So much to see, so little time…
Discover the many treasures Milan has to offer with this sample 2-day itinerary. With its rich history and diverse neighborhoods, this city will teach you about more than just fashion.
Benvenuti a Milano! Get ready to explore everything this amazing city has to offer. Use this guide as your key to the city. What you do once you’re inside is up to you. You’ll need a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and don’t even think about leaving your camera at home. When you finally capture that perfect photo of yourself in front of the Duomo, share it with us on our facebook page www.facebook.com/WhereMilan or tweet us @WhereMilan.
GET YOUR BEARINGS
Ciao Milano. Piacere.
Begin your stay by shaking hands and introducing yourself to the city. You may want to start by taking a ride on one of CitySightseeing’s open air double-decker buses. A 48 hour pass will allow you 2 full days of bus hopping in between all of Milan’s major attractions.
www.zaniviaggi.it and www.livemilano.com
Booking a Segway tour is another fun way to familiarize yourself with the city, while still under the helpful hand of an experienced guide. General tours can be booked for 1.5 or 3 hours.
If you prefer to explore on your own, Milan has an excellent public transportation network. A 2 day metro pass allows unlimited access to the city’s underground subway system, city buses, and the quaint cable car line. One of the newer options for solo exploration is BikeMi. It is Milan’s bike share program and you can pick-up and drop-off the bicycles at any kiosk in the city.
THE DUOMO & RINASCENTE
The Duomo, one of the most recognizable Gothic churches in the world, is located in the center of Milan. It houses about 3200 sculptures, including the famed golden Madonnina at the very top of the main spire. The best way to catch a glimpse of the sculptures up close is to take the narrow, winding stairway all the way up. Don’t forget to go inside and light a candle. Located directly across the Piazza from the Duomo is Rinascente. This unique 10 story department store is filled with high-end fashion, beauty products, and home goods. On the seventh floor, you will find 9 different restaurants and an upscale food market. From the open air dining area of Rinascente, you’ll want to reward yourself with a glass of wine and some fresh pastries while admiring the Duomo from a different angle.
Corso Como, Navigli, Arco della Pace, Brera
In Milan, the art of aperitivo is celebrated at nearly every watering hole in the city. An aperitivo is similar to an American happy hour, but it is so much more. With the cost of a drink (about 7-10 euro) you are granted unlimited access to the establishment’s buffet of food and often this is enough to substitute for dinner. Corso Como is a good place to start on your quest for the perfect aperitivo. This trendy, bustling area starts filling up early, so be prepared for people to be spilling out onto the street if you arrive later in the evening. The Navigli Canals, Arco della Pace, and Brera areas are also popular places for an aperitivo. You’re sure to find something that suits you in one of these districts. Finding the perfect aperitivo is a little like dating. You may have to kiss a few frogs, but you’ll eventually find a prince.
PUT ON YOUR DANCING SHOES!
After an aperitivo, you may feel like you need a quick disco nap before heading out for a night on the town. That’s ok, because most nightclubs in Milan will be almost empty until about 1am. Old fashion is one of my favorites (www.oldfashion.it). Armani Privé (www.armaniristorante.com), Just Cavalli (milano.cavalliclub.com), and Rocket (www.therocket.it) are also great choices. Entrance prices vary depending on the night’s theme, but almost always include at least one drink ticket. Be prepared to see the sun come up, nightlife continues into the early morning hours in Milan.
A BIT OF ITALIAN ART & CULTURE
“The Last Supper” at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie
Leonardo da Vinci has left his mark all over Milan. His depiction of the last supper is one of the most famous pieces of art in the world. Reservations are necessary to enter the museum, and they usually sell out quickly, so you will want to plan this one in advance. You can explore the refectory and this awe inspiring wall mural on your own, or pay extra for a multilingual guide. Either way, you are only allowed to be inside for 15 minutes. Visiting the Last Supper will not take up a large chunk of your day, but it will definitely be worth every single second (M1- M2 Cadorna FN). To make your reservations to view The Last Supper, visit cenacolovinciano.net
Gallerie d’Italia-Piazza Scala
The Gallerie d’Italia (www.gallerieditalia.com) is one of Milan’s newest museums and one of my favorite places in the city (M1-M3 Duomo, M3 Montenapoleone). The Gallerie opened in 2011 and contains the art collection of the Fondazione Cariplo. In an effort to advocate for the appreciation of Lombardy artists, the Cariplo bank has been collecting works of Italian art for nearly 100 years. The Gallerie is made up of 3 separate buildings filled with 19th and 20th century artwork. You’ll stroll through the museum’s many rooms with the faint sound of classical music as your guide. The curators of the Gallerie have strived to create a certain mood for their guests. They want it to feel like a museum for everyone, not just the cultured. Entrance and multi-lingual guides are both free to the public.
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
No trip to Milan would be complete without a little retail therapy. If you don’t have a limit on your credit card, you’ll most likely be spending your time on Via Montenapoleone at Gucci, Prada, or one of the other high-end boutiques. Personally, I prefer Corso Buenos Aires. With nearly 400 stores, it has the highest concentration of clothing shops in all of Europe. You’ll find all the latest Italian fashion, without breaking the bank. If you can’t resist those labels, consider taking a day trip to one of the designer outlets. Zani Viaggi can arrange a tour to FoxTown, Serravalle, Vicolungo or Fidenza Village, with its unique “chic outlet shopping” experiences.
GO BACK IN TIME
Teatro alla Scala
At one time, Teatro alla Scala was a meeting place for the wealthy and powerful people of Milan. Today it is accessible to everyone. The building is stunning, to say the least. Depending on the performance and time of year, it is possible to purchase very reasonably priced tickets. You’ll want to get dressed up a bit, so hopefully you’ve found something fancy while you were shopping earlier. Whether you choose to see an opera or ballet, you will be blissfully whisked away to days gone by. The crimson curtains open and your evening of ancient culture begins… For a current schedule of performances and the option to buy tickets, visit www.teatroallascala.org
QUICK BITES IN THE CITY
The 3 Ps of Milan: panini, pizza & panzerotti
You could literally spend a lifetime trying all of the amazing culinary options in Milan. It would be a really nice way to spend your life, but you don’t have that kind of time on this trip. Here are my favorite great, quick bites around the city. For panini, try Panino Giusto (www.paninogiusto.it) or De Santis (www.paninidesantis.it). They both have multiple locations throughout Milan, so you’re probably close to one wherever you are. For pizza, Spontini is a must (www.pizzeriaspontini.it). It’s one of the older pizzerias in the city. They only offer one slice here, Margherita naturally, but they do it very well. And you can’t miss trying the famous Luini panzerotti (www.luini.it). In a nutshell, it’s a piece of pizza that’s been turned inside out and fried. And it’s delicious.
Jamaica De Santis
Jamaica is an American college student living and working in Milan. It had been a dream of hers to visit Italy someday and discover the true meaning of “La Dolce Vita”. With a passion for travel and new experiences, Jamaica took a summer internship with Where Milan magazine, and fell head over heels in love with the city of Milan.