Expectation Management

The Lonely Planet suggested that a trip to the Mercato Communale was a good idea. The thought of an Italian food market in a large city was too good to turn down. Equipped with images of vaulted ceilings, hordes of animated Milanese discussing the best way to cook veal, and appealing racks of salamis dangling from hooks we set off on the tram.

It took less than a minute to stroll round the Mercato Communale. True, the food looked fresh and good quality but not especially artisanale. Where were the vats of fresh olives? Where were the pastries? Where were the other shoppers!? We did see a lot of tripe. Suffice to say it was a disappointing tourist experience. But never mind, the market was near the Navigli district of canals. This is no Amsterdam, and Monday morning when absolutely nothing is open is not the best time to go. I’m prepared to believe it gets buzzy, but the stench at the start of the Navigli Grande is wretch-inducing.

At least going to the Mercato first meant that we were perhaps even more impressed by the scale of Milan’s famous cathedral (where oddly the things prohibited include balloons), and the temple of commercialism that is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele with its amazing glass roofed interior.

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