Rome is a city of monuments and tourists but Milan is the real financial capital of Italy. This is where the city’s business is business, not tourism, and a visitor can get a real taste of Italian life and more importantly, Italian style.
I flew Alitalia’s sensational Business Class service from JFK to Rome. The foodie service is unlike anything else I’ve experienced in the sky. The cabin crew is trained by Michelin star-level servers and chefs on food preparation, plating and serving, creating a real restaurant environment at 40,000 feet. The flight attendants are even trained by sommeliers so they may suggest wine pairings. The food itself was spectacular, matched only by the great selection of Italian wine, champagne and aperitifs. The delicious food and personal onboard service were complimented by a very luxurious 1-2-1 cabin layout and nice leather seats that become comfortable flat beds for sleeping.
Instead of flying from Rome to Milan, I decided to take the Frecciarossa, Italy’s high speed train. I bought my tickets in advance right from the Trenitalia website and it was an easy two and a half hour ride from Rome’s Termini station right to Milano Centrale. Taking the train allowed me to see more of the Italian landscape, albeit at 185 miles per hour.
Where To Stay
Milan is lucky enough to be the home of the Principe di Savoia, truly one of the best hotels in the world. Part of the iconic Dorchester Collection (The Dorchester, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Plaza Athenee, Le Meurice, etc.) the hotel offers the legendary luxury accommodations and royal-level service the brand is known for. The Principe is located a short walk from the city center and the Duomo and offers a free limo service all day long. Even though the hotel was opened in 1927, it happens to sit right on the border of the new Porto Nuovo neighborhood. This sea of skyscrapers, luxury condos and apartment towers is the core of the city’s new financial district and also now an exclusive residential area.
What To Do
If you’re a fan of music, performance and theater, you must get yourself to La Scala, one of the greatest theaters in the world. Known formally as the Teatro alla Scala, the theater first opened in 1778 and hosts music, dance and opera performances.
With the help of Romano, one of the great concierges at the Principe, I was able to secure an orchestra ticket for the next night’s performance of Wagner. I was thrilled to watch the performance of “Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg” in such a historic setting.
No visit to Milan is complete without a viewing of Leonardo DaVinci’s masterpiece, “The Last Supper” which is in a convent a short walk from the Duomo. Visits are very restricted and limited and again, this was where it was great to have a concierge to help me. Romano came through again, securing me an afternoon reservation during my stay.
Milan is also home to the magnificent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world’s first (and still most beautiful) shopping malls. Opened in 1877, the Galleria serves the same purpose as it has for almost 150 years, showcasing the city’s best shops, bars and restaurants in a luxurious public environment.