Milan personifies the Italy of today with a nice flavour of its historical past. However, make no mistake. The hustle bustle of the city with its turnstile tourism, with the bulk of travellers on the go, can get quite exhausting. If you are a day tripper like me, with time being of essence, then you need to read this. I have listed down my day trip to Mialno here and you are welcome to see the city through it. If that inspires you to visit the city, here’s what will help you.
Make sure to book in advance: If you are an art lover, or wish to explore the many monuments on offer and not just take account of the periphery of the structure, make sure you book in advance. The internet will let you know “How To” do this. There are places that might not have an advance booking system, however they will definitely specify the times of operation. Try to get there early before it gets crowded. This way you will be able to save time for the other places too!
Pack light: Dragging a heavy suitcase is not going to cut it for you, neither is a heavy hiking bag. Make sure to travel light for the day as you explore the city. If you are passing by and have decided to take a halt in the city and are now wondering what to do with the luggage, you can find a cloak room at the Milan Centrale Train Station. Underneath the massive train station, lies the hub of the city’s metro lines. You can ride a metro from here, depending on which part of the city you wish to visit first.
The Milano Card: If you plan to ride the metro for the entire day, hopping from one place to another, it is always advisable to avail the Milano Card. Let’s do some math here: A single journey costs 1.5 € with a validity of 90 minutes only. Ticket for luggage costs you around 2 €, again for 90 minutes. Whereas, a 24-hour Day Card will set you back by only 4.50 €. Do the math!
Use the public transport: Goes without saying. You will find more information on the day card and other travel details here. I walked, since I prefer taking in the essence of the city that way, however, if you have more places to visit than the ones I did, then the public transport will ease your movement.
Woodfried Pizzas – Pizzas were invented in Naples in wood fried ovens. The legacy has passed on to different parts of the world, and being in the same country, Milan has places that serve these yummy treats. If you are a vegetarian, do try the one that comes with eggplant. The Italians have are distinct in their creative ways while cooking the humble eggplant!
The Duomo – The structure is vast and built in the city center. In fact it is so big you have concerts hosted on its roof. A visit inside the massive marble structure is a must. The nave and sanctum are spectacular, while the marble steps leading to the roof are incredible works of art.
Castello Sforzesco – This formidable piece of architecture houses the Civic Museums and Library Archives. You can plan it here.
Shopping – No. The brands that you desire won’t be cheap, if you think that’s the case since the merchandise on sale is made there. Unless, of course, there is some discount/sale happening.
The Oldest Mall – Visit the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle…for window shopping, licking a cone of gelato, if nothing else. The espresso in the cafes inside is good too. Plus the place is ideal for people-spotting over a cuppa.
Museo del Novecento – Right next to the Duomo, you will find this grand building (restored of course) which houses a modern art museum. As my friend and guide Adrian told me, if you have the time, visit this place when it is about to close. Your visit will be free! The top floor at dusk presents a magnificent view of The Duomo too! (added benefit). I did not venture here. Too many pigeons…too much hassle…I was all over the place in my head after dodging a multitude of never ending pigeons!
The Last Supper – DaVinci’s Last Supper is the paramount attraction in Milan. You have to book in advance though; if you haven’t, forget about it and be satisfied with images on the internet as you cannot buy tickets on the day you go to visit the masterpiece! It is housed in a monastery beside the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, which can offer you a condolence prize with its architecture, if you do visit without a ticket for the Last Supper.
Teatro alla Scala – Magnificent if you can check this place out from within. La Scala is an opera house that was inaugurated in 1778. So the structure is quite old. I got a glimpse of it while walking around on my way to the canals
Milan’s Canals – Venice is not the only place in Europe with Canals! Milan has its own and they are beautiful. If you walk around the city like me, nothing is more rejuvenating than a cappuccino at a canal side café.
Milan was a very different city, compared to the ones I experienced in Switzerland, and I loved it. However, I know there are many explorers out there trying “experiential travel” claiming to have avoided Milan and like to tread the road less travelled. However, Milano has its quaintness along with the hustle bustle of any modern city in the world today.
I hope this helps you travel better if you plan visiting Milan.
Drop by and let me know how was your experience in Milan!