Many people say that Milan is not as beautiful as Rome. They say that Rome is an open air museum and that you can walk through the ruins of the Roman Empire at almost every corner of the city, while in Milan there is not much to see except for the Duomo and some other museum.
I love Rome but let me tell you one thing that I learnt about Milan: most of its treasures (and there are a lot!) are hidden. They are hidden in the wonderful internal courts of the city center private buildings for example or in areas that you would never imagine, as the stairs of the subway stop of Porta Venezia as I discovered las week!
Following the non-profit Italian organization FAI for the protection of the artistic and cultural Italian heritage I found out about the Albergo Diurno Venezia in 2014 when it was opened for one day to let people visit it for the first time after its closing. I missed the occasion as I was not in town but I kept an eye on it as I really wanted to visit it.
This underground day-hotel was created in 1925 to allow people arriving in Milan after a long travel by train or by tram to have a proper bath or shower, get their hair done, have a manicure or a shave. It was also open to people living in Milan, especially to those who didn’t have a bathroom in the house, very common thing at the time as buildings used to have only one outside bathroom at every floor.
The Diurno didn’t open its doors again (due to the bad conditions of the place) until last weekend and the good news is that it will be open every Saturday of December and January so, if you are in Milan and haven’t visited it yet, just take the chance and I know that you will thank me for that!
The conditions are still not excellent but the volunteers of the FAI made a great work cleaning the hotel and they are still working to give it its old glamour back! The Diurno is a piece of history of Milan, one of its best kept secrets! It is the glorification of the art nouveau, which is “so Milan”!
As an homage to my current city I decided to have a stroll in one of my favorite parks in Milan (Indro Montanelli), not far from Porta Venezia, after a long walk in Corso Venezia to admire the beautiful buildings and to mentally repeat that my Milan is a bit like me: not clearly beautiful but in actuality “bellissima” (quote from the Milanese actress Mariangela Melato).
I wore Imperial faux-leather pants, Max&Co coat and sweater, Asos hat, & Other Stories scarf, Tosca Blu ankle boots and Michael Kors buckle bag.