Our ride into Milano (as it's actually called in Italian) was very flat and easy. Many canals leading into the city had been developed with recreational footpaths and cycleways. Luckily our navigation app (MAPS.ME) was smart to redirect us to one of them making our last 20km a quiet gentle ride. Our WarmShowers host John lived within the city ring road so we had to fight the traffic a bit to get to his place, arriving about 8pm at night. In a way, we have been lucky with the weather because the next day is rain, but today we had dry and sunny weather to get to Milan.
To head out or not?
The next morning it was raining a lot, we looked out of the window and it didn't look inviting to do a day tour. We stayed optimistic and looked up some sights to see if the weather does pick up. Our host suggested us a few places to see, and created a nice round route to get back home. We told them about our "Shoestring Budget" plan and they created an itinerary based on that for us - how kind! Due to the wet weather, taking the metro wasn't a bad idea either. A great deal for tourists is the day pass on the metro which is valid for 24 hours costing only €4.50. This is a great but wanted to walk instead after cycling all of yesterday.
Short simple route to enjoy most of Milan
Rise and shine!By the time the hour hand pointed to 12, the raining stopped and we decided to just go for it! Rain jackets on, an umbrella in hand, we were prepared to set out to see some sights. First stop is the shopping street which will lead us to the city centre.
Corso Buesnos Aires is a beautiful street with big brand stores from all fashion designers. We weren't particularly interested in the shops, but were looking at the beautiful façade along the entire street. Our favourite building was above the "Parfois" shop with bright yellow paint and green window shutters. It was so bold and bright, it made quite an impression on us. It has that Milan confidence!
Our favourite building
Amazing window displayed cake
Real edible gold, most likelyGetting close to the centre of Milan we passed through some more shopping streets. Their displays are just incredible, so much style, luxury and glitter. We couldn't believe the price tag on some of the items. We would gaze at the window, look at the pricetags, laugh and walk off to the next window. Repeat.
After laughing ourselves away, we arrived at the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, another architectural feast for the eyes. High-end brands are here showcasing their best and latest design. It is very busy and packed with tourists, and perhaps one or two buyers!
Beautiful place for a rich shopping experienceThe most iconic building in Milan, a must place to go and see is in the Piazza del Duomo. Piazza means "square" in Italian, not to be confused with pizza - something pineapples shouldn't go on (never say otherwise to an Italian!). The cathedral square dates back to the 14th century and many of the canals still seen today were used for transporting construction materials. Around the square are many signs with heaps of information about this square.
Standing prominently on the eastern side of the square is the Duomo di Milano, a cathedral church commonly shortly named to Duomo. The white cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete! Even when we were there they still had scaffold up for some rework. Nonetheless the majority of it was complete and looking very immaculate. There are so many things to see around the outside, we couldn't imagine what the inside would've been like. Staying outside and enjoying the atmosphere was enough for us. We believe it cost to go in so we skipped it.
Lighting not the best on a gloomy day
Immaculate details on one of the side doors
Our next item on the itinerary was the Sempione Gate and Sforzesco Castle. It started dripping so we got our umbrellas out and ready. We were already wearing rain jackets knowing full well a downpour could happen at anytime.
The Arc of Peace
The gate was part of the Roman walls of Milan, but little of it remains at this time. The castle however remains well intact, dating back from the 15th century when it was built by the Duke of Milan, Francesco Sforza. It now houses several city museum and art galleries.
The rain started to get heavier so we had to find shelter. The next item on our itinerary was the main cemetery of Milan. We got there were so impressed and shocked!… but more will be in part 2, coming soon!