07 Jan Milan – the city life
Milan in comparison to Venice almost seemed like a different world. Milan is such a metropolitan, professional city with everyone having places to be and people to see. We didn’t have a lot of time in this city, but I guess if you don’t have loads of money to spend in the hundreds of designer shops then you don’t need any more than a couple of days to explore.
The number one must see is Duomo di Milan (Milan Cathedral). It was a great surprise when buying our tickets that you can actually go onto the roof of the Cathedral. The number of flights of stairs you walk up to reach the roof should not be underestimated. As you continuously swirl your way up, there are no indications as to how far you have left to go. But once you reach the roof it all becomes worth it as you’re met with the intricate architecture surrounding you mixed with the modern landscape ahead. The view from the centre of the roof is breathtaking, especially under the scorching summer sun. From the roof, you can directly enter the cathedral without having to join the queue outside the front entrance. However, this comes with a warning to those who are not great with confined spaces and lifts.
Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) is the best spot to take photos of the cathedral. As the main tourist spot in Milan getting the perfect picture can be challenging, so visiting early in the morning would probably be your best option. When I visited the majority of the square was being transformed into a concert area. This was disappointing as it did limit the space needed to get the entirety of the cathedral into a picture, but you have to work with what you’ve got. (Later on in the Italy trip when watching TV we stumbled across the concert being broadcasted)
Milan is world renowned for being a fashion hub and it’s shopping mall certainly shows this. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is the famous glass-ceiling shopping mall, located just off of Piazza del Duomo. Here you’ll find shops such as Prada, Louis Vuitton, Versace among other famous designer brands. There are restaurants and cocktail bars at the entrances of the mall, however, I wouldn’t suggest eating here unless you have the money to do so. Even though we didn’t buy anything or eat in the mall being there was an experience in itself. More often than not you don’t have to actually spend money whilst travelling in order to experience famous places.
An impromptu visit to Sforza Castle showed a completely different side to this city. We didn’t buy any tickets to enter the castle but rather strolled around its grounds but this itself is worth it. The neighbouring park ‘Parco Sempione‘ was a beautiful place to sit down and relax for an hour or two. the centre of Milan is very busy and it was great to take some time out. I always find that taking time out from exploring a city is important and by doing so you often find hidden gems that you otherwise would have missed.
For me, the food in Milan was something special, although not from the central area surrounding the Cathedral. My accommodation was situated just outside of the city centre and to the east, the food although expensive which is to be expected in a city like Milan was some of the best dining experience we had during our time in Italy.
Restaurant, Cafe and Bar Recommendations:
- L’OV Milano – an absolutely beautiful restaurant with food to match. So traditional but modern!
- Bread and Breakfast – delicious coffee and breakfast items which make the perfect start to your day in Milan (No website but a Google Maps link here)
- Deep – a trendy cafe for a quick bite or a few evening drinks
We cut our time in Milan short and instead visited Lake Como on what would have been our third and final day in the city.