So, I went to Milan two weekends ago! Outside of Venice it was the only major city in Italy that I hadn't been to. (Venice, I'm coming for ya!) Milan is a really cool city with AH-MAZING food, the first Prada store, and canals designed by Leonardo Da Vinci. Basically, if you love fashion and food, you should go!
Duomo di Milano
My first stop was the Duomo di Milano or Milan Cathedral. It's the cathedral church of Milan and is dedicated to St. Mary of the Nativity. It's the 5th largest church in the world and the 2nd largest church in Italy. Milan's Cathedral is one of the most important Gothic style buildings in the world and it took over six centuries to complete. When I came out of the metro station and was greeted by this massively beautiful structure, I was in awe at the workmanship, detail, and gravitas of the building. The Duomo must be on your to see in Milan list. If you can, go inside and climb up to the top. I've heard it offers an amazing view of Milan and I wish I had taken advantage of it.
Remember those canals I mentioned earlier? They're located in the Navigli district. They were designed by Leonardo da Vinci and connect Milan to Lake Como. This is a really pretty area with painted buildings, lots of quaint food spots (I had the most amazing pizza/gelato here!) and cool, unusual shops. To get here, take the metro to Porta Genova, once you come out of the station, walk directly down the street in front of you. If you want to eat, I'd recommend going after noon because it seemed like most of the restaurants were closed until then. I can't remember the name of the restaurant where I had the delicious pizza, but I'm sure anything on that street/in that area would be good.
*Go to the fashion district as well. I don't have pictures of this because I didn't want to look like a groupie taking shots of stuff I can't afford yet but one day!! You should make sure you see the first Prada store as well. It's in the mall just to the right of the Duomo if you're standing on the steps of the Cathedral.
Italy does architecture, passion, but most of all FOOD so well. This was a lovely change of pace from uni (the British term for college) where I eat cereal and sandwiches in order to feed my travel habit. Anyway, if the food in your life sucks, take a holiday and go to Italy. The gelato, the lasagna, the wine, the pizza- will restore you soul. I'm def only eating bread with vinegar and olive oil once I have a house because it's just so lit. Go eat at La Locanda del Gatto Rosso, order the lasagna and let your life be changed.
Tips and Tricks
- The metro is super easy to navigate, you should have no real reason to take taxis.
- You don't have to stay super central to the Duomo to get around easily. I stayed in an Airbnb that was a little out of the way but I was always able to get into the city center within like 25 minutes. If being centrally located is important to you then by all means go for it, but if not, save some coins and stay a bit out of the way - you won't be missing anything.
- Having minimal Italian language would be very useful. Most people speak English but if you can ask how much, for directions or etc. in Italian, your life will be easier. (If you can't speak it, screenshot, screenshot, screenshot!)
- Make sure you have Euros in cash. Everywhere I went in Milan took card but then then the ticket to the metro machine wouldn't read my card for some reason- I had no cash, so I had to go to an ATM and by that point I ended up just taking a cab. Make life easy on yourself.