I LOVE ITALIA SERIES: PART ONE Continued …
- Getting to Milan and where to Stay
- What to do in Milan
The Duomo shown below is the Cathedral and the anchor of the city in the Piazza del Duomo, Milan’s beating heart. Some brief facts for you … There are 135 spires to this magnificent marble structure. The main one is nearly 400 feet tall and can be investigated closer in a breathtaking walk on the roof. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was the Duomo; four centuries in fact for it’s completion!
THE LAST SUPPER
Leonardo’s The Last Supper measures 450 × 870 cm (15 feet × 29 ft) and covers an end wall of the dining hall at the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. An emotional experience, be warned that this is a very popular attraction, and it’s advisable to attempt to book well ahead of your visit … or prepare to be disappointed. An excellent audio guide helps you to make the most of the painting. http://www.tickitaly.com/tickets/last-supper-tickets.php
LAGO DI COMO
Well, who would have thought George Clooney had good taste? Most people I guess, and he does. He reputedly has a home in Cernobbio on Lake Como. I haven’t been invited to one of his summer soirees there yet. Weird, I know. Anyway … only 20 short miles up the freeway from Milan opens up a new world. This Lake is Y shaped and around 30 miles long, flanked by sheer mountains on either side and has characterful villages dotted along its shores and on the mountainside. The town of Como itself at the southern end is surprisingly lacking in character; my advice is drive right by.
Like Georgie boy, Cernobbio is my town of choice and home to one of the world’s iconic hotels, Villa D’Este. The rates are too high for me, but if you are on a special anniversary trip maybe? Or head there for a drink by the lake, if they’ll let you! Otherwise in the real world, rack up some welcome reward nights on Hotels.com at the Regina Olga, a decent clean hotel 20 steps to 6 restaurants and right next to the ferry which takes you to Bellagio; which would make a great day trip and an excuse for a boat ride across the glittering water.
Lake Como was described to me (by a guide book 15 years ago!) as “impossibly romantic”. I remember scoffing at this strange claim. Well, they were right, and I was wrong. This place is what dream honeymoons or weddings are made of.
Now a restaurant to visit while staying in Cernobbio is El Gatto Nero (the black cat). Take a taxi because it’s half way up the mountain by hairpin roads, reserve a table by the edge of the terrace, bring hungry family and good friends, hope for a full moon, and you will have a meal to remember forever.