Milan in May: Activities, places to shop and regrets
Hello everyone! As I mentioned last week in Venice post here , I got the best birthday gift last year: a trip to Venice and Milan. This is a long article, brace yourselves. Spoiler: I love Milan <3
Milan is underrated, most people fall for Rome and its cultural sites (especially after eat, pray, love phenomena), but I was pretty sure that Milan lifestyle would probably suits me best. It seemed less touristic and more modern and artsy. We ended up visiting Rome in January 2016 (stay tuned for the blog post) and I still prefer Milan.
We took the train from Venice and arrived in the evening, the train station itself was a piece of art (picture below). And there started our Milan journey. Our hotel was located near the central station (in front of a big old crowd #Rihanna #badhumour)
The Navigli canals: This was one of my best night life experiences! Both sides of the canal were boarded with trendy bars and restaurants with an endless choices of food and drinks. People were also socializing outside, it was really amazing. If you like interior design, this is the best place for inspiration. From mid-century, to luxurious or hipster style, each restaurant have a design signature and it wasn’t easy to pick a place. We ended up having “star wars” drinks and vegetarian plates.
Castello Sforzesco : The next morning, we took a tramway to the castle. My first impression is that it looks a lot like King’s landing in Game of thrones (lol!). Entering the Piazza Castello, you can spot the Torre della Corte to the north and the Torre del Tesoro on the western side. We were lucky that day, it was a Sunday and there was a farmer’s market on Piazza Castello, we bought a lot of edible goodies: cheeses, fruits, drinks…
Castello Sforzesco museums: Inside the castle itself, there a lot of museums , we chose the Furniture and Musical Instruments ones. Here is a list of all the museums inside and some pictures of what we saw:
- Antique Furniture & Wooden Sculpture Museum
- Applied Arts Collection
- Archaeological Museum (with Egyptian and Prehistoric sections)
- Museum of Ancient Art
- Museum of Musical Instruments
- Pinacoteca (Picture Gallery)
Ancient armpit depilation method #badhumour (wink to my IG friends)
Parco Sempione & Arco della Pace: When we left Castello Sforzesco, we found a beautiful park. We stopped there to eat what we bought in the market. On the other side of the park is the Arco della Pace, built by Napoleon and pointing exactly in the direction of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: 10 minutes away for Arco Della Pace, you can find the famous shopping gallery Vittorio Emanuele II. This is the perfect mix of beautiful, practical and historical, or how to make the most out of your historical sites. Hats off Milan! The arcade principally contains luxury retailers selling high fashion, jewelry, books and paintings. You have a great choice of cafés and bars. This gallery is the oldest shopping site in the world. You will also probably find the world best dressed people in this area.
Duomo Di Milano: This is by far, the most beautiful cathedral I have ever seen. With a very dramatic and gothic architecture, the monument took almost six centuries to complete. The interior is incredible but the best part is the roof top. You witness a spectacular view between the famous spires called the gugli. It reminded me of the beast castle in Disney’s version of Beauty & the Beast, especially with the gargoyles. It was a magical moment.
I really don’t understand why Milan have such a bad rep with travelers. Apart from the modern and design friendly-atmosphere that I was expecting, the city doesn’t lack charm nor cultural sites at all. As we were walking we kept noticing sculptures and beautiful historical buildings everywhere, most of them we didn’t even plan to see. And like Paris, it is a very artistic city. A gem both for modern and antique art.
The next morning we started by an amazing breakfast at Pandenus. It was my actual birthday and I loved starting it with a good meal and healthy hearty choices. We also bought some gluten free cookies before leaving. After that, we went shopping the whole morning (details in the next section).
Monumento a Sandro Pertini: This is one of the monuments we found accidentally along with the two next coming and a lot more that I don’t mention. It was a sort of a cube with a triangular fountain in one side and stairs at the other. Apart from the piece itself, the whole piazza around was interesting, it was a melting point of young corporate workers and students in lunch break. A very contemporary, young, active vibe.
L.O.V.E sculpture : This sculpture is one of the most controversial pieces of art I heard about. Basically, a giant marble middle finger right in Piazza Affari, or Business Square, where the bourse has its headquarters. A provocative artistic critic of capitalism right in front of the stock market!
Basilica di Santa Maria del Carmine : Located in the trendy Brera area, just beyond the Duomo. It’s Milan center of design and art. Yet another beautiful church.
La Triennale Di Milano: I honestly prefer contemporary art to antique. It is often less elaborate than let’s say a cathedral that took six centuries to be built for example, but it speaks to me more as it represents things that we are living right now, or at least heard about in our daily life. Back in 2015 there was a major art show in the museum, evaluating the relationship between art and food.
Dining room goals!
Places to shop
You can find all fashion brands you can imagine in Milan. From fast fashion to very high end. Those stores are pretty easy to find, along with a lot less known designers or concept stores. Milan isn’t called fashion capital for nothing. We need a whole article to cover it all, so I will just tell you about outlet stores and Obag brand.
You can find outlet multi-brand stores in the heart of the city without spending the whole day in an outlet village. The outlet stores look no different than high end ones, and it’s the only city where I found all kinds of brands discounted. I spotted for example a lot of Jimmy Choos at 150 or 200 Euros, prada bags and Marc Jacob apparel. The best deals were on the Italian brands such as Gucci, D&G and Versace. Here are the main outlet stores, most of them are not far from Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. There are bigger outlet malls outside the city, but we didn’t want to spend a whole day shopping:
Dmagazine: There are four or five stores in Milan, this is where we bought our pieces. My husband scored a beautiful pair of Cavalli bikers boots for less than 200 Euros. Here is their website where you can find the location of each store: Dmagazine
Il Salvagente:A basement filled with high end good deals: website
Touch and Go: Directions
Le Sac outlet: For luggage, bags and leather accessories deals. Directions
The highline outlet: Just a few steps from the Duomo. Not the best deals, but beautiful selected pieces. Directions
Obag: I spotted Obag bags in Venice, I saw a few Italian girls wearing them and I managed to read the name properly by staring at a woman’s bag in the bus (she must have took me for a psycho). I immediately fell in love with the minimalist design of this Italian brand. The best surprise was that the bag was fully costumizable. You choose your tote color, the type and the color of the handles and the insert. I went for a neutral one that I will show you in my future posts. The store name is fullspot, location here.
What I bought: I didn’t went crazy with the shopping, even if there was a lot of great deals, I followed the guidelines that I told you about here. I was right, those are pieces that I love and wear very often.
- Marc Jacobs silk shirt in military green at D Magazine shop outlet
- My Mr. Wolf shoes (featured here) at D Magazine shop outlet
- Obag classic tote
- Food is expensive in Milan, compared to Venice, Rome or even Paris. So, except for the breakfast in Pandenus, we didn’t indulge much with food.
- I regret not staying more, I really fell in love with Milan. It’s one of the cities where I can easily picture myself living.
Miscellaneous pictures <3
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