Chic Central with old country manners
If all of the cities in Italy were sisters, Florence, Rome, and Venice would get all the attention for their looks, while gritty, forthright Milan would be left to skulk in the shadows, listening to opera. Clearly, it's tough to be in an Italian family, because Milan's attractions would make it the star in almost any other country. Milan's soaring gothic cathedral, the Duomo, is a case in point. To admire this hard-earned masterpiece and tour its dark, magnificent depths is to taste of the spirit of Milan, a combination of formidable thought, hard work, and dedication to beauty. The same can be said of the famous La Scala opera house, where performances are taken very seriously indeed -- a bad showing can lead to turmoil. But what they esteem the most in Milan is fashion. Those looking for the absolute latest in design will not be disappointed. Pass a few days here alternating visits to famous art museums with high-class shopping, and when night falls, let it all blur together with the aid of the city's bumping nightlife. Milan's club scene is in keeping with that of any town with a creative center: notoriously fickle, but lots of fun. Drop those superficial notions about what a great Italian city should be, and you'll find that Milan is an interesting lady, -- indeed, beautiful in her own way.