Travel: Milanese Magic

 
 

Don’t let Milan’s unfair reputation of being an expensive city put you off visiting, recommends Sarah Doran

When my boyfriend suggested we visit Milan the look on my face was apparently priceless. “We’ll never be able to afford that,” I scoffed; flights and accommodation would surely drive the bank balance into the red. How wrong I was.

Ryanair operate direct flights to Bergamo Airport (Orio Al Serio to those in the know), located just an hour north of Milan itself. €20 will secure you a comfortable return transfer to the city centre on one of the privately operated coach services.

Finding accommodation is the tricky part, as staying in the city centre is not cheap. A hotel or hostel in the suburbs is probably your best bet. Check online for last minute deals.

You would naturally assume getting around couldn’t be easier in a bustling fashion capital which boasts a metro, bus and tram service. However, public transport strikes are not uncommon; it’s best to check online before you leave to avoid being stranded. We purchased 48-hour metro cards before learning of a 24-hour strike the following day.

That said Milan is not a difficult city to navigate on foot if you’re feeling adventurous. Find yourself a map and you’ll have very few problems.

Milan is home to Leonardo Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’. However, gaining entry to view the masterpiece proves a task in itself. Tickets must be booked online and they tend to sell out months in advance. The Castello Sforzesco marks the boundaries of medieval Milan and is home to many historic artefacts.

Michelangelo’s last sculpture, the Rondanini Pietà, Andrea Mantegna’s Trivulzio Madonna and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codex Trivulzianus manuscript can all be found within the castle walls. The Duomo at the centre of the city is definitely worth a visit and entry is free.

Its architecture is stunning, proving a worthy rival of Paris’ Notre Dame. A climb or lift journey to the cathedral roof is worth the investment; the view is breathtaking, but whatever you do, don’t look down.

A beautiful city, Milan caters to a certain demographic. The metrosexuals and fashionistas of the world will undoubtedly revel in all Milan has to offer. The main shopping street, Corso Buenos Aires features H&M and Bershka; individual boutiques are widespread. You never have to look too far to find a designer.

However, for those less well acquainted with Miu Miu and Marc Jacobs, Milan is debatably little more than another European city. Many friends who have visited this fashion capital have agreed that there is simply very little to do if you’re not in town to shop.

A word to the wise; in Milan, as in any other city, don’t be careless. Don’t leave valuables in sight and don’t dress in a way that screams ‘tourist’. If you’re offered free bracelets or food for pigeons at the Duomo, just say no. A bit of common sense will help you avoid the perils of pickpockets. Oh, and if you want to stay in style in this fashion capital, leave the A.C. jersey at home; in Milano they’re all about Internazionale.

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