Photography by Brianne Lee

Photography by Brianne Lee

A City Dressed-Up To The Nines

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Last friday, my friend, Catherine, and I caught an early train to the small town of Lucca just North of Florence. Our first impression of the Lucca was the long, towering walls surrounding the entire city. I had read about these before. Apparently a lot of smaller Italian towns were once walled, but few remain completely enclosed. Lucca is one of the few entirely barricaded by these walls, leaving you to ender it through one of a few secret passages - small, hidden paths that go through or over the wall.

Given the size of Lucca, by the end of the day Catherine and I had walked around the entire city! We noted how quiet and peaceful of a place it was. No busloads of flashy-happy tour groups or shops tailored to sell all the same souvenirs. Only beautiful medieval buildings, spacious squares and quaint little shops.

We arrived back in florence around nine and in no more than twelve hours later, Catherine and I were back at the train station joined by two of my roommates, Abby and Krista, to venture to Milan!

When one hears “Milan” they might be likely to think “Fashion”, and with good reason.
The city itself is dressed up as though ready for a “night on the town”. Together with the bright colors of the buildings and shops, cathedrals, statues and fountains, the city of Milan is full of architecture completely unique in its artistry and mixing the old with the new.

The first day was interesting to say the least. After walking around and exploring for a few hours in the pouring rain we decided to head back our hotel and try to warm up. While checking in, we were asked to present our original passports. Unfortunately only one of us had our original while the rest of us simply had a copy of it. I'm still not quite sure how this could have slipped our minds, but our lesson was learned after spending three hours at the Milan police station waiting to get a half sheet of paper stamped that allowed us to stay overnight at this hotel. Oops.

The next day went a lot smoother. We took full advantage of the beautiful weather and decided to climb the Duomo di Milano. My were the views stunning!

The rest of our day included a visit to an Andy Warhol Exhibition, wandering the streets, eating surprisingly delicious street food and gawking at all high fashion stores. 

While walking around Milan, it’s hard not to feel a little out of place as young and fashionable Milanese pull off the latest fashion trends with style and ease. Milan is so much more than high fashion though and I think far too many judge the city before experiencing it. One thing that perhaps surprised me the most was how normal most of the city seems. Once you leave the central area, those fashionistas start to disappear and in their place emerge corner coffee shops, local restaurants and affordable stores. 

It was a long and tiring weekend, but in the best way possible! 


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