Hej! I am an American grad student studying and living in Sweden. Being a grad student, I have perfected the act of budget traveling. I have a fierce passion for cute dogs, film festivals, coffee and traveling. Join me as I work towards my personal goal of visiting all 28 EU countries before I graduate in June 2019! Feel free to pop over to my personal blog, Little Mouse. Big World, to read more about my travels while balancing grad school life.
26 years old
Things to do in Milan
Milan: High Fashion and wonderful memories
Located in Northern Italy, Milan is a perfect Italian stop on your European road trip. The city does not seem to be as crowded with tourists as other Italian cities are, giving it an authentic Italian feel. Milan is small enough to see everything in one day without feeling rushed and still having plenty of espresso and gelato breaks. One tip about gelato while in Italy: many shops claim that their gelato is homemade but look for the stores that don’t have the gelato piled high. Gelato is labor intensive to make and if you find a store that seems to have smaller displays odds are that the gelato is in fact homemade. You pay a little extra for a scoop, but you’ll also have the satisfaction sniffing out homemade gelato in Italy. The city is known for its classic old yellow trams. While you can easily get everywhere you want in Milan by foot, a picture of one of these yellow trams juxtaposed against the gorgeous architecture is always a good souvenir.
Duomo di Milano
When visiting Milan, the most recognizable building is the Duomo di Milano, which took about six centuries and hundreds of workers to complete. The final result is breathtaking and well worth your time to visit. Regular entry into the cathedral will set you back only €3 which includes the main church, Duomo Museum, and San Gottardo Church. For this low price, you don't feel pressured to visit and spend a bunch of time at each location. You can even visit the top of the Duomo either by elevator or by foot for an extra fee if you’d like a unique view of the city. Make sure while you’re in the Duomo to visit the Crypt of St. Charles.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
On the same plaza as the Duomo, you won't be able to miss the glamorous open-air mall of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. Once you google this building, you will probably recognize it from some movie or another since it seems to scream Italian architecture and glamour all at once. Now, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is home to many upscale shops and restaurants – think Chanel, Gucci, and restaurants where a salad costs half of your monthly rent. Just because you may not be able to buy anything at the mall doesn’t mean you should avoid window shopping or people watching. In the center of the Galleria, there is a mosaic on the floor representing all the different symbols of Milan. The bull in particular gains a lot of attention. Story has it that if you spin around on the bull’s private parts that you will be met with good luck. Whether it's true or not – it sure is fun to watch other tourists do it and spin around on it yourself.
Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore and Sforza Castle
While it doesn’t look like much on the outside, Chiesa di San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore is simple yet breathtaking inside. Walk around and explore the oldest and largest female monastery in Milan. Entrance is free, but of course be respectful of your clothing choice and of anyone who is worshipping. Another place you need to make sure to visit, especially if the weather is pleasant, is Sforza Castle. Located only about a ten-minute walk from the Duomo, this castle was home to rulers of Milan as well as a fortress. The castle is open for visitors to walk around the grounds free of charge. There are rotating exhibits held in the interior rooms of the castle which do cost €8 for students with a valid student ID. During the summer months, you can probably find many different food stands and entertainers in the park surrounding the castle making for a wonderful picnic or gelato stop.
Museums of Milan
If you enjoy art, look into visiting Museo del Novecento. This art museum holds an extensive collection of 20th-century Italian art including photographs, sketches, and sculptures. If you are 25 and under, you can pay € 5 for your tickets while all other students will spend € 8. If you’re looking for Italian Renaissance art, check out Palazzo Reale. Here there are collections of Renaissance art as well as Impressionism. Unfortunately, there is no separate student price, so ticket prices for those of you under 26 are €10, and if you are over 26, the full price ticket is €12.
Catch a Show
We’ve discussed where to see Italian architecture and where to gaze for hours on end at Italian art, now we discuss one more cultural landmark Italy is well-known for – theater. The gorgeous Teatro alla Scala offers a wide array of different live performances – ballet, opera, theater, symphonies. One might think that a night at an impressive Milanese theater might blow your budget, however, that is not necessarily the case. You can find well-priced last-minute tickets for around €20 depending on the time of year and the performance itself. Just to be able to experience a performance in the Teatro alla Scala no matter how terrible the seats, is well worth the time and money.
Your Bus Stops in Milan
Please note that there are 5 bus stops in Milan
Milan (Lampugnano bus station)
Via Giulio Natta 226
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