I have now been to Italy four times and have been lucky to see so much. I’ve covered all the tourist stops and then some: Rome (three times), Florence (twice), Venice, Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento and Positano on the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Bolazno (near the Austrian Border), Turin, Lake Como, Verona, Parma, Bologna, Siena, Perugia, Assisi, and Spello.
Finally Visiting Milan
But never once had I ever stayed in Milan. I’d always seen it as just a junction to get through to get to the heart of Italy. I’d landed there and changed trains there, but never slept there… until now. And guess what? Milan is great! Even if you just saw Milan in a day, it’s worth it.
It was my last stop in Italy and it totally revived me after starting to feel a bit of travel burnout. It’s fast-paced, it’s progressive, it’s historical, it’s clean. Its metro, tram, and buses zip around town getting your from piazza to piazza. And this time of year, the whole town was lit up like one big Christmas tree.
What to do for a Day in Milan
See the Piazza del Duomo
Here is where locals and tourists congregate. Marvel at the Gothic, wedding-cake of a cathedral in the center of town. Even better head up to the rooftop of the Duomo for a great vantage point and get a neat close-up view of some architectural details that you can’t see from the ground.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Right next to the cathedral, is fancy Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. Head inside to see Italy’s oldest shopping mall, which opened in 1877. Marvel and the fantastic architecture and design details. I wouldn’t shop here…it’s super expensive. But definitely go in and have a look around.
Have a wander around this swanky district. Shop or just stroll and duck into one of the many cafes.
Ride the Tram
Hop on one of the cool, vintage trams. These street cars date back to 1928 and are some of the oldest in the world.
See the Last Supper Painting
Davinci’s famous masterpiece, the Last Supper is housed here at the Santa Maria delle Grazie. You have to buy a ticket in advance and will have an appointment to go and see it as only thirty people are allowed in the room at a time.
Go for Apertivo every night
One of my favorite things to do in Milan is to go for apertivo. It’s essentially Italian happy hour. But commonly, delicious bites are laid out buffet-style for FREE. So just order some drinks and get some tasty treats. The bars overflow with locals having fun after work and is a great way to soak up the local vibe. For travelers, this is a great way to get a cheap dinner and try local food at the same time!
I stayed with friends here, but here is a great post on the best places to stay in Milan.