Arriving at Milan Linate Airport around 2:00 PM after almost a full day of travel that took us from Dallas to Boston, London and now to Milan. We’re excited although we did not sleep well on any leg of the trip. We pick up our luggage then head to the exit where we find our driver who has been waiting for us. On this early summer day in northern Italy, the temperature is in the low-80s, and although rain is in the forecast, the sky is clear and blue.
The driver maneuvers his car on narrow streets in stop-and-go traffic and 30 minutes later, he drops us off in front of our hotel, the Hotel Lloyd, in the heart of the Milan. The hotel seems fairly new but is tucked in a group of older structures facing a street called Corso di Porta Romana. There are streetcar lines in front of the building which connect guests directly to Milan’s main attractions. We check in at the small and traditionally furnished hotel lobby where the receptionist quickly finds our reservation and gives us the key to one of the hotel’s 57 rooms.
Our room is located on the 6th floor next to the elevators and although everything seems a little dated, our room is spacious and comfortable enough for us to spend the next two nights here.
Outside the Galleria is the Scala Square where we find the Leonardo da Vinci Monument in the Piazza de la Scala. The great Leonardo stands tall on a pedestal above four of his most accomplished students.
Tourist are dropped off by the bus loads in the square and they slosh around trying to find the best place to take pictures with da Vinci.
The rest of the Duomo
Hotel Lloyd in Milan, Italy
Milan Duomo is so big. Can't get the whole church in one frame
So many high-end stores in this mall
Leonardo da Vinci Monument in the Scala Square
The Duomo Square and its church are beautiful
Inside Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II Shopping Mall
We spend a short time walking around the perimeter of the Duomo because we have tickets to go inside and up on its roof tomorrow. Since the Duomo is located in an impressive square full of restaurants and shops, we take time to walk around.
To the left of the Duomo is a big shopping mall called Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The mall, a cross-shaped building, four-story high with soaring iron and glass dome, connects the Duomo Square where the church is and Scala Square, where Milan’s famous opera house is located.
The Galleria houses fine restaurants, art galleries, and all high-end shops. Tourists flock to this place to admire its architecture, watch people, enjoy the foods and drinks and spin their heels on the testicles of the Bull of Turin in the center of the Galleria hoping it will bring them good luck.
The Galleria glass dome
People spin their heel on a bull's testicles in the middle of the Galleria for good luck
After a quick rest and shower, we proceed to see the city.
We get on Tram 16 across the street from the hotel which takes us directly to the Milan’s Cathedral or the Duomo, the largest Catholic church in Italy. As we approach the Duomo, we’re stunned at the sight and size of it. I love European churches but the Milan Duomo floors me. I’m moved by its architecture, gigantic spires, adorned arches, statues, and colors. How could they build something this imposing and elegant some 500 years ago with just manual labor?
Milan Grand Canal
Leonardo da Vinci and his diciples
Lee wants another picture of the Duomo before we move on
Lee walking along the Grand Canal. So many restaurants here to choose from
Our first day in Milan has been great
It’s getting late in the day and we both get hungry. Milan has a vibrant nightlife area that is full of restaurants, shops, and night clubs by the Grand Canal (Naviglio Grande) and that is where we’re heading. We take the subway near the Duomo and after a transfer and a few stops, we get out of the Porta Genova Station and walk along the canal. There are so many outdoor restaurants along the canal and streets next to it and we pick one that looks busy, has good foods and reasonable prices on the menu.
It’s about 7:00 PM and the restaurant is not very full yet so we are able to get an outdoor table and after a day of travel and walking around, we can now relax, watch people hurrying around us, and enjoy our first and wonderful dinner in Milan.
This mall is beautiful
Louis Vuitton window display
Outside the Galleria is Piazza de la Scala or Scala Square