Overview: Milan, Italy

Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral) Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral), Milan, Italy

MAP OF MILAN, ITALY

Downtown Milan, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Downtown Milan at sunset

Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: A fashion-forward city (4-inch heels on a bike)

THINGS TO DO + SEE IN MILAN, ITALY

Architecture, Art + Culture

Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Castello Sforzesco (Milan, Italy)

Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Castello Sforzesco (Milan, Italy)

Castello Sforzesco, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Castello Sforzesco (Milan, Italy)

Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Duomo di Milano (Milan, Italy)

Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Duomo di Milano (Milan, Italy)

Duomo di Milano, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Duomo di Milano (Milan, Italy)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Arched entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Milan, Italy)

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Milan, Italy)

Louis Vuitton store, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Louis Vuitton store, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Milan, Italy)

Prada store, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Prada store, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (Milan, Italy)

Cimitero Monumentale, Milan, Italy
Above: Monumental Cemetery; view post: A Monumental Cemetery in Milan

Monumental Cemetery, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Monumental Cemetery (Milan, Italy)

Just For Fun

  • Learn some basic Italian
  • Explore the city by bike
  • Take a day trip
  • Try San Pellegrino Chino (it tastes a little like cough syrup)
  • Watch the street performers around the Duomo (but avoid the pushy vendors offering “free” bracelets)

Bicycle, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us   Chino on northtosouth.us   Street performer, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us

DAY TRIPS FROM MILAN, ITALY

The cities with links below are the places we’ve visited on a day trip in northern Italy. My favorites are starred. The three at the bottom are on our list for next time!

  • Lake Como*: 50 km / 1 hr
  • Verona: 160 km / 1.75 hrs
  • Bologna: 210 km / 2.25 hrs
  • Venice*: 270 km /2.75 hrs
  • San Marino*: 340 km / 3.25 hrs
  • Genoa: 145 km / 1.5 hrs
  • Turin: 145 km / 1.5 hrs
  • Cinque Terre: 240 km / 3 hrs

Lake Como, Italy on northtosouth.us   Venice, Italy on northtosouth.us   San Marino: Castle Country in the Clouds

WHERE TO STAY IN MILAN, ITALY

Airbnb – Airbnb.com

We found a place to stay for two weeks on Airbnb.com, a private room in a family apartment currently available for $57 per night or $283 per week. The apartment was located within a ten-minute walk to the Maciachini subway station in the northern part of Milan.

If you pick a location near a subway stop, you’ll have pretty easy access to the city. Public transportation lines run pretty frequently. We never waited more than ten minutes for the subway, and usually no more than five.

Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: The apartment building where we stayed

Ian with Frida and Margherita in Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Ian with our host’s two daughters, Frida and Margherita in Milan, Italy

Street in Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Around our neighborhood in Milan, Italy

Milan apartment kitchen, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Cooking some pasta in Milan, Italy

GETTING AROUND MILAN, ITALY

Public Transportation in Milan, Italy

ATM – atm.it (within Milan)
Trenord – trenord.it (for day trips to other cities)

The public transportation system in Milan is well-connected and generally easy to figure out within the city. You’ll want to become familiar with the fare options and stamping requirements on the atm website before you head to the station. The machines where you’ll purchase your tickets will give you a general explanation in English of the different ticket types, but there likely will not be anyone to ask once you’re there, especially at smaller stations.

For most trips around Milan, we purchased the standard Urban Ticket for  € 1.50, valid for a single journey  on the underground or rail network, including the urban rail lines of Trenord and the ‘Passante Ferroviario’ (Urban Railway Network) for 90 minutes after stamping.

Taking a day trip to somewhere a little further away (Lake Como, for example) is a little trickier to figure out.

You’ll likely need to get to a major station first. (Looking at an atm map, it will be a station with the “R” marking it a Regional Railway connected station.) I recommend starting to plan your route by looking at the Regional Railway map on the Trenord website. Then plan how to get to that station with the Network and City Center maps on atm.it.

Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Cable lines within the city

Getting from Milan to Malpensa Airport

Malpensa Expressmalpensaexpress.it

We had an easy time getting to Malpensa Airport via the Malpensa Express. The Malpensa Express runs from Milan Centrale and Milano N Cadorna, with the first train from Centrale departing at 5:25am and the first from Cadorna at 4:28am. View the timetable here.

Since our flight was early in the morning and the subway  line from the Maciachini station near our apartment didn’t begin running until after 6am, we headed to the airport the night before.

Street Art, Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us
Above: Street art in Milan

Our Trip to Milan, Italy

May 10 – May 24, 2014

TRAVELING TO MILAN, ITALY

On May 10, we arrived in Milan, Italy. After a five-day mini vacation exploring parts of northeastern Italy (Verona, Eraclea Mare, Venice, Bologna and San Marino), we settled in Milan for the final two weeks of our first overseas trip to Europe.

A MINOR LANGUAGE BARRIER

Though we spoke little Italian and our Milan host spoke little English, we had a fun time translating a slower-paced conversation with Google Translate.

Using Google Translate in Milan, Italy on northtosouth.us

PHOTOS FROM OUR TRIP TO MILAN, ITALY

About the Author

Diana Southern
In March 2014, Diana called it quits on her traditional American working life and set out to explore the world with her partner in crime (and love of her life) Ian Norman. They now live a sustainable life of full time travel, working for themselves and seeking adventure at the same time. Here on North to South, Diana documents their journey in achieving and maintaining this "road less traveled" way of life.

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