The last 24 hours in Italy was dedicated to Milan, no more, no less!
Before heading over, I’ve heard so much about how Milan is crazy expensive compared to the rest of Italy, especially when it comes to food. Indeed, fashion forward Milan has to be just that, given it’s where all the luxury European brands congregate, where fashion week is held, and the only city in Italy that I’ve seen high rise buildings in. So if you’re budget conscious, I’ll say you should just leave a good 24 hours to absorb what Milan has to offer, and move on!
Most people either have Milan as their arrival or departure city, because the Milan Malpensa Airport is where most international flights are hosted in Northern Italy. The Milano Centrale Railway Station is also where major international trains arrive/depart. For us, we made Milan our last stop in Italy ‘cos we were taking a train to Switzerland next. Prior to this, we also booked a train from Florence over to Milan via TrenItalia.
WHERE TO STAY
I strongly suggest you to stay near the train station where you’re going to leave from since you only have 24 hours. For us, we stayed near Milano Centrale Railway Station (where Centrale metro station also is) as we were leaving early the next morning.
If you’re leaving to fly elsewhere, then staying near any major train station (i.e. Garibaldi and Centrale stations as seen on the green line above) would be convenient for you to take the Malpensa Express to the airport.
Get the urban day pass for only €4.50 (really affordable!), of which you could use it to travel around the Milan Municipality area on buses, trams and metros. The ticket is also valid for the rail network, including the urban rail lines of Trenord and the ‘Passante Ferroviario’. You can get it easily at all authorised ticket sellers, which includes Tabaccherias (the shops with a big “T” sign), ATM points (Milan’s local public transport company, not the machines where you withdraw money) and automatic ticket machines (found at underground stations).
For us, we purchased our tickets at the Centrale Railway Station, and managed to take both the trams and metros during the 24 hours, and saved us a lot of walking under the relentless Summer heat!
WHERE TO GO / EAT
Now that we’ve got all our logistics covered, let’s go explore!
Naviglio Grande is by far my favourite place in Milan. Spend at least a good hour walking by the canal, exploring little cafes, and just soak in the surroundings!
Thereafter, everything else was in walking distance, starting from the iconic Duomo di Milano. Climbing to the rooftop of the Duomo is a favourite activity among the tourists, but we gave it a miss because the queue was way too long. Nonetheless, definitely do it if you have time to spare!
We then treated ourselves to a good lunch paired with a glass of iced cold beer in the crazy summer heat. The food was good – just walking distance from the Duomo!
Apart from its rich history, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a great place to do some luxury shopping. If you have a shopping list to check off, definitely note down the closing hours to each of these boutiques because they usually close in the early evening.
We took a walk around the vicinity, and headed off to Via Montenapoleone where more luxury brands are found. Famous Italian fashion houses like Salvatore Ferragamo, Fendi, Prada and Balenciaga can be found here. Most shops close by 6.30pm, if not earlier.
Pizzeria Spontini was our answer to having delicious yet affordable food in Milan. We were supposed to have Luini but it wasn’t opened, and this pizzeria just happened to be around the corner. 2 of us girls shared 1 combo and it kept us full all night! Might be the coke, or them cheese, but it was all good.
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
As with all other Italian cities, take care of your belongings and don’t fall trap to those friendship bands sellers among other things, especially at tourist hot spots. It’s quite obvious and ubiquitous around Milan Cathedral / Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, so do note!
Also, if you’re heading there during Summer, do check if the accommodation you’re booking has air conditioning facilities. The cheaper ones usually don’t come with one, and if you’re particular, it gets quite uncomfortable to sleep in. I learnt it the hard way.
IMHO, I think 24 hours in Milan is quite enough, unless you’d really want to spend more time shopping, given that shops close quite early. Nonetheless, I hope this guide is useful for your planning and have a good one in Milan (and Italy)! You may read more of my other Italy stories here.