For the last few months, I’ve been working on an audio walking tour for the city of Milan. Anytime I mentioned I was attempting an audio tour, friends would ask me, “When do you have time to do that?”
VoiceMap Audio Tour
I didn’t come up with the idea myself. I was contacted by the company VoiceMap. They asked if I would be interested in helping them develop a tour for a town or city in Italy. With everything I have got going on (export sales, dance/aerobics classes, piano classes, mom, wife and house duties), I wasn’t sure where I was going to fit “audio tour guide” into the equation. However, the Italian Belly – VoiceMap collaboration was sort of a perfect fit. As an expat living in Italy for eight years, I do have a lot to share about many places in this beautiful country. I already share stories and places in Italy through my blog, why not through audio tours?
How VoiceMap Works
VoiceMap, a recently-launched mobile application for iPhones and Android devices, is using cutting-edge GPS technology and the age-old art of storytelling to change the way people experience cities. “VoiceMap is a publishing platform for location-aware audio tours – or, with less jargon and more poetry, a way of seeing the world through another person’s eyes,” explains CEO and co-founder, Iain Manley.
After downloading the app and selecting a route, VoiceMap users can put their phone in their pocket and follow a storyteller’s voice through a particular neighbourhood, while anecdotes, commentary and opinions play automatically at specific GPS locations.
Milan: Stories of the Fashion Capital
I chose Milan mostly because it is the closest city to where I live and I’ve been there a million times. When I started writing the script for the tour, it became evident that I wouldn’t be able to fit in all my favourite places into one tour. Milan is too big and has too many stories to tell.
I decided to have the tour start in the heart of Milan, right in Piazza Duomo. I tell stories and interesting facts about the important landmarks here but try not to spend too much time as it is packed with tourists. I guide the listener to the Scala Theatre and then into the beautiful and unique neighbourhood of Brera. On the way, I point out a few shops, museums and tell more stories about Milan in the middle ages.
Brera is full of history, important palaces, gardens and institutions. It’s also my favourite place to take a walk, especially during the winter holidays. From Brera, I guide the listener towards the Quadrilateral of Fashion, Via Montenapoleone. This is the street that Milan is known for. This is the street that generates 12% of Milan’s GDP. I tell stories of historic battles over power in this area and finish off with a modern day battle between the luxury giants.
Future VoiceMap Tours
I had fun creating the audio walking tour for Milan but give a lot of credit to my editor that helped me stay on track. I really enjoyed testing my tour as well. In fact, I’m hoping that a VoiceMap tour will be available at our next holiday destination, wherever that may be.
As I mentioned before, I wasn’t able to cover all my favourite spots in Milan for logistic purposes. I have a lot ideas for future Milan audio walking tours including a Foodie tour: Where to find Italian fast food, slow food, best gelato, best aperitivo, desserts etc. I might have to go on a diet after that one.
If you are coming to visit Milan (or you know someone going) and have about 40 minutes to spare, check out my tour Stories of a Fashion Capital: Milan.
Let me know what you think!
*This post includes affiliate links to my audio walking tour of Milan in order to support this blog.*