After our brief stay in Venice, we drove to Milan. Since we'd been so fixated on our lodging arrangements for La Serenissima, we hadn't really made plans on where to sleep in Milan. We thought we'd just find someplace.
However, Italian autostradas aren't as dotted with motel options as American freeways are (at least they weren't in 1996) and it took us a while before we stumbled upon the Hotel Nido d'Aquila. Henry wasn't happy about the relatively high price, but Kathy put her very tired foot down and said we just couldn't drive on in search of a better bargain.
The next morning, however, picking up Beth at the airport, we found the totally charming Hotel Speronari, right in the heart of downtown Milan for, as I recall, about the same price. Too bad we didn't get to spend two nights here instead of just one.
The sightseeing highlight of our time in Milan was the huge and astonishingly ornate Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)
As the ticket on the right indicates, we "ascended" to the roof of this amazing structure, where we got some great views of the building and of Milan...
...and, of course, there were pigeons...
Brief as our stay in Milan was, we felt we again crammed a lot of activities into the time.
The meals we had there were as memorable as all our Italian meals.
And in addition to the Duomo, thanks to Rick Steves (who also led us to our downtown hotel) we found an amazing little church with the the best trompe l'oeil we'd ever seen (Santa Maria presso San Satiro).
We also had the adventure of buying train tickets to the Cinque Terre, not to mention the extremely exciting drive to the train station (of course, we were running late). A stereotypically Italian experience!
After our magical stay in the Cinque Terre
, on the way to our final Italian stop in Florence
, we paid a quick visit to Pisa
Of course, the famous, vertically-challenged tower is the main attraction, but the whole complex is really beautiful. And the gorgeous weather we had showed it off to best advantage...
Even the lawns were beautiful, and we saw that they take pains to keep them that way...