Vacation Guide for 2019 - Three Days In Milan, Italy
Milan, Italy, a country I had for so long wanted to visit, yet never had. During a balmy hot June and July we spent three-days venturing out determined to prove the nay-sayers that Milan was not boring or drab.
Day one saw us land early in the morning to then catch the bus from Milano Malpensa airport to the city. Ditching our suitcases in our fantastic city centre accommodation – thanks Sweet Inn – we headed literally five minutes down the beautifully cobbled road to the Duomo, via a quick walk through the Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele II. We were blown away by that cathedral – a must visit if you’re ever there. We spent fifteen-ish Euro’s on passes that allowed access to the balcony and the inside – it was well worth it. Its a good climb up quite a few stairs to the balcony/rooftop, but the views across the city, and being up and close with the architecture like that was so worth it. The inside of the Duomo is equally impressive, largely for grandeur of the inside, its cavernous.
Having flown through the early hours of the morning, we spent much of the afternoon meandering around and mostly craving Gelato, I mean that’s allowed when in Italy, no? But we stayed ‘strong’, and instead during the evening we ventured over to a district called Brera - well worth visiting. Be sure to take a stroll down Via Fiori Chairi, it’s an idyllic Italian street. Here we settled for a feast of pizza at a restaurant called Hosteria Della Musica, it was naturally chased with plenty of fine Italian Chianti as well. One thing I was unaware of was how its very common in restaurants to be given what appears to be a free welcome drink and a basket of bread on the table - which if you drink/eat - you pay. Well worth noting if you’re on a budget. But by that point in the night after countless kilometres, the bread was a welcome addition.
For me, Italy was always going to be largely about the food, and I’m pleased to say it didn’t disappoint.
Day two saw us take the underground across the city to Castello Sforzesco which is an impressive castle and grounds worth a stroll around if you have time. Next we went somewhere worthy of anyone who visits Milan – La Vigna Di Leonardo. This beautifully hidden away mansion was once the home to – if you couldn’t guess it – Leonard Di Vinci. It was a welcome respite from the streets that swarm with buzzing motorbikes and vintage Vespa’s. The house is decorated with plenty of detail and there’s also a free audio tour with plenty of history – it was interesting to hear more but it was a clunky app and headphones. To be completely honest though, we almost entirely went there for the photo opportunities, as you can see, we got some good ones. The house and grounds are gorgeous, and it will take you perhaps about an hour to mill your way around.
Day Three saw us continue to do what we do best, walk a million kilometres and end up shattered but touristically fulfilled. The focus here was to head away from the typical tourist areas and venture in pursuit of the more rustic and authentic Milan. Of what we saw, I would certainly recommend visiting:
The Naviglio Pavese – is a canal district south of the city centre, although a hotspot for tourists, it was very clear the locals where regulars too. The ambience is calm and quiet as it is away from the busy streets. The river is lined either side with local rustic restaurants that induce severe belly growling. I would say go around sunset, as this is when it’s at its most atmospheric and when you most want to spend the time watching the world go buy.
Santa Maria Delle Grazie – is an UNESCO listed church that actually is a museum on the side that houses the mural of The Last Supper by the local favourite, Leonardo da Vinchi. We didn’t do a lot of research on the place, and when we arrived we found we were faced with yet another €15/person fee to see the Mural, so we actually passed. There was free general admission though to the actual church - its a lot more rustic than the Duomo and the inside is dark and mystic, we enjoyed it for the cool temperature as we had certainly got a bit hot under the collar.
Isola – is a quiet and authentic northern district of Milan – we spent one evening strolling these streets namely the Piazza Tito Minniti, and wished we had had more time to stop and take dinner. It was very relaxed and much of the restarunts catered to the locals – what we always look for, as often the food is way better at non tourist rates!
To close of this blog post, I would really oppose anyone who says Milan is boring. Is it jam-packed with stuff to do – no, but the city is dripping with amazing history along with architecture that would send any budding architectural student for an embarrassed toilet break. The place is beautiful, the people are for the large part friendly, and of course the food, it was brilliant. Milan is another of of those ideal the ideal weekend city breaks where the focus is just getting lost in amongst the cobbled streets and drifting between pizzeria to pizzeria.
For anyone thinking of doing a trip to Milan – I say do it!