Milano, the Glittering City

A Youth Backpacker in Europe
Part II Chapter V
Milano, the Glittering City

I was profoundly excited to have finally reached Italy, the arguably most frequented European country. Origin of Renaissance, Italian ice-cream, paradise of world leading fashion brands including my favourite Dolce and Gabbana, and the world renowned horniness of Italian men, the inundation of street kissing scenes and the constant bombardment of “Ciao bello!”, Italy surely never lacked of charming characteristics.

In Milano, the heaven for fashion lovers was however surprisingly less attractive. It was shocked to learn from my Milanese hosts that Milan is actually the most expensive city in Italy, even more so than the capital Rome, and the city is famous for businesses rather than tourism.

After three days in Milano, I couldn’t agree more with my hosts. The only attractions in the city were Piazza Duomo and Castello Sforzesco. Exacerbated by the gloomy weather and heavy downpour during my first day of visit, Milan was surely nothing more than a hectic business centre that was drenched in heavy wet blanket.

However, when the weather was delectable, it was definitely joyous to wander on the multiple-lane boulevard with a waffle con ice-cream capped with especially liquirizia flavour, and to immerse myself in the energetic and fast-paced atmosphere of the city.

I wasn’t stayed in the city centre. Instead, I spent my 4 days with my host in Inzago, a suburban area of Milano. It took me an hour of bus and underground rides each time before I reached the city centre. It is worth mentioning the difference between these two places despite the fact that they are just some tens of kilometres away.

The major distinction between Inzago and Milano was the disparity between the rich and poor. Certainly, the rich are those living in Milano city centre and the poor are the suburbanites.

It was very interesting to pass by the dazzlingly glamorous street cafés with people dressed up in flawlessly pressed suits or glimmering trendy dresses, as if they were gold coated statues posing with their extravagantly served Italian cuisines and sipping in their soul grasping cappuccino or espresso. You can tell from the scene that even the cameriere were attired in supreme quality uniform.

Contrary to the sparkling portrait of Milanese, people living in Inzago were severely plainly touched. However, the friendliness, the warming hugs, and the passionate culture sharing that got me accustomed to Italian culture sooner than I had anticipated, which were scarcely available in Milano centre was abundant here.

My hosts weren’t filthy rich people. In fact, they watched their spending cautiously. But during my stay in their house, the munificent of Italian hospitality was never inadequate. It was in their house that I truly experienced that an adventure in the local culture depends not on solvency. It could be simple garden picked fresh ingredients for pesto mixed with homemade penne pasta, accompanied by an afternoon of lazy conversation on a swinging chair with two gigantic and human language literate dogs.

English was of course a major obstacle. But the eagerness of Italian to make you understand of their conversations was what I truly appreciated.

It was indeed a good chapter of introduction to my Italian voyage and I was thankful to my Milanese hosts. They had given me the best hosting experience and they had surely proved friendly Italian hospitality plausible.

Continuing my journey, I came to Venice, the sinking city. Were there really artists clothed in Venetian masks in Piazza St. Marco? Join me next time in Sambal Delivery Post to find out.