Milan and Right Back
There was a time when Italy was not under the control of a pandemic; a time when people could travel there. Last year was one of those times and I'm forever thankful that we chose 2019 (and not 2020) to visit Milan.
We all know her as the capital of fashion but the ones who get to visit Milan later go back home knowing her both for her extreme beauty and modernity. Milan is perfect if you only have a short two-day weekend city break style off. Unless you're a museum enthusiast and have to go to all of them in order to feel fulfilled, you won't need much more time to properly get to know the city. My parents and I were only there for a couple of days and it was more than enough.
Not that I didn't want to check out a lot more museums but that's not what my parents are all about and since they are the ones paying for everything than the least I can do is to give up on a bit of culture.
WHAT TO SEE
If you are short on time but still wish to make the most of it (as you should) you'll be fine because when it comes to truly unmissable highlights there are only two places you must visit:
- The Vittorio Emanuele II Gallery (Italy's oldest shopping place still active nowadays; this is an absolutely gorgeous place to visit even if you don't plan of doing any shopping)
- Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano in Italian)
On the other hand, you have to pay if you want to visit it but please count on spending that money - I promise it's definitely worth it. As for prices, if you don't mind queueing for a bit longer and taking the stairs, you can have adult tickets for 13€ each, 7€ for children between 6-11 years old. If you don't feel like walking (which is a shame because taking the stairs to the rooftop is an experience in itself) or really can't do it, then for 17€, you can get the ticket that will allow you going up by lift. Indeed, the price is not that much higher but 4€ can make a difference if you are really into souvenirs.
Furthermore, you can even get a FAST-TRACK ticket for 25€ if you wish for a faster entrance but be aware that if you happen to go on a very busy season, you will still have to wait, something that happened to me. So, I highly recommend you to get the DUOMO PASS STAIRS as, besides saving a lot of money, you will still have access to the exact same places as the other tickets such as the Archeological Area, the Crypt of St. Charles or the Duomo Museum. Whatever you choose, make sure you buy your tickets in advance on the Duomo website so that you don't have to go on the terrible queues to buy them at the Cathedral.
FOOD AND STAY
Of course, Italy is known for its delicious food, and Milan is no exception. May I remind you that we only stayed there for a couple of days, so our gastronomic whereabouts weren't extremely wide, nevertheless, below, I leave you two possible places that won't disappoint you:
- Fresco & Cimmino (near the Cathedral, where I had the most exquisite pesto pizza);
- Rocking Horse (at Corso Como)
This restaurant was also pretty close to the hotel we stayed in - NH Collection Milano Porta Nuova - which happens to be only a 30-minute walk away from the Cathedral. As Milan is a very small city, you won't need to constantly jump on public transports unless your accommodation is really far from the city center.
As for that, this hotel is also an easy 10 for me, both comfort and views, as well as food and staff, were incredible. Genuinely recommend it.
What about the best time to visit? Well, went in April and it was pretty pleasant, not cold but not too hot either. Due to not being anyway close to the ocean, Milan gets really cold in the winter and really hot during summertime so at the end of the day, the best time to visit will depend on what kind of weather you prefer the most.
THE NOSTALGIC BIT
I miss Italy: it's food, it's people, it's language. And I miss not missing it.
"Andrà tutto bene" is every around these and it means "Everything will be alright". It means "Vai ficar tudo bem". It means "Tout ira bien". No matter what language, the message is undoubtedly the same. And it's a true one. Everything will be alright. Not today, not tomorrow, probably not as soon as we all wish but it will be alright. And when that happens, Italy will still be where it was, waiting for you, for me, for all of us. And pasta will taste even better, and cheese will smell even more delicious, and coffee will be even more exquisite.
We just need to be a bit more patient but above all, and instead of thinking about everything that we don't have right now, be thankful for every little one that we do have.
Like, for instance, this article. ;-)
Stay safe, my dear friends.
Italy will need us when she finally comes back.
© 2020 Patricia Marques