I’m not a big fan of Milan. Style town, big deal. I like high fashion about as much as I like highfalutin folks who think the Bible consists entirely of their personally selected favorite bits from Leviticus and delight in telling anyone who doesn’t agree that they’re going to rot in hell—except for the shavers and pig eaters, who evidently have an exemption that isn’t exactly in the manual. I like the castle in Milan though.
I also like the area around Porta Ticinese because my Sardinian friend Antonio said to go and eat there.
See that’s the thing. When folks who hang out in big cities tell you where to go, you go and have a good time. I would have taken me years to find the area called Porta Ticinese on my own. The tourist maps don’t exactly have a big, red arrow pointing to it.
Of course, you can lug one of those big ‘ol guidebooks around, but they’re not random enough. Unless you read the whole danged wad of dead tree, you’re unlikely to find something that you didn’t know existed. And the bulk of the internet is comprised of ad-pockmarked sites which want you to be content with the top five things you and everybody else will just have to do in Milan or God will strike you down even before the rapture (coming soon to a theater near you!).
See, the thing is, maybe it’s best to have a bunch of nice pictures and icons on a map and make the whole thing interactive so you can tap away at your device with jagged enthusiasm like someone who’s had too much coffee. Then, even though you didn’t know you wanted to go to a cafe, you might find one that has Jazz on a Wednesday and pretty soon you’re grabbing your sweet honey and heading toward Semplione park to the ATM office which has been transformed into a bar with a bigger than life happy hour and Jazz starting at 6:30 so that us old farts can have our fill and be in bed by ten to get our beauty rest. You’ll find all this in Marvelous Milan, the mobile app of which I’m speaking.
Yep, the ATM bar is in the app. And you probably wouldn’t notice, but the place has eco-friendly paintings! That’s in the app, too.
And you know what? There’s a Blue Note in Milan. Just like in New York! Jazz, baby! The app sez it right there. And there’s a nice a place to sample a brew from Milan’s first craft beer brewer. Yum.
Heck, do you know how much I want to rush out right now and hop a plane and get off in Milan? The plane I mean. I’m warming to the notion of a looong vacation there as I write.
Yes, if you are even just turning the notion of a visit to Milan around in your stressed-out noggin, $2.99 will give you advice on where to go, maps, eye candy in the form of pictures (2200 of them it says in the lit!) and even advice on getting out of town. Pavia, Cremona, great destinations!
And I can almost guarantee you’ll want to go when you start playing around with this app.
Author Stef Smulders operates the Bed and Breakfast Due Padroni in the Oltrepo Pavese and has done a bang-up job on Marvelous Milan. If you’re going to Milan, skip the $19.95 guidebook that weighs half your baggage allowance on that budget carrier you insist on using and spend less than three bucks on this app. Even the trees will thank you. After all, they are people too, just like corporations.
It’s an odd time to be alive, isn’t it?