In our family, my Father’s word is final. When he voices an opinion we don’t dare disagree with it.

Dad’s not one of those clots who shoves an opinion down you throat, but his quiet authority has a massive influence on us all.

Take capers: Dad refuses to eat them – so none of us will touch them.

Take golf: Dad thinks it’s a pointless and smug leisure activity – so none of us ever play.

Take Milan: Dad calls it an ‘industrial city’ – so none of us have ever been… until now…

A couple of weeks ago my Dutch friend Margriet gave me a call.

KKI haven’t seen you for ages… let’s go on an adventure.

Not one to waste time, Margriet suggested we went to Milan.  Now a weekend in Milan sounds rather glamorous to any normal person, but as soon as I heard that name, the alarm bells started ringing. In my strange little mind, Milan did not paint a pretty picture. Images of smoky chimneys, ugly warehouses and snarling Italians sprung to mind. The flights were dirt cheap, so after a moment’s hesitation I sheepishly accepted.

It’s always good to go in to something with low expectations, that way you’re rarely disappointed. Well to set records straight, Milan was better than I could have ever anticipated – in fact, it was bloomin’ marvellous.

Dad’s not wrong when he say’s it’s an industrial place, but that’s the best thing about it. Milan is energetic, buzzing and unbelievably chic. The design is cutting edge, the food is forward-thinking and the fashion is about as good as you can get. But for all you antiquity junkies out there, fear not. Amidst this hive of modern activity, Milan offers a veritable catalogue of ancient sights and monuments. The central Duomo is about the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever seen.

Everything is so god dam sexy in Italy. The climate means that you walk around in skimpy clothing, the mouthwatering food arouses your senses and the antique art leaves little to the imagination… When you have smouldering men and vampish Armani- clad women, it’s no surprise that everyone is so sexed up. I hate to admit it, but the Italians make us Brits look like a bunch of tight-laced bores.

Sadly we didn’t meet our very own Italian Stallions and even more regrettably we didn’t get to ride on the back of a vintage vespa. But Margriet and I have returned to our respective countries with an all new understanding of the dolche vita!

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