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Milan in a day…what to do

by capetowndiva

In Milan for a day? Fret not, you can still get a satisfying sense of the city by visiting these few places, a mix of the old and the new.

The Duomo

The Duomo (cathedral) ~  the vast white Gothic wonder that is a must on any traveller’s bucket list. It is the third largest cathedral in the world – certainly the biggest in Italy. Work on it began in 1386 and it took 6 centuries to complete with a total of 70 engineers and architects working on it through the decades. It impresses with 3,400 statues, 135 gargoyles and 700 figures and an architectural style that is a mix of the Perpendicular and the Flamboyant. Visit the roof (for a fee) and see the pinnacles and spires up close…gorgeous!

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele ll ~ this is one of the world’s oldest shopping malls (whose management famously ousted McDonalds-fabulous!), that is housed in an exquisite 4 storey arcade constructed between 1865 and 1877 and designed by architect Giuseppe Mengoni. Be prepared to gawk upwards at the beautiful 19th century barrel shaped iron and glass roofs, of which there are 4, that are met in the middle by an impressive dome. The Galleria is a chic meeting place for many well-heeled Milanese and shopping here will leave a big dent in your plastic!  The top end haute brands are showcased here- couture, jewellery, and galleries, enough to make you drool with retail longing.

Galleria Vittoria Emanuele ll

Magnificent entrance to the Galleria, from the Duomo side

La Scala ~ one of the most iconic opera houses in the world and one of the most famous for opera and ballet, inaugurated in 1778. All the greats have performed there, from Pavarotti to Nureyev and seeing a performance here is a truly special experience.


Navigli  ~ named after the Naviglio Grand Canal, this is an authentic neighbourhood undergoing a lot of positive change, with the oldest canal in Milan, 50km long,  coursing through it. It’s an unpretentious area that buzzes at night with food stalls, live music, people on bicycles and pedestrians. Take a boat ride and eat at one of the many trattoria serving good Milanese cuisine.


Brera ~ this is often called the artistic heart of Milan. Lots of artisanal stores, galleries, museums and botanical gardens offering a beautiful cool green space. Do an art tour and discover all the gems of this district.

Another discovery and a great place to catch up on your laptop, is RED Feltrinelli, a stunning bookshop-come-eatery and mobile office in the stylish Piazza Gae Aulenti in Garibaldi that was opened to the public in 2012. The coffee is great and they also serve rooibos (as redbush), wine, great snacks and pastries. The surrounding buildings are like works of art and it’s a must-visit spot on your busy itinerary in Milano.

Piazza Gae Aulenti surrounded by exceptional architecture; the lead architect was Cesar Pelli

RED: books, coffee, food, drinks…fabulous!

On your marks, jet set, go! Enjoy Milan!


*Recommended accommodation in Milan: Montenapoleone Suites-perfect position and very chic (ask for the Giorgio Suite, with the jacuzzi!

*If you’re flying EasyJet and needing to get to Milano Malpensa Airport, take a cab from your hotel (around 10-12 Euros), to the train station that will take you to the airport in about 40 minutes max (Trenord train company), at a cost of 13 Euros. If you take a cab from the hotel to the airport it will cost around 100 Euros. Give yourself a lot of time for the whole airport process as once there everything takes ages. EasyJet is at Terminal 2 which is 15 minute walk from where you exit the station. If you haven’t checked in online, you’ll only be allowed ONE piece of cabin baggage-very NB.

*Never take a photo of a security or other policeman





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