I always need a vacation from my vacations, because apparently, I don’t know how to take relaxing ones. I was never quite one for an island getaway (but it’s definitely something I should look into); I’ve always held a greater penchant for big cities, and it’s always go-go-go-go for me when I’m on my trips since I’m always ravenous to take in as much sightseeing and culture immersion as I can, which sounds fabulous but, in truth, often semi-backfires on me because I end up with jelly legs and an immensely sore body. An exhausted soul, but at least it’s a happy soul. I’ve been bitten by the travel bug ever since I was a little girl, and to this day, I’m still not sure if it’s a complete blessing or a bit of a curse to have this crazy desire to travel: I want to visit SO many places around the world (I’ve barely even begun to make a dent in my list), but time and money pose as obstacles to that dream. Some people save up to buy their dream high-end designer handbags; I save my money to see the world.
As the kick-off to my series of recaps from my trip, here’s my photo journal from Milano, Italy (see my Milano outfit article here). H and I flew in after a full day in New York City, and we didn’t catch too much shut-eye on the plane; needless to say, we started off our Europe tour with weary minds. But after we quickly freshened up at our apartment, an amazingly cute studio I found on Airbnb (use code jellen7 to sign up and get $25 credit off your first Airbnb trip), adrenaline and the effects of coffee kicked in and we were on our way to see the sights. We only had less than 24 hours (including the night) in Milan, but we managed to squeeze most of the main attractions into our schedule.
Popular Tourist Spots:
- Duomo: One of the largest cathedrals in the world (popular pickpocket location, especially during peak seasons)
- Quadrilatero d’Oro (Rectangle of Gold): high-end designer shopping area
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: one of the world’s oldest shopping malls with impressive architecture
- Castello Sforzesco: 15th century castle
- Navigli District: system of canals and waterways, but currently undergoing construction (our apartment was located right by the canals but we unfortunately couldn’t experience the full beauty of it due to the construction)
- The famous The Last Supper Painting by Leonardo da Vinci at the Church of Santa Maria della Grazie (note: reserved time-slot tickets are necessary)
- Pinacoteca di Brera (art gallery featuring works of Caravaggio, Piero della Francesca, Rembrandt, and Goya)
And of course, you can’t forget to hit up gelato shops when you’re in Italy! It’s not difficult to come across one, since they can be found on practically every corner on every street, but top recommendations include Il Massimo del Gelato, Gelateria Marghera, and Attimi Gusto.
As for food, I can’t exactly give too many recommendations, since I was only there long enough for one dinner at a popular pizza joint and one breakfast at Ofele, a charming little neighborhood cafe. Both were absolute delights, but I cannot recommend Pizzeria Spontini enough! In pictures, the pizza slice may look very plain, but once you see it in person, you’ll not only notice it to be a huge, thick slice, but you just might also find it to be the BEST pizza you’ve ever tasted. Seriously, I was stuffed by the time I finished my slice, and I was still dreaming about it later that night and all throughout that week!
Other General Tips:
- If you’re flying into Malpensa Airport (as I did) and want to get to the city center by public transportation, don’t bother with cabs or buses. Instead, take the Malpensa Express train to either the Milano Centrale station or Milano Cadorna station (both are situated within the city center). Cadorna is recommended since there are nonstop rides (nonstop ride duration is approximately 29 minutes while those with stops last approximately 36 minutes) and trains leave every 30 minutes from Terminal 1 of Malpensa Airport. One-way fares cost €11.
- Best ways to get around the city: underground Metro (be wary of pickpockets at stations; they’re known to loiter surreptitiously around ticket kiosks; above-ground trams/streetcars; Uber; cab (find them at designated taxi stands); walk
- Most restaurants don’t open for dinner until 7PM or later, so if you get hungry before that, munch on some snacks to curb your hunger. Or, you could always go to Pizzeria Spontini like me (go early to avoid crowds)!
- Milan is infamous for pickpockets, so always be alert and smart about your surroundings! But generally, Italians are very warm and friendly.
And that’s pretty much it for Milan! If you want to read up more on other great things to do around the city, this article offers fantastic detailed suggestions that can help you plan your trip to Milan. As for my next Italy visit, I have my eyes set on Florence, Sicily, and Rome…
Thank you for reading!