Milan was somewhat of a surprise destination for me. My boyfriend and I were traveling to Toulouse, France for a soccer competition with coworkers from across Europe, and we were looking up where we could go before to add on our summer vacation to this trip. First, airfare to Europe in June is EXPENSIVE, and Milan was the cheapest city to fly into, so we decided to give it a try planned out an extensive road trip to Toulouse from Milan and go to planning! Milan quickly impressed me, and I would highly recommend adding this for three or four days on your Italy itinerary.
The first thing to know about Milan – it is aptly named the fashion capital of the world. Everyone was so well dressed everywhere all the time. This is the place to bring your cutest clothes you own and don’t be afraid to push the norm a little! I was glad we packed well for this trip because everyone was so dressed up everywhere.
We stayed in a beautiful hotel right in the heart of things – the Sheraton Diana Majestic. It felt like an old Italian castle with a perfect garden right out back. Getting around Milan via metro was incredibly easy, safe, and clean. They only have Uber Black so that is very expensive, and taxis are the recommended mode of transport if you don’t want to walk/ metro. You can ask at your hotel before leaving to call you a cab that takes card!
The main attraction in Milan is the iconic Duomo. This massive church looks like a fairy tale, with gargoyles, flying buttresses for days, and a facade anyone in the world will recognize. The best part, for 5 extra euros you can take an elevator to the roof instead of hiking up hundreds of stairs. The roof is incredible, you can see the city for miles in all directions and get up close and personal with the architecture. NOTE: Wear shoes with some traction up here! It’s all marble and yes I may have almost slipped off. Also wear a shawl or something that covers your shoulders!
Close by to the Duomo you have the beautiful arcade Galleria Vittorio Emanuale, where you can get all of your Milan shopping done, from the most high end shops to more affordable options. Head upstairs to the hip lounge Terraza Aperol to sip a spritz with the best view of the Duomo. We didn’t make it here but another recommended view is from upstairs in the Museo del Novecento.
After visiting the Duomo, head across town to see the Sforzcesco Castle. This medieval fortress if beautiful, and also has some great museums full of Michelangelos and Da Vincis (just Italy things). Be sure to double check dates/ times it’s open! There’s also a beautiful park behind the castle to explore and enjoy some gelato in.
Next, head across the street to the Brera district. This area is super adorable and every street is more beautiful than the next. There are trendy shops here, great gelato, and some touristy restaurants that serve pretty good food.
Another fun activity we hit while we were there was the Armani Silos. Here they have collections of Giorgio Armani pieces from the past 20 or so years, with some information about what inspired this designer. The space is gorgeous and a great activity to get out of the sun and see some of what Milan is most famous for.
In the evening, I recommend heading to Colonne di San Lorenzo. Grab an Aperol Spritz or glass of wine from any of the shops nearby and post up on these ancient Roman columns for some people watching and entertainment. When you’re hungry, head down to Naviglio – Milan’s canal district. Though not as extensive as Venice, it’s still wonderous to see, especially at sunset. Enjoy a delicious meal of pizza and pasta and local wine, and soak up that you’re in Italy!
What we missed: We only had 2 days in Milan which means several things got left out (which is always a good reason to come back!)
- The Last Supper: Da Vinci’s masterpiece is right in the middle of the city, but tickets are not easy to come by. You can do a tour which includes visiting which ran from 60-100 euros, or try and get lucky and get tickets from the website for 7-10 euros.
- Bar Luce: This cafe/ bar was designed by Wes Anderson and will make you feel a part of the the Royal Tennenbaums.
- Alfa Romeo Museum: This was on my boyfriend’s list but was about 30-40 mins outside of the city so we couldn’t squeeze it in.
- San Siro: Legendary soccer stadium, again slightly out of the way so need a little more time!
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