For me, Milan is a perfect choice which my Italian friend chooses to live and work. For her, Milan portrays its charm as a great choice in term of transportation infrastructure , city convenience and beautiful architecture. She is the star and she leads the way.
I have never loved Milan like I do in 2011. It happened with my 3rd visit mainly because I had a chance to share my Milan’s experience with my Italian best friend for several days in March.
I was in Milan in 2005 , 2008 and then again this year in 2011. I am really sorry for the delay in falling in love of Milan. But I am now madly in love with Milan so I will create several series of my impression as a travel synopsis. It was truly a great time to absorb and appreciate the Italians ‘ way of life. I watched Italian TV every day and enjoyed guessing what they were talking about. It was enjoyable to learn what sort of news Italians are getting each day, what type of supermarkets are popular in Italians’ soul , DIY programs and so on. Many small charming corners and lanes in the city center of Milan are truly secret gems. I love cafe cultures in Milan and there are really a lot of cafe with different atmosphere. At least, you can have different best choices at all time in Milan.
When I was on my own, I enjoyed exploring the city by walking around Milan with a map and got lost or taking the subway ( Milan Metro – M Lines). There are 3 different colors representing different Lines which are Line M1(Red),Line M2 (Green), and Line M3 (Yellow) respectively. I love the subway system in Milan as it is easy to understand and very convenient. Apart from a subway, I also love a tram. Check out more information about integrated transportation system at http://www.atm-mi.it/en/Pages/default.aspx
I have my favorite department store in Milano. It is, of course La Rinascente (http://www.rinascente.it.),located near Milan duomo.
I went to La Rinascente often after strolling around the city center. La Rinascente is my place to relax and to enjoy. It was a real surprise from the online news, Reuters on May 30,2011 (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2011/05/30/rinascente-central-idUKB7E7FT00D20110530) that Central Group from Thailand has purchased La Rinascente for $291 Million. (205 million euros)
My previous work at Allied Metals (Thailand) was to design and to supply kitchens for Food Loft ( 7th floor as well) at Central Department Store (Chidlom Branch), Bangkok before I left for Melbourne for my post graduate study in 2003. It was a memorable working experience since Food Loft at Central Chidlom department store was the first of its kind in Thailand, I think. Right now, there are several places with similar concept now. I remembered that I worked with a famous interior designer from Belgium. Who is he? I will have to dig deep into my brain to recall. I was lucky enough to see the similar concept at Migros in Switzerland and included the concept in my show kitchen design proposal. (http://www.central.co.th/th/foodloft_concept.php). I include my free-hand sketch of the Italian island at Food Loft which shows the operational concept as a token of my fondest memoir. In this era, people use computer to help visualize. Back in 2003, with the limited work forces, I got only a layout plan without 3-D perspective and the elevation design from a design department. So I created my own version to communicate with the operators, GIANNI’S.
Central Department store, Chidlom and La Rinascente shares one thing in common. They are located on the 7th floor and my soul is always on the 7th floor of both places to explore and enjoy.
La Rinascente is an upscale department store brand in Italy. Its name was derived from Rinascita which means “rebirth” in Italian. It was found in Milan in 1865 by Luigi and Ferdinando Bocconi. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Rinascente)
I love La Rinascente mainly because at the 7th floor, food market & restaurants have plenty to offer in term of food choices and the ideal view of Milan Duomo. There are many things to see and eat at La Rinascente. I like Mozzarella bar Obikà, a chic food concept which I had a chance to eat once experiencing the fresh ingredients and learning how to customize my choice to enjoy with the magnificent view. My choice of hand-made Mozzarella is Paestum ( more delicate taste) accompanied by grilled seasonal vegetables and light basil pesto. I wanted to be a vegetarian on that day. Check out more about Mozzarella bar,Obikà http://www.obika.it/english/index.html
Apart from 7th floor, you can enjoy Design Supermarket at the basement of La Rinascente. As a shopping icon of Milan, La Rinascente’s basement area houses a wide range of products such as lighting, kitchen and tableware, office accessories and more. I had so much fun just walking around the Design Supermarket.
Before I left Milan, I also went to 7th floor of La Rinascente again to buy the foodies things. I bought Kusmi tea for my dad in Milan. I love the packaging of Kusmi tea a lot. You can find many Italian foodies products from various areas as well as from other European countries on the 7th floor. The products here are one of the finest connoisseur choices in town offering special truffle, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, artisan biscuits etc and many more. If you love food, just don’t miss the 7th floor.
La Rinascente is just a paradise. I bought a new foodie guide book here and I am so proud of having special price napkins from the home section of La Rinascente. There are several products designed by the international designers , but I found in-house brand called “La Rinascente” is also a chic choice with a reasonable price.
When I was in Milan, I walked a lot to explore the city and I drank a lot of Latte Macchiato each day. My final destination was always La Rinascente after a long walk. A good restroom is a culture thing! I have made my choice.
Transport Metro Duomo/bus 54, 60, 65/tram 12, 23, 27
Open 10.00 am – 900 pm daily