Getting back to the Italian way of life is always a big thing for me, another occasion to return to my family, my culture and my roots. Sun, heat, best food ever, apperitivo, peach fresh tea, people talking loud, pandoro e pasticceria, this is what always come to my mind when thinking about Italy.
I really wanted to make the most of my trip and visit as much as possible. If you start getting to know me a little bit, you already know that I love to plan my trip and to make the tour of all the best tourist attractions. I am not always travelling this way, but I personally believe that life is so short and the world is so big, that I just want to enjoy the experience and learn and see as much as I can.
Ready for the departure ? Ok, Let’s go !
Arrived at the airport of Orio al Serio (Bergamo), busses are waiting for you to reach the big city. You have different way to buy your bus tickets. You can book them online (here, for exemple), you can buy them on the plane or at the airport. And just so you know, there is not a big money difference, maybe 1 or 2 euros maximum (1 or 2 $). Now that you have your tickets, let’s take the bus for a less than 1hour ride.
Arrived at the central station, as every time I arrive in a city I am not familiar with, the first think I do is looking for a map. After a long 10 minutes of investigation in the beautiful, but so big station. I finally find my precious.
First stop, the Hotel, which I fall in love with, not a luxurious hotel, but a lovely place run by the most kind and helpful people ever (Booked on booking.com).
The suitcases in the room and fully equipped as a professional tourist (camera, sunglasses and map). We are ready to begin our journey.
First step, the Duomo. Make sure to start your visit by the stunning and beautiful Milanese first tourist attraction. It will be the perfect way to begin your journey in the fashion capital of the World.
The Duomo is dedicated to St Mary of the Nativity. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It is the largest church in Italy and the fifth largest in the world.
Note that if you want to assist to a mess it’s possible. you can check the schedule here.
Enter the cathedral ad take a bit of time to contemplate.
Be sure to visit the terraces as well. The view from there is so beautiful, it’s really worth doing.
If you want to visit the inside which I recommend, note that you will have to cover youself (arms, shoulders and legs) not always easy to have clothes with you and if you visit the city during the summer you will probably chill in short and skirt because of the hot weather, but don’t worry you can get a sort of jacket to cover you at the ticket office.
My tips : If I can give you another tip, is to book your visit of the Duomo (the inside and the roof) online in advance, because there are always lines and sometimes you can wait more than 1 hour to just buy the tickets and another hour in the line for the visit. Note that both visits are separate, it means that you will have to get in line 2 times.
My choice : As a big lover of the museum atmosphere, I visited the 900 Museum just next to the Duomo. Note that the entrance is free if you start your visit 2 hours before the closing.
Galleria Vitorio Emmanuel II
After visiting the Duomo, enter the temple of luxury, La Galleria Vittorio Emanuale II. The gallery is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. There you will find luxury shops and even if you don’t plan to spend money on luxury items, this gallery is a must see in Milano.
My tips : Don’t spend money to visit the highlight of the gallery, it’s really not worth it as you will just see the side of the gallery which is not very interesting as the good side with the view of the Duomo place is occupied by coffee shops and restaurants.
My choice : I spent a bit of my time shopping, but believe me the stores outside and around the Galleria are cheaper if you are not into luxury fashion.
Teatro della Scala
Hiding just behind the Duomo place and the Galleria, you will find La Scala, for sure one of my favorite visit of my trip.
My tips : If you want to see the theater, but you are not very interested by the museum, don’t worry the museum is pretty small and the visit will not last more than 15 minutes if you just chill there a bit.
My choice : It was the first visit I did during my trip, just because I wanted to be sure that I would be able to see the theater and not just the museum, and for that you have to visit it when there is no rehearsal. So after the Duomo I directly went to the scala to ask and as the theater was free, I visited it and then went back to the Galleria and Duomo.
Because the weather is almost always sunny and pleasant in Milano, be sure to spend time chilling in the lovely and colorful street of the city. The most enjoyable neightboorhood is Brera. Probably my favorite part of the city.
There don’t miss the Pinacoteca (Tickets here). It is the biggest public gallery for paintings in Milano. The museum is located in the Brera Palazzo, where you can also find the National Library of Brera, the Astronomical Observatory, the Botanical Garden of Brera and the Brera Academy of Fine Arts.
The visit is free and worth it. I was pretty lucky, because when I visit it, it was the opening day and all the classrooms and workshops were opened. Very interesting !
My tips: Once you are in Brera, take your time and explore the streets, spend a full morning or afternoon in this part of Milano you will not regret it. With lots of good restaurants, make sur to try the real Italian Pasta and Pizza.
My choice : I had a wonderful meal at the New Art Cafe, the name doesn’t sound very Italian, but believe me the food is amazing. Their pizzas are just a small taste of paradise, so flavored, tasty and affordable.
If you still have some energy after this long walk thought Brera, let’s go too the Castello.
I just fall in love with this monument, very different from other castle I visited in Europe and it’s so weird to find this castle just in the middle of the city.
The visit is free and is a must see, so be sure to go !
My tips : In summer, in Italy, the weather is pretty hot and the sun is very aggressive, so I choose to stop at the fountain which is just in front of the castle. We sit on the side with the feet in the refreshing water for sure the most helpful 20 min of the day. If you struggle with the summer heat too, it will really help you.
My choices : To be honest, even If I am Italian, I really don’t like when the sun is too strong. I always end with a headache and it really sucks. So as a hat lover and collector, I decide to buy one of these beautiful hats they sell just in front of the castle. Maybe a bit expensive, but I don’t regret my purchase and it was so useful during my stay.
Just in the extension of the Castle, there is the Sempione park. This park is the biggest one of the city and it’s very popular among the Milanese who like to find nature in the middle of a city which was at first very industrial.
My tips : Take time to walk thought the park, it is a very relaxing visit and you will be able to hide a bit from the sun under the trees.
My choice : We choose to take a break in the park. we bought an ice-cream and something to drink and we sit on the grass under a big tree enjoying our snacks while watching people going in and out of the castle.
Navigli and neighborhood
Navigli, named after the Naviglio Grande canal, is one of the top things to see in Milano. This neighborhood is even more colorful as the historic center and it’s very romantic.
My tips : Be sure to have lunch or dinner there, because its full of really nice and cheap restaurants serving the best of the Milanese cuisine. by the way, I had the most delicious ravioli ever at the restaurant L’altro Luca & Andrea. Don’t tell my grandmother and my mother !
My choice : At first, my plan was to spend the entire afternoon there and then have dinner and then have a few drinks as its a very trendy area where young people like to chill at night. But honestly, it was the end of our trip and I was so tired, I couldn’t walk anymore and I was a mess. So we decided to have lunch there instead and just walk along the water for a little bit. This area is pretty small, so our visit was shorter than expected and I was not upset about that at all 🙂
Very different from the historic center of Milano. This area is the business district. The heart of the district is occupied by a large raised square crowned by 3 glass skyscrapers, including the highest building of Italy, the Unicredit tower.
In this area, the architecture is very modern compare to the historic center. There you can enjoy a beautiful view of the district and a little further you will catch sight of the Bosco Verticale (Vertical Wood), nominated the most innovative high-rise in the world at the high rise Award in 2014.
You can continue south, you will end up in the Corso Como street. There I recommend to the fashion lovers to visit the 1Oth Corso Como, a very famous and chic Milanese fashion store.
My tips : This part of the city is very interesting for the contrast with the city center so if you have time during your trip to visit it, just do it ! Just 2 hours will be enough to chill a little bit in this area.
My choice : I choose to spend the last afternoon there. It was nice to be in a less crowded area with less tourists, to relax before taking the plane.
The traditional apperitivo
I can’t end my blogpost without talking about the famous apperitivo. For the few of you that don’t know what it is, the concept is simple. It’s an happy hours aperitif that you can find in a lot of bars and restaurants in Italy and so in Milano too. Between 5pm and 7pm, when you purchase a glass of Spritz, wine or light cocktail it’s served with savory snacks.
My tips : The food served with the apperitivo is really good and sometimes there is a lot and you are so full after that you don’t even have to eat dinner. So if you are a small eater like me, just go for an apperitivo instead of a dinner, it’s cheaper, but still filling delicious.
My choice : I recommend you the Ristorante Papa Francesco, just behind the Galleria in the center. We had an amazing time there, the boss of the restaurant was so funny, guiding his waiters, but in a very kind and cute way.
That’s where our trip ended. After a few intense days in Milano, it was time to leave with unforgettable memories, with a skin more tanned, but mostly so much more passion and love for travel.
It was not easy to say goodbye ! Back in Belgium, I just felt exhausted and sad. I know that I am pretty lucky to have the chance to travel that much. But for me, each goodbye is so painful because I can’t get enough, it’s too short, because I become attached really fast to a city as I do with people, and maybe b
ecause I am just too much sensitive. This is one of the reasons I choose to blog, as the sharing process that follow each trip is another way to make it last longer.
Guys, if you need any other information or tips about visiting Milano or If you have tips for me and for the next time I will go there, just leave me a comment, I am always so happy to read you. Thanks.
Sandra, The travelling Brunette