Area around Milan Central Station

Dec 29th, 2008, 08:34 AM
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Area around Milan Central Station

Since New Years day may be a busy travel time, I am planning to order my Milan-Verona train tickets through the trenitalia website. To be on the safer side, I think I'll build in a couple of hours extra in case our flight to Milan comes in late. We arrive at 7:55 AM so I think a reservation around noon or a bit later should be safe.

If everything is on time and goes smoothly, we will have a few hours at the Central Station. Is it in an interesting area to walk around or is there anything interesting that would be open 1/1 nearby? Perhaps a nearby place for lunch that may be open on that day?

basingstoke2 is online now  
Dec 29th, 2008, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The area around the Milano Stazione Centrale is thoroughly boring, with virtually nothing worthwhile to see or do. Nearby restaurants are largely of the "fast food" variety, and the area is rather gritty.

Nevertheless, there are a multitude of "fast food" eateries within the Station itself, on the departures level (eye-level with the trains). There is even a decent food market with just about anything you might need to eat or drink. The food stands which sell "panini" sell excellent(really excellent) "Milano-style" salami sandwiches, among other varieties.

Remember, too, that the weather on New Year's Day will likely be very cold, and perhaps even "miserable", so you may have no desire whatsoever to "walk the streets" near the Station.

Four hours connection time from Malpensa airport to scheduled train departure time should be sufficient.

From the Trenitalia website, I see that there is a "Eurocity" ("EC")departing at 12:05 for Verona, and a "Eurostar City" ("ES") at 13:35. The EC and ES trains have mandatory seat reservations.

You might note the "Regionale" ("R") train departure at 13:25, which costs MUCH less than (nearly half-price) the other trains, yet takes only 30 minutes longer to reach Verona. This "R" train does NOT accept seat reservations, however. Nevertheless, because the "R" train originates at Milano Centrale, you should have no problem finding a seat if you board soon after the doors are unlocked. You might forego purchasing tickets on the internet in favor of taking this "R" train at 13:25.
GAC is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 08:55 AM
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My parents and I were in Milan for New Year 3 years ago, and we stayed near Centrale. It's very very quiet on the morning of New Years Day. You may want to take the subway a few stops down to the Duomo and walk around there for a little bit, if you have spare time.
rkkwan is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 09:25 AM
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Don't bother ordering those tickets. No need, only a potential hassle.

New Year's Day is not a big travel day, it is very quiet, most anything is closed, people stay home then go for a little passeggiata (stroll) in the afternoon.

You have to take a long look around just to find something open for a decent meal.

Trains might fill up a bit in the evening for those who have to go somewhere, but since the 2nd is also a public holiday, that isn't so much the case on the 1st.

I would suggest that you not book a train - that only locks you in. Play it by ear on arrival. If you have only little portable or wheeled luggage and want to see a bit of Milan while you're there, you have the option of taking the private train called Malpensa Express ( from the airport - it does not go to the Central train station (Milano Centrale FS). It goes to Cadorna in the city, just on the outskirts of the historic center, where it ends. There is also a Metro station at Cadorna.

Use google maps to follow along, it's easy. You see the ring road around the old core of the town, and at the top left of that ring, just below the Parco Sempione, is Cadorna.

In the middle of that ring is the Duomo. The Central train station (Centrale FS) is to the northeast of the ring. Outside the station is a semi-circular drive called Piazza Duca d'Aosta - there are a bunch of hotels and restaurants lining the semi-circle, and along the adjacent streets. Which ones will be open is anybody's guess.

You can look for yourself what that is like - zoom in on the Piazza Duca d'Aosta and switch Google from map view to street view. You'll be on the corner of Piazza Duca d'Aosta and Via Pirelli. Zoom and pan around in a circle. You'll see a sign with an arrow saying Altri Hotel (more hotels).

The stately old building is the station - if you zoom in, you see the highspeed-train symbol Alta Velocita in red above the white temporary (construction?) sheds out front.

There is nothing wrong with the environs of the station - not like in some other cities. Shops, hotels, restaurants, a bank, almost all closed on Jan. 1st....

But you're not there, yet - you just got to Cadorna. Find it on google maps and look around in street view. A nice open city square - nothing remarkable. You'll find it easy to orient yourself if you carry a little compass (always advisable) and take along a few printouts from google, or buy a map (but maybe not on arrival, things will be closed on Jan. 1st).

From Cadorna you can do a nice walk, past the Duomo (cathedral) and the adjacent Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II (glasstopped shopping arcades), with the opera house Teatro alla Scala ( ) not far away.

Don't know if the roof access to the Duomo is open on Jan. 1st - if it is, do go up - either climb the narrow spiral steps (but not with luggage...) or pay a fee and take the elevator - both are on the outside of the church. The rooftop is something else - bring your camera!

Then you can amble to the station - about 20 minutes, and you'll have already seen quite a bit of the essential old-town Milan.

As an alternative to the Malpensa Express, you can take the airport bus that takes about an hour (probably less on Jan. 1st where there will be no traffic) to get directly to the Centrale FS station.

Then see what train is next - if it is one where seat reservation is mandatory, then the seat comes with the ticket and is included in the price. Or pick one where reservation is not needed - goes only slightly slower and you see more.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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Thanks all. It seems that fate has decided what we will do. I was really pleased at how easy the trenitalia site was to navigate..until ...I arrived at the part for payment. Card declined. That was strange. I tried again with the same result. I called the card company and was told that since the transaction was considered "high risk" it was blocked. They then unblocked it and I tried it again with same result. Called CC company and they checked and said that apparantly Trenitalia was just circling it around again - declined once, declined always?

So I tried another card with the same result for the same reason. Aha! Of course they have it linked to my registration. So, I registered DW -new person, new email, new password and used still another card. Same result.

DalaiLlama - I will follow your sage advice and not worry until I get there. The forecast for New Years day in Milan is not too shabby - 39F and part sun. We can do that!

If for some reason the trains are full, is car rental possible on 1/1 or is there bus service to Verona from Milan?
basingstoke2 is online now  
Dec 29th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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No way all trains will be full, even though it is the holiday schedule (fewer trains). Only once or twice a year do you risk having all trains full for hours to come, maybe the night before the start of the Easter holiday and such. Trains are not like airplanes, even though there is this reservation thing which, to my mind, is more of a pain than a help half the time.

There is an option I didn't think about earlier, that may be more comfortable for you if you have bags, and still allows you to make the most of the day:

First take the airport bus to the station, go to the luggage deposit (deposito baggagli) on the upper (trains) level), then - if it makes you feel better - get tickets for a train for a few hours out, and take the Metro to the Duomo, and walk back. Or wait with getting the ticket until you actually are back at the station, in case you want to hang out a bit more in Milan. It's only 1:22 or 1:47 to Verona.

Many ways to make this into more than just a dull travel day.
DalaiLlama is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 11:39 AM
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If the trains are on strike on 1/1, here is information from the Malpensa Airport website about direct BUS service from Malpensa to Verona:


A: VERONA Partenza da: Terminal 1 e Terminal 2
Orario: 07.00 - 11.00 - 16.00 - 18.00 - 21.00
Frequenza: Tutti i giorni
Tempo medio di percorrenza: circa 2 h 30Ž / 3 h
Biglietti: possibilità dŽacquisto on line con carta di credito oppure a bordo o nelle agenzie convenzionate
Note: prenotazione obbligatoria entro il giorno precedente al viaggio per e-mail
Fermate intermedie su richiesta: Bergamo, Brescia

email: [email protected]

As you can see, there is a bus departing Malpensa daily at 11:00 a.m., but it requires prior-day advance reservations by e-mail. You can buy the ticket on board.

I expect that the cost of this bus service is VERY expensive, certainly MUCH more so that if you took the regular airporter bus to the Milano Stazione Centrale, then a train to Verona.

You can request further information from the e-mail address above.

If I were you, I'd just have a happy (and tranquil) flight, take the airporter bus to Milano Stazione Centrale, then take the first available train (EC, ES or R) to Verona. Don't worry about train reservations. I doubt that the EC/ES trains are sold out on 1/1, and the R train's seats are on a "first-come, first-served" basis.
GAC is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Thanks to all - that is good advice. I am usually a "seat of pants" traveler when not with DW. This trip is unusual in that I have hotels etc. lined up. When I travel with just the kids, we do things as we find them.
basingstoke2 is online now  
Dec 29th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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I was not implying that trains should be on strike, just on the Sunday/Holiday schedule, so no commuter trains, hence lesser frequency.

Here is the same that GAC mentioned but in English, from the Milan airport site - with pricing. Note that in the Italian version it says "Frequenza: Tutti i giorni" = "runs daily", but here in the English version there is no mention of that. Not sure if it means anything.

Also: I wonder what happens if there is only one person? Will that bus run, or will you be asked to take a later one? Worth asking when you email them.

Here's the quote:

Departure from: Terminal 1 / Terminal 2
Timetable: 07.00 a.m./ 11.00 a.m./ 04.00 p.m./ 06.00 p.m. / 09.00 p.m.
Duration Time: about three hours
Price: One way € 50. Round trip €90.
Tickets can be bought on line or on board
Remarks: reservation required by the day before departure by email.
Intermediate stops on demand: Bergamo, Brescia
email: [email protected]
DalaiLlama is offline  
Dec 29th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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Note the huge discrepancy in fares:

Malpensa to Verona by direct reserved bus: 50 Euros per passenger

Malpensa to Verona by combination airporter bus and "Regionale" train:
7 Euros for the bus and 7.55 Euros (second class) for the Regionale train. The ES City train costs 14.30 Euros, but is only 30 minutes faster than the Regionale.

According to the Trenitalia website, the 13:25 Regionale train from Milano Centrale to Verona Porta Nuova will operate on New Year's Day.

No strikes have been announced for New Year's Day. I fully anticipate a "normal" day for the trains (absent a snow storm), albeit not much passenger traffic.
GAC is offline  

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