I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to finally visit Italy but I’m so glad that I finally have. Italy has such a rich history and culture, couple that with the amazing food (gelato included here) and well, you have yourself a winner. I seriously can’t wait to go back one day! We visited quite a few cities during our recent 3 week trip so I thought it would be a good idea to blog about each city that we visited and include my favourite sights, food and some travel tips that I think might help someone who will be visiting this amazing country. So without further ado, let’s start off with our first stop!
Milan kickstarted our 3 week trip in Italy and we couldn’t have asked for anymore from this city. We spent 3 nights in Milan which felt like it was a good amount of time to visit the sights and experience the city. To make it easier to read this post I’ve split it up into 3 categories: the sights, the food and the travel tips.
Our first stop was the Duomo di Milano which was right in the middle of the city. It was absolutely beautiful in person. There were a few options with the tickets however, we chose the ticket which allowed us to go inside the duomo, climb up to the terrace by foot, visit the archaeological area that was located under the Piazza del Duomo and the duomo museum. The ticket was 11€ and was definitely worth it. As with most cathedrals, you had to cover your shoulders and knees when entering. Given it was over 30°C that day I was in a skirt and sleeveless top so luckily there were 2€ ponchos that I could purchase at the ticket booth. We waited for about 30 minutes to get into the cathedral and about 15 minutes to get onto the terrace.
After the duomo we met up with a friend who took us to the San Bernardino alle Ossa church which had to be the most interesting church that I have ever visited. When you enter the church it looks like any other church however, attached to the main church is a small chapel that is decorated in bones and skulls. Yep, you read correctly. I didn’t know whether to be horrified or fascinated. I think I was a bit of both. It’s not everyday that you see skulls and bones covering all 4 walls of a room. We were given a page of information when we visited the chapel which said that the room was a cemetery in the mid twelfth century where the deceased from a nearby hospital were buried. It also stated that the bones were not only from the patients but from criminals who were beheaded. I’ll be honest, it did feel a little spooky being in there!
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II was another sight that I had to see and was walking distance from the duomo. It was built in the 1800s and was so grand. I actually couldn’t even concentrate on the shops that were in this mall because I kept looking up at all the details.
Another sight that we visited was the Sforzasco Castle. It is free to roam the grounds however we paid the 5€ entry fee which gave us access to the castle’s museums as well as Michelangelo’s final work. It was well worth it in my opinion! If you do go to the Sforzasco Castle, Sempione Park is located just behind it and is a nice place to relax and escape the crowds for awhile.
The last area that I want to mention is Naviglio which seemed like the place to be at night. There was live music and ample of places to eat. We ended up having aperitivo here and if we had more time in Milan I’m sure we would have headed back.
Il Mercato del Duomo is right next to the cathedral and was where we had lunch 2 days in a row. There’s a lot of variety but my favourite meal had to be the lasagna, which I had on Level 2. For some reason I haven’t heard a lot of people mention it but it’s a must do in my opinion.
The pizza from Piz was my favourite during our stay. Not only was the pizza good but the staff were so friendly. They also gave us a small welcome slice of pizza and a free shot of limoncello. Free shots and pizza is a win in my book!
Luini apparently has amazing panzerottis. We read about it online and our friend who lives there also mentioned it. Unfortunately they were closed when we were there so we didn’t get to try them but if you get the chance I would jump on it.
THE TRAVEL TIPS
- Duomo di Milano – bring a shawl to cover your knees and shoulders to avoid the 2€ cost to buy a cover up at the location and allow 2-3 hours to visit the site.
- The Sforzasco Castle offers free entry from 2pm every Tuesday and for the last hour from Wednesday to Sunday.
- Head to the Navigli District at night to truly soak up the atmosphere
I hope you enjoyed the first instalment of my Italian Travel Diary. Next stop – Venice!