That would be Como, Milan & Verona!
03.05.2014 - 04.05.2014
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We've certainly been on the move in the last couple of days. Yesterday we boarded the train at Como for the short hike to Milan where we opted for a short 'stopover'. We were all pretty tired and cranky by the time we hit the hotel so with stormy weather looming we opted to get takeaway Maccas (and, yes, it does taste exactly the same in Italy). We woke to a glorious sunny day and got into our short sleeve tops for the first time. As our train to Verona wasn't until the afternoon we caught a tram into Milan city centre (lovely old trams much like Melbourne's W class ones) to see the huge baroque Duomo.
We ventured inside the massive cathedral to marvel at the towering vaulted interior supported by massive stone pillars. Thank goodness this amazing building was spared the ravages of WW2 bombs. The strong smell of incense from the Sunday mass taking place, as well as the spooky sight of the embalmed remains of two long dead cardinals, soon prompted the girls to head to the uscita. We then switched from God to Mammon as we discovered the equally huge Galleria Vittorio Emanuele adjoining the Duomo.
Topped by a magnificent glass dome, the Galleria (known as 'Milan's living room' due to the number of locals wandering through), was full of all the expected swish boutiques such as Prada, Furla and Gucci.
Although some window shopping took place, let the record show that B made no purchases whatsoever (Sunday is a day of retail rest as well, it seems!). After a light lunch at a cafe opposite the famous La Scala opera house
we grabbed a cab to the centrale statzione for the train to Verona. They don't do things by half in Milan as the station itself was a huge stone edifice, erected in the Mussolini era, it appears.
The 90 minute Eurocity train trip passed some beautiful countryside including Lake Garda with distant views to the impressive snow-capped Alps. We lucked out with our apartment in Verona which is located in an old palace - Palazzo Maffei - right in the middle of a lively piazza in the old part of this beautiful walled Romanesque city. Here is the stunning view from our apartment window.
The Sunday market was in full swing in Piazza Erbe including two acapella male choirs competing for the attention of the bustling crowd at both ends of the square. Our apartment is in the white building behind the statue of the Venetian lion (the Venetians having conquered the city in the 1400s).
With the late afternoon sun beaming down, there was a fantastic atmosphere and you wouldn't be dead for quids as they say. With tummies rumbling, we sat down for an al fresco dinner to enjoy the passing piazza parade.
I decided to try the local specialty, squid ink pasta, but Lucia didn't like the look of it.
It was delicious, especially washed down with the local Pinot Grigio, also enjoyed by B.
Afterward we retired to 'our palazzo', to rest up for a full day of further exploration of this charming city.