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Please help on a last minute trip to Milan, Italy

Please help on a last minute trip to Milan, Italy

Mar 29th, 2006, 02:52 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 161
Please help on a last minute trip to Milan, Italy

Normally, I would have researched this much more before asking for advice, but today I found out that we are going to Milan, Italy the second week of May. My husband is going for business reasons, and we will fly on a Saturday for a meeting on Monday, and possibly Tuesday a.m., too. After that we are free to travel elsewhere. The catch is we are taking the kids (10 and 11) out of school for a week, and do not want to extend it further than that so our trip will be Saturday to Sunday - one week only! My children have never been to Europe, but they have traveled a lot and my husband and I have been to Rome, Florence, Venice, London, Scotland, and Germany. So, considering our limited time, what would you recommend for us to do with the rest of our week? We like the arts, museums, history, architecture, food, and scenery. I would consider myself more of a slow traveler than fast. We will be flying in and out of Milan.

Also, what recommendations for my children and I in Milan while my husband is busy? My 10 year old is a boy, and my 11 year old is a girl.

Thank you so much in advance. I did quickly look through previous posts, but most allow for a longer itinerary, and Milan appears not to be on people's top 10 list so......my situation is more specific. Thank you!
mosey is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 03:32 PM
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Well the Italian lakes are a beautiful area and popular with tourists. About 90 minutes north of Milan. In May, you will want to have a jacket with you.

Also, Florence for museums and architecture. Vicenza for Palladian architecture.

Take the children to Venice.
Mar 29th, 2006, 03:37 PM
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As above, I have not been myself but have friends who very much enjoyed the lakes nearby to Milan.
suze is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 04:49 PM
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My recommendations for while your husband is busy:

Take them to see the Last Supper if tickets are available.

Castello Sforzesco is a wonderful open space that I found interesting. The fort might be interesting to your son. Boys always like forts. There are little museums inside the fort that would be interesting to all. Keep walking past the fort and you should find a park behind the fort that I thought looked pretty. But then it started to rain.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a great place to just lull around and eat, if they get hungry. There's a McDonalds inside if they happen to crave it. If they're more sophisticated kids, then they'll enjoy the cafes around McDs. Be sure to step on the bull's privates diagonally opposite the McDs for good luck.

Go to the top of Milan's Duomo. If they want to CLIMB the stairs to the top, the ticket booth and entrance will be the first thing you meet as you walk between the Galleria and the Duomo. If they are tired and want to take the elevators, keep walking until you see another booth/entrance. This will save you from being yelled at by the grumpy stair ticket man (although I learned a lot of Italian bad words that I didn't know before!).

That should tide your kids over for the 2 days your husband is busy in meetings.
mcnyc is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 07:56 PM
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if you want to visit last supper when in milan, you might want to reserve in advance on web. there are several sites that do this. tickets are limited. we are planning trip to areas outside milan this summer and it doesn't seem to me that your kids are the age for the Lakes, but then i haven't been there. seems to be a lot of beauty, gardens, villas, staring at the beauty, etc. Woould not have been MY kid's cup of tea at that age. But if you do go there, i've heard about a wonderful cable car ride outside stresa and also a day trip by ferry/train to lugano in switzerland that sounds like kids would love. Also, from what i've read Lake Garda might have more for kids. Check out the guidebooks and do some searches on here and www.slowtrav.com. good luck
alison is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 08:37 PM
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In Milan, the area of the Duomo will be impressive for children. If they are "museum-tolerant," the Pinoteca Ambrosina is full of odd objects more than painting. (Think of a small Italian Smithsonian.) I think a limited time at the Sforzeca is a good idea, but look at guidebook ahead of time and just do a few highlights.

If they like fabulous pastries and hot chocolate, there are wonderful places enjoy them (in any standard guidebook).

Outside Milan, I recommend a trip to Verona to see the great Roman Arena and its marvelous castle (a better castle than the Sforzeca).

I have heard that the amuseument park at Lago di Garda is actually great fun, and it is easily reached from Milan by train. The stop is Peschiera del Garda. From that same town, you can take boats to other towns on the lake, for lunch and wine and strolls. (You all might enjoy Limone sul Garda, where lemons are grown under glass archways, or Bardolino, for its giant ice creams and famous wines). Hotels in Pescheria are quite inexpesnive and family friendly. You can also rent bicycles there.

Instead of Florence or Venice, I would consider Torino. (90 minutes from Milan.) It has a great auto museum, a great movie museum and a great Egyptian museum, if any of those is of particular interest to your children.

I'd also consider the Ligurian coast and Cinque Terre, which is closer to Milan by train than Venice.

Stresa on Lago Maggiore to the north (reachable by train in 40 minutes) affords simple boat trips on the lake to interesting islands. The most enjoyable island is Isola di Madre, which has exotic birds and a palazzo which has a beautiful children's puppet theater inside.

There is also a cable car ride in Stresa -- not for the faint at heart or those with fear of heights.

One other tip for Milan: There is an absolutely wonderful vegetarian restaurant in Milan that is inside a tiny grocery store. Your children will be treated like royalty and be given no end of treats. The vegetarian dishes are quite child friendly: Pasta with yummy, buttery sauces. The prices are cheap.

The name of this restaurant is Alla Vecchia Latteria di Via Unione. The address is Via Unione, 6. It is very near the Duomo and any hotel can show you how to get there.

Hope that helps.
nessundorma is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 10:18 PM
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Stresa is a very easy trip and the kids will likely enjoy the train. Beautiful area.

The lakes would be my first choice.

I'm also big on Turin, although the cinema museum might not grab them it's fabulous for adults and just mildly cool for kids -- but the glass elevator ride through it to the top of the Molle is spectacular for all ages.

Plus, if the kids, like chocolates, go to Turin and get the ChocoPass. Very fun. And there's a great Egyptian museum there.
repete is offline  
Mar 29th, 2006, 10:27 PM
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In Torino, I think the glass elevator ride can be purchased separately without buying a ticket to the museum. Worth seeing too is the glowing bar with the videoscreen menus, which is accessible without going into the museum proper. It's true that a lot of the movie museum may not fascinate kids -- although I think maybe the same ration as does an art museum, actually.

The Egyptian museum is of high quality but is quite old fashioned and educational in layout. Just a warning in case people have limited tolerance for that sort of thing.
nessundorma is offline  
Mar 30th, 2006, 12:46 AM
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Visit the lakes definitely. I think that one week in Milan is way too much time to be spent completely there unless you want to visit every single museum. There's Lake Como, Lake Maggiore, Lake Iseo, Lake Garda and Lake d'Orta. I've alnly been to Lake Como. The best towns on Lake Como are: Como, Tremezzo, Bellagio and Menaggio. You can even go there by train.
Mar 30th, 2006, 03:00 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 517
We took our son to Milan at age 11. He really enjoyed the top of the Duomo, took lots of photos. Make reservations for the Last Supper. The audio guide really gets kids attention. Sforza Castle was not a great hit for him. Go to Peck's and let him pick out treats for a picnic.It is an endless supply of beautiful foods.
After two days in Milan, I would go to Venice with the kids. We have taken our son to Venice twice, and he loves it. I think they will find Venice more interesting than the lakes.
Ralstonlan is offline  
Mar 30th, 2006, 03:36 AM
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Hi M,

Venice is about 3 hr by train from Milan Centrale.

You can return Saturday night for your Sunday flight home or you could fly open jaw into Milan and out of Venice.

Have a nice week.

ira is offline  
Mar 30th, 2006, 05:18 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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Frankly, I don't understand why the Duomo and the Last Supper seem to be everyone's "must do" sights in Milan. The Duomo (I know many of you won't agree with me) may be interesting as a gothic cathedral in Italy, but it is dull as compared to the true gothic cathedrals (i.e., those in northern France, plus some in Germany). And of da Vinci's Last Supper, not much remains - most of the painting is simply gone, da Vinci's technical skills not being quite on the same level as his artistic genius.
For me, the main sights of Milan are 1. S. Maria delle Grazie, actually the church in whose refectory the Last Supper can (or rather, could once) be admired - the overlooked church is much, much better, gorgeous, serene early Renaissance (one of Bramante's main works); and 2. S. Ambrogio, one of the very best Romanesque churches of northern Italy.
franco is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 03:21 AM
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to respond to my inquiry. I apologize since now my husband wants to go to Berlin for the second part of the trip. I believe we will be taking a night train from Milan to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Germany.

I would have gone to Venice for the second part, and we will go some day. I do appreciate the advice on what to do in Milan, especially specific places to go that may not be on the top 5 list of things to do. Thank you all!

I suppose now I should go over to the Germany post, and ask questions. My husband is an architect and he is interested in seeing Berlin architecture....old and new. While he has his own list of buildings he wants to see, if anyone knows of any new condo buildings,hotels, and office buildings that have a contemporary bent, please let me know. Or if you know where to find out that information. I guess this would apply to Milan and Berlin.

Again, thank you all for your input, and I will use the outside of Milan information for our next trip to Italy that will be more focused on vacation versus work.

mosey is offline  
Mar 31st, 2006, 06:04 AM
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Okay, I have spent three hours this a.m. looking at hotels in Milan. My concern is that my children and I will be on our own for the most part during the day so I would like a very safe location. I realize Milan is a big city, and to take big city precautions, but I would like to be comfortable coming to and from my hotel day and night. That being said, I assume we will have to get 2 rooms, and I am willing to pay $250 per night per room. I would like a good location in a neighborhood with good restaurants (good restaurants are probably not hard to find in Milan). Thank you for your advice.
mosey is offline  
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