August is a strange time in Milan. It’s usually unbearably hot, very humid and eerily quiet in the city. The streets are deserted, many shops and restaurants are closed with signs posted on their doors that read, “Chiuso per ferie,” which means closed for vacation. Most Italians take their yearly vacation in August. In Milan, that means the city is virtually empty as the Milanese escape to the seaside or to the mountains. This year we made our August escape to the mountains, specifically the town of Merano, nestled in the hills of Trentino- Alto Adige.
During quarantine, I made a list of places I’d like to visit once we were allowed to travel. At the top of my list is a place that’s only an hour’s drive from Milan. It’s the kind of place that is so beautiful, so scenic, that I’m mesmerized by it every time I visit.
For more than two months I have stayed within a two-mile radius, only venturing out to do my weekly grocery shopping. As Phase 2 unfolds and we are allowed to travel outside our city of residence, I’ve slowly ventured out of my neighborhood. Yesterday was the first time since late February that I left Milan. My husband and I headed to the city of Como, on Lake Como, for a lunch date. It was a beautiful day and a perfect afternoon exploring the streets of Como.
After nearly 10 weeks of lockdown, we are nearly at the end of Phase 1. Tomorrow Phase 2 begins here in Italy. The entire country is ready to have a little more freedom, putting the worst behind us and moving forward. You can read about what Phase 2 will look like in my previous post. As we enter into the new phase, here’s what I’ll remember:
Today, as we enter the 9th week of lockdown here in Milan, there are 181,228 cases and 24,114 deaths in Italy. In the neighborhood I live in there are 107 cases with 14 fatalities. Thankfully, the number of daily new cases continues to drop and slowly, too slowly for us here, the daily death rate is declining.
As of yesterday the number of cases of COVID-19 in Italy reached 105,792 with 12,428 deaths. Here in Lombardy there are 43,208 cases, and 7,199 deaths. As bleak as those numbers are there has been one encouraging sign in the last few days. Yesterday we saw the lowest amount of new cases in the last 13 days. Although the number of deaths continues to hover between 700 to almost 1,000 a day, the rate of infection has slowed down. On March 21 there was a daily increase of 6,557 new cases. Yesterday, March 31, there were 4,053 new cases.
Prior to moving to Italy, I had never heard of Aosta. When reading about “must-see” places in the Bel Paese, this quaint city didn’t make the list. Last summer, as I searched for a place to escape from the brutal heat of Milan, I came across an article about Aosta, which is located in the smallest and least populated region of Italy, Valle d’Aosta. After deciding to check it out the town for myself, I made a trip. I must tell you, it is one of the most beautiful and interesting places I have visited in the country.
Traveling with kids can be quite a challenge at times. When traveling through Italy, adults dream of visiting museums, shopping, long walks in historic downtown areas and enjoying a glass of wine at a quaint outdoor cafe. Let’s just say that it’s best to embrace the fact that your young ones have a short attention span and their hearts and minds may not be as intrigued as yours when visiting great works of art or historic sites. Therefore, finding fun activities for your kiddos is essential to making a memorable family vacation. With a little planning you can include kid friendly activities into your itinerary. If you’re visiting Milan, Italy here’s a list of fun and inexpensive things to do with your little world traveler.