I call Milano my hometown… even though I was born in Puglia, in Bari (a fascinating city that I will talk more about in a future blog entry!). And I couldn’t be more proud of my city!

Milano… a classic arrival point in Italy – at Malpensa Airport, some fifty kilometers northwest of the city. “Get off your plane, pick up your rental car… and drive on to your first destination! To Venice? To Florence? To anywhere but Milano itself…”

This was the once classic travel advice that many travel agents in America would give to their clients heading off on their first trip to Italy… anywhere but Milano. Milano, a drab, grey city of Commerce. Busy people, bustling about town, moving on to their next business appointment. Etc…

Yes, old myths are slow to die… but my hometown is today a genuine world class tourist destination on its own! A magic blend of old and new. A city that is alive, proud of its past… and now also proud of its dynamic new neighborhoods and modern architecture. Great restaurants. Famous museums. Great parks. Great shopping. Great hotels, too. Home of fashion and design.

The Duomo, the Galleria, the Castello. La Scala… oh, and did I say shopping?

I am sure that in the coming months I’ll be coming back to Milano to share more about its traditional attractions, but today I want to introduce you to one of the city’s hottest new local destinations, in the Porta Nuova neighborhood (and as highlighted in a recent article in The New York Times) – “a futuristic-looking square with a fountain at its center” called Piazza Gae Aulenti. Named after one of Italy’s most prolific architects (and a woman, at that!), and situated “at the heart of this recently developed part of town, where shiny new high-rises are redefining the cityscape.” Not only worth a visit, but even worth a detour!

Piazza Gae Aulenti – a testimony to Milano’s vivacity and eye towards the future! Including great shops, bars and restaurants… and easy walking distance from Milano’s well-known Corso Como shopping street and the city’s own Eataly food emporium.

Yes, my hometown is in evolution… and I will quite probably try to convince you that your next trip to Italy should include more than a mere stop-over in Milano! I would be delighted to share with you our personal favorite restaurants, bars and shops, as well! I guarantee that you, too, will be as impressed by Milano as we are!

Next week? Another of HTI’s “hidden treasure” destinations!

My hometown, Milano!