We haven’t planned to visit Italy last year. Even if we would it would have been Rome or Venice first. But we ended up staying in Milan for a spontaneous long weekend. Because last October we wanted to spend a couple of days (whatever remaining holidays we had for the year, actually, and that was like 2 days) somewhere abroad and possibly in a warmer country than Hungary. The cheapest air ticket was to Milan. So, hi Milan, here we come!
We didn’t have much expectations – that’s the advantage of these quick and random trips versus the ones we’ve planned in our heads half of our lives. And Milan turned out to be a cool place. It was an unexpected mix of ancient and modern. And it was quite a promising first getaway to Italy. So let us show you how and why we’ve fallen in love with this city.
1. Duomo di Milano
Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano in Italian) was the only thing we knew we wanted to see in Milan beforehand. And it was the most stunning thing we saw. It’s giant. It’s beautiful. A gorgeous piece of architecture in the heart of Milan. We could go up to the roof and the view from its terraces was again stunning! It was nicely lit up at night. Then the following night we saw it lit up in pink. No, it was not Valentine’s Day. It was a breast cancer awareness event and we saw hundreds of pink balloons flying up in the air at the same time a little bit later.
2. Bosco Verticale
The Vertical Forest in English. The most stunning thing we’ve seen in Milan. Oh wait, that label is already given. But I don’t care. Because Bosco Verticale is so different from the Duomo still it’s just as amazing. It’s a mixture of a forest and a skyscraper. It consists of two towers having the height of 111 metres (364 ft) and 76 metres (249 ft). Oh, and about 900 trees. In addition to the fact that they look so cool the trees also help mitigating smog, producing oxygen and moderating temperatures in the buildings. It’s definitely the most interesting piece of sustainable architecture that we’ve seen so far.
3. Porta Nuova
The main business district of Milan. We usually love old towns the best in European cities, still Porta Nuova ended up to be one of our favorite places in Milan. And it’s really something considering that some areas were still under construction.
4. Castello Sforzesco
The castle or rather fortress of Sforzesco is the entrance to Parco Sempione and the huge fountain in front of the entrance became our favorite place to hang out on a sunny day.
5. Parco Sempione
Our favorite park in Milan. Also home to the Milanese version of the Triumphal Arch.
6. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
We usually don’t like either shopping or shopping malls. Milan surprised us in this area as well. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the oldest shopping malls in the world and it looks fabulous (just look at the building and not at the prices). Actually, it reminded us of the fancy hotels of Las Vegas.
7. Corso Como
Another stunning mixture of old and modern is Corso Como, a walking street with a bunch of cozy cafes and restaurants.
8. Basilica di San Lorenzo
This cathedral is Milan’s oldest church built back in the Roman times. And it was rebuilt several times over the centuries. Colonne di San Lorenzo, the square in front of the church has some Roman ruins to improve the ancient experience even more.
9. Wonderful churches with long names
Santuario Di S. Bernardino Alle Ossa. Santa Maria presso San Satiro. San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore. Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie. Even trying to spell these names sounds like a confession of love, doesn’t it? So soft and elegant. Uh, don’t you want to start learning Italian? I totally do.
10. Cimitero Monumentale
This is the old cemetery we wanted to visit but we only managed to take a peek from behind the fence as it was closed. Its main chapel looked so pretty and we were sorry we hadn’t checked the opening hours beforehand. It’s on our “next time” list.
11. Warm days in October
Milan is one of the most perfect cities to visit in autumn. Part of Europe (especially the Northern and even the central part including our home, Hungary) is already chilly but the weather in Italy becomes just perfect for sightseeing by this time of the year. Plus, there’s much less tourists than in summer.
12. Trip to Lake Como
I should say Lake Como is a perfect day trip from Milan but we actually stayed there for 2 days and found the most beautiful scenes of planet Naboo. Oh wait, this is another love story for next time!
Have you been to Milan? What is your favorite city in Italy?