Letter from Milan

Milan, as everyone knows, is the fashion capital of Italy, and in the Galleria you find stores of Prada, Gucci, Armani, Vuitton, Cucinelli, and — Mercedes-Benz (not selling autos but only fashion accessories); I am now maybe the only New Orleanian with a Mercedes-Benz shirt.  Not to mention a Vuitton messenger bag.  The Galleria also contains a large Rizzoli bookstore, which seems to be doing fine, and an excellent Noli cigar shop, and 3 or 4 lousy restaurants.

Milan is also very high-tech.  Below is the control panel in the shower at the Park Hyatt, providing all manner of settings for temperature, water flow from various orifices and angles, provision for 2 (or maybe more) occupants, music (including Mozart piano concertos) and other variables.

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And then there is Milan’s foremost monument, the Cathedral, begun in 1386 and completed over the next 500 years or so:

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Public art is prominently displayed, including a monumental Pomodoro, but my picture of it was taken with a camera without WiFi capability.

The Maglio umbrella studio has not only a bespoke trade for the 1% but also supplies single-shaft umbrellas ready-made in various woods.  It furnishes umbrellas to James Smith of London and 3 stores in NYC: Barney’s, Bergdorf, and Paul Stuart. Below is a picture of the 5th-generation owner Francesco Maglia, with celebrity author Sheila Bosworth Lemann of New Orleans.

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Restaurant fare in Milan is not generally noteworthy, but we did dine well at Cracco’s.  We were told he is now a “celebrity chef” who “spends more time on TV than in the kitchen.” Nevertheless his lightly cooked shrimp and thinly-sliced kidneys were excellent. But be prepared for a good 2 hours time span.

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Milan is a fine center for excursions to Mantua, Modena, Crema, Cremona, Fidenza, Pavia (Charterhouse below), Genoa, Vigevano, Lomello, and other sites of great architectural and  artistic interest.

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Thomas B. Lemann

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