Tuesday, March 12, 2013

pearls in prada

"ciao! grazie! dove? gelato!" my new (extensive) italian vocabulary was obviusly enough to get us through the magnificent streets of milan this weekend! yes, milan! the wide streets only made each piece of italian architecture seem grander than the last as you found it impossible to avoid this overarching feeling that you were somewhere luxurious. this lead to a leisurely weekend of a few gals meandering through milan, coveting classic prada purses, eagerly sipping espressos and stopping for our hourly gelato breaks... 

{ day one }

day one started before sunrise as we hopped in the car at 4:30 am to head towards the airport. a couple coffees, last week's stylist & a couple twenty minute naps later and we were checking into melia milano. food first! around the corner we found the perfect italian introduction at a family owned restaurant that filled our plates with fantastic pizza while wine is ordered by the liter... cheers! fueled up, we made our way surprisingly simply through the milan metro to get to the center of the city. we came out of the metro to the sights of the castello sforzesco where the medieval nobility had lived but now houses a few museums. we strolled straight down the center before circling back to duck out of the rain for a few, fatefully ending up at the foot of michelangelo's last work in progress! though the legs of jesus were looking sharp, he died before the rest of the statue could come together...  after the castle we walked down to the duomo, what feels like the true center, and took a tour inside. the exterior is so elaborate and bright, you're amazed to find how the grand interior takes you into a cave of enormous columns and walls of stained glass, it felt eerie and dark in a fascinating, historic way! to lighten up we made our way through the rain towards corso brera, the 'artsy district,' where we stopped for our first fantastic gelato, created dream wardrobes and grabbed a trendy italian meal. even with slightly (as in very) soaked boots, our first day was still a success! 

ciao milano! 
 you know you're in italy when...
first sight upon exiting the metro : milan's main castle
this fountain would be more fantastic if it weren't raining...
old old wall behind the castle
if you're ever in milan in the summer, promis you'll wander through the park? 
 inside the castello museums
the duomo!
regal looking lion
entering the duomo!
can't explain how huge it felt : larger than the notre dame! 
 statues like this guy were what I meant by fantastically kind of creepy...
 ...so then I'd look under my feet and smile at the floral flooring!
did I mention we snuck all this pictures? they apparently charge two euro...
my favorite nook in the duomo : loved the bright colors and dramatic statues
 galleria vittorio emannuele II : aka luxury shopping & people watching

later in brera we found missoni headquarters, I think...
my incredible caprese salad in brera
piazza castello : casually walking by the castle to get to the metro

{ day two }

the morning person inside me (that only comes out when en route to exciting places) got the group up & moving on saturday down to the southern side of the city. first thing on the agenda : caffeinate these girls! we stopped inside a cute cupcake cafe where I started strong with an american & croissant filled with nutella, perfection. we found our way down to fiera sangialla, what was meant to be milan's best flea market - apparently milan doesn't do flea markets... caryn described it as a 'garage sale' but I did manage to pick up a ridiculous pair of five euro sunglasses. so off to lake como we were! the train ride went incredibly quick and before we knew it we were strolling along the road between como lago & the surrounding hills of quite established looking estates... we all decided this rather large, orange and very italian house secluded on the side of a hill was george clooney's though the waitress we asked didn't seem to know. we stopped at a typical italian pizzeria for lunch along the lake & slowly enjoyed our pizza, giant calzones and liter of wine. the meal was topped off with a complimentary limoncello, whose sweet tart taste made me feel like I was truly in italy. we spent the next few hours happily (and slightly tipsy) walking through the shops in town, scouring for leather boots for maddy, cute bags for caryn and a cardigan for me. as it started to rain again, we stopped for one more gelato before getting on the train to milan and instantly passing out. our night consisted of wine in the hotel room, pasta & cous cous in the city & yes, more gelato... 

our first glimpse at the rolling hills and nautical atmosphere of lago como
 which one do you think is george clooney's?
 wanted to jump in & take one of these red buggies out on the lake
 the lovely ladies
 was slightly jealous of all the locals jogging around the lake this morning : looked perfect!
 the houses kept climbing up the hills in the most italian of colors
 lakeside view, large trees & a hidden garden : what more do you need?
by now we were feeling very italian 
 I was dying to know what was up those steps... the gate looked a hard to hop though
 the back of our fantastic lunch spot! (we ate out front by the water)
 como lago duomo
this was in just about the middle of the city so we circled it shopping
beth & I enjoying our last minutes before the rain
 one of the many incredibly italian & wonderful shopping streets of lake como
the prettiest pasta I've ever seen
 I loved this white wall someone had painted to look like a ship : quite convincing, no?
the single tugboat was calling for a photo-op
new favorite gelato flavor : nocciola (hazelnut)
 so italian we paid for still water...
de ja gelato? 

{ day three }

walking outside sunday with our bags in tow, we were devastated it was our last day - the sun was finally shining! we had two goals for the day : designers & duomo. for the first we headed down corso buenes aires where we heard we could find good deals and after stopping in plenty of shops to debate over italian leather (a bright pink furla was beth's final decision!) & a street-side panini lunch, we finally found the fake designer garb we had been not-so-secretly scouring for. though they were willing to haggle to my price, the faux prada & chanel bags were just a bit too fake looking for our taste so we moved on back towards the center of the city. the piazza del duomo was packed today & people watching was at its prime! while caryn & maddy couldn't tear themselves away from the sunny square, rachel, beth & I took on the 250 stairs to the top of the duomo with my jaw dropped the entire time. the cathedral has been impeccably reserved as each statue still has hd level detail & the unique style of the spires and arches gave the stack of stones a luxurious quality and a historic sense that reflected what we had seen inside. from the top, we found ourselves quite literally on the roof of the duomo and followed the status quo to lay down on the slanted sides and soak up as much vitamin d as possible before the thought of leaving could even cross our minds... though the city wasn't as picturesque as paris from the top, the duomo itself has been my favorite so far! when we finally made our retreat back down, we found our friends & grabbed one last gelato to enjoy in the piazza sunshine as we swayed to a young italian jazz-ish band and I could swear credits were about to roll to signal the end of the movie moment... ciao milan!

 hello duomo!

eggplant, zucchini & mozzarella please!
 first flight up the duomo steps
 crowds soaking up the sun in the square
 at one point every pigeon in the entire piazza took flight and swarmed around in some sort of choreography before landing on top of the statue... quite frightening actually
looking up just made it all the more better
incredibly dorky self-picture in the square
I couldn't get over how great each statue still was

my attempt to dress italian in all neutrals...
I swear the duomo just keeps going & going & going
beth, rachel & I making our way up top
can you find the only moon & sun in the entire cathedral?
full view of milan : obsessed with how these guys stand on top of it all

oh hey...

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