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I'm a 21-year-old journalism student. I spent last semester living in Florence, Italy. These are my adventures.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

An afternoon in Milan

Friday morning I woke up earlier than I have in ages: 5:15 a.m. It was the second of three school field trips. A day trip to Milan!
I waited around for the shower for a bit (one shower for four girls just doesn't work), but it worked out and I was ready around 6 a.m.  I left the house in time to walk, not run, to the train station. It allowed me to enjoy the calm, empty streets. I've been wanting to get up really early and hike up to Piazzale Michelangelo for the sunrise, but I'm not sure I can talk anyone into joining me — especially when I'm not sure I can get myself out of bed again without a train to catch.
I hope I do one of these days.

The high speed train spit us out in Milan's massive train station around 8:30 a.m. In the chaos of the metro, the business students split from us with their professor. Fabio warned us "be rude!" before we boarded the green line into the city. He said it's not like the states; you won't make it on the train without some shoving. So we all stood there linking arms with a buddy, elbows wide, game face on. As soon as the metro screeched to a halt, we quite literally stampeded the door. As it opened, a poor woman inside was greeted with 15 American students charging at her. We parted slightly to let her out and barreled inside. The lucky ones got seats, and the rest of us grabbed onto poles. We looked around, quickly realizing how unnecessary our entrance was and laughed. "I think Fabio exaggerated that one." Three stops later, he and Francesca lead us onto the metro the CCI family to a bar where they bought us breakfast and coffee. Delicious.

After the much needed caffeine, we headed to Corriere della Sera, an Italian newspaper based in Milan. Not wanting to be the obnoxious tourist taking photos with my DSLR, the morning went undocumented. Marzio Fatucchi, a journalist from Firenze, joined us for the morning. He spoke to the CCI students earlier in the week about Italian media and translated our tour for us Friday morning. The woman who showed us around spoke little English. They discussed similar challenges newspapers face in America from falling ad revenue to the shift to online and the importance of digital media. Just as I've heard in every class, multimedia is important! Not just in America either. 
It was really cool to see how media works elsewhere in the world. We got to see the large meeting room where Corriere della Sera editors gather several times a day. On the walls hung various front pages from the past century with significant events from Kennedy's assassination to Italy becoming a republic. You could see not only the history of the world but also that of the newspaper itself from printing only text to adding a headshot to more photos to color. There was a short period of time after WWII when it was called Il Nuovo to celebrate its freedom, but it soon returned to Corriere della Sera.
She showed us to the offices for La Gazzetta dello Sport in the same building. They have entirely different newspapers for sports. Not only that, but three of the top ten circulating newspapers in Italy are dedicated solely to sports. The offices were quiet and nearly empty. She told us they are busy at night for production and absolutely crazy around 8 p.m. Sounds familiar.
They gave us bags with Friday's editions of La Gazzetta dello Sport (which is oddly printed on pink paper) and Corriere della Sera and some other goodies and sent us on our way.

While walking to the center of town, we stopped briefly at an art school — one of the most important in Italy, Fabio said. We just formed an awkward cluster inside the entrance and expressed how much we wished Rocky could be there to tell us about everything we saw. Fabio said he wanted to be him. Bethany revisited the idea of a pocket Rocky. I'm sold.

We kept walking toward the Duomo much too quickly. I felt like I wasn't seeing anything.

When we arrived at the Duomo, Fabio set us free for 2 hours to get lunch and explore or shop.

Erika, Yelena, Amy, Caitlin and I set out to find food. We walked away from the center for a few blocks in hopes of lower prices.

Once we found a moderately priced restaurant with an outdoor patio, the five of us all ordered Risotto alla Milanese, which the city is well known for. It was really good, but I have to say I'm partial to the risotto we had in Rome.

There was a sale across the street, so naturally we went to peruse through the clothes. I have decided that any clothes I buy here will be items I can wear in a professional setting. I need to start building my business casual wardrobe. Caitlin, Yelena and Amy left while Erika and I looked around. After finding nothing, I walked outside and waited for Erika to make a purchase. By the time we were both ready, we had 15 minutes before we needed to meet Fabio, so we just walked back.

We followed Fabio through the city and to a book store. Upstairs a woman was waiting to talk to us about marketing. At this point, we were all tired (having woken up at 5 a.m.) and warm. The room was stuffy and dark. It just wasn't a good combination, but that's not an excuse. I was embarrassed to be a part of the group. A kind woman told us about her company and marketing strategies. Although not particularly relevant or interesting to me, I did my best to pay attention. I kept my eyes forward and watched her slides. Others weren't so respectful. Some dozed off, others whispered, a few snickered. It wouldn't have been that hard to at least feign interest. I felt really bad for her as she got visibly frustrated. I hope it didn't get to her.
We walked downstairs and followed Fabio to the train station. We had about 40 minutes there to shop (there were a surprising number of stores in the train station) and to find snacks. And that was our day.
I felt like I didn't even see Milan. We suggested the trip be two days in the future, especially when there are meetings and tours. They're much appreciated, but essentially ate our entire day.

Still, I can say I've been to Milan and I saw this clearly cool man:
(In all reality, I just took a picture of the street and didn't see this guy until afterward. It made me laugh.)

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