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.)
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.
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
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.
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
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!)