72 Hours in Milan
A pre-pandemic getaway to Northern Italy.
Having lived in Italy for six years, I somehow never made it to Milan. Before I leave the European continent for a little while, Milan was a must-visit. I went for 72 hours.
Day 1: Arriving in Milano & dinner out:
Arriving at Milano Malpensa airport, after the 40-minute delay at Schiphol airport, felt relaxing. Stepping out of the plane into the thick, hot Italian air immediately gave me a holiday sensation. Soon my travelling companions and I were on the train on our way to Milano Centrale.
Fast forward two hours and my mother, sister and I were settled into the Airbnb in the neighbourhood Porta Romana. While they worked, I strolled around the area looking for a supermarket and took a quick break to drink a cold Corona while soaking up the afternoon sunshine.
Then came dinner time, at the late Italian hour of 20:30. We joined up with a friend for dinner at Pastamadre. The restaurant is run by an ex-war-journalist who changed his path to become a chef. The main focus of the restaurant is that of typical Sicilian dishes from the Chef’s home region. All the dishes are made with fresh ingredients.
After lots of quality food and white wine to accompany the conversation about life’s adventures, it was time to say goodnight and get some sleep.
Day 2: Il Duomo di Milano e più:
As I was in Milan for pleasure, and my travel companions for business, I enjoyed plenty of me-time throughout my trip. I started my day by walking from the Airbnb to the city centre, a distance of 2,2km.
Walking through the neighbourhoods of Milan that do not qualify as the "touristy centre" gave the city a welcoming feel. The houses are coloured in yellow, orange, and red-like stone that give bypassers a warm feeling, even on cloudy days.
Arriving at the Duomo, I was impressed by its grand architecture and the amount of detail on its external surface. I walked around the Duomo and after having taken in its presence, I headed towards Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, both a landmark of Milan and the connection between Piazza del Duomo and Piazza della Scala, where the Milan Opera House, Teatro alla Scala is located. Constructed between 1865 and 1867, the Galleria is named after the first King of the Kingdom of Italy.
Walking through the Galleria, I stopped for a cappuccino at Cafe Biffi, which is as old as the Galleria itself, established in 1867. As I enjoyed my quality coffee, I scribbled some notes down into my journal, sparking a conversation with the main waiter, Corrado. He asked to be featured in my next novel, but this article is the current closest thing! Ciao Corrado!
After coffee and a new acquaintance, I was ready to start shopping or at least window-shop. I walked through the rest of the Galleria, passing by Prada, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Chanel, and many other extravagant brands. From there I walked down the main shopping street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, scouting for some summer outfits and an Italian panino.
Strolling past the many shops around the centre of Milano, I headed down Via Dante. The no-car street, with many shops, leads to Castello Sforzesco and Parco Sempione, the park located behind the castle. There I sat on the edge of the fountain. After a bit of relaxing, I walked back to the Airbnb, where I was greeted by my family, and rested my feet after having walked 11,2km that day. I spend the rest of the evening relaxing with my family and eating pizza focaccia.
Day 3: Centro & Sunshine:
On my second full day in Milan, I initially headed further south for some errands. After that, I was met with the kindness of a stranger who offered me a tram ticket, without asking anything in return. Taking tram 24 back to the centre of the city, I walked around for the rest of the afternoon, which added up to yet another 11km day, before meeting my family for an apperativo.
For our apperativo we headed to Porto Ticinese and the neighbourhood of Naviglio, where we had some Aperol Spritz and some small snacks, enjoying the people walking along the canal, soaking in the evening sunshine.
For dinner, we took a cab, which is surprisingly cheap in Italy, to Erba Brusca, the restaurant of Alice Delcourt, my sister’s acquaintance. The restaurant had amazing food, all of which comes from health-conscious sources. There is even a garden behind the restaurant where many of the plants that are used come from.
The next morning, after packing the last few things, the three of us headed to the airport, via taxi and train. Leaving Milan as the first cloudy day of the week rolled in.
Milan is a beautiful city with lots of detailed architecture and kind people. I strongly recommend anybody visiting Italy to add Milan to their places-to-go list!