Ruth and I spent 28 days in Milan. That's four even weeks and just shy of the full month of September. But what are numbers?
Milan feels like home. Walk her streets, sit at her caffes, shop her markets and see if you do not feel at home. She greets you with a smile and at her heart is a wonder, a marvel of architecture.
The Duomo di Milano is all at once majestic and terrifying. I was too scared to approach her complexity so I settled for a small section of sculptures that adorn her spires.
These are just three of the 3.5 thousand sculptures of the Cathedral. The numbers are astounding but the beauty is the true gift. Stare for a lifetime and there will always be a new angle, a new face, a new church that appears.
Neatly in rows with colors still holding on, the apartments line the canals in Navigli like sentries. Some taller than others but all in constant watch. Most days they are reflected in the shallow waters and at sunset they sing and dance on the ripples.
We stayed at an Airbnb in Navigli. This section of Milan is in constant flux. The streets and old canals are lined with caffes and restaurants and myriad people attempting to sell something. Late night it is a beacon, drawing in the crowds in droves. A person can hardly walk from one step to the next but the energy and life was exhilarating.
Not as unique to Milan, but still a part of her character is the abundance of bikes and scooters. Cities streets across the world sing songs to mark the day and the night. That song in Milan hums just a little higher tune, just a little sharper pitch.
It's said that Starbucks' Howard Schultz got his inspiration from the caffes and bars of Milan. Caffes are as prevalent as cigarettes are abundant (Schultz didn't seem to bring back that habit with him).
There is little else like the ability to walk into a bar or caffe, order a coffee, drink the whole thing, pay and leave within five minutes. All while having a conversation with your walking partner, the barista and the next patron to walk in the door. Perhaps you even had a croissant or crostata to accompany your caffeine.
Italy still has a ways to go to catch up with America (I'm talking North America) in coffee quality (and we're not talking Starbucks). There is one place in Milan that I found roasting amazing coffee and specializing in tremendous brewing.
If you are in Milan you must visit Sevengrams for your coffee. It is a must. I don't want to hear any excuses.
Purchase the featured 'Sunflowerman in Milan' print.