Milan, Italy, 30th November - 2nd December 2019
Milan, a metropolis in Italy's northern Lombardy region, is a global capital of fashion and design. Home to the national stock exchange, it’s a financial hub also known for its high-end restaurants and shops. Having been to Rome back in March, I was eager to find out how the city of Milan differed from that of Rome.
Spotting cheap air tickets and reasonably priced accommodation back in October, I organised a trip for 12 people in total to Milan, mostly comprising of my juniors/course mates in EIE.
Trip for 12!
We started off in the early morning, meeting at Paddington’s Bishop’s Gate station for the National express bus to London Stansted, where we took the earliest flight out to Milan Malpensa Airport at 0555.
Flight to Milan
Upon landing in Milan, we had to take a train from the airport to city centre, which cost us a whopping 13 Euros! If you wish to travel to Milan in the future, do check if it is possible to fly to and from Milan Linante Airport, which is more conveniently located in the city of Milan.
We arrived at Milan Centrale Station, where we then began our search for some good food.
Milano Centrale Station
Our google searches landed us in Miscusi, which served authentic Italian pasta. With the tagliatelle and the different types of pasta being cooked al dente, it was truly an enjoyable meal and a teaser of what we were to expect in the short time we have ahead.
Lunch at Miscusi
After lunch, we headed to a well-known gelato place, Terra Gelato, which served all different sorts of ice cream, ranging from pistachio to hazelnut, as well as all sorts of fruity flavours. After chilling there for a bit, we went to the metro and headed straight back to our accommodation, Housing32. Upon arriving at our accommodation, we found out that the aparthotel still needed time to clean up the rooms that we booked, and we also had to pay a city tax of 3 Euros per person per night. After leaving some of our belongings in the luggage room, we headed back to the city centre, where the Duomo di Mliano Cathedral was.
The Milan Cathedral is the cathedral church of Milan. Dedicated to the nativity of St. Mary, it is the seat of the Archbishop of Milan. The cathedral took nearly 6 centuries to complete and is the largest church in Italy. Upon entering the church, the choir greeted us with their practice sessions, and the size of the cathedral left me in awe. With each part of the church being intricately crafted, it bore many similarities to the cathedrals that I have visited before. We bought the ticket that allowed us to climb up the stairs to the rooftop of the cathedral, and after an arduous climb up, we were rewarded with a view of the surroundings of Duomo, as well as the architecture of the Cathedral terrace.
After our descent from the top of the Cathedral, we made our way to dinner at Piz. The thing that really sets Milan apart from the other countries I have visited (less Ireland), is the amazing customer service that the waiters provide. From detailed explanations of their specialities, to asking more about your stay in Milan, it was definitely a pleasure to be served by them, and it made the cover charge for the restaurants worth it. After a sumptuous meal of pizza, we went for more gelato, before finally heading back to our accommodations to crash for the night.
Having had a long sleepless day the day before, we woke up and left our accommodations just in time for lunch. We headed to Taverna del Borgo Antico near the Lanza Metro. Known for their Italian specialities such as risotto and pasta, most of us ordered a risotto each. The taste of risotto in Italy feel very much different from the rice we were used to eating to, and it actually complemented the bread they provided really well. In addition, I also found out that bread with just olive oil and vinegar taste pretty good too.
Lunch at Taverna del Borgo Antico
Despite being quite full after lunch, there was still space for dessert. After bidding goodbye to a group of our friends that were going to watch a football match, we headed to Rivareno for more gelato. Making their ingredients from natural sources, a lady we met over there told us that we were pretty lucky to come across such a good gelato shop. We were proven right as their chocolate rum ice cream was one of the best that I have ever had.
Following dessert, we had short walk to and around Castello Sforzesco. Having been to many castles 2 weeks ago, it was a familiar sight to Yan Yi and I, but definitely a relatively new experience for the rest of us. Following the castle, we walked across the park towards Arco della Pace, a triumphal arch built by Luigi Cagnola on the request of Napolean.
Tour of Castello Sforzesco and Arco della Pace
After visiting the arch, it was almost 4pm with little daylight left, so we made a move back to Duomo’s shopping district, where we looked around at the Christmas markets and had some really good biscuits. After doing some window shopping, and an awkward conversation with a security guard that thought I was buying clothes for my kids, we regrouped with the rest at an extremely posh Starbucks restaurant. Still feeling quite full after the Christmas markets, a group of us decided to have dessert instead for dinner, while the others had pizza. I had some Luini, which tasted very much like the fried dough we have back in Singapore, but with a slightly unique touch of its own Italian flavour. Following a very expensive supper at Marchesi 1824 (A plate of tiramisu cost 10 Euros), we headed back to our accommodations for some contract bridge and karaoke, before going to sleep.
With our flight being at 10.30 at Milan Linante Airport, we left our accommodations at 7.50 am, only to be greeted by the Monday morning traffic. Fortunately, we were able to make it to the airport on time, and the security and immigration procedures did not take longer than 20 minutes. We bade Milan farewell and boarded the flight back to London Gatwick.
Flight back over the Swiss Alps
Flights + Transport: £55
City tax: £5
Total ~ £180-200