It is a Saturday evening in Milan. The air is dry under a silver sky. Despite a busy morning at the fair in Grazie and a 2 hour train journey I succumb to the temptation to wander out for dinner.
It is a decent walk from the Statione Centrale, through Piazza Della Republica, on along Basioni Porta Nuova to the top Corso Garibaldi.
”…grungy men in unsuitable shorts and sneakers from another planet… the woman beside me, for better or worse, looks like Donatella Versace.”
Turning onto Garibaldi, I try to remember the cosy cafes and small restaurants that caught my eye some 72 hours earlier. All are bustling, most are full, several spill onto the pavement. They look like the well kept secrets of seasoned travellers.
I drift on and onto the Via Mercato with its cobblestones, iron balconies, peeling plaster and louvered shutters. Just as I am about to turn back I see a scattering of tables under a sign – Obica. Close up it looks like it belongs in a romantic novel.
The welcome is gentle, almost familiar. Everyone smiles. I like this place and settle easily at the table offered. A menu is fetched and a decent wine list. The food is light but interesting – foccassia with rosemary and salt, pizza verdure griglia with smoked mozzarella. The wine lives up to the waitress’s promise.
Trams, fiats and vespas clang and splutter by carrying grungy men in unsuitable shorts and sneakers from another planet. Dogs bark in the middle distance. For a while moving headlights burn away the falling twilight. The woman beside me, for better or worse, looks like Donatella Versace.
The temperature falls . Men bluff and shiver behind sandpaper beards at a nearby table. Women, dressed in a variety of denim, pull on soft cashmere sweaters. They whip their hair from scrubbed faces and sip straw coloured wine.
The evening drifts. A symphony of tinkling glasses and chattering voices makes me wish I had a later flight home in the morning. For a few easy hours I have enjoyed the good life in the heart of Milan.