For the winter break at my school, they gave us quite a few days off. For the first few days (through Christmas) my family came to visit me and we went to Dublin. For the second part of the holidays, my friend and I planned a trip to four major Italian cities: Milan, Verona, Venice and Rome. We spent an average of two days per city, which for some was more then plenty and for others wasn’t close to enough time.
We went first to Milan because we found Ryanair flights there for 17 euros! I still can’t believe it either. Milan doesn’t have a ton of things to see, but there are quite a few of two things: churches and expensive stores.
The most famous of these churches is by far the Duomo, which is extremely intricate and beautiful. After seeing so many churches in Europe, I’m ashamed to say that many of them start looking exactly the same. The Duomo was a breath of fresh air, however, and an exquisite representation of Gothic architecture.
Milan is also known for its fashion. Stretching off the side of the piazza in which sits the Duomo is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. While we did not enter any of the stores, for obvious reasons, the gallery itself is a beautiful piece of art much more within my price range–free!
The Galleria leads to a piazza, where by surprise we found a statue of Da Vinci, who evidently lived in the city for some years.
To the north of town there is also Sforza Castle, a medieval fortress. We were planning on walking to the castle on our second day, but stumbled upon it by accident! The map had made it seem much farther away than it actually was. We didn’t pay to enter the castle or the interior museums, but it was free to see the interior courtyard, which was pretty interesting on its own.
The Milano Centrale station became our hub for arriving in and leaving Milan. However, I haven’t ever seen such a beautiful train station! It is extremely clean and huge, with giant glass windows and skylights.
One annoying thing was that inside the train stations is clearly a hub for pickpocketers. There are warning signs on the ticket machines and while we were purchasing both train tickets and metro tickets, random people came up to the machine and started either selecting things for us or “instructing” us how to use the machine. If you’re paying attention to your belongings like you should be, this is ultimately harmless but annoying.
We took the train one day to Como to see Lake Como. We had originally intended on doing a ferry tour of the lake where you can get off and see the cute towns that lie nestled around it, the most famous being Bellagio. However, it was unexpectedly a holiday and only the “fast” ferry was running, which meant that there were no stops.
Despite not being able to get off, the lake offered us beautiful views of the towns from a distance.
The city of Como itself is also quite picturesque, and definitely worth the cheap train ticket from Milan! Italian trains were very nice, and I was quite impressed. It’s simple to buy a ticket at one of the machines, the cars are comfortable and they all have outlets at the seat to charge your electronics!
Our visit to Milan was quite picturesque. Even the patio of our AirBnB was so beautiful!
Even if you’re not a devotee of high fashion brands, Milan can definitely be worth a visit. The Duomo is a very impressive church and the town has other beautiful pieces of architecture as well, from the 15th to the 20th century. Definitely try to make it out to Lake Como (not on a holiday) and enjoy the lake-side towns for a calm day out!