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-   -   Who likes Milan - what to do in 2 days - can you wander around & enjoy its "big-city" feel? (https://www.fodors.com/community/europe/who-likes-milan-what-to-do-in-2-days-can-you-wander-around-and-enjoy-its-big-city-feel-114221/)

dewey Mar 23rd, 2001 10:11 AM

Who likes Milan - what to do in 2 days - can you wander around & enjoy its "big-city" feel?
 
We are thinking of staying in Milan for 2 days in late Sept. (before joining a tour that goes to Florence, Venice, Nice). I've been all through Italy but never Milan. Is it the kind of city you can stroll the streets and look for nice restaurants/shops on foot, and also see the major attractions (Duomo, Opera House)? Or it is just too big/noisy/crowded/hectic? We are staying in a centrally located hotel. I have heard somewhat negative things about Milan on this site. Has anyone had any really good/bad experiences there they'd like to share? I hate to think of being in a major European city for the 1st time and not spending at least a day or 2 there to check it out.

Tina Mar 23rd, 2001 11:38 AM

I was in Milan for day/night before returning back to US in early November. I am one of the few (& you'll probably hear from the other handful) who LIKED Milan. Okay, it was only a short visit, but I thought it was quite nice. Yes, it doesn't have the character or charm of the other major cities in Italy --- it's newer & modern, and there's more emphasis on business (as opposed to Venice, who's continued existence is supported by tourism). <BR> <BR>There is an area around Galleria & heading towards Duomo that is pedestrian only. And I strolled around the area (it was a Sunday) and then visited Duomo & the Sforesco Castle. Did try to get last minute tickets to performance @ La Scala Opera House; unfortunately it was a charity event & they were completely sold out. You won't be there during opera season (runs Dec thru April), however there should be concert performances being held there. <BR> <BR>As to it's being big/noisy/crowded/hectic, I didn't think it's any worse than Rome. And as much as I love Rome, I'll admit it can be quite chaotic.

leo Mar 23rd, 2001 11:59 AM

I am one of the handful who likes, dare I say loves Milan. We went for four nights last fall for similar reasons, we had been all around Italy, but never to Milan. We were told by everyone NOT to go, but we really loved the city. As Tina said it is an Italian city, not a living museum. If you love Italy and Italians, then there is something to be said for its living cities (Milan and Naples). The central area is not at all hectic or crowded. Walking on the Duomo square and on the shopping streets at night were magical. We had great days too at the Art museum, La Scala, and the flea market. Also we never had a bad meal-remember you are in Italy. Make sure to make reservations for the Last Supper in advance. We didn't and missed out, but I don't worry I know I will return to Milan. <BR> <BR>Go to Milan, if you get absolutely bored after the first day, you can go to Como or Pavia for the second day. I think you will have a nice time.

Marilyn Ham Mar 23rd, 2001 12:04 PM

We just got back and spent one night in Milan on our way home. We were very sorry we had not stayed longer. The duomo is lovely, the food and wine were great, and we wanted to see the Sforesza Castle (unfortunately we didn't have time as I understand they have a free museum). Marilyn

elvira Mar 23rd, 2001 12:15 PM

I'm one of those that is not a fan of Milan, but the one area I liked was the Navigli district - canals designed by da Vinci, artsy area, only place we saw more than one restaurant (don't get me started). The rest of the city was packed (it was February, can you imagine) but this area was very quiet. <BR> <BR>I also liked the da Vinci Museum, which housed his drawings, and some models, of his various 'contraptions'. Very few of the descriptions had English translations, but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words...or was that every picture tells a story?

Leslie Mar 23rd, 2001 05:44 PM

I'm one! Spent about 3 days in Milan about a year ago and loved it. (Probably because I had heard such negatives that my expectations were low) <BR>I love museums and I like to shop. Don't miss the Duomo, Galleria, Brera Museum, Last Supper-there's lots more. Our hotel made a difference, too. It was the De La Ville and was just steps from the Duomo and some world class shopping. Our visit was confined to the historic areas and we didn't see the new, modern city which everyone seems to hate. I'm glad I went and would visit again.

toni Mar 24th, 2001 11:14 AM

Hi Dewey, <BR>Definately stay in Milan for a couple of days, if you find you have seen what you want, hop on a train and spend the day on Lake como, or go for a short train ride to Cremona, a great small town, famous for the violin. <BR>Have Fun. <BR>Toni

Paule Mar 24th, 2001 01:20 PM

My husband and I are also big fans of Milan. After all the negative comments, we found the city to be a wonderful one, with more character than we expected. The duomo is spectacular and make sure you climb on top of the roof for a wonderful view. Of course, the Galleria is beautiful. One of our favorite walks was through the elegant shopping district around Via Monte Napoleone. Very trendy, upscale clothing shops; it was as much a museum as the Brera! Get tickets to see The Last Supper. <BR>We also enjoyed the Navigli District, a gentrifying area which is a mixture of hip/bohemian and edgy working class. And on the last day of our trip, after we were burned out on sight seeing, we stopped at the Giardini Pubblico, a small but wonderful park. It was a Sunday afternoon in August, and we spent a long time watching the passersby; it wasn't a tourist destination, but a place where families strolled and lovers met. <BR> <BR>Milan IS a wonderful city, but a mixture of old and new. There are places to stroll around that are delightful. I recommend the extra time to stay there. <BR> <BR>

Marsha Mar 24th, 2001 01:52 PM

Please read my comment at Milan for Lunch? I really need suggestions!!!!! <BR>I am mostly concerned about the weather in August and what the situation is with restaurants closing that month. Is it just a bad time toenjoy Italy??

Ca-Cynthia Mar 25th, 2001 09:20 PM

To Marsha: <BR> <BR>There ISN'T a bad time for Italy. Yes, August weather can be quite humid if you're in Rome. I'm not sure if that's as much a problem if you will be in Milan or the northern areas of Italy. You probably do want to select hotels with A/C depending on what your 'comfort' level is (I live in Texas, so anything below 90 degrees in August sounds good to me!). <BR> <BR>You may want to check a weather website, www.wunderground.com which provides historical data.

kam May 8th, 2001 11:50 AM

I'm a person who generally gives the advice to avoid Milan, but please know it's in the context of someone having 10 days in Italy in total and I feel Rome or Venice or Florence or Siena etc. are worth more time than Milan. Milan in my mind is similar to Rome with the crowds and traffic but missing all the art and antiquity that makes Rome so interesting. There is nothing WRONG with Milan, though, if you understand that it's a big, crowded, fairly modern city. We've been there several times on business and it's certainly pleasant to look in the shops, see the Duomo, the fortezza, and now the Last Supper at Santa Maria delle Grazie, etc. All the attractions for a tourist are quite centrally located. There are certainly some very good restaurants there as well. The rest of the city is urban sprawl. I just don't think I would skip Florence and spend the time in Milan instead. We have very good friends (who are Italian) who have lived their whole married lives in Milan but now that he is coming close to retiring, they have bought a house in Ravello and are looking forward to getting out of the big city. It's their opinion that quality of life will be better there than in Milan.

Howard May 8th, 2001 01:44 PM

Here's another vote for Milan. No, it's not Rome, Venice or Florence, but it's certainly worth your time. Suggestions: <BR>1. The Duomo--magnificent. Make sure you climb to the top. (It's only about 100-125 steps.) Especially if you're there on a Sunday, make sure you spend some time at an outdoor cafe in the area. <BR>2. Visit the LaScala Museum, which includes a peek into the opera house. <BR>3. Visit the Galleria, which adjoins the Duomo. <BR>4. Stroll the Via Manzoni area. It is THE fashion capital of the world. Even if you don't buy--and you probably won't because the shops are expensive--it's a very enjoyable experience. There are also plenty of places show outside that area! <BR>5. Visit the city's museums. There are plenty to choose from. <BR> <BR>6. View The Last Supper. <BR>There's start for you! <BR>

Me May 8th, 2001 02:31 PM

Me too - I love Milan! We've stayed at the Antico Locanda dei Mercanti twice - lovely place on a quiet street between the Duomo and Sforza Castle. <BR> <BR>In same general area is a street called something like Calle Fiori - I know Fiori is in the name but I can't quite recall it exactly. It cuts off from the main street that runs directly into Sforza. Many restaurants on this street. We've had two great meals at Del Angolo. <BR> <BR>While in Milan, don't miss a chance to see Peck - a food emporium like nothing you have ever seen - fabulous. Get all the makings for a gourmet picnic and enjoy.

peter May 8th, 2001 04:42 PM

if you get sick of milan go to bergamo 1/2 hr north of milan by bus. the citta alta is a no drive walk only ancient town thats nifty to explore. some good rest. there also but beware they do observe the siesta for about 3 hrs around noon time

Sheila May 9th, 2001 01:05 AM

We spent a day in Milan at the end of a week last June. I did a trip report which is on here somewhere. I did try to email you the relevant portion but it didn't reach you. <BR> <BR>If you would like it send me an email and I'll forward it. (Most of its contents is onhere already) <BR> <BR>My husband spent a holiday Monday in Milan last year and reckoned the place had been hit by a neutron bomb. You might want to avoind holidays

dale May 9th, 2001 06:41 AM

don't know wht milano has such a bad rap. the subway system is terrific. the duomo is fabulous. sforza palace is a wonderful example of italian museum design of the fifties. galleria is memorable. do not miss peck!

Robert May 13th, 2001 12:29 PM

Two days are plenty, if you do a little planning. Try to get tickets in advance to the Last Supper, otherwise you can either be waiting in line quite a while or closed out for the time you are in town. Definitely go to the castle museum and the Duomo, including the roof if it is a nice day. <BR> <BR>Walking through the ped zone from Duomo towards Via Monte Napolean for shopping or browsing has many places to stop or break. Great lunch at Bice.

sdg May 13th, 2001 02:42 PM

i've been living/working in milan for the last 3 months, with 9 more to go. milan is not representative of italy as a whole, and a tourist will be disappointed after 2-4 days, which is sufficient time to visit the duomo, galleria, the last supper & castello sforzesco, have dinner in navagli, and shop on via montenapo, della spiga, and corso magenta/vercelli. <BR>i have been disappointed by the restaurants in milan-- it is not a restaurant city like new york (birthplace), and the best food to be had are cooked in milanese homes, not restaurants. if anyone has restaurant recommendations for milan, i'd love to know them!

Marpha Jun 18th, 2001 03:05 AM

I am also one of those who love Milan. I go there twice a year just to do the shopping and enjoy the atmosphere of north-European efficiency and south-European dolce vita attitude. Museums, shops, cafes, churches etc. etc. are just lovely in Milan. So it depends on what you like but Milan really is a lovely city!

Maria Jun 19th, 2001 11:34 AM

We just returned from a 15-day trip where we flew into Rome, traveled to the Amalfi coast, Sicily, and Venice where we took a train to Milan to catch our flight back home. This left us one evening in Milan which we used to visit the Duomo and shop on via Montenapoleon. My husband was so impressed with the little he saw of this city, that he's planning on a return trip for us next year, just to spend a week in Milan!

ttt Aug 5th, 2002 06:08 AM

ttt for Milan

Rex Aug 5th, 2002 10:34 AM

up, for the person asking about Milan<BR>

damon Aug 11th, 2002 01:30 PM

Two days is plenty to see Milan. While it's not as horrid as its detractors make it out to be, the fact is that most of the sites worth seeing are close together and you can run out of things to see rather quickly (then it's a matter of how much shopping you want to do). <BR><BR>From the Castello Sforesza, you can walk down the Via Dante to the Galleria and then the Duomo. They are all very nice and worth seeing. I believe that La Scala is closed for renovations, but you might call ahead and check. Via Monte Napoleone and Via Manzoni are great entertaintment for window shoppers, as many of the shops are tragically chic (think leopardskin-pattern leather pants). There are also some great public gardens there. Some of the better traditional Milanese restaurants are worth checking out (don't bother with the menu, let the waiter put together a meal), but make reservations -- we walked around for an hour-and-a-half without reservations one night before we found a place that would let us in to eat! It was worth it; Milanese cooking is really good.<BR><BR>Frankly, I would spend one day walking around in Milan, catch a train to Lake Como that evening, stay overnight at the lake and tour a couple of towns on the lake the next day before taking the train back to Milan and joining your tour to Florence.

Alice Twain Aug 12th, 2002 03:20 AM

Milano is a big and moder city witll little oldies left for the massive bombing that it had to withstand during Ww2. yet it can be a lovely city if you allow yourself time to walk and discover. Two days may be barely enought to see the most famous things (Duomo, Galleria, Castle; the Scala Theater is closed and it will be so for a few years), but this is not all that there is to see in Milano. Go to the Poldi Pezzoli Museum, visit Sant'Ambrogio Church and the nearby Universit&agrave; Cattolica biulding, visit the Unversit&agrave; Statale building near the Duomo, in particular the southwestern endof the bouilding that had been built in the XIV century, visit the Navigli area, go to the Certosa di Garegnano (tram number 14, ask the driver to call you as you arrive near Via Garegnano). Amongst the many churches of Milano, I think that at least San Carlo al Corso, Santa Maria presso San Satiro, Santa Maria delle Grazie, San Marco, San Simpliciano, San Nazaro Maggiore and San Bernardino alle Ossa (the Latter with a chapel decorated with real houman bones of long dead monks, http://www.emmedici.com/milano/eottobre.htm) should be visited. More things to see are the Guastalla garned, the Rotonda della Besana, the Sempione park (dunring the day, do not go there at night), Piazza Vetra area including the columns of San Lorenzo Church (once belonging to a Roman temple) and the Parco delle Basiliche (laso this area should be toured by day). If you like early XX century architeture, take a walk in the area of massive buildings that surround the Palazzo della Borsa, the Italian Stock Exchange. Museums includePinacoteca di Brera, Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, the museums iside the castle (there are several of them, all free), Museo della scienza e della tecnica (near Cenacolo) and several more. For dinner and lunches, check my suggestions at http://www.fodors.com/forums/pgMessa...archText=MIlan

Alberto Aug 12th, 2002 06:54 PM

I happen to love visiting Milan, and one of my top gastronomic stops is the magnificent Peck food emporium near the Duomo, Via Spadari 7 and 9. There are always important art exhibits at the Palazzo Reale and smaller venues in central Milan, very often indicated by banners throughout the city. Of course La Scala, the Galleria & via della spiga are always there too. Comfortable shoes a must! Then you can always buy a new pair in via Dante!<BR><BR>La Cucina Eoliana e Siciliana: The Food of the Eolian Islands and Sicily<BR>Recipes, Resources, Culture, History, Travel and Links<BR><BR>http://www.geocities.com/eoliano/index.html<BR>


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