12 Nov 2013 Italy: Exploring Milan
Milan, in the north of Italy, is famous for its fashion. But, most people I know don’t see the point in visiting the city. I disagree. On almost every trip I take to Italy, I find myself spending a day, or two, in this large beautiful city where I do a little shopping, of course, but also some exploring.
Flying into Milan’s Malpensa airport, the Malpensa Express is a 29 minute train that costs only 11 Euro into the heart of Milan (Milano Cadorna station). Quick, easy and inexpensive, this is the best way to get to/from the airport.
The next challenge is finding accommodations. While there are many hotels in Milan, finding something central that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, but still has charm, can be a challenge. Instead of a hotel, renting an apartment or villa for a few days makes you feel like a local. Check out NovecentoCase, an agency specialized in renting apartments in city center, who partners with 5 Star Service run by Alejandro Mazza and Emotionphy Communication. They focus on finding private luxury villas that sleep between 1-6 people and include hotel amenities such as toiletries, robes and a concierge.
Once settled in, the exploring begins……….
A trip to Milan is not complete without a visit to the Duomo, the Gothic cathedral that took nearly six centuries to complete. The
magnificent building sits in the center of Milan and is the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in Italy.
Around the corner from the Duomo is Peck on Via Spadaria, an epicurean dream. Whether you want to pick up fresh pasta to cook for dinner or pick up some food to eat on the go, Peck is the place to visit. You can also load up on epicurean goods from the region such as olive oils, saffron and truffle salt at Peck. There is also a restaurant on the top floor, should you want to sit down and be served.
During the day, all of the top designers have stores around the Duomo. It’s fun, and a good workout, to walk up and down the streets, exploring Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, the world’s oldest shopping mall, the designer showrooms on Via Spiga and everything in between. After all that walking and shopping, nothing is better than an afternoon gelato. Stop by Grom (with 7 locations in Milan, ask anyone on the street and they will point you to the nearest one). Grom makes artisanal gelatos, made with high standards and top quality raw materials. They use only seasonal fruit and no coloring or artificial additives.
As the sun sets, the best place for the afternoon aperitivi is on the roof of La Rinascente department store, across from the Duomo. Enjoy a glass of wine, which includes a few small plates of snacks, while looking at the lit up Duomo.
Another great spot for aperitivi or after dinner cocktails is at Nottingham Forest Bar (Viale Piave, 1 20129 Milano, Milan), considered one of the world’s best bars. Open at 6:30pm Tuesday – Saturday, it is a small bar and they don’t take reservations. But it is worth the wait outside as this teeny little bar is at the forefront of Milan mixology. Bartender Dario Comin specializes in molecular mixology and each cocktail is an artistic masterpiece.
Although Milan is the main industrial, commercial and financial center of Italy, it is definitely a city to be explored.