This city is not really what I was expecting. My visions of Italian cities were bustling, lively, and sprawling. Instead Milan is something much different entirely. It might be the dreary fog over the city everyday, but I kind of find myself falling into the haze engulfing the city. I have fallen in love with this city.
Milan is not a happy place. People in Milan wear two colors: black and grey. Graffiti completely covers walls of every building. This gives the city a gritty, rough around the edges feel. Don’t be fooled though, the city is beautiful at every corner. Hole in the wall places at every corner serve food that would would put Chipotle and Jimmy Johns to shame, and I am not taking that comment lightly.
The city is challenging to take on, especially in the beginning. A group of classmates got fined 36 euros each for not properly scanning their tram tickets. The public transportation is integral to life in Milan. You can’t go anywhere without taking the metra, tram, or bus system. Going out for the night typically consists of a ten minute tram ride to the metra station plus a 30 minute ride to our destination. Arriving in this city was incredibly intimidating, and learning this all was definitely a process.
The city offers so many cultural opportunities as well. Upon the first day, we went to the Cathedral Square in the center of the city. The Duomo is a huge cathedral that is the identification of Milan.
We also went to the Inter vs. AC Milan game, which was just absolutely nuts. The fans were incredibly passionate and it rubbed off on us too!
All in all, I am very content with my choice to study in Milan. The nightlife has been fantastic, the culture is everywhere. As I said earlier, Milan is not a happy place. It isn’t a place tourists think of when they think Italy. Milan is authentic, pure, and stands on its own. The identity of Milan may not be a fun party city or a beautiful sun-soaked city in southern Italy, and I am completely fine with that. The first week or so was a bit tough adjusting, but I bought a ton of black clothes so they have accepted me as one of their own.
I’ll write another update next week when classes start. Until then, ciao!