I must state here that I have been frequenting Rome and Milan on my official assignments when I was a civil servant. Therefore, there would be less emphasis on my short duration of stay in these two cities during my recent travel and in this blog of mine.
To begin with, Rome is the capital of Italy and the biggest city in Italy. Tracing the history of Rome centuries ago, the Roman Empire was a powerful empire. Its existence had created a civilisation that knew no bounds. Its presence and interaction with the other global empires back then was to be reckoned with. Rome in those days could be viewed as a hegemonic super power to the rest of the world.
In the context of present day, Rome was ranked as the 14th most visited city in the European Union in 2016. Also, it is the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. The Vatican Museums with its many exhibits and the Colosseum as a heritage of the Roman Empire are both the top most visited places.
“Rome was not built in a day” states a famous phrase. It sure wasn’t. Looking around, one can feel the many contributions the citizens of Roman Empire had made to the world. The many establishments, knowledge and relics of the Roman Empire have left its marked on the civilisation of the global community.
The Colosseum was a symbol of power and wealth of the Roman empire. The heritage infrastructure reminds me so much of the movies Ben Hur and Gladiators. The iconic building in actual fact could hold 80,000 spectators to watch the gladiatorial contests in those days.
Whilst its empire reached out across territories, the Roman Empire’s history and legacies live to this day.
Everywhere you go, you could not but admire the huge monuments and buildings surrounding the city. The beautiful and unique architecture of centuries ago are well maintained by the Italian authorities for the millions of tourists.
The Spanish Steps was made famous in the movie The Roman Holiday (1953), starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. The setting of the movie was in the area itself and for the romantic at heart this place is a must visit.
Whilst visiting the famous Spanish Steps recently, the hubby had wanted to take photographs using a camera tripod. Whilst setting the tripod, a policeman approached him saying that it was not allowed for heavy equipments to be placed on the steps. Reason: to preserve the grounds of the Spanish Steps. For me, it is an applauded enforcement action by the authorities to ensure that the historical remains and legacies of yesteryears will not be damaged by the tourism industry.
Milan is the third largest city of Italy. Just mention Milan, the fashionistas will go gaga over it. The city is famous for being the capital of fashions, besides its competitors, Paris and NYC.
In Milan and like any other tourists, the hubby and I went to the famous Cathedral Duomo Di Milano in the centre of the city. It is a compulsory itinerary for tourists.
Viewing the area, I realised that the cathedral was different from the last time I set foot on. The surrounding was dirtier and unkempt; there were many migrants approaching and begging from the tourists. This was not an uneasy sight for the tourists and the local authorities were not effective in its enforcement of the issue.
Milan has a good share of its story on migrants. The registered migrants are provided with financial assistance. In line with the European Union agreement (as mentioned by our tourist guide, Andrea), the migrants are entitled to 40Euros per day. Besides, they are provided for cheap housings. The housings for the low-income locals are now inhabited by them. These matters have caused some dissatisfactions with the locals who feel that even though they are citizens of Italy, but being marginalised.
Driving around the city, I came across some of the inner city problems in Milan. The uncontrolled graffitis painted on the walls and homelessness are evidences of social problems existing in Milan.
Nevertheless, good food is aplenty in Milan. The ice cream parlour to die for in Milan is Cioccolat Italiani. The line is always long, but trust me, you will never ever regret once you have a slurped of the fun designed ice-cream. The most yummylicious ice-cream I have ever tasted.
We also had a quick bite at the famous Malaysian restaurant in Rome. The name of the restaurant is Court Delicati. We ordered Nasi Goreng and Char Kway Teow. However, I must make a special mention that its “kuih ketayap” or “kuih gulung” was super delicious.
These two cities have interesting places to be fully explored by tourists. For a first timer to Italy, these two cities are compulsory in the itinerary. In the case of Rome, there is no dearth of historical exhibits. Milan gives one a flamboyant feeling of being in the centre of fashion world.
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