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Milan advice please(12 Posts)
Heading to Milan next week with my 70 year old mum and 7 year old daughter.
Booked a walking tour of the cathedral and Da Vinci’s Last Supper. Thought about doing an open bus tour too.
Any tips/advice? What to do? Where to eat? Packing tips?
Milan isn't one of my favourite Italian cities but having said that, plenty of people do like it a lot! We went four years ago and my youngest DD was 6. In terms of what she liked other than plenty of ice cream availability (obviously!), she enjoyed the park behind the Sforza castle and spotting turtles in the streams, clambering around the rooftop of the cathedral and the hop on, hop off bus. There are many museum options - because my taste runs that way rather than Renaissance art, I liked the Galleria d'Arte Moderns which is in an old villa with a nice garden. The appeal to many is the high end shopping and there is pretty much a Prada on every corner! If that's not within budget, an old friend of mine who lives in Milan seems to spend a lot of time at Fidenza Village which has lots of discount designer outlets which might be more purse friendly!
If you want to get out of Milan, Lake Como is in east train reach & get a train to Varenna. You can book tickets in advance for a bit less on the Trenitalia site.
We'd previously been in Liguria before getting to Milan & in comparison the restaurants were almost twice the price! There are lots of parks though so just buy a sandwich & drinks for lunch if you're looking to cut costs. We ate out a couple of times on the road that leads up to the Sforza castle which has loads of places to eat.
Moderna not Moderns - bloody autocorrect! And easy not east train reach!
Navigli, the canal area, lovely place to eat
I agree that Navigli is a nice area - lots of bars and restaurants and it's a lot prettier and more classically Italian than much of Milan, which is basically a business city with not a huge amount to do for tourists.
Traditional touristy stuff: Duomo + square + Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforza Castle, Brera art museum, Leonardo's Last Supper, and shopping. There is high fashion and lots of quite fun shops, particularly around Pza S. Babila and up towards the Duomo - there used to be a Fiorucci along there, which your DD might enjoy.
Milan will probably be hot and fairly sticky at this time of year, so I'd pack clothes that will keep you cool, but not too scruffy. It's a business city and people there are fashionable and smart. It's not like Florence or Rome, which are full of tourists. Milan is not really a very touristy place.
Milan isn't the most exciting Italian city unfortunately, in fact sadly it's my least favourite as it just seems to lack the personality places like Rome, Naples etc have.
It's nice for a day or two, but depending on how long you are there, have you considered renting a car to get out of the city or even getting a train somewhere?
I disagree that there’s not much to do in Milan, although admittedly you probably need at least some Italian for some of the most interesting stuff.
If you’re going to the Last Supper, have a wander in the surrounding streets. Corso Magenta has lots of twisty medieval side streets with cool boutiques and eateries. If you like Leonardo there is the Vigna Di Leonardo which is where he lived when in Milan. It’s practically opposite the Last Supper. There is also a Leonardo museum at the Castello Sforzesco. To complete the theme the canals (Navigli) we’re destined by him, plus it’s a vibrant area with bars and restaurants. For big parks, there’s Parco Sempione behind the Castle or else the gardens at Porta Venezia, which also house a few museums.
There is a recently renovated open air pool in Porta Romana www.bagnimisteriosi.com/biglietti/ plus nearby there are thermal baths, in a converted Art Nouveau tram depot with a wellness spa if that entices.
Another great area for shopping that is not the high fashion €€€ area is Corso Como and Porta Nuova.
Milan is very small, you can probably do much of the sights on foot, heat permitting, or else hop on and hop off trams. Public transport is efficient and cheap (although they’ve just this week out prices up ). An open top tour is probably a good idea, if only to get your bearings on the first day.
Eating out is not expensive by UK standards, you can get good quality food at fairly reasonable prices. The trick is to avoid anywhere with photos on the menu or indeed anywhere in the galleria Vittorio Emanuele.
Weather wise it’s surprisingly pleasant at the moment, although the forecast is for a return of the heat next week (36° forecast).
Let me know if you need any particular pointers, eg. Restaurants near where you’re staying etc.
Thank you for all your replies.
Parks sound good. As do shopping outlets - is Fidenza Village easily accessible? Don’t really want to be venturing too far out, so probably won’t do car hire or Lake Como.
Love the idea of open air pool too! Hadn’t come across that at all when looking at ideas - how easy to get to is it?
We’re staying in the Enterprise Hotel.
Melassa if you are able to recommend anywhere to eat near Enterprise Hotel that would be amazing. We arrive very late so will need a nice breakfast in the morning. Daughter adores Italian food - mum is fussy!
Weather looks very hot, so thinking floaty dresses, light clothing!
You’re near the old trade fair district and not far from City Life which is a new area with shops and restaurants and activities, within the now hugely expensive real estate area with the designer skyscrapers. There seems to be a free canoe activity for children which might be fun. Bear in mind that Italian schools break up at the beginning of June so there are a fair few activities available, many free or low cost, for the children who are not sent away to their grandparents at the beach. Ask at your hotel if there is a list of activities.
For restaurants, that’s an area I know less of as it has changed a lot since DP lived there. I will ask around but it might be easier to ask at the hotel. Sorry! I’m not being of much help! I do know a restaurant which serves food from the Valtellina (area near Milan in the Alps) but it’s quite stodgy stuff for mountaineers and skiing all day so probably not ideal for a hot day. It is very good though.
The swimming pool is in Porta Romana, you can get a number 16 tram there from near Duomo or the metro is 3 stops on the yellow line from Duomo station (exit Viale Montenero side). You will need to walk a few minutes when you get off. Beware! The water is fed into the pool from an underground spring and is very cold. The spa is nearby if your mum fancies that while you’re in the pool.
For public transport get the Moovit app, it does sometimes go a bit doolally but I’ve found it invaluable when I’ve needed to get around on public transport in foreign cities. Not least because they’re building a new metro line in Milan and a lot of bus/tram routes have been changed because of the building sites. It will help you to identify where the stops have been moved to.
Re clothing, yes to floaty, yes to natural fabrics. Make sure shoulders are covered for the Duomo tour and wear comfy shoes as there are a fair few cobbles in the centre. Birkenstocks are perfect, also worn by lots of Italians so you won’t stand out. What does separate the foreigners is flip flops in a city. Total no no for the locals. But you do what you feel comfortable with.
I hope you have a great time, there are lots of lovely hidden corners to Milan and many are lovely. You’re not tripping over ruins or renaissance architecture like in Rome or Florence, but Milan was quite heavily bombed in WW2, unlike many other Italian cities (the Galleria was bombed and has been totally rebuilt), but it is imo very vibrant and more cosmopolitan than some other Italian cities. Much as I love Venice and Rome, I’d much rather live in Milan.
Melassa thank you so much, you’ve been incredibly helpful! I’m making a list!
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