Mini Guide: Milan
By Jennifer Leebove
It's the door to the rest of Italy. Get on a train after a day in Milan
and head to many of the other historic cities Italy has to offer.
Best time to come is in Spring.
To Get There
Many of the travelers flying to Italy stop in Milan first, because there
are many cheap flights to this financial hub.
From the Malpensa airport
take the 50 minute shuttle bus that leaves every 20 mins to the Central
Station; either check your bags at the station or hop on the metro to
get to your hotel.
There are 4 metro lines and a ride costs 1 Euro, pick
up your ticket at one of the machines in the Metro. Once you get to the
historic center, you can pretty much tour the city on foot.
The Last Supper fresco by Leonardo da Vinci, Duomo, Galleria Vittorio
Emanuele II, Pinacoteca di Brera, Brera District; it's a pedestrian artsy
neighborhood and a great place for a cafe, Public Gardens, and Sforzesco
A great way to get to know Milan is to go to the Public Gardens and watch
the dogs play. Most people don't know this about Milan, but they love
Happy Hour, 6-9, half price drinks and a great spread of pasta, cheeses
and pizza slices await many of the locals after work. One of the best
Happy Hours is in Brera.
I would say that Milan is overall a working city, it lacks the piazza's,
meeting points, but there is a lot to see and everything is within walking
distance; take a walking tour through the historic distri Trattoria Toscana
-- Corso di Porta Ticinese, 58 02/89406292 for reservations. American
Brunch on Sunday at Indiana Post for reservations 02/58112220. Fabbrica
Pizzeria -- Alaia Naviglio Grande, 70 no reservations available. Cantina
Della Vetra -- Via Pio IV, 3 on the corner Piazza Vetra in Ticinese.
For reservations call 02/89403843 If you get a chance to eat seafood,
strangely enough, the locals say you get the best seafood in Milan, delivered
fresh daily. I recommend trying the muscles, calamari and shrimp. Delicious!
In late Spring and early summer, the Navigli District shuts off traffic
and you can stroll and eat or drink outside at many of the restaurants
and bars. Be sure to visit the local market, the biggest in Milan on Saturday
at Via Papiniano or the expansive Antique Market in Naviglio Grande on
the last Sunday of every month.
Happy Hour is the way to go in Milan. My favorite happy hour is in Brera
from 5-9, drinks are half price and as much as you can eat worth of cheeses,
pizza, pasta and salad. Have a beer under the stars near San Lorenzo alle
Colonne with the other locals.
There are three great areas to shop in. Supposedly the longest shopping
strip in Europe is in Milan, Corso Buenos Aires. Here you'll find all
the typical affordable Italian stores, such as Benetton, Stefanel, Conipel
and more. For upscale designer wear from Gucci, Prada etc, go to Via Montenapolone.
Lastly, near the Duomo you'll find Corso Vittorio Emanuele, this strip
also has great shops. I especially like Zara, an internationally acclaimed
Spanish label, they have great bargains and European style. Something
important to note about Shopping, Milan has two offical sales periods
of up to 20-50% off, one at the end of July, and the other starting on
I recommend that you use your ATM card for taking out money. It will be
more economical than paying all those crazy surcharges for changing cash
to Euros. If you need to make a phone call, buy the phone card at a newspaper
stand, sometimes it's hard to find a phone because everyone uses cell
phones, the best bet is to always head for the metro, down below there
are always two or three phone booths and it's pretty quiet.
phone calls, I recommend buying the "Euro Card" for 5 Euros
at newsstands, it's a bargain. You'll need to make your calls from a phone
booth or the hotel.
Don't miss Leonardo da Vinci's world-famous fresco, you have to reserve
to see it, so it's best to book in advance. Operators speak English, from
abroad, phone +39.02.8942.1146. Tipping: you don't need to tip taxi drivers
Most restaurants give a 2 Euro charge for bread, it's called
coperto. Everyone thinks of cappuchino when they think of Italy, try one
of Milan's alternative versions, a small cappucino, cappuco (if you want
to sound like a native) called Maroquino. Clothing wise, if you want to
fit in, think New York.
If you speak Italian look into the online entertainment
guide from Italy's most substantial newspaper, Corriere Della Sera, at vivimilano.corriere.it or pick up the insert on Wednesdays.
Thinking about moving to Milan or want to get up to date on all the red-tape?
Here's a great site, informer.it/index.asp Get a weekly weather forecast and check out the weather before you come
Jennifer Leebove writes from Milan.