Italy | Milan

If you are a lover of Paris you need to visit Milan. Two cities currently fighting for my top spot.

Given that Napoleon built a highway connecting the two, it comes as no surprise that they bear a few similarities.

Both cities have monumental Arch’s and iconic streets and, Milan is like pretty like Paris but on a much grander scale.

I am a sucker for history and this city is just dripping in it. From walking down roads built by Napoleon to passing through old city walls. There is a piece of history standing boldly and beautifully around round every corner.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s Horse

Beyond the Parisian similarities there are many unique characteristics to Milan including a castle which was used as the city’s protection before providing a home to the Lords of Milan; A palace that housed Napoleon on his stays; a 7ft sculpture of a horse by the Leonardo Da Vinci and, Stefano Boeri’s Vertical Forest, to name a few.

The Vertical Forest was actually one of my favourite sights. So unlike anything you have seen before, a great touch to dress up a skyscraper and the autumnal colours add an extra hint of elegance.

Unfortunately,  I didn’t get the chance to take my own photograph so I have borrowed this one.

 If history and sightseeing isn’t your thing, Milan still has plenty to offer.

Being regarded as one of the fashion capitals of the world, Milan provides a stunning collection of luxury designer shops combined with some popular high street shops.

The shopping experience here is beyond our wildest dreams.

Not that we would expect anything to the contrary from the fashion capital of the world!

Having said that, I am a girl who loves to shop but shopping was the last thing on my mind.

Especially when we reached the Cathedral. A landmark which Milan is famous for and after seeing it with my own eyes, I can totally understand why.

Milan Cathedral

 

It quite literally takes your breath away.

Considering we told our tour guide that we weren’t too bothered about seeing the Cathedral (oops) and stumbled upon it by accident, I’m really glad we did!

There are just no pictures that could do this beautiful building any justice whatsoever, let alone capture the atmosphere.

I got a quick video snippet of the Cathedral surrounded by hundreds of people with musicians playing in the square – I will post it on my Instagram (@contourallure) so you can get and slight feel for the place.

One thing you should be aware of is the sheer volume of people here, even in comparison to London. It is extremely busy. So when lunch time rolls around, queues  for food are the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever seen! I mean they were so long it would probably be quicker to go home and cook a meal yourself! The food is delicious though so I can totally understand all the commotion that seemed to be going on in pretty much every eatery.

I love that the pizza slices are bigger than my head!

 

I truly enjoyed this city and I can’t wait to return. It definitely ranks highly on my list of places to recommend.

Well of course it does. Offering huge amounts of culture, shopping, food, history, unique little quirks and not to mention being totally picturesque – why wouldn’t you want to visit?

One of the many quirky little features lining the streets.
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Italy | Lake Como

​After many years of saying I’m going to go to Italy this year, my feet have finally touched down on Italian soil. 
We were picked up by private transfer and chauffeured to the Grand Hotel Britannia Excelsior on Lake Como.

If I asked you to think of an Italian cliché what would you come up with? Well, mine would be the phrase Mama Mia so you can imagine the humour on my face when our driver kept shouting out Mama Mia at the traffic. oh we have definitely arrived in Italy!

Our first glimpse of Lake Como.

Even in the absence of the sun, the beauty of this place shines through. The attitude that comes with the low lying clouds is mysterious and endearing.
This was our very first view of the much coveted destination of Lake Como. A place which hosts celebrities such as George Clooney, Richard Branson and, my idol and her husband – Posh and Becks! (Oh the fan-girling that would ensue should I bump into the Victoria Beckham!)

The Beckham’s house is that pretty impressive white one at the water front.

Down the very narrow and winding roads is the town of Como.
It was recommended to us that we visit the Como markets. 

I have to say that they were quite disappointing.  It may have had something to do with the heavy rain but in all honesty, I won’t be recommending them. There was the odd cute stall but nothing to really shout home about.
We strayed down the cobbled roads to head to the main square. There was so much beauty around, so much detail gone into each architecture, each sculpture and, each window display that we never actually made it to the town square.

A quaint yet luxurious looking chocolate shop called Diamanti played a big role in keeping us from the town centre. The temptation was just too strong to resist.

Now let me tell you, if I could capture any smell and share it with you, this would be the one. The aromas of freshly made chocolate and coffee mixing in the air was just something else. 

There are many things Italians are famous for and coffee is right up at the top of the list. On the barrista’s recommendation a round of macchiato con cioccolato was ordered.

The drink was very similar to a mocha except that the chocolate at the bottom was real, rich, thick chocolate and the coffee was so strong that if it wasn’t served in the tiny cups it came in, it would have been dangerous.

If ever you have the pleasure of visiting this town, Diamanti is a must for a coffee stop.  I Daren’t try the chocolates for fear of being unable to stop but I have no doubt that they taste as delicious as they look.

There was definitely plenty more that this town had to offer but time flies when you’re having fun. As the sun set over this beautiful city it was time for us to leave.

Our attendance was requested for a black tie gala at Lake Como this evening so back we headed to change into our gowns and bow ties ready to dance the night away.

And we did indeed dance the night away…