Mike Gajda - July 20, 2022
Milan Aldo Rossi Exhibit

Outside Aldo Rossi exhibit

The one with my favorite teapot

9:00: Coffee

My first Italian coffee in more than two years and wow, my Italian is rusty. After fumbling through ordering a cappuccino and croissant, mission accomplished: perfectly pulled espresso with a flakey, buttery, and sweet croissant.

10:00: Museo del Novecento

What a surprise! My feeling going into the day was the Museo del Novecento would be a pleasant start to the day, but boy did it overdeliver.

Dedicated to art from the 1900s, the first few floors dealt with art during Mussolini's reign over the country and the strict confines that artists found themselves working in to remain in good standing.

In the "archives" lay a whole new set of art that tended towards the more contemporary (ready late 1900s, early 2000s). I thought this is where the museum shined because it included a number of interactive, walkthrough exhibits that played with light, mirrors and reflections.

Once we were done with archives we moved on to the gift shop where we encountered the most serendipitous exhibit: a floor dedicated to Aldo Rossi. A detour: on a trip in 2018 to Providence, RI I stumbled on a cookware exhibit that pointed to Providence's considerable history making silverware for the country. Included in that exhibit was a captivating, polished stainless steel teapot designed by Aldo Rossi. Imagine my surprise when it showed up in a birthday present the following year, beginning my (small) obsession with Rossi's designs.

In a moment that can only be described as unexpected, the Museo del Novecento happens to be displaying an exhibit dedicated to Rossi and that included, in addition to my favorite teapot, other cookware, furniture, and architectural designs/models. We felt we had no choice other than to delay lunch and luxuriate in the exhibit. Unfinished prototypes of "my teapot" and other, elongated versions of it were high on the list of exciting pieces.

12:30: Lunch at Trattoria Milanese
Milan Trattoria Milanese

Milanese Tripe

Trattoria Milanese is a small eatery that feels off the beaten path. Inside we found a fairly empty dining room and a kind server.

This lunch was underscored by both of us accidentally ordering things that were not exactly what we bargained for. Nonetheless, the food was great and the company grand, which made this a successful lunch.

I had the Tripe Milanese, which I thought was more of a pasta dish. I probably should have known when the server's eyes went wide and he gestured furiously at his intestines that this might not be something very popular. Once I ordered, though, I did remember that tripe has been on my list of things to try again–after being warned for years against getting tripe in pho a friend recently reminded me that tripe can be prepared many different ways and that maybe I should try it again. I counted this as a golden opportunity to fulfill a promise I made to try it again. The Tripe Milanese that I received was perfectly cooked (tender but still slightly chewy) with a nice sauce that included some beans. I could see this sauce pairing nicely with pasta or other things as well.

Brandon ordered what we would later come to understand was two fried chicken cutlets. Our waiter wanted to make sure that Brandon didn't want any side dishes like vegetable, but when we were ordering we didn't imagine that we could order something that was quite literally two enormous smashed chicken cutlets, breaded and fried.

14:00: Rest!

After four days of traveling I was ready for a break. While Brandon had to go off and work (I don't know how he had the stamina to do a conference and this much travel), I went back to the Airbnb to process photos and sit in the AC. A recurring theme of our Italian jaunt was the heat–Europe (and the US for that matter) was going through an intense heatwave that brought temperatures over 40 degrees Celsius (or 105 degrees farenheit). An Airbnb with a great mini-split AC unit made it the default hideaway during the heat of the afternoons.

18:00: Dinner at Piz
Milan Piz PIzza

Piz Pizza (I forget the name of this one)

Piz feels like an adult playground in that it's decorated with Keith Haring-inspired murals and full of bright, vibrant colors. That feeling is only heightened by the free Prosecco they give you if you have to wait for a table (thankfully we were whisked right away to a table even without a reservation).

Piz has essentially four items on the menu: three pizzas and a daily special. This makes ordering exceptionally easy, and one pizza is sized to be perfect for one person. Naturally we ordered two pizzas, one with a red sauce and one with a white sauce.

Both were exceptionally thin crusted, rendering a delectable mix of sauce, toppings, and a bit of the bread underside of a pizza. With only four things on the menu, we got the feeling that Piz has honed its craft around a core set of quality ingredients that come together as a fairly cheap eat in a city that can be known for its priciness.

The feeling that Piz is a steal only increased when we realized that in a addition to free Prosecco, each meal comes with two shots of Italian liquors, one being an almond and the other one left unidentified at the register. Free booze always has a way of improving the taste of what you just ate, don't you think? 😉

19:00: a.k.a Gelato o'clock

What's an Italian vacation without gelato every day. Gelato con Fato Amore came highly recommended and would become a favorite of this trip.