Tuesday, October 27, 2015

A Run In Italy!

I ran here in Milano on Saturday to add Italy to the list of countries where I have run...which including the United States now stands at five, along with Mexico, England and the United Arab Emirates.

One thing is for sure, Milano was by far the most urban run I have ever done. I read the other day that Italy is roughly the same square mileage as Arizona, but is packed with over 56 million people. That is like wedging the number of people in Florida, New York and my home state of Illinois into Arizona. A tight fit for sure!

(By comparison, Arizona actually has just under 7 million residents.)

The other thing about Milano is that it is several hundred years old. The Duomo, the city's cathedral, was first constructed in 1386. It's a magnificent building that represents the center of the city, as well as its activity. Here is a photo, and I'll post more "travel" photos later.

One of the amazing things about the Duomo is that, according to a friend whose college Italian teacher grew up in Milano, during WWII it was considered off limits as a bombing target given its history and beauty.

What you get when you have a city this old and this busy is a lot of everything: lots of people, lots of cars and lots of pollution. You also get streets that go in every direction that can baffle even the most gifted map readers.

Now mind you, I'm from near Chicago and its grid system of streets, which are so easy to navigate. So easy that most of the suburbs followed suit. Because of that I didn't get really adventurous -- I ran 1.8 miles up and back the same street and once around the neighborhood near the hotel for a total of 4.1 miles.

In actual running time I covered the distance in 45:39, but in real time the run took somewhere in the neighborhood of an hour since I had to wait to cross streets and stopped to take photos.

One thing you notice beyond the craziness that is Milano is the graffiti! There is tons of it, but no one seems too concerned about it...it's just there. You'd think that people would want to clean it up, but since these are the same people that gave us the Renaissance, they must not want to discourage anyone's creativity.

The majority of people who live here reside in apartments, and most neighborhoods are a mixture of apartments and small businesses, especially restaurants, bakeries and cafes. Italians are very social, and they
just don't live at the rapid-fire pace we do (except when driving...they are crazy drivers!), so it's pretty typical to see the sidewalk cafes busy with people enjoying each others' company. One of the many reasons I love it here!

This picture shows a little bit of everything, the crazy streets, apartments, businesses and the public transportation, which is definitely the best way to get around town. The Metro (subway) looks like a plate of spaghetti, but there are very few places in town it won't take you.

In between these large intersections there are some spots that are very beautiful. The buildings have been around a long time, but so have the trees, which give off a nice canopy of shade.

And of course, no discussion of a European city would be complete without talking about the roundabouts! Roundabouts are a traffic control staple in Europe, and I am beginning to see them pop up in the United States too.

Some of them are small, like this one that contained a small park, and some

 are large and contain buildings on all sides. To me it just adds to the charm of the city

I finished my run back in front of the hotel and was so happy to have had the chance to run. When we were here two years ago our hotel was a bit isolated and there was nowhere to run, but this location was so much better to both run and have access to sightseeing.

It was such a joy to run in a new and exciting place, and as I type this we are at an apartment just a stone's throw from the Vatican, so I hope to have another adventure to talk about as early as tomorrow.

So where in the world have you run? What is your favorite part of running somewhere new!

(More photos are below!)


  1. what an awesome experience! I'd love to go to Italy someday. I am visiting California for work and was able to get some runs in. I love seeing new scenery when I'm running in a new place.

  2. My wife travels on business and I often come along. Now I make it a point to go on runs when we go places to get a better perspective on a new place. Hope you make it to Italy someday! It's a wonderful place.

  3. Pretty cool.


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