Milano: The illusion of being a local

I tried my best to look and act as Italian-like as I could. But I was immediately revealed. Drinking a cappuccino while watching Milano wake up in Via Dante.

It was a sunny day, when I ended my business trip in Milano, Italy. Our meeting took place in the beautiful street of Via Dante, which offers cafés and shops non-stop. I was a little early when I arrived, so I decided to do like the Italians do: Have a coffee al bar and watch as the city starts to vibrate.

I entered a lovely little café just in the middle of all those wonderful old stone buildings. Of course, just as I’d do this every day, I smiled said „Buongiorno“ and ordered „un cappuccino, per favore.“ The waiter smiled and prepared my coffee with a wonderfully foamy top. When he put it in front of me, I said „perfetto, grazie mille“. He again responded with a smile „prego signora“. I was a bit proud. I haven’t been talking Italian in a while and – apart from the fact that these language skills are so basic that every tourist is able to acquire these words within just a few minutes of being in Italy – I was not only proud to have talked in Italian, but to have merged into the Italian culture having a stand-up breakfast with a caffè al bar.

Uncovered and blushed

This proud feeling just lasted a couple of seconds, when a very well dressed man with sun glasses entered the café and immediately shouted „cappuccio, grazie!“ the second he set foot inside the café. Cappuccio it is. No „per favore“ no articles, no „buongiorno“. Solamente cappuccio. I blushed … because for a couple of seconds, I honestly thought that somebody could have believed I am a local of Milano. Well …

I smiled shyly as the man was standing right next to me quickly drinking his cappuccio. While I was enjoying the café and my really great coffee, I watched the city kick-starting outside. Shops were delivered with innumerable boxes, cafés started to put chairs and tables outside. The well-dressed man beside me did not see any of this. It’s his daily routine, he almost threw down his cappuccio, raised his hand to say arrivederci and left. All this happened, while I was still stiring my Italian coffee. No, definitely not Italian … too many words, too many stirs, too many minutes spent in the café…


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