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Switzaly 2011: two sisters visit Zurich, Turin and Milan

Switzaly 2011: two sisters visit Zurich, Turin and Milan

Old Oct 12th, 2011, 08:04 AM
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Somehow I forgot a Torino highlight

• Palazzo Madama: thanks to Zeppole for making this sound so intriguing that we made it a priority to visit. We enjoyed touring the palazzo and the art and ceramic collections, but were especially impressed with the grand staircases at the entrance. Wow.
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Old Oct 12th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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How lucky you got to eat at both L'Acino and Le Antiche Sere. Both were closed when I was there in August, and I ended up with an indifferent meal at I Tre Galli, and an even worse one at EATALY.

The grand staircase of the Palazzo Madama is a triumph.
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 05:55 AM
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Day 8: Milano

I screwed up the days. The last entry should have been days 6 and 7. Onto day 8…

This was our last day in Italy, and we did not want to leave Torino. I actually had the wateries for a second as we said goodbye to the Hotel Urbani. We both really enjoyed this city. There was so much to see and do and taste, most of the people we met were friendly, and it was very easy to get around, both on foot and on the trams and buses. It’s a great place and I hope I get the chance to go back and explore more, as well as the surrounding area.

But, it was time to make our way to Milano. After an uneventful train ride from Torino to Milano and two subways (again, grateful for light packing), we made our way to the Hotel Genius Downtown, close to the Castle Sforzesco and the Cadorna train station, where we’d need to be at 4AM the following morning to take the train to Malpensa and our flight home.

I was really expecting to hate Milano. I had read so many negative things about it, and read so many times that it was “industrial,” that I was half expecting to see warehouses and smoke stacks on ever corner. Instead, once we got away from the crowds of the duomo, I think we both liked what we saw and wished we had a bit more time to explore (there’s never enough time, is there?) Maybe next time.

Here are the highlights of what we did in our short time in Milano:

• Lunch at Obika Mozzarella Bar, on the outside terrace of the Rinascimento Department Store: we dropped our bags off at the hotel and walked over to the Duomo, but decided that we needed to fortify our strength before tackling the crowds there. I didn’t have very many appealing choices in my notes in this area, so we decided to try the Obika and at least get some nice views. We grabbed a table on the crowded outside terrace, and had a fabulous close-up view of the top of the Duomo while enjoying a simple lunch of mozzarella and great big salads.

• Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle: we decided to stroll through this mall on the way back to the crowds of the Duomo, taking a few pictures of La Scala on the way. The glass arcades of the Galleria were really beautiful. I had read that it housed a lot of pricey shops, which it did, but was surprised to see a McDonald’s there, too, complete with “sidewalk” seating (though I probably shouldn’t have been surprised).

• The Duomo: nothing new I can say about the Duomo. It’s amazingly over-the-top beautiful and ornate. All of the crowds and vendors in front made me a bit grouchy while we were there, but it was certainly worth the aggravation to see it.

• Pinacoteca di Brera: unfortunately I was getting pretty tired by the time we made our way here, but even in my crabby state I was in awe of the huge collection of renaissance paintings. The building the collection is housed in is also quite interesting.

• Brera neighborhood: we walked around here a bit in the evening and had an apperitivo at a bar in the neighborhood. It was a pretty area with cobble stoned streets and tons of bars and restaurants (and not at all industrial-looking). We sat outside for a drink and admired the skill of the many bicycle riders bumping along the cobblestone, many of whom were women in heels and impeccably dressed. We also had a nice dinner here at Osteria di Brera (I had a really nice risotto with black truffles).

The one disappointment in Milano was that we didn’t have enough time to explore Castello Sforzesco and the many collections it houses. We did get a chance to walk through the central courtyard, and the Castle itself (and the moat) were pretty amazing. Many pictures were taken. Something else for next time!

Bright and early the next day, we walked to the Cadorna station (past quite a few people that clearly hadn’t made it home from the night before yet) to the Malpensa Express train and a mercifully easy trip home. We were two tired gals, but it was a great trip and I’m already dreaming about the next one.

The end.
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 06:20 AM
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Thanks for writing!
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 11:36 AM
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Thanks too. I especially liked that you included how you didn't want to leave Torino and how Milano surprised you for its pleasantness. The maze of Castello Sforzesco is a bear to visit quickly -- it really is as much castle as it is museum.

Milano and Torino are easy to dip into over and over again on any trip to Italy. The combine well with lots of interesting explorations, including into France, down to Liguria, up to the Italian/Franch Alps, or into Emilia-Romagna. I'm always happy to be in either city.
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 02:36 PM
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Thanks so much for reading and the feedback. I definitely hope to visit that region again and spend more time in both cities and their many treasures.
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Old Oct 13th, 2011, 03:28 PM
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"We both tried a Martini Bianco. LOVED. I was expecting more of a martini taste because of the name, but instead it was sweet and a bit vanilla-tasting and quite refreshing on a very warm afternoon!"

A friend who lived in Torino for years introduced me to Martini Bianco. It's my drink at home when I want to feel like I'm in Italy. The classic way to have it according to my friend: Martini Bianco (dry vermouth) on the rocks with a wedge of lemon.
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Old Oct 14th, 2011, 04:19 PM
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Ours were served with orange. I think I need to go vermouth shopping tomorrow!
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Old Nov 12th, 2011, 06:54 PM
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Question: did you ever figure out the deal with your credit card not working?
Nice report - thanks.
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Old Nov 13th, 2011, 04:57 AM
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Hi Doc,
No, we never had any luck with using cards in the trenitalia machines, so either had to use cash or buy from the ticket office. I had no issue using the same cards in the trenitalia machines last year, so I can only assume that perhaps they required chip and pin in the machines we tried this year.
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Old Dec 15th, 2012, 01:20 AM
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Belated thanks for posting! As I begin planning a trip to Switzerland, you and others are making my think that Chur will be a must-see.
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Old Dec 15th, 2012, 07:25 AM
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Yeah, Chur was a nice little town and very pretty.
Thanks for topping this - I needed a smile today and remembering this trip did the trick.
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Old Dec 15th, 2012, 12:45 PM
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Chur is a very nice visit, and is popular as it is a rail crossroads, so one passes through Chur going to various other locations. It is also the capital city of Graubrunden, (Grissons) so it is a very nice and recommended stop if one is also seeing other parts of Eastern Switzerland. It would be out of the way, however, if one is trying, instead to see mostly Western (French)Switzerland. Graubrunden is considered the prototypical "Heidi" part of Swtz. and is the area where the Romansch language was/is spoken.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 10:06 PM
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LOVED your trip report. very useful. taking note of those foodie and drink places you mentioned for Turin.
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