My final post from my study abroad experience is a guide to Milan. I waited until I left to write this post about the city that treated me so well for four months. Milan is an incredible city as the fashion and finance capital of Italy it has an industrious bustle that other Italian cities like Florence and Naples don’t. Milan artfully combines European architecture and urban life with Italian lifestyle and culture. Below are some of the must-see sites when in Milan.
The iconic and cultural center of Milan has the massive centerpiece cathedral in the center with a Piazza and various shopping streets surrounding it. After traveling a lot of Italy and seeing a LOT of churches I can honestly say that the Duomo in Milan is one of the most impressive in magnitude and beauty. It took over 500 years to build and has magnificent sculptures, stained glasses and paintings inside. Going on the roof is something that you can’t miss. It provides incredible views of Milan and unlike most churches it isn’t the top of a steeple but actually on the roof of the cathedral.
The surrounding Piazza is also fun to explore. You can find tourists and locals alike hanging out around the statues and shopping on the high street. On a nice Saturday afternoon its hard to even walk inside popular stores.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
This incredible galleria is where you can find fancy shops and cafes such as Prada and Versace. Although Monte Napoleone is the fashion district where there is a whole street of Dolce and Gabana and a giant Armani building.
This 15th century castle was built for the Duke of Milan and is only a couple blocks away from the Piazza Duomo. It is nice just to walk around or to visit the Leonardo di Vinci museum and check out some great artwork. The giant courtyard in the middle was covered in spring flowers when I visited in May.
San Siro Stadium
One of the coolest experiences I had in Milan was attending a soccer game at San Siro Stadium. I was lucky enough to catch the game between AC Milan and Internazionale Milan the two hometown rivals. The fans were super enthusiastic singing chants, waving flags and even lighting some flares to encourage their team. The stadium is also built so that even some of the worst seats still have an amazing view of the pitch so we were able to really enjoy the game despite getting last minute seats in an upper level. If you’re ever in Milan during soccer season you have to check out a game!
Navigli is the canal area in Milan where you can also find some of the best restaurants and bars. One of my favorite things about Milan is the aperitivo or “happy hour” there. Aperitivo is when you pay around 10 euros for a drink and get access to an amazing buffet of food. These are super popular among locals where people can meet up and enjoy the evening along the canal. I loved to have dinner like this and then walk around and catch the sunset over the canal.
This beautiful lake is only 40 minutes away from Milan by train and is a great place to get away from the city bustle and catch a view of the picturesque Italian mountains and countryside. This lake has several towns surrounding it and fantastic hiking and boating as well. I loved it so much that I even went twice while I was in Milan!
I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to call Milan my home and can’t wait to go back. Italy will always have a special place in my heart because all the wonderful people, food, places and experiences I had there. Just because my semester is over doesn’t mean the travel blog is. This summer I will be exploring the west coast while interning in Seattle! Be prepared for more posts!