't know how it tastes in Milan. With minced lard and rice added, it's something completely different. Risotto alla Milanese is served everywhere and trust us everybody here knows how to make it well. It looks simple but its beautiful flavors and creamy taste tells us that you have to be a master to make it. No wonder the city has 12 restaurants with Michelin stars.

After some beautiful snacks, it's time to get on your feet and spend calories strolling around some of the most beautiful places in Europe. 15,000 statues found their place in Cimitero Monumentale - the local cemetery. It is so beautiful that people just wander around and enjoy peaceful atmosphere. A total opposite - which is good if you love modern stuff - is the Unicredit Building. The tallest skyscraper in Milan is the celebration of the steel-and-glass business district but it is adorned with sculptures that create a holiday for your eyes.

If you think to visit the Teatro alla Scala be advised that you'll have hard time trying to get your tickets and you will sit where they sit you. No negotiations. You can also book a ride on ATMosfera, an old tram with the colonial atmosphere that is reminiscent of the "Orient Express", for evening with a dinner and wine. Close your visit in the Porta Venezia district and visit Planetarium. Or shop 'til you drop in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world's oldest shopping mall that contains the world's only certified 7 star hotel Town House Galleria.

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