11 min read
After sharing with you our top tips on how to spend 48 hours in Brussels, our travel expert Ellis is sharing how he spent his time during his last trip to Milan! Ready to explore the fashion capital of Italy and spend 48 memorable hours in Milan? Andiamo!
This may surprise you guys, but what would you think if I said I knew a place that is drenched in culture, is one of the fashion capitals of the world, boasts some of the globe’s tastiest dishes, is the birthplace of the espresso machine, and is only an hour and 20 minutes away from our humble England?
I know what you’re thinking. How is it possible to fit all of that good stuff into one place? And how can such an intriguing place be so close to home? Well, I’ll put you out of your misery, no need to guess anymore (although the title of this blog probably gave it away) – I’m talking about Milan, one of the most amazing cities in Europe and my latest trip with BRB.
Italy’s second largest city and home of Leonardo Da Vinci, Milan is steeped in history, having served as the capital of the Western Roman Empire and being a world leader in fields of art, commerce, design, fashion, finance, tourism etc (just to name a few).
As much as Milan’s impressive CV may look intimidating, we aren’t expecting you to curate an art exhibition or solve any financial crises whilst you’re over there on your peaceful mini break away.
Instead, our itinerary combines the old and the new, taking in the historic sites and trying out some of the newer installations of the city, all whilst energising yourself on the most delectable pasta in the world.
So, what are you waiting for? Check out our guide on how to do Milan properly in 48 hours.
Go and see The Last Supper. Just go. End of. Beginning your trip here is a no brainer to see Leonardo Da Vinci’s masterpiece in the morning light, and get a real taste of Milan’s culture.
It is perhaps one of the most recognisable paintings in the Western world and is located in the dining hall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Da Vinci painted the mural directly onto the dry plaster on the wall and depicts the moment when Jesus declared that one of his apostles would betray him.
The lifespan of this painting has as much history surrounding itself than just the fact it was painted by one of the greatest artists of all time. Having been painted in the late 15th-century, it is safe to say that it has stood the test of time.
Supposedly Napoleon’s troops used the wall for target practice during the war; the building was also bombed in World War 2; and as the building itself has undergone renovations over the years, when the doorway below the painting was raised Jesus lost his feet.
It is a sight to see, and you could easily marvel at the painting for your entire day. But maybe save that for a second trip to Milan, because our itinerary is only just getting started.
For a well-deserved lunch, get yourself to Luini, the most delightful bakery that is a short walk away from The Last Supper. This bakery is known for their amazing Panzerottis, or deep fried pizza dough pasties for us Brits not in the know.
They’ve got flavours for every mood, whether you fancy a savoury panzerotti stuffed with tomato and mozzarella, or if you have more of a sweet tooth grab their chocolate filled panzerottis. Whichever one you choose you won’t be disappointed.
With every great lunch, a great view is needed alongside it, so once you’ve purchased your perfect panzerottis, head over to Duomo di Milano, aka the Milan Cathedral.
In appearance, the cathedral is not dissimilar to a castle. It is a magnificent building that was constructed over several hundred years, resulting in a number of contrasting styles. It is said to be one of the largest cathedrals in the world (third to firth largest depending on the source, so we’ll settle on saying it’s pretty massive).
Entry is free but be prepared for queues; this is a popular tourist attraction but we urge you to persevere as it is worth it on the inside. You can even walk along the roof for a closer view of the spectacular spires that frame the building.
As the day winds down, it’s time to wind down with it and go to the Navigli district. It is home to Milan’s canals and waterways, which were built to facilitate the construction of what have now become the landmarks of the city, such as our not long-ago admired Duomo.
So, when in Milan, why not do your best impression of bricks and marble from the 15th century and get on the canal yourself. Luckily, you will not be ferried off to the city centre and used for construction of the latest buildings, but instead you can enjoy the peaceful current of the canal as the sun goes down.
Luckily for your growling stomach, the Navigli district isn’t just about the canals, it’s also become a popular area due to its restaurants, bars and hidden treasures that are waiting to be found.
Head to Bele Ristorante and sample some Risotto Milanese, which I say with confidence will be the best risotto you have ever tasted in your life. Simple, creamy and filling, this dish ticks all the boxes and is a delicacy in Milan, so there’s no better place to try it than here.
You’ll be pleased to hear it’s happy hour time ladies and gents, and boy do I have the bar for you.
Located in the Navigli district is the world’s smallest bar, and that is not an overstatement my friends. Backdoor 43 is a mere 4 square metres in size. Despite its miniature aesthetic, it has a tonne of character, and is decorated with cheeky signage, quirky trinkets and an impressive alcohol collection. Make sure to book in advance to secure your place!
It’s a brand new day, and sadly your final day in Milan, so let’s make the most of it. Anyone up for a bit of friendly competition?
Head to U Barba, a place that doubles up as a casual dining restaurant with a place to play Bocce outside. Feel free to grab some breakfast, but your main reason for being here is to get your Bocce on.
Bocce is a ball sport belonging to the Boules family, where the goal is to simply get your bocce ball closest to the pallino, a smaller ball, as possible. This game can quickly unleash your ugly competitive side and will get you fired up for your final day in Milan.
Once you’re all Bocce’d out, get yourself to the Torre Branca, an iron panoramic viewing tower located in the main city park in Milan: Parco Sempione.
After experiencing Backdoor 43, it’s safe to say Milan have a tendency towards making tiny public facilities, as the elevator to the observation deck is equally small and only 5 people are allowed at the top at a time.
The view from the top is worth it as you can see so many of Milan’s landmarks. In view it the Arena Civica, the Arch of Peace better known as Porta Sempione to the locals and Bosco Verticale, which is a pair of residential towers made up of 800 trees, 4,500 shurbs and a whopping 15,000 plants. It literally translates to Vertical Forest.
The Torre Branca is the perfect place to take in the views of the city, wind down after a crazy Bocce session, and work on your fear of heights.
Now, it wouldn’t be a trip to Italy without immersing yourself in their world famous cuisine, right? So next on the list is a pasta making course with the professionals at Il Cucinista. It’s around £53 per person, but the experience is worth it.
From ravioli to linguine, the professionals will take you through a masterclass on crafting the perfect pasta, guiding you through the process which ends with you sampling your own hard work. It’s both rewarding and yummy.
With a full stomach, it’s time to amble over to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Italy’s oldest active shopping mall which doubles up as a major landmark.
It’s not hard to see why this place is so popular. The regal architecture paired with the impressive domed ceiling is an unmissable sight to behold, and you may as well splash your spending money in the boutiques whilst you’re there.
An interesting fact for you whislt we’re on the subject: the architect of the building actually died the day before the Galleria was due to open by falling from the domed ceiling. It’s tradition to spin on your right foot three times on a tiled bull on the floor where the architect fell.
This evening, it is time to ditch the old and head to the new. Literally, go to the newest neighbourhood in Milan: Porta Nuova. Explore the shopping malls and the take in the looming skyscrapers in Milan’s business district.
An absolute must-see in this neighbourhood is ‘The Egg’, and no, although guessing this is a giant egg sculpture you couldn’t be more wrong.
‘The Egg’ is a sculpture consists of 23 brass plated aluminium pipes that go all the way to the car park on the lower levels. Each tube has a natural audio connection to the town, and if you put your ear to a pipe you can hear sounds, noises and even whispers of people from other parts of the building.
We know we took you away from traditional culture during your evening, but now we’re flinging you right back into the deep end. Spend your final night in Milan at La Scala, the Opera House, which opened in the late 18th century.
It is among the world’s most famous opera houses and has hosted an innumerable of the greatest singers since its opening.
There is no official dress code, but we recommend bringing your best frock as most attendees make an effort when visiting. Tickets vary based on the zone in the theatre so choose whatever is within your means – you won’t regret it.
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Milan, Brussels, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Barcelona and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Ellis (Travel Expert at BeRightBack)
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