Milan City Guide: Italy's Second City
"Milan is beautiful in fog. Like a woman with a veil" - Ornella Vanoni
Milan is the fashion capital of Europe and, with flights readily available for under £50, has become a super popular destination for short city breaks from around Europe. Thankfully, the city stands up to its reputation and is a perfect way to escape the grind of work to enjoy that Italian charm - not to mention the amazingly cheap coffee!
See the stunning Duomo cathedral
Il Duomo is the heart of Milan. Built over 600 years ago and with a facade that is as aesthetic as any runway during fashion week, the Cathedral is stunning both inside and out, making it a must-see on any trip to the city. Combine your ticket with the rooftop pass and experience sunset from atop one of Europe's iconic landmarks. Just be ready for some serious crowds so arrive early to avoid disappointment/ a million people photobombing your classic holiday snap!
This 15th century castle built by the Duke of Milan Francesco Sforza was one of the largest citadels in Europe in its prime, and dutifully sat in the middle of the city. Now though, the castle is the home to various museums and galleries, including the prehistoric and archaeology museum, as well as various rolling exhibitions. So, if museums are your thing, you won't find a better setting for them than this place.
A little bit out of the city centre just off the traditional tourist trail is Milan's monument cemetery. Yeah, we know, recommending a visit to a cemetery isn't exactly a done thing on these types of posts, but we swear it is totally worth a short trip. The cemetery is less a slightly depressing place woth mourning family members (though it is still a cemetery so do be respectful!), and more a stunning sculpture museum filled with amazing tunnels and statues of all shapes and sizes. Entry is free and near the subway so its worth a morning or afternoon visit, for the photos if nothing else, just do remember the being respectful part if you do make it out there!
Churches. So. Many. Churches.
Outside of the Duomo, one of the most aesthetic churches we saw was a random small chapel hidden away down a side street around the corner of our hotel. The facade was marble, the statues were pretty, and it was empty. That's what makes this city so cool. Much like Thailand or Cambodia where every street corner seems to have a pretty temple, every Milanese street seems to point towards a church or chapel of some kind so there is definitely value in just wandering around and walking into open buildings for sure. One of our personal favourites was the Santa Maria dei Miracoli.
Lake Garda - the best day trip from Milan
No trip to this part of Italy would be complete without a day-trip to Lake Garda - Italy's largest lake. The lake is surrounded by small towns with some great architecture and locals will often be around the pier with their boats to ferry tourists across the lake to different towns. The fact that the train leaves from Milano Centrale - a station that makes Grant Central in New York look average, and has one of the cutest little coffee stalls inside is just the icing on the day-trip cake.