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marieb Feb 3rd, 2004 01:54 PM

Milan....Private Car/Driver rec's
Can anyone recommend a car service/private driver to pick up 4 people at Malpensa (8AM weekday), drive us into and around Milan while we sightsee for a few hrs, then drop us at the train station for our trip to Venice? Thought this would be the smartest thing to do, since we only want to see a few things (Duomo, Galleria, Last Supper) AND we'll have luggage, won't know our way around and will be tired. This will be our only stop in Milan. Thanks for the help.

mgfit Feb 3rd, 2004 04:56 PM

I can't give you the name of a driver, however if you plan to see the last supper painting, I recommend getting advanced reservations. It can be sold out at times and they only take in so many people at a time....

marieb Feb 4th, 2004 09:04 AM

Thanks mgfit for the reminder. I was aware, from reading guide books and fodors posts, of the need for advance tkts. I'll order them before we depart.

Has anyone used a driver or service before for what I want to do? Does it make sense?

Cicerone Feb 4th, 2004 10:08 AM

The Duomo and the Galleria are within a few hundred yards of each other. Much of the area is pedestrian-only, so your driver would spend a lot of time waiting for you. It is possible to walk from the Duomo to the church where the Last Supper is located in under half an hour, a pleasant flat walk. Therefore, I am not sure you need the driver. If you really don't have time to see anything else, what you might do is:

1. Take a taxi from the airport to the main train station and check your bags there. or check them in for your train if this is possible. Given your limited time, a taxi from the airport would be faster than the airport express bus to the main train station. (Or see option 4 below.)

2. Take a taxi or the tram from the train station to the Duomo/Galleria area. (Under 15 minutes by car.) There are lots of interesting little streets and shops in the area and lots of restaurants for lunch.

3. Go to see the Last Supper. This may be your first stop after the train station depending on the time of your reservation to see the painting, but you will need to time this correctly, as my guess is that with an 8 am arrival and even taking a taxi from the airport you will not be in downtown Milan until 10 am at the earliest, and most likely a bit later. You should definitely get reservations to see the painting, as there is every chance you could not get them on a walk-in basis. I have a website and phone number at home for this, and will post it tomorrow, or someone else may have it handy.

4. An alternative would be to take the airport express train from the airport to Milano Cadorna Station which is near the church where the Last Supper is located. Assuming you can check your bags here (not sure) you could see the painting, the Duomo, etc and then at the end of the day go collect your bags and take a taxi to the main train station. (Note that the airport express goes to Milano Cadorna Station which is NOT the main train station, that is Milano Centrale, a few miles away.)

Cicerone Feb 4th, 2004 11:26 AM

For Last Supper tickets, you can order by phone, call 011-39-02-89421146 from the US, or go to for information. You must be at the entrance 15 minutes before your appointed time.

The convent where the painting is located is closed on Monday, so bear this in mind if your one day in Milan is a Monday.

marieb Feb 4th, 2004 01:41 PM

Cicerone- Thanks for the great ideas. We don't have a set time we need to be in Venice. I thought we'd take a train departing sometime between 2-4pm. I figure we'll be dragging as the day goes along.

I did assume we wouldn't get into Milan until 10:00 or so. And we're arriving on a Wednesday. If I have my geography straight, the church with the Last Supper is near the Codorna station, which is about a half hr walk to the Duomo and Galleria. And the main train station, the one we need to get to Venice, is across town?

I like alternative #4. I'll need to find out if there is a left luggage area at Codorna.

One last quest- For the sake of saving time, if I purchase our Milan-Venice tickets in advance from home, can we use them on a different train? later or earlier? I understand some about the different trains. Looking at the current timetable, there are trains (IC, ES, CIS) departing about every hour.

And thanks for the web site for Last Supper tickets!

Cicerone Feb 5th, 2004 02:57 AM

OK I did some more searching and found a website for the Milan Airport Express train, which is I could not find any information on baggage check at Cardona Station, but you might hunt around the site or call them at the number listed on the site. (You should be able to find an English speaking operator.)
The Cordona Station is kind of at the top of a triangle formed by the Duomo on the right/southeast and the Last Supper on the left/southwest. It is near the S'forza Castle. IMO, it would be about 15 minutes either way to walk to each. It is a little easier and faster to walk to the Last Supper from the station as you can take main roads which are more direct than the more winding walk to the Duomo area. I cannot find a good map of Milan on the web, but I would strongly suggest you buy a guidebook and/or a good detailed map of the city now (Eyewitness Guides are very good and usually have a good map). It would be a short and cheap cab ride from the Cordono station to either the Duomo or the Last Supper, and if pressed for time you could take a cab from the Duomo to the Last Supper or reverse.
The above website for the Last Supper may not be a good link, you might go to and then click on Last Supper. Hellomilano has lots of other helpful information on Milan and sightseeing.

The Airport Express departs from Malpensa from the train station in Terminal 1. The airport has two terminals, and both are used for international flights. You can take a shuttle bus between them in about 10 minutes. You can find out what terminal your international flight will be arriving in by calling 39 02 74852200. The website for Malpensa airport is, but it does not have a detailed map of the terminals as far as I know.

Central Milan (where the Duomo, Last Supper etc are) is very small and a taxi from Cardona Station to main train station should take less than 15 minutes; but budget more time if you are going at evening rush hour.

As for your train ticket to Venice, others on this site may have more helpful suggestions. IMO, I don't see any need to buy it ahead of time from the US, as the trains are so frequent and lines to buy them are generally not long. Also, unless you buy from Trenitalia, you will pay more by using Eurorail or another agent, and even Trenitalia may charge you something for sending the tickets to the US. Most importantly, some trains are reserved trains only and your ticket would only be good for that particular train, so you have to be careful if you do decide to buy ahead of time.

Melissa1 Feb 5th, 2004 07:29 AM

You sound like you have everything figured out but I'd like to add a couple of things.
1. Yes, you can check your bags at the central station.
2. From just about anywhere in the center you can pick up the metro that will bring you to the Cental Station in about 5 minutes. Costs a euro a person and will get you there much faster than a taxi. Really. 5 Minutes from the Duomo or San Babila stations.

I wouldn't reccommend a driver, because the city is much more manageable on foot once you are in the center.
So, to recap, take the Malpensa Express from the airport to Cadorna from there take Metro to the Central Station leave bags. Go back to Cadorna. Walk to the Last Supper (that you should already have reserved). Do that. Eat lunch, then walk or take metro to Piazza Duomo (tons of places to eat here too), from Duomo, go behind the church to San Babila (the Galleria is in the Piazza Duomo so you won't miss that).and look at all the shopping.
A great place to have a sandwich or salad (or drink a Bellini) is on top of the department store "Rinacente". It's in Piazza Duomo too, and hard to miss. Go to the top floor by elevator, then go up one more with the escalator. Walk into the restaurant and outside to the terrace. It's a birds-eye view of the church where you can finally relax and breathe deeply and eat.
If in the end you want a driver to pick you up and bring you to the central station. I have 2 friends/taxi drivers that will do it for you. Both were friends first and then happened to get a taxi. It would cost 80 Euro. It might be easier. Once you're in the city and have dropped off the bags, you'll be free to take the metro (right there in front of the station) anywhere you want to go.
E mail me at [email protected] and I'll arrange it for you. The drivers don't speak much english, but they are really nice and both are husbands and fathers. One or the other will be availible to do it.
I live here and can give you a hand if you need.
Ciao, Melissa

marieb Feb 5th, 2004 11:02 AM

Wow...thanks Cicerone & Melissa1 for all your work. I printed out the entire thread and spread it out on my desk to figure this out.

Option 1-Malpensa express to Codorna station, metro OR cab to central station, leave bags, buy Venice tkts, then metro back to a staion near the Last Supper. Sightsee, have lunch then metro back to central station, collect bags and catch train to Venice. This would probably be the least expensive option but more work.

Option 2- Taxi as recommended by Melissa to central station, leave bags, buy Venice tkts, then metro to station near Last Supper, sightsee & lunch. Then metro back to central station, collect bags, catch train to Venice.

Any other options?

Thanks for the lunch recommendation. Sounds like a great view. I also wanted to stop by Peck, maybe pick up some food treats. Sounds like there's one near or in the Galleria.

Melissa if I decide to do the taxi option from the airport, I'll email you for your friends name and contact info. Thanks again.

Melissa1 Feb 8th, 2004 06:04 PM

Hi Marie,
Peck is a two minute walk from Duomo and has some really good food. They also have a wine cellar with a small bar in the basement to stop and have a glass of wine in the middle of the day. Very chic and cool and relaxing!
Hope your planning is going well. It might seem overwelming, but once you're here, you'll go with the flow.
Ciao, Melissa

cmt Feb 8th, 2004 06:29 PM

I don't know any driver. However, a friend of mine travels to northern Italy by herself and does not like to drive. She has a nice, reliable driver from Milan area whom she uses on every trip. I doubt that he takes her around Milan, though I'm sure he could. He generally drives her to various towns and cities in the Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna regions.

If you're still looking for a driver a week from now, keep topping this thread next week. I'll either e-mail it to my friend or ask her. She's away this week, so I can't ask her now.

gard Feb 9th, 2004 09:16 AM


I guess it would also be possible to take the Malpensa Shuttle Express to get into the Central train station. I think you can leave your luggage there and then you can take the metro to the Duomo area.

My wife and I went to Milan in June last year. I have posted a trip report and pictures from our trip on my personal homepage :-D

Have a great trip

Stavanger, Norway

marieb Feb 9th, 2004 10:56 AM

Hello all you helpful fodorites!

I emailed regarding private driver and costs. We've used them in the past for tours and tickets and have always been pleased with their services; however their prices for driver services seem very expensive to me. They quoted 315 Euro for airport pickup, 3 hrs touring & drop off at the train station. Not bad, however there is a TWO piece TOTAL luggage limit for the whole group! If you have more than that the price jumps to 672 Euro because then they need to use a minibus. Well that's way more than I want to spend. I know, no matter how light we manage to pack, we could never limit our stuff for 4 people into 2 bags! (this is a 3 week trip) Others probably can can, but from our history of travel it would never work. It looks like the taxi from the airport to the main train station option is the best. Thankfully it sounds like central Milan is small enough to easily manage with the metro and walking. We just have to get to the train station to get rid of the luggage.

Melissa1- I'll email you to get contact info for your taxi friend to arrange the airport pickup. Glad to hear Peck is so close to the Duomo. We love wine so we'll definitely stop in to the bar too.

cmt-I'll top this thread next week. I'd like to check out the costs of your friend's driver.

gard- I enjoyed reading your trip report. I took lots of notes. The pictures are beautiful. Maybe someday I'll find the time to post some of our trips....

Melissa1 Feb 10th, 2004 02:14 AM

Hi Marie,
Just want to add that Gard's idea of taking the Malpensa Express bus to the train station is also a very good idea. It's really easy to find, and you can buy the tickets inside the airport right after you leave the baggage claim area. If I remember correctly it's around 15 Euro a head. I think it might be better, because both the friends taxis are station wagons, and might not have enough room for all of you and the luggage.
Just a thought, let us know what you decide. Ciao, Melissa

marieb Feb 10th, 2004 11:51 AM

Melissa- Do you know if the Malpensa express bus runs frequently? If the cost is around 15 Euro per person, that's 60 Euro total. If a cab is around 80 Euro, there's not much difference. Would a cab be more convenient than the bus? We've taken cabs (station wagons or mini vans) to & from airports/train stations/hotels in other large Italian cities before with the same travellers and luggage. I'm all for ease and speed as long as it doesn't cost a fortune:) Thanks again for all your help.

gard Feb 10th, 2004 12:21 PM


Have you checked out The adult tickets are 4.50 €.


marieb Feb 10th, 2004 01:43 PM

Thanks gard, I'm going to check it out right now.

marieb Feb 10th, 2004 01:57 PM

Thanks again gard- The malpensa shuttle site quotes the following prices-
adults 4.50 E & children 12 & under 2.25 E, picking up at both Terminal 1 & 2 every 20 min. Looks like it's a 40-50 min ride from the airport to the central train station. The buses look very nice. This sounds like a good way to go. Definitely inexpensive and convenient too.

Melissa1 Feb 11th, 2004 12:45 AM

The bus is nice, my parents have used it before and found it perfectly fine. See you here!

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