Milan is a city that is best known for two things: the Duomo and fashion, and I must say both are quite impressive. This past March I spent one day in Milan while I was on my way to Barcelona. It was a short trip but we managed to cram in as many things as possible. In my opinion, there is not too much to see and the city is pretty expensive (doesn’t help that the Milan Expo is happening this year), so you only need a couple of days to see the top highlights. If you only have a day in Milan, here is an itinerary of what we did.
|Walls of the historical Arena Civica
We started our day at Sempione Park, and I must say, this was the best part of Milan for me. I know I am biased because I was only there for a day and didn’t see everything that the city had to offer, but I can easily say that if this was the only attraction I saw in Milan, I would have been satisfied. We first saw the Arena Civica which was well preserved, and I was happy to see that it is still in use today.
|Entrance to the Arena Civica
We then continued our way towards Arco Della Pace, also known as Porta Sempione. In this area there were a lot of locals sitting around and enjoying the warm spring weather. I always love to see locals enjoying their city, especially areas where tourists usually visit.
|Arco Della Pace
This gate reminded me a lot of the Berlin Gate, but for some reason I found this one to be more impressive (I know, I know, but there was just something about it that I loved that I cannot explain in words).
Probably the most popular attraction in Sempione Park was the Sforzesco Castle as this was crawling with tourists. The castle is beautiful! Although we were there at the beginning of spring, the grounds were well maintained and groomed. One thing that I disliked here were the random men who would approach tourists and try to sell them cheap bracelets. If you encounter them in Europe, do not let them put anything on your wrist as they will pressure you into buying something that costs way more than it should!!! If you see them coming your way, raise your hands up in the air. That is what Radojko did to one that tried putting a crappy bracelet on his wrist, and it ended up falling on the ground (HA!). That being said, watch your belongings here as there are some shady characters even during the day.
We did not take any tours at the castle as we were on a tight schedule, so I am not certain what the prices are, but I am sure they are pricey as with everything else in Milan.
First off, the Duomo is gorgeous! It is massive and impressive. Inside is just as beautiful as the outside, and I highly recommend taking a walk through (it is free, but if you want to take pictures you have to pay a fee). However, this is another area with annoying and pushy men trying to sell you junk you don’t need. It is also another area to be cautious of pickpocketers. Although there is a lot of police presence, it seems like the cops are just standing around chatting and not getting rid of the scam artists that are running around the Duomo. The City of Milan, please do something about this as it takes away from the charm of this beautiful historical landmark!
My pictures of the Duomo do not do it justice. It is much more beautiful and impressive in real life.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Unless you are loaded with money or someone who is wild enough to spend their entire paycheck on one article (no offence to anyone, but that’s just crazy in my books!) you will likely not make any purchases here. But that doesn’t mean you should not visit the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It is beautiful! The store windows alone are worth the walk through so you can see the style of high-end fashion, very well put together people shopping inside these high-end stores and eating at high-end restaurants (like I said, you have to have money if you want to shop or eat here).
One thing that I didn’t know that Milan had to offer were canals. They are nothing compared to the canals of Venice, but they are still worth a visit. My friend’s sister who lives in Milan recommended this area to us, and I am glad that she did.
This area did not have any tourists so it was a nice way to end our day. We grabbed some gelato in one of the small ice cream shops and enjoyed it before making our way back to the airport.
For those of you that are wondering what we did with our luggage, we decided to wheel it around town (oh yes, we were those tourists) with us as we didn’t want the hassle of having to go back to our hotel. There are storage lockers at the train station for those of you who have a bit more time to go and store it there.
Overall Milan was a nice city to visit, but I feel that other Italian cities and towns are much more impressive than Milan. That being said, if you are in Italy for a short period of time, a day trip here would suffice or you could even skip it all together.
Happy Travels Everyone!