If you’re looking for a relaxing, under-the-Tuscan-sun vacation, head to Florence. If you have an urge to see ancient ruins and sight-see to your heart’s delight, Rome is the perfect destination. So, what do Milan travelers expect to find? Fashion, Da Vinci, and Italian architecture.
My 24 hours in Milan was the perfect amount of time in this Italian city. Milan often gets a bad rap for being “underwhelming” and not as interesting or beautiful as its Italian counterparts. I didn’t find Milan to be underwhelming in any sense, but maybe that’s because I wasn’t expecting too much given the reviews I read. I spent my time in Milan running around the city trying to keep up with the fashion capital’s fast paced atmosphere. I ate the most delicious pizza I’ve ever had, inhaled gelato in front of the Milan cathedral, and window shopped in the marvelous Galleria Vittorio Emaneule II.
My most memorable experience in Milan, and probably ranks on my top 10 best moments of my life, was when I scored the highly desired tickets to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. “Reservations compulsory” was written in bold on the places of interest list my hotel gave to me. Every travel blog I had read said it was impossible to see this masterpiece without reservations months in advance. Without an European phone, it was nearly impossible for me to call the call center the night before to get tickets. So, with all of this in mind, I set my alarm to hop on the subway to arrive at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church at the earliest opening time on Thursday morning. I prepared myself to be turned away and was honestly okay with that. You can imagine my surprise when the lady at the desk said a spot had just opened but I would have to go in immediately. Even better! I had a train to catch to Verona later that day, and I was on a bit of a schedule. I cannot even describe my emotions as I got to spend 15 minutes in front of what turned out to be a much larger mural than I anticipated. Only 30 people are let in a temperature controlled room at a time for a maximum of 15 minutes to view this painting. Although the masterpiece is extremely faded, it was more than I could have ever wanted from a piece of art. I highly recommend carving out time to see Da Vinci’s work of art, but I would advise making a reservation months in advance as I’m sure my stroke of luck was one in a million!
Other points of interest in Milan include marveling at the inside (and outside!) of the Milan Cathedral, shopping till you drop in the Galleria Vittorio Emaneule II, sneaking a peek in the La Scala Theatre, and seeing other works of art in the Pinacoteca di Brera. Gelato and pizza are also must-eat’s in this European city. More affordable and trendy shops in Milan are located on Via Brera. I loved walking down this narrow street and popping into adorable perfume and chocolate shops. This city also whips up the most delicious coffee. Bianco Latte was my go-to coffee/gelato/dessert shop in Milan.
Milan is the perfect weekend Italian getaway if it’s a fast-paced, energetic atmosphere you’re after. The small list of “must-see’s” allow for more time to explore the city on your own wandering the cobble stone streets and unwinding in your favorite gelateria.