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The most beautiful streets in Milan according to Corriere della Sera.

March 12, 2011

Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s most important daily newspapers, issued in its online edition a photo gallery with Milan’s most beautiful streets.

We think this is great list of the most beautiful streets of Milan including hidden streets and angles of the city that are not found in any of the city guides such as Vicolo Lavandai, Via Tamburini, the streets around Via Giambologna and Via Castelbarco and  Via Lincoln. Moreover it shows the different faces of the city: the elegance and richness of Via Tamburini and Via Alberto da Giussano, the medieval character of Via Cavalieri del Santo Sepolcro, the former working class atmosphere of Via Lincoln and Vicolo Lavandai and the absolutely unexpected English Style of the Bocconi area.

There is not much to add to this list and the team is happy that the hidden sides of Milan find more and more interest in the media.

Click here to go to Corriere’s photo gallery.



Parking in the rain

June 8, 2010

The other day it was raining cats and dogs in Munich when I parked my car outside the office in an area where parking is only permitted after paying at the parking meters that are placed all along the roads.

Unfortunately I did not have enough change to pay for the entire time that I would have been in the office and as it is was raining that much I preferred paying just for  the time that my change lasted and heading directly into the office, instead of getting soaking wet while walking down to the next shop to get more change.

After all being Milanese (or at least still a bit Milanese) I thought no traffic warden is coming by in that weather anyway. In fact in Milan when it rains you can park your car anywhere whithout getting a fine but oh was I wrong about the Munich traffic wardens….

I came down from the office in the afternoon looked at my car and bursted out in laughter. People turned their heads not understanding why on earth someone would start laughing because she got a fine… but I laughed and laughed because what I found on my car was a fine ticket, neatly packed in a little plastic bag to protect it from the rain!!!!

So here they walk around even with heavy rainfall and they are even so organized that they have raincoats for the fines. I guess this is what they call the typical German perfectionism.

Bye Bye Milano

April 12, 2010

It is over a year now since my last post on this blog and some of you might have wondered what had happened. But some of you already know. I left Milan and I returned to Germany.

I will not bore you with the details of why and when and how. The best way to explain it: my stay in Milan was like a love affair that is over, an experience that has been lived, a visit at the cinema when the film credits are on the screen. One is grateful for the experiences, the emotions, the time spent, the lessons learned but it is time to move on keeping the memories always in the heart.

So here I am now in Munich. The Germans say that Munich is the most northern town of Italy and so I thought it was more suitable for me than Frankfurt, which would have been the alternative. Since this massive change I pondered what to do with the blog and how to continue with MY-MILANO.COM now that I am not in Milan anymore. Surely I am again in a situation of culture shock as I have lived ten years in another country and moreover as I am not Bavarian, so theoretically I have enough material to blog about, but does that fit within the old concept? Do I have to change the name of the blog into something like: “How to raise a beer tankard without breaking your wrist?”, “How to wear a Dirndl without looking completely ridiculous?” or “How to pronounce panino in Bavarian?”

No… I came to the conclusion that the old title is just fine as it stands for adaptation to foreign habits and driving a scooter in high heels is just one example. And as far as MY-MILANO.COM is concerned Munich will be part of the Beyond Milan section until the content will be enough to create a separate website after all it is the most northern town of Italy.

So now, after long months of thinking, hesitating and with some distance to my Milan experience, here I am back again with more expat and culture shock experiences, this time from my own home country.

P.S. Oh, yes…for those of you who didn’t know “panino” in Bavarian means “Semmel” and they come in so many shapes, sizes and flavors that probably someone is blogging about it. Not me though!

The International Santa Claus

December 6, 2008

Just like every year it is time to write the Christmas wish list to Santa Claus and so I asked my daughters to prepare them and put them on my desk so I could bring them to the post office and have them sent to the North Pole. Of course my daughters know that in the year 2008 Santa Claus uses email and basically they don’t really believe in him anymore anyway but still we are keeping this ritual alive and enjoy it.

 When the wish lists arrived I planned to inform the grannies in Germany and the uncles and aunts all over the world about the desired presents but unexpectedly I found myself with a huge challenge I never had in the years before.

 A teddy bear is a teddy bear and crayons are crayons and the concept is easy to translate into other languages. But now I saw on the list names of Game Boy and computer games and realized they are not just to translate. The marketing guys at Electronic Arts or Nintendo think they are particularly clever in inventing different names for the same game for the different countries, adapting them according to linguistic or cultural particularities, and they even change the packaging. Great job, but apparently none of them is raising kids in a multinational family or their wives do the Santa Claus coordination.

And so I found myself doing this Google research and surfing through chat rooms and forums trying to figure out under what name “Stelle sul Ghiaccio” was issued in Germany, an incredibly senseless way to loose time.

 In the end I wrote my own wish list and number 1. on the list is not a rock from Tiffany’s but a International Santa Claus website, that mums with an International family can consult when they have difficulties explaining to their relatives in another country what item their kids want. 

(OK, I admit that depending on the size of the rock I might put it back on number 1, once my anger about the computer games industry is gone)

10 Things you really don’t need to do when you are in Milan

December 4, 2008

Inspired by the lovely booklet “101 cose da fare a Milano almeno una volta nella vita” by Micol Arianna Beltramini, a must read with fantastic ideas about what to do in Milan.

Here are 10 things you really don’t need to do when you are in Milan:

 1.    Whirling around on the bull’s private parts in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele:

Yeah, I know that everybody does it and it is believed that it should bring some kind of good luck, but honestly, you don’t really think that ruining an antique mosaic with your heels would have any impact on your life, do you?

 2.    Eating a Panzerotti a Luini’s:

Those Panzerotti are fatty, unhealthy and they taste just like melted Mozzarella and Tomatoes and afterwards you will feel it in your stomach for ages. That’s it! No need to queue up for 45 minutes to have one.

 3.    Eat at Peck:

I know I’ll get beaten up for that, but there is no relationship between the quality of the food and the price. The pasta is always slightly overcooked and it tastes not particularly sophisticated. It is just average. But still, absolutely do shop at Peck’s and take fantastic food home, and do have a chat with the sommeliers.

 4.    Visit the Viale Papiniano Market:

There are no interesting things to discover and no bargains to make. It is very probable, however,  that you will loose the content of your handbag and pockets. If you still want to go, don’t worry, everything you get stolen can be bought back a few meters down the road where the “unofficial vendors” are.

 5.    Feed the doves:

There are too many already.

 6.    Go jogging:

Considering the air quality, jogging in Milan does not have any health benefits at all but it makes you feel as if you were having an “inhalation treatment” from the exhaust pipe of a 50 year old diesel engine.

 7.    Rent a car:

Maybe if you grew up in Napoli or New York you can do so, but for all the Germans and Swiss, please don’t. No Botox can remove the signs of aging and despair that will show up on your face after driving here.

 8.    Try to find a Starbucks:

There is no such thing in Italy. I guess it is the only country in the world where they never dared opening. There are forums on Facebook where this phenomenon is discussed, so please, those of you who have information or messages of hope, send some comments.

 9.    Have a Cappuccino at Leonardo:

Very hip and posh cafè for Milan’s upper class owned by one of Milan’s most famous shop owners but unfortunately they do not know that you just don’t serve Cappuccino in Bone China. It’s not tea, Ladies!

 10.  Visit the Ferrari Flagship Store:

Sorry, I always thought those cars look like an ironing board and I have no comprehension for the hype. Why would anyone sane go crazy for any product in the same boring tone of red and for a licensing policy that as no concept or limits – from baby nappies to luxury bicycles.








Once again – Drive

November 27, 2008

Very recent events caused me to re-propose one of my older texts, that some of you might remember:

“My mom calls my car a battleship because of its dimensions. No, no don’t get her wrong, it is just a normal SUV and to the standards of Wyoming probably a small car, but in Europe these cars are considered huge.

I think battleship is just the right expression because that is what it is used for: going into battle. Traffic in Milan is a kind of war, survival of the fittest, where everybody in Wild West manner just makes his/her way disregarding everything, especially the laws and anyone else.

It took me about three years to learn how to drive in Milan. This might be because I am German and as such, I was used to obeying the rules. And so I was completely lost because I had no concept on how to react to scooters overtaking on the left or on the right or on the left and right at the same time. I had no idea how to cross a road when no one ever stops not even at a red traffic light and I never ever could park that car because I felt nervous when I had to use a non regular parking space and regular ones just can’t be found. In addition to all this, I did not know which roads to take because I was new in town. So I hated driving and if I could, I would avoid it.

For everybody who is just thinking: “Stupid woman, why don’t you use public transport”! I just want to note that very soon you can read about this topic, too in my blog and then you will understand why. So after a long and painful process of learning and adapting and also thanks to the battleship and a navigator, I drive in Milan and I drive nearly like a Milanese. Nearly because I am still rejecting as a personal choice the Wild West Manners and I still have my awareness for the environment and I still try to be as nice to the others as possible.  But I learned how to park on sidewalks without getting nervous, I do cross red lights when there is no reason to stop, I manage to cross crowded roads and I even double park the car with the lights flashing. I do turn the engine off though, always bearing in mind that this city does not respect the smog limits of the EU not even a single day of the year.

Are you wondering what the police are doing? …Oh, they just parked their car on the sidewalk right where the pedestrian crossing starts, left the engine on and are having a coffee in the bar down the street…

But now, when I am back in Germany, my mom reminds me that I am supposed to stop ON the white line and not directly AT the traffic light and I keep explaining to her that in Milan if I stopped so far behind the traffic light someone would pull right in front of me. She reminds me that I cannot park “bumper to bumper” because I would scratch the other cars and I keep explaining to her that in Milan EVERYBODY parks like that in order to save space. She complains that I start driving when the traffic light is still yellow and I tell her in Italy there is only red or green so if red is off green must be on. And somehow I feel like an unruly traffic bully. Just another classical expat-dilemma I guess.

Back in Milan where I am considered a slow, prudent and moderate driver I get into my battleship with the best intentions. With a Buddha like smile on my face I lean back, put on some music and decide to be kind in traffic. I stop at the next pedestrian crossing to let an elderly lady pass and I pray to God that the Alpha type investment banker in his Porsche 911 who was behind me and is just overtaking doesn’t run her over.

Ten golden rules to survive traffic:

1. Don’t expect to get anywhere in time and don’t worry, no one else expects you to be either.

2. Never expect anyone to follow the rules don’t worry, no one expects you to do either.

3. Just relax and breathe deeply.

4. Don’t try to find satisfaction by being one place ahead in the row (Is there any anyway?). Life is so much nicer if you don’t swim with the sharks.

5. Grant the satisfaction to be one place ahead in the row to a male driver. You’ll save his day and night.

6. Smile, smile, smile.

7. Don’t shoot, even if you wish to.

8. Get used to scratches on your car and don’t panic if you scratch someone else’s car.

9. Listen to good positive music.

10. In case of problems with the police pretend to be a stupid blonde foreign girl, you’ll get away with it much easier that way.”


In just a few days I will say Good Bye to the battleship. I bought a smaller car and it seems I feel save in it now. In any case I still don’t think that I will ever end up on a scooter.

Fashion Week?

September 27, 2008

Finally I feel inspired enough to continue my blog. I avoided to write in the last month because it would have been a constant moaning and groaning about good old Milan. Instead I preferred leaving the city for about two months during summer and now I am back just in time for another fashion week.

 Was there really a fashion week? Compared to other years it was hardly noticable in town. Taxis were available at any time of the day. No celebrity sightings, even though I am not looking out for VIPs, usually you always meet at least one or two in the streets but this year it seemed like no one came to Milan. Zona Tortona was a bit busier as usual but calm compared to what is happening during a “Salone del Mobile”. Even the press was rather unexcited about what was going on.

But then Sacha Baron Cohen came along and there we had the headlines throughout the world. One might like this kind of humor or not but it has to be admitted that he was the real star of the week. He brought attention to an event that had no highlights at all. Newspapers that in the days before had hardly commented on the new Ferré collection now dedicated entire articles to Agata Ruiz de la Prada’s runway show with Sacha.

At the moment I am still making up my mind about what is more sad: the reaction of the designers who showed no humor at all or the fact that the fashion week needs actions like that to get enough attention. Maybe Milan’s fashion business should start taking itself less serious and get into a more humorous mood, like the one we can see in Paris or London.