I wanted to start this series of throwback posts in order to have an easy way to access photos and details of all my trips, even the ones I went on before I started documenting travel experiences in this blog. Aside from being a great way for me to rewind to places that moved me, I hope these posts will be a source of inspiration for future trips for a few of you as well.
I was in Milan for a couple of days in 2012, and then again in 2013 as part of a longer trip around Northern Italy. I felt like it was just long enough to have a look around the main landmarks, and to also allow time for some of the best leisurely pastimes in the city – shopping and eating!
Duomo di Milano
Naturally, we started off at the Duomo di Milano, the impressively decorative Gothic Cathedral right in the centre of town. The square is always brimming with tourists (and pidgeons!) but on a sunny day it can be pretty nice to spend some time there.
How to experience it: Depending on the season, you can enjoy some excellent pistachio gelato from the shops lining the square, or a bag of fragrant roasted chestnuts from one of the little pushcarts, and admire the beautiful facade of the cathedral from the benches around. Inside the cathedral you can also see the beautiful decoration, the crypts where important clergy members are burried, and for those of you who want to see it all – you can climb to the roof of the Duomo, which takes you about 100m above ground level for some great panoramic views of Milan. I definitely recommend the roof for keen photographers – getting up close to the intricate decoration of the turrets is a pretty special experience!
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Milan’s stunning glass-roofed shopping concourse. Well, more likely a place for window shopping, with luxurious designer boutiques. I did buy a dress (which was on sale), so I’m going to go ahead and say it counts for a Milanese shopping experience. The story goes that if you spin on your heel over the bull mosaic, you will return to Milan, so I did that and I’m going to be saving up for my next crazy shopping spree there…
Teatro alla Scala
I didn’t take any pictures inside, but the famous opera house is well worth a visit. The tour includes an exhibition tracing the history of the building and the operas performed there, including some original costumes. You also get to take in the view of the stage and the auditorium from one of the exclusive boxes featuring comfy sofas draped in red velvet.
Sforza Castle, or Castello Sforzesco is a large Medieval fortress housing art by da Vinci and Michelangelo. It is a great place to escape the buzz of the city and submerge yourself in Milan’s history.
Parco Sempione and Arco della Pace
As you leave through the opposite end of the courtyard of Sforza Castle, you will find yourself in the heart of Parco Sempione, a beautiful green space with gardens and mystical glades which also houses an aquarium and a library. At the end of the walkway, you will find yourself gazing up at the striking Arco della Pace, a triumphal arch built on the request of Napoleon.
I have very fond memories from my relaxed weekend break in Milan, and I think it’s one of the places you can’t get tired of visiting. With beautiful landmarks, delicious food and lovely people, it is a firm favourite for a last-minute break as a distraction from everyday life. Tell me about your favourite things to do in Milan, I’d love to hear about your experiences and, as always, any suggestions on places I’ve missed!