Dolce far niente (Venice & Milan)

Finally taking back the timeline, just to catch up and be ready on time for a big surprise in September. I’ve been away for so long, and I must confess I missed to write. This time the stories come from an ancient but beautiful country, where food, people, landscapes and history blend harmoniously with the only purpose to enchant the new visitors… Ciao Italia!

Ah, and before you start, click here for the Italian playlist I have prepared for you, a careful selection of my favorite songs, the ones I liked since my teenagehood and the ones I discovered when I was learning Italian. Any additions are of course welcome 🙂

After my quick trip to Paris, my friend and I took a train from Geneva to Milan. On our brief visit to the city we went first thing to a Café, it is unbelievable but I realized sometimes we tend to walk until we are exhausted and then sit down just to eat in silence, but while in Italy, a coffee is a great opportunity to chill and talk, so we sat and enjoyed of a long and fun conversation. When I am travelling with friends, I like not having Wifi because then I have no excuse to go through my notifications and miss the chance to interact properly with lovely people I don’t see often, seems just right, don’t you think?

Out next stop was Castelo Sforzesco, which has very nice architecture, that looks quite simple from the outside but has delightful details inside. After going through, and past the little bridge on the back, we found the Parco Sempione gardens with an impressive view of Arco della Pace, such an spiring view, slightly foggy jet charming.

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Details inside Castelo Sforzesco

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Arco della Pace

Then we took Via Dante until Piazza del Duomo. I had seen lots of pictures of Il Duomo di Milano, but sincerely once there, the view and atmosphere are absolutely breathtaking. Needless to say we walked up all the way to the roof of Il Duomo, where we spent a great deal of time taking pictures of details and the view over the roofs, until of course my camera ran out of battery.

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Duomo di Milano
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Roofs of Milano

After Il Duomo we visited Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II where we spun three times on one heel for good luck, or at least that’s what the urban legend says. A little bit of shopping after we were ready for bed, for the next days had a gorgeous spectacle waiting for us.

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Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

In the morning we went to the train station, which is a very impressing building and to be fair, one of the most beautiful train stations I’ve seen so far. I can never help to sit by the window because I like to daydream and just get lost in the view. Sometimes it does pay, for midway from Milan to Venice I saw the sign of Verona, the town where the Romeo & Juliet story unfolds according to Shakespiare, although we could not stop, it made me feel like some stories can indeed be real, and some things we imagine can somehow become true.

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Outside Milano Train Station

When the train arrived to Venice, the magic began. As soon as we left the station the view of the old constructions, the Grand Canal and the vaporettos welcomed us. I can certainly say I was not the only one feeling like it was some kind of heaven, or a dream, I just stood there for a couple minutes admiring the nothing less than marvelous spectacle of Venice right in front of me.

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Outside Venezia Santa Lucia

The vaporetto stopped and we got off at Ponte di Rialto, and off we went to find out where our hotel was, one thing we knew before going to Venice was that it is perfectly okay to get lost in the narrow passages and channels. As it began to be usual for me, it took no time to find the hotel (only a few minutes). There was a difference between the dreamy view when you walk along the Grand Canal and the busy narrow streets between the old buildings, where stores, restaurants, cafes and hotels compete for your attention.

Venice is one of the cutest places to wander around, the architecture is something that has no comparison, and for some reason everyone is happier than anywhere else, it must be the only place in the world where people who get lost keep smiling, it seems that the idea of the sinking city does not worry anyone at all, certainly did not bother me at all either.

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Somewhere in Venice

 

We found Piazza San Marco by chance, rather close to our hotel. At night there is live music and lights around, it has the perfect romantic environment one can imagine. Whether you can speak Italian or not, the sound of that language is simply delightful, more like a song, not romantic yet sweet and inviting, of course it was my opportunity to practice Italian and I loved it, Italians have this charming way of behaving, so gentle, attractive and joyful.

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musicians at Piazza San Marco

The next morning we started at Piazza San Marco, early in the morning is one of the best times to see it because there are not many souls around, and it is not flooded yet, although little puddles start forming at some spots, those little puddles become later one single mass of water, so beware to take water resistant shoes in your suitcase.

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Piazza San Marco
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Piazza San Marco

Venice seems like a big maze, where there are many ways in and out, inviting you to try and find your way, challenging your sense of location, which can be tricked easily by the details you find along your way. It is like a private fairy tale where you become a kid and start following the shiny beautiful things calling your attention, but you forget to drop the bread crumbs, until at some point there are no more tourists around, and the streets become silent, mysterious, not scary, so the adventure begins again to find the way back, and not precisely using the same way you came.

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Map of Venice
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We kind of found Pinocchio
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A floating market

In Venice we just started to walk wherever we wanted, chatted as much as we wanted, we spoke about fun things, we laughed hard, if we wanted to we just followed random people with a San Bernardo and then turned back, or we went shopping and suddenly ended up eating something and forgot about what we wanted to shop (which happened often).

We sat for long time at cafes catching up, when it was sunny we sat under the sun on the stairs of a little bridge, we looked at the endless couples walking around holding hands, some of them on honeymoon, others for their anniversary, others getting married, we watched the Gondolas being shaken by the wind and waves, we watched the vaporettos leaving white traces on the Grand Canal, but mostly we lived each moment to the fullest without worrying too much about anything, dolce far niente Italians say.

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Gondolas
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Somewhere in Venice
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The more coffee I had, the happier I was

Travelling with a friend is one of the most incredible ways to travel, especially when you have a friend with whom you laugh, learn, share opinions, engage in meaningful conversations, and most importantly share the love for travelling, a friend who always keeps it cool, even when the lady at the perfum store thinks you two are a couple :), may it be because it is a destination mostly visited by couples? Anyway…

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Here is to friendship, to travel, and to my love for Italy and its food, landscapes, people, language and of course every single place of that gorgeous country, which by the way I need to explore more. In the meantime…Hasta pronto! See you soon! Auf Wiedersehen! A presto! Au revoir!