As one of the 5 fashion capitals of the world, Milan has always been at the top of my list of places to visit. It’s a very small city, and it annoyed me every time someone gave me a weird look for wanting to spend more than two days there. The thing is, if you’re going to Milan just to see and do all the touristy things, then yeah 2 days is probably enough. However, if you’re also going to go shopping and roam the city a bit, then you need at least another 2 to 3 days.
First, you must see il Duomo. “Duomo” is just a term for Cathedral, and Milan’s Duomo is an incredible piece of architecture. My family is Catholic, so we attended Sunday mass there, which was a really cool experience, because most, if not all, attending mass were tourists, and you could hear people responding in their native languages.
The coolest thing about il Duomo though, is that you can go up to the rooftop, and not only do you get a great view of the city from the rooftop, but that is where you can truly appreciate the incredible piece of gothic architecture it really is. I mean, “incredible” doesn’t even begin describe it.
When you first enter the piazza, and you’re standing in front of this massive, gothic style cathedral, you’re just in awe of its presence. It’s the fifth largest cathedral in the world, and the largest in Italy. On the rooftop, however, it’s a feeling of more than awe that you experience. You find yourself deeply mesmerized as you discover the intricate details paid to the construction of the cathedral—the spires, the statues, the arches, everything. No wonder it took six centuries to complete! The last details were not completed until 1965.
I really think Karl Lagerfeld should do a show on the rooftop. It would be a sick show.
Today, the Castello Sforzesco houses several of the city’s museums and art collections. I’ve been to many castles, and aesthetically it’s not the most impressive, but just walking through the castle is still a very unique experience, because it’s strange and so interesting to imagine the castle and its grounds as it was in its early days, and the transformation throughout the centuries.
As you walk through the grounds, you are very aware of its medieval strength. In fact, it feels more like a fortress than a castle or a princely estate. It's certainly a nice stroll through the grounds.
The Last Supper
One of Leonardo’s most famous paintings is in the Santa Maria delle Grazie, a church and Dominican convent in Milan. I suppose it’s like going to the Louvre in Paris to see the Mona Lisa. It’s simply a must.
San Sira Stadium (AC Milano)
Of course, if you're in Milan while there is a football (soccer) game, definitely go visit the stadium. Unfortunately, I did not have time to visit the stadium, because it was a little out of the way and there was no game.
The shopping that Milan is famous for, is along four adjoining streets near the Duomo, collectively known as Quadrilatero d'Oro (Golden Quadrilateral): Via Montenapoleone, Della Spiga, Via Borgospesso, and Via Sant'Andrea. Here you will find all your high-end stores, including all of Italy’s most renowned designers. You’ll also notice that throughout Milan some of the Italian designers tend to have more than one store, but don’t expect to see the same things in each store. So, if you’re in Milan for such goodies, you will surely have a very good time. Plus, most of the male sales clerks are almost as lovely to look at as the latest limited edition handbag at Versace is.
Of course, when in Italy, it is most important to indulge in as much gelato as possible. It is just never the same in the States, no matter how good the ice cream is, though not surprisingly so. In Milan you’ll never be short of gelato, because there are gelaterias everywhere. And as is with finding good Italian food in Italy, there is not such thing as bad gelato when you’re in Italy. Just a little tip: if they don’t add a wafer to your gelato, grab a spoon and a napkin, because they melt fast—even when the temperatures are cool!
Once you’re in the historic center, Milan is very easy to walk. You can also take a taxi, the metro, or even a little city tram. It’s a lovely city, with lots of good-looking people. I was surprised one morning when I hopped into a cab and the driver was this hot, very funny and charming young man. Apparently lots of Russians and Japanese people like to visit Milan, because at many of the restaurants, you’ll see a little sign on their outside menu, that they also have menus in Russian and Japanese. I thought that was very considerate.
So, the next time you find yourself in northern Italy, don't forget to visit the city that captured the hearts of Napoleon's relatives and kept him from conquering much more of Italy, because they just loved Milan so much they didn't bother continuing south...(history according to my aunt).
BIG LOVE & HUGS