Milan- A Real Italian Experience

As a junior in college totally infatuated with Italian culture, I spent five months living and going to school in Milan. Other cities in Italy may be more known and touristed, but that is precisely why Milan is such a treasure.


Milan- A Real Italian Experience

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 24, 2001

The high points of a visit to Milan will probably fall into two categories: the attractions from guide books that draw you here, and the undeniable tangible Italian spirit that will make you want to stay. ${QuickSuggestions} Milan is so big that it can be intimidating to plan. My best advice is to group activities according to areas of the city. For example, see the area around the Duomo one day (La Scala, il Castello), visit the musems in the Brera another, explore the eclectic, young Naviglio area the next, etc.${BestWay} The best way to get into the ciy from the airport is the shuttle (about 15,000 lire) that will drop you at Centrale, the main train station. The underground Metropolitana (Metro) is by far the easiest, most convenient way to get around the city. Different lines designated by colors (green, yellow, red, blue) run like arteries through all the main parts of Milan, and intersect at large centers like Centrale and Duomo. Taxis rarely stop to pick you up off the street, it's more common to phone one.

Antica Locanda Dei Mercanti

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 25, 2001

I had my own apartment in the city, but when my parents came for a visit this hotel was highly recommended by an American friend of mine who has lived there for years. He says this is the closest thing he has seen to affordable elegance in Milan, where that is near impossible to find. It is small and lovely (16 guest rooms), located on the upper floors of a building on a quaint cobblestone road. There is a tiny elevator to reach the lobby. The few rooms that are there are extremely pleasant and serene. All have balconies and fresh flowers, and the four nicest have their own private rooftop garden terraces. Service here is impeccable. In the morning a complimentary, fresh breakfast tray is served to each door. My parents didn''t want to leave! Another big plus is it''s central location (between Duomo and Castello), within easy walking distance to major city centers and two different Metro lines.
Antica Locanda dei Mercanti
Via San Tomaso 6
Milan, Italy, 20121
39-028054080

Ciao

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 25, 2001

Ciao is the latest in the cafeteria style dining hitting Italy. But there, the food is actually good! There are two Ciao locations near the Duomo in Milan (one upstairs from Virgin Records) You enter, pick up a tray, choose your food (and they have everything!), and pay accordingly. My favorites were the seafood risotto and the mounds of fresh mozarella and tomatoes.
Ciao
Piazza Duomo
Milan, Italy

Luini

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 25, 2001

This is the oldest fast food in Milan, and some of the best you will ever have there! Located near to Piazza Duomo, the restaurant consists of a long glass counter behind which are piled heavenly dough creations called panzerotti, their specialty. For a few thousand lire you get a pocket-shaped fried dough pastry with ingredients inside ranging from the classic (tomato and mozarella) to more complicated (spinach and ricotta). It is impossible to describe how amazing these taste! They also have wonderful arancini, rice balls with cheese. Luini is constantly packed, you have to shove your way to the front of the crowding patrons to yell your order across the counter. They don't have anywhere to sit, so most people stand outside on the sidewalk.
Luini
16 Via S Radegonda
Milan, Italy

Leonardo Da Vinci's The Last Supper

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 26, 2001

Da Vinci's famous work is a fresco painting on the wall of the refectory of the church Santa Maria Della Grazie. It has just reopened after it's complicated restoration finally finished spring of '99, and you can see it for L14.000. The line may appear very long to enter, but that is because they only allow about 12 people in at one time. So you really get a chance to see it up close without a lot of people crowding around. The elaborate system they set up to enter into the room (multiple purifiers) are intended to prevent more deterioration of the fresco.
Santa Maria delle Grazie
Corso Magenta
Milan, Italy, 20123

Duomo

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 25, 2001

I love seeing a person's reaction the very first time they see the Duomo- expressions of amazement, shock, and awe flicker across their face. This Gothic creation is so huge that it's impossible to believe it's not some fantastical figment of an over-active imagination. The hundreds of full-size statues all over the cathedral appear to be dolls because the building is just that big. It's great, too, that the piazza is so vast, providing the opportuity to stand at the back of it and take in the Duomo as a whole. Make sure and take the elevator to the top! It's inexpensive and allows a great view of the city, besides the pure enjoyment of being able to climb among the statues and pinnacles. If you have some time, take a lunch up there, explore around, and relax on the slanted roof.
Milan Cathedral (Duomo)
Piazza Del Duomo
Milan, Lombardy
02-864-63456

La Scala

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 26, 2001

The beauty of the outside of this historical opera house does not even come close to comparing to the inside. For only L10.000 (6 dollars) you can buy a ticket for any event there- operas, ballets, concert. Your seats are in the upper balcony and you have to go wait in line a few hours before it starts, but it's very worth it! The red plush interior, hushed whispers of the elegant audience, and massive yet delicate glass chandelier... it makes you understand why nearly every opera house in the world is modeled after this one.
Teatro alla Scala Opera House
Via Filodrammatici, 2
Milan, 20121
02 7200 3744

Via Montenapoleone

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 26, 2001

Follow Via Manzoni from La Scala down to THE major shopping street in Italy, where all the big designers have their main boutiques. Gucci, Prada, Ferragamo, Versace... it's all here! Most normal people can't afford anything, and even if you can it's difficult to even get into the stores sometimes without an appointment or being famous. But it's just as fun to window shop, gawk at the incredible displays, and the beautiful people. You'll hear Vogue editors chatting on cell phones, see models everywhere, and maybe even glimpse a few celebrities.
Montenapoleone
Via Montenapoleone
Milan, Italy, 20121
No phone available

Castello Sforzesco

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 26, 2001

Most come here to see the museum- Michelangelo's last work, the unfinished Pieta is here- but then leave without finding out the real charm of the castle. On a sunny day hundreds of Milanese come here to sun themselves, play games, and socialize on the grass lawns. So bring a picnic and some friends for a relaxing afternoon. It's also nice to go for a walk around the grounds in the back.
Castello Sforzesco
Piazza Castello
Milan, Italy, 20121

Navigli

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by Ryanne on April 26, 2001

Canals that were built around the 12th century as a water transport system are now the focal point for a popular, exciting neighborhood in Milan. Take the green metro line all the way down almost to the end, Porta Genova. You'll find narrow streets opening up onto one main canal (Naviglio Grande), along which are great restaurants, nightclubs, cafes, and shops. The Naviglio area is home to a lot of young people (more of the students at my university lived here) and it hosts many events like markets, art fairs, and outdoor concerts. It has a very alive, energetic atmosphere and is particularly popular during the warm months. On the weekends people literally spill out of every public place and the sidewalks and little bridges are crowded. A couple of my favorite places are Pizzera Fabbrica and Le Schimmie, a legendary live jazz music club.

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