Years ago, I visited Milan for the first time. I didn’t fall in love with the city the way I fell in love with Rome, but it did leave a good first impression. What I love about cities is that they are constantly evolving and that there are new sites to visit every time, so I was eager to go back to Milan. In this blogpost I will highlight what I loved about Milan and what I would not recommend to do.
Visiting the rooftops of the Duomo: Of course I did go to the Piazza del Duomo the last time I visited, but I hadn’t entered the church itself, neither did I visit the rooftops. The Duomo of Milan is one of the most stunning churches in the world, so the Piazza is always really busy. If you like to enjoy the Duomo in peace, I would recommend buying tickets to the rooftops (€ 17 by elevator, € 13 by stairs). We bought the tickets at the ticket shop of the Duomo, right before we entered, as it wasn’t very crowded in September. However, if you see long queues, you can also buy the tickets online and reserve a time slot. I absolutely loved our visit to the rooftop, taking in the beautiful views of Milan. I especially loved the view of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele (which also gets really crowded during the day). After your visit to the rooftop you can visit the Duomo itself, which was really impressive and stylish and I adored that it was a spectacle without getting kitsch. Your ticket also gives acces to the archeological area, which shows recovered parts of a city that was once built on the Duomo premises. Make sure to go back to the Duomo at night, as it is lighted up very beautifully.
Enjoying Aperitivo at Navigli: I read that the Navigli channels were a good spot to have dinner and watch the sunset, but did not know that you could partake in the typical Italian “ritual” of Aperitivo. In the Navigli area you will find many restaurants offering Aperitivo from 6PM on; when you buy a drink for a certain price you get to enjoy the buffet of the restaurant for free. Usually a Aperitivo costs about € 10 and you unlimitedly get to enjoy the buffet, with the restaurant hoping you will order some more drinks. Navigli is super charming, only a short public transport ride away, so I would definitely recommend going here. The ride from the Duomo to Navigli takes about 10 minutes by tram and the neighborhoods in between are also really charming, so you could also take a walk to Navigli.
Going to a rooftop bar: I couldn’t get enough of the Duomo and on the Piazza del Duomo there are many rooftop bars where you can have a drink with the Duomo in the background. We visited the Terrazza Aperol, which is located in the Galleria Vitorrio Emanuele, so you get the added bonus of enjoying the beautiful building you are in and getting amazing views of the Duomo. I don’t like Aperol Spritz, so I had a glass of wine for about € 10. I do have to say that the Terrazza Aperol is focused on young visitors, because the music is quite loud.
Relax at Lake Como: Lake Como is only 1-1,5 hours away from Milan. On a hot day I would recommend to get out of the city and go to a Lido (beach bar) at Lake Como. I especially loved the little town Bellagio, make sure to go early because parking was already very difficult when I visited a few years ago and Bellagio has now found Instafame.
Take a tour of Teatro alla Scala: During my previous visit of Milan, I visited the Teatro alla Scala and loved it! A ticket costs € 9 and is well worth it to see the beautiful concert hall.
What I didn’t like
Fondazione Prada: A visit to the museum “Fondazione Prada” was high on my Milan bucket list, but the visit left me disappointed. Fondazione Prada is a modern art museum, in contrary to what one might think because of its name. The museum reopened in 2015 and the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas co-designed the museum which is located in an old distillery. Once we visited, there was no temporary exhibition and I have to admit that I didn’t like the quality and quantity of the permanent exhibition (but different tastes for everyone of course). You had to walk a lot of stairs, to see a minimum amount of art. The museum itself is super sleek and modern and because of the lack of artwork, I found it a little cold and impersonal. I did like Bar Luce, the restaurant designed by the amazing Wes Anderson, but it was so crowded and loud during lunchtime that we decided not to stay.
Eataly: Eataly is another Italian “institution” that I wanted to visit. It is a combination of a food wholesaler/specialty shop and restaurant. However it was located pretty far outside of the city center and in the end I thought it took me too much time just to have an expensive lunch.
Trying to take a good picture at Galleria Vittorio Emanuele: It gets so crowded during the day, it is impossible to take a good picture. Just enjoy the ceiling instead.