Sex and the City’s Carrie Bradshaw put it perfectly, “I know all the Italian I need to know: ‘Dolce, Dolce, Dolce! Gabbana, Gabbana, Gabbana!'”
That’s the tune that Mom and I skipped off to Milan humming last week. As an early Christmas present, the hubs and I decided to surprise her with a flight to one of the fashion capitals of Europe and a stay at the ever so luxurious Park Hyatt. We sprung the news on her just as soon as she sat down for lunch at our flat after arriving on the red eye, and her jet lag immediately dissipated. Fortunately Mom’s a trooper. She arrived on Saturday, learned the news of this mother-daughter rendezvous, and didn’t bat an eye when I told her we needed to be out the door by 5am on Tuesday.
Mom got the expat travel experience, jetting off to another European city for a mere 36 hours with an 8-page list of things to do, see and eat. On the plane, we studied the options and mapped out a rough plan for day one and two. The morning went off without a hitch and were on the train, city-center bound, by 10:30 am.
With a slew of stores to visit, we checked into our hotel and briefly marveled at the room before fueling up at Peck, a beautiful Italian food market with an upper level classy cafe. The Milanese risotto and chanterelle mushroom crepes were delicious and perfectly enhanced with a glass of well deserved white wine- America was just waking up and we had already gotten ourselves to Milan! While we could have sipped champagne and eaten cakes all day, there was serious shopping to do. First on the list was 10 Corso Como, a shopping/dining/art complex that’s listed on every blog and website as one of the best places for browsing in Milan. We Ubered about 10 minutes from the city center to the lively Corso Como street. While the store was beautiful and unique, it was also insanely expensive, and Mom and I were in more of the buying rather than browsing mood. Since we hadn’t hit the lottery or robbed a bank on the way, we fairly quickly headed out to check the stores’ sister spot touting huge designer discounts.
I’d read it was a pretty puzzling to find the place, but these two blondes only walked a minutes past it before finding the secret garden. As promised, racks of designer discounts lined the shop, but nothing was piquing our interest. Our credit cards were burning holes in our pockets and with only 24 hours left, we quickly referenced our list for the next hot spot. We decided to walk back down Corso Como to check out the couple of other store before catching a taxi.
La Maison Momonì caught Mom’s eye and a beautiful poncho for her caught mine. She couldn’t resist, and an hour later we walked out with something fabulous for her. Next door, the gorgeous scarves and hilarious owners at Telerie Roberto kept us entertained for awhile. While they didn’t speak any English, I’m fairly certain the man in charge was trying to tell us that we could even buy one for our husbands, as he modeled the very feminine designs and wildly waved his hands in the air.
Another bag down, we Ubered to Cavalli E Nastri, the vintage shop in Milan. Flipping through Chanel jackets, Mom popped over with a stunning big, patent leather, aubergine Gucci clutch. Not much convincing was needed before she made it hers and me jealous of all the luck she’d had so far! Ready to find a treasure of my own, we walked a short way to where I expected to find the Bruno Magli sale store. For a minute, I second guessed my mapping, but finally, mom and I looked up to find the store name in faded letters on the window and the shop either closed or under renovation. We needed a cocktail.
Cova was a hop, skip and jump away and exactly what we wanted. We sipped fancy cocktails, nibbled on lovely little bites, giggled at the handsomely dressed waiters and chatted away a few hours.Just before the sun called it a day, we strolled back to the hotel for some spa time. So relaxed after a day of running around like two teenagers, we completely lost track of time and scrambled to get it together just in time for our 8:30 dinner at Ristorante da Giacomo. There was a brief moment where we considered ordering room service and staying in our PJs, but after potentially the best dinner either of us has ever had, we thanked our adrenaline for kicking in!
The restaurant, apparently one of Armani’s favorites, was so elegant, yet warm and welcoming at the same time. The waiters couldn’t have been friendlier, and all of the food was outstanding. For a starter, the restaurant serves a complimentary dish which was focaccia pizza that night. Mom was in heaven and proclaimed it to be the best she’d ever tasted. Our porcini mushroom and parmesan salad and fish entrees were incredible. Last but not least, our meringue dessert came with a side of complimentary chocolate tart (the waiter adored us) that tasted like the most heavenly batch of brownie batter ever. It was undoubtedly the highlight of the trip.The next morning, we left with a solid plan and treasure map in hand. It completely failed us and we walked around searching for an acclaimed cafe that turned out to really just be a coffee counter and a department store that was nothing special. But, we did take in a bit of culture by inadvertently walking past the tremendous Duomo di Milano nearly five times.
Needing to reassess our plan, we sat down for a quick breakfast at la Rinascente where we decided to put all of our eggs in one basket and head out to Il Salvagente. Less than a 15 minute Uber ride from the city, it wasn’t far, but it was likely our last stop before needing to head back to the airport. Neither of us were sure of what to expect from this multi-label designer discount warehouse, but it ended up being a total treasure chest. With only a few other shoppers, we perused every single rack, tried on countless items, and narrowed down our selection to a few timeless, classic, and gorgeous designer pieces. Giddily, we danced out the door back to the hotel where we picked up our bags and had a glass of champagne, toasting to our fabulous finds.
Before we knew it, the time had come to head back to London. At the airport, we did a little more shopping (can’t resist Italian duty free!) and dined on delicious gelato before saying ciao to Milano!