Trapsing through Northern Italy

Last week, I made a work trip to Milan. Once I was done with the work part, I stuck around and Carolyn flew down and we had a Valentines weekend together in Italy. Allow me share with you our weekend. If you’d like to see all the photos we’ve taken, here’s a document dump. And if you’d like to see a larger version of any photos below, just click on the photo.

We decided to see about some pretty areas around Milan and settled on Lake Como. It’s a pretty Y-shaped glacial lake nestled up against the Alps. In the summer, it’s a very popular tourist destination and place for the rich and famous to buy villas and show off their wealth. In the winter, it isn’t dead, but it’s not quite the hot spot it is when the weather is warm. To get there requires a train trip, so I’d be remiss not to show you the train shed in the massive, monumental train station. It’s an obvious product of fascist bravado, but it kind of works:


Como is the main town, but you can take a boat up the lake and check out the cute villages that dot the coast line. Check out how nice the lake and surrounding area is:


Note the beautiful alps in the background. Not too shabby.

We took a tour of Torno, one of the cuter villages along the lake. It’s got wonderful winding streets and curves in various directions, affording wonderful spots to sit and soak in the scenario. This is the local church:


We headed back to Como on another boat and wandered the town, eventually having some tasty pizza with a view overlooking the lake and mountains. Then we took a funicular (which is a train that is pulled up a mountain by a bigass cable) to Brunate, a town overlooking Como, where we froze our asses off but got to see this:


(definitely click on this one to see a bigger picture. Nice panorama!)

We had a hotel room in Milan, so we needed to say good bye to Como at some point. Now, this being Valentines Day, you’d think a nice meal was in the cards. While we’d had a lovely meal the night before, I’d also come down with a nasty cold and, by Saturday night, I was a wreck. So we improvised:


A Valentine’s meal fit for a sick man and his wonderful wife.

Our second day, we decided to do some sightseeing in Milan before we had to jet back to London for work. Now, the biggest monument is the Duomo. Take a look and you’ll understand why:


It’s a gigantic, wonderful Gothic church with amazing ornamental work all over the facade. You’re able to climb up to the roof and check out the views as well as the art work up close.


It really is an amazing church. In all my travels to Italy, I’d not yet been to Milan, but I’d been waiting for a long time to see this church in person. It was worth it.

Nearby, through an ornate 19th century version of a mall (man, they were far more attractive places back then) we came upon La Scala, which is one the pre-emminent hotspots for opera, particularly the late Romantic opera of folks like Verdi and Puccini. Now, we came up signs showing we’d missed a concert in the hall by about 30 minutes and pondered trying to just poke our heads in when a nice surprise happened. Two men were replacing the posters outside the opera house for the next show. These are some pretty high quality poster style ads and they were just throwing them out when they replaced them. The got to the one near us and handed it to us instead of throwing it out. A nice memento of our time there!

We finished our time in Milan before an excrutiatingly inefficient trip back to the airport by walking along a district southwest of the Duomo that is centered along a nice canal. It’s not Venice, but it’s pretty.


We found a lovely place for a nice lunch there. I managed to get paparedelle with wild boar sauce. Always a favourite of mine! Alas, it meant it was time to head out. A short time, but fun for the whole family (except for Chewy who was stuck in London! 🙂 ).

2 Responses to “Trapsing through Northern Italy”

  1. Mom and Dad Says:

    Your document dump is very impressive…that Duomo is amazing. I didn’t realize that there is a “body” at the top of all of those spires. I wonder if any have ever fallen down or been struck by lightening? And the inside of the church is gorgeous. My favorite picture is of the Palace Hotel – it looks like it’s in a small town – probably in the lake district.


  2. anne Says:

    HA! What is it with Matt and chocolate and cheese? They were one of the few things I always knew would be in his fridge! Hope you’re feeling better!