Milan, Milan, this vibrant city. An Italian city that you will hear many different opinions about whether it is beautiful and worth a visit and you know something? They will all be a little right. In October 2019 I made a solo trip to Milan. It was in fact my last destination on a small tour I did in some Italian cities but at the same time the first time I would use the couch-surfing platform and I would be hosted by a girl from Kazakhstan, a resident of Milan for many years. Is Milan beautiful after all?
👉 Υou might be also interested in my first solo trip
A few words about Milan
Milan is the second largest city in Italy and the largest industrial center in the north. Capital of fashion but also of the stock market, this fashionable city will either pass you by coldly indifferent or you will love it and I believe me, it depends exclusively on how many secrets you will get to know because YES. Milan at first sight resembles an Italian snob miss who is indifferent to whether you will love her or not and wants to eat all your money but if you discover her secrets she can become a stickler. But she will eat the money in both cases because … surprise, Milan is expensive
Milan has two nearby airports and a huge, really huge Train Station, which if you get to and do not get even a small panic attack then a thumbs up from me.
Linate Airport: Linate Airport is the airport of the city of Milan, just 8 km. from the cathedral. Conveniently located close to the city center, it is well served by public transport and is easily accessible by car.
Milan Malpensa: Malpensa Airport is strategically located in the economic heart of Europe. It is located just over 50 km from Milan and Switzerland and is easily accessible by car, train, bus or taxi. Taking the Malpensa Express from Central Station is the easiest way to get to the airport.
What to do and what to see in Milan
Of course your acquaintance with Milan should start at the Cathedral (Duomo) which is objectively extremely impressive. There is a subway station that leaves you right in front of it and yes, get ready to be blown away!
The cathedral took almost six centuries to be completed: construction began in 1386 and the final details were completed in 1965. It is the largest church in Italy – the largest Basilica of St. Peter is in the Vatican City State – the second largest in Europe and the third largest in the world. The interior is also impressive and you can also climb to the top and admire the view of the city. Worth it? Personally I will say no. There are much more beautiful rooftops to see the city from above.
If I did not convince you and you still want to climb to the top of the Duomo, for God’s sake, do not be stingy and climb the stairs like me. Just take the elevator and escape the claustrophobic crisis that will be caused by the 250 tiny steps that you feel that you climb endlessly.
👉 Cannoli Stop: At Ammucanolli, you will taste the most delicious cannoli in Milan. Cannoli are sweets in the form of a “tube” filled with cream cheese that come from Sicily and can now be found in various versions.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
On the Piazza del Duomo you will find the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. It is a large commercial gallery with a glass roof, which houses elegant shops, bars and restaurants and is crowded at all hours of the day. Do not forget that Milan is considered the center of fashion, so get ready to be among the most well-dressed people in the world in some of the most expensive stores in the world. If you feel poor, do not be sad. Υou are.
We move on to a beautiful “attraction” that is worth saving a little of your time. The Castle of Milan (Castello Sforzesco) hides inside many museums but also very green if you just want to go for a walk, near the center of Milan.
👉 Read also about my trip to Bologna
Α middle finger in the center of Milan
While you walk carefree in the super stylish city of Milan, you stumbble upon a huge sculpture depicting a “middle” finger. What exactly is this?
The work of the eccentric Maurizio Cattelan, this sculpture is located right in front of Milan’s central Affari square, in front of “La Borsa Milano”, the city’s stock exchange. It is called “L.O.V.E.” and is an “Middle Finger” of a hand 11 meters high, while the other fingers are cut. This is a project that was discussed about, a lot but eventually became a trademark of the city, without becoming completely clear whether it is a gesture to or from the citizens. Interesting!
👉 Stop for coffee and sweets at Cova Montenapoleone. It was founded in 1817 by Antonio Cova and is one of the oldest pasticceria in Italy. If you are not attracted by the impressive shop window, you should be attracted by its historicity and its wonderful interiors. It usually has a tail so equip yourself with patience. Worth it!
Milano’s Starbucks are not random at all
In 2018, Starbuks celebrated the opening of their first store in Italy. The most beautiful Starbucks store in the world is located inside the historic Poste building in Piazza Cordusio: the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan could be nothing less than a work of art.
San Giovanni Di Conca
In the center of Piazza Missori there are still the remains of the ancient Basilica of St. Giovanni, which was probably built in the 4th century, but below them there is a magnificent crypt that you can visit.
The funky Brera
I really loved this neighborhood because it overflows with art and culture. It is full of art galleries, shops of various designers, especially cafes and an endless energy of another, more vintage era. It is considered one of the most elegant, romantic, almost bohemian areas of Milan, and what I suggest is just to walk it.
Start your exploration at the Brera Gallery. Originally it is a beautiful building that you should see even outside as it has a beautiful inner courtyard and the bronze statue of Napoleon (work of Antonio Canova), depicted as the peacemaker Mars. In it is one of the most important collections of paintings by Italian painters.
Or the canals of Milan. Or a wonderful neighborhood, for coffee, a walk or an evening aperittivo on a completely different side of Milan. Somewhere in Gelateria Romana you will find the best ice cream in town.
Two of the most unique buildings you will ever see are this “vertical forest” or Bosco Verticale, located in the Porta Nuova area. With a height of 111 and 76 meters and over 900 trees, these buildings were created in an effort to present a model of life that harmoniously combines man with nature. I, would totally buy an apartment!
When Church puts the colors
A 40-meter-long wall right next to the church of San Lorenzo is filled with magnificent murals commissioned by the church itself and depicts two millennia of Milan history. There is Alessandro Manzoni, Milan’s most beloved writer, Leonardo da Vinci, the war between Sforza and Visconti, Napoleon on his legendary white horse and Giuseppe Verdi, the composer. (Artists: Acme 107, Encs, Gatto Nero, Gatto Max, Gep, Gianbattista Leoni, Kasy 23, Luca Zammarchi, Mr. Blob, Neve and 750ml)