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Why Should I Not Visit Milan?

Old Nov 8th, 2016, 07:50 AM
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Why Should I Not Visit Milan?

Milan seems to get very little love. I am wondering why.

I am in the early stages of planning an Italy trip next year (yeah I know I still have a trip report to do..I'm multi-tasking).

Originally, I thought we'd fly to Milan, check out The Last Supper and Duomo and head out the next day. However, as I further researched Milan, I found so many places that piqued my interest that I thought about adding a couple of days to our Milan stay to start our trip.

My question: For those who have visited Milan, do you love it, hate it or find yourself somewhat in between those two thoughts? For those who are Milan admirers, is there a section of Milan you would suggest we base ourselves? For those who don't like Milan..why?

I appreciate your responses.

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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 07:57 AM
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I didn't visit Milan, except for a quick visit to the Duomo between flights, in the first 13 years I lived in Italy. I, like you, hadn't heard much that recommended it. Then we went for a few days to visit some university friends of my husband, and I fell in love with the place. We've been back at least once every year since, and are going next month.

We've stayed near the Duomo, and near the train station. I like the area near the Duomo, and had heard that the area near the train station was "seedy". However, on our last trip, that's where we stayed and it didn't seem seedy to me. It's an easy walk to some of the most interesting parts of Milan, and it's a great transportation hub.

I think Milan doesn't appeal to tourists who are looking for something that matches their idea of "quaint" Italy. It's a bustling metropolis, with a wealth of culture, and plenty of historical interest.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:03 AM
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We spent two nights a few years ago and realized we could spend more Stayed mid way between the Last Supper and Duomo - great location.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:12 AM
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It didn't feel 'warm' to me. I had just come from Stresa and spent the last day in Milan. Didn't have time to do much but while I like certain cities such as London and Paris, I like the small towns better as far as feeling the culture.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:14 AM
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Milan is a business city with cultural sites. I use Milan often because of its convenience flying home or traveling to Switzerland by rail. It would not be of interest to those looking for quaint hilltop villages, beaches, ancient Roman civilization ruins, vineyards, etc.

Over the years, I have seen Milan becoming more of a shopping site for tour groups from certain countries with selfie sticks. You can avoid this once you go away from high end brand name shopping area and "I was there" monuments.

Also, before you thought about adding a couple of days to our Milan stay to start our trip , look at your routing as a whole beyond Milan. If you have to round trip to Milan, you would want to aggregate all the stay in Milan at the end instead of splitting at the beginning and the end. Also, Milan has two airports, MXP and LIN. If your flight requires layover in Europe to get to Milan in either direction, LIN is much closer to the city, practically inside, than MXP. MXP is big enough to handle transatlantic flights, however. LIN gets hit with fog delays in the morning at certain time of the year.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:17 AM
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Firstly, the Duomo is outstanding. And unique. You find nothing comparable, especially walking across the roof.

Secondly, Milano is Europe's fashion centre. Although I am not a woman and I am not very much interested in fashion, I find the special atmosphere of the city fascinating. The Galeria Vittorio Emanuele II. is not only home of all the fashion boutiques which rival the Feaubourg St. Honoré in Paris, but also a most elegant historic mall. Also, the department store La Rinascente is something like the heart of Milano.

Thirdly, the Scala, Europe's most famous opera house. Needs no words.

Fourthly, of course there is an Old Town with beautiful squares and buildings.

>> Milan doesn't appeal to tourists who are looking for something that matches their idea of "quaint" Italy
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:24 AM
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Same analysis as Traveller, opposite conclusion.
With this to be seen I find I can see better places elsewhere.
Last time I had to force myself to make a detour. And it will be the last time for me. Never been impressed by the duomo never been impressed by the scala. Had a great pizza in a seedy area of Milano close to a shabby hotel once.

De Gustibus et Coloribus non Dispandum est.

I would lose weight to go to Torino instead.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:29 AM
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We go to Milan a few times a year. Last trip was in September and next trip is in December. We love the city -- lots to see and do and has some great cocktail bars.

What we DON'T do is stay near the train station OR the Duomo. We prefer to stay on the far side of the Brera district, not far from the Moscova metro stop. Fantastic neighborhood, very vibrant, you're only about a 15 minute walk from La Scala and the Duomo but you're far removed from the tourist hordes. Lots of small, non-chain restaurants and cafes. The Pinacoteca di Brera is about halfway between our hotel and the Duomo area. http://pinacotecabrera.org/en/

As I recall, you like cats, right? Check out the courtyard of the Four Seasons in the golden rectangle area. At the beginning of the year they added two young cats to their staff, Vivienne and Vera (short for Veranda) to do pigeon patrol and to hang out with cat-liking guests sipping cocktails or coffee in the interior courtyard garden. Vera the calico is particularly sociable.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:39 AM
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greg...appreciate the comments...

We are going to fly out of Rome, so that's not a problem. We hit a lot of "quaint hilltop villages and vineyards" on our recent France trip, and later in the Italy trip we will have some time in Le Marche and Umbria, so we will get that "La Dolce Vita" small-town Italy feeling. I do love Italy hill towns.

I also actually like the electricity of cities (NYC, Chicago, London, etc). I am very much into history, and Milan seems like it has numerous historic sights that will keep me engaged...I get bored easily...relaxing is overrated ...and those are what I really like seeing on our trips. I look forward to "I was there" monuments because, well, that's why I'm there.

As far as shopping (gulp), I saw pictures of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, and it seems like even my non-shopping self could happily wander there for a bit (as long as I don't bring my credit cards on that day).

bvlenci, I believe (and hope) I will feel the way you do after I visit...thanks for your insight. I can only do so much "quaint."

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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:40 AM
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I loved Milan and spent 9 days in Jan 2016 (link to my trip report below). Good food and plenty to do, including some off the beaten path museums. Highly reccommend it.

http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...s-in-milan.cfm
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:42 AM
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Great comments so far (Grazie), and yes WeisserTee, we'll stop by and see Vivienne and Vera.

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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 08:59 AM
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Where are you going in Le Marche? That's where I live.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 09:30 AM
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bvlenci, Right now (and our plans change daily), we have four days (maybe five) in Le Marche. I was thinking about Urbino as a base (we'll be driving from Bologna (via a stop in San Marino). This is a hard part of the journey for me to figure out (well, they all are, but this is harder since we have never visited) so far. I have read your ideas on another post, and Marche Voyager has been a wealth of info, too.

I thought we'd base in Urbino for a few days to see the north, and if time, somewhere in south (really want to visit Grotte de Frasassi). Of course, with the tragic earthquakes, I'm trying to circumvent those areas. I'm still fairly ignorant when it comes to this part of Italy that we're looking forward to visit. Any help would be appreciated.

Our next stop after Le Marche is (currently) Orvieto.

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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 09:52 AM
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The Grotte di Frasassi aren't in an area that was very much affected by the earthquakes. We passed through Fabriano this morning on the way to see how much damage there was at our summer house. (Very little, to our relief.) The Grotte are in Genga, which is further north, and should be even less affected.

The last time I visited there, with my granddaughter, the number of visitors was far beyond my previous experience. I would suggest avoiding the weekend, for sure, especially if you're visiting in the summer, or near any school holiday.

If you have any other questions, I'll try to keep track of this forum.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 10:04 AM
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I highly recommend a visit to San Leo, near San Marino. I like it better than San Marino myself. Also, a drive to the west of San Leo, as far as Pennabilli, and a little beyond, is very scenic. Then you could head south to Sant'Angelo in Vado (which has a great truffle festival in late October or early November). From there, you would proceed to Urbino, on another scenic road. The whole drive from San Marino, with no stops, would take about 2 1/2 hours, allowing you plenty of time to stop.

We had a nice lunch in the osteria La Corte di Berengario II, in San Leo.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 10:48 AM
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Did not care for Milan at all. Did see The Last Supper and glad for it, but tickets cost a fortune and had to be gotten well in advance. The Duomo was nice but not worth going to Milan in my opinion. I will say that the food in Milan was fabulous. But as a city, meh. Rome and Florence are much nicer and offer much more as far as big cities go. Flying into Milan is fairly inexpensive, at least from NY, but next time, I would not stay in Milan at all.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 11:00 AM
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After 3 trips to Italy, my husband & I finally decided to go to Milan (September, 2016) as part of our trip through the Veneto & Lombardy which started in Venice and ended in Milan.

We had more than enough planned for our 4-night stay. Highlights: the Duomo + a walk amongst the spires (took the elevator up); the Galleria for some shopping (etchings from Centenari) & lunch; the Last Supper (got help from our hotel for tickets when it seemed that none were available); and a wonderful behind-the-scenes guided tour of La Scala. Spent an afternoon exploring the attractive Brera neighbourhood. At the end of our stay, we realized that we only saw a small portion of Milan!

Felt sadly un-fashionable in Milan where even the police wear Armani! Well, we fit right in with the other tourists!

We stayed at Hotel Gran Duca Di York located near the Duomo. Pretty hotel; well-located for what we wanted to see; very helpful staff.

www.ducadiyork.com

Must say we found restaurants for dinner in the area uninspiring. Though we did find one that we enjoyed and went two nights in a row!

We are glad that we went to Milan and we gave ourselves enough time to see/do all that we wanted.

Good luck with your planning! Sounds like you have an interesting trip shaping up.
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 11:25 AM
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Maitai....enjoying your France trip report!

We love northern Le Marche! The area is so beautiful.

Have you seen our trip reports of the area?
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 11:27 AM
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Meant to add, we spent a day in Milan on one trip but didn't love it. We wouldn't take time away from other areas in favour of it...but I am sure it's worth a day or two!
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Old Nov 8th, 2016, 12:17 PM
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Hi Tom, I can't believe it was 2001, B.F. (Before Fodor's) but DH and I took a train from Verona to Milan as a day trip. (It was a trip with 1st class open tickets to anywhere! Each day we went to the train station and decided where to go and hoped on the train.) We arrived at 10:30 a.m. but my notes don't say what time our train left.

First stop was info and they told us reservations only for Last Supper. We easily took the subway to the location to see if JR's winning smile could get us in. It did! But not until 6:30 so we killed time by walking to the Duomo area. Grabbed a bite along the way but no info.

The Duomo is vast ( https://themysteriousworld.com/10-la...-in-the-world/ ) and vastly ornate on the outside. My first photo caption of it reads, "Duomo from Piazza Cordusia from via Dante." Inside, "Except for the floor and stained glass windows, austere inside. Massive carved pillars at least 3 stories high. Took elevator to the roof. SO cool!" We walked all over the roof in awe.

From there we strolled to the Galleria mentioned above. We saw a Ferrari being unveiled and strolled through. Not shoppers so no special notes other than gelato stop.

Before the trip, I tried to get La Scala opera tickets but couldn't at a price we could afford. So we took a tour and were impressed to see Lizst's piano, various scale models of sets and many costumes. Performance Hall very pretty. Acoustics great if it is of interest.

We thought it was very civilized that the stores closed for lunch as we strolled to Castello Sforzesco. We decided it was Milan's Smithsonian only a guy lived in it at one time.

My notes don't say how we returned to Last Supper venue (Santa Maria delle Grazie) but we were near Caldorna Square where I saw a huge needle and thread sculpture.

We were let into the viewing room about 25 people at a time. Olivetta had restored the painting. We figured it was about 24 feet wide. Across the room was Donatello's (?) Crucifixtion and it was in better shape. I couldn't find it online just now. Poor notes? Things have changed? One wonders if restoration today would be even better.

My opinion is get tickets for Last Supper, check what's newer than 2001, and spend the night if you can't combine Last Supper with Duomo. The Duomo's size is spectacular. and rooftop walk are worth it, IMHO.

Off to read your more recent TR.
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