In Milan in order to celebrate my 33rd birthday, we explored the city, did some fine dining and drinking and some shopping. We also swapped a wintery spring weekend in Zurich with sunshine and blue skies. It was perfection and certainly not our last time in the capital of Lombardy. As I mentioned here, Milan is well worth a visit. Looking back on the trip, I compiled a little list of things you should not miss when visiting Milan:
Explore the city by tram
Milan has a quite extensive net of public transport, taking a cab is quite affordable and it’s a very bicycle friendly town. My favourite mode of transportation however are the old and noisy trams that rumble through the city. Forget the Wes Anderson café at the Fondazione Prada, to me this is the place where I have the feeling to be inside one of his film sets.
Drink lots of Campari based drinks
Milan is the home of Campari and the aperitivo tradition is part of the citys DNA. So before heading out to dinner you better go to a bar and order a Negroni, an Americano or a Campari Soda:
Bar Basso – Via Plinio, 39
Two times in Milan and I still haven’t made it to this place, but I have read so many things about it. It’s a wonderful old-school bar perfect for an aperitif. The Negroni sbagliato a variation of the Negroni which includes Spumante instead of gin, was invented here.
Camparino in Galleria – Galleria Vittorio Emanuele angolo Piazza Duomo
Located in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele this place could easily be a tourist trap and the prices do point to that fact. Yet sipping your aperitif and watching the masses stroll through this great building is worth the price. The drinks are flawless and are served with an extensive spread of snacks to nibble on in between the sipping and watching.
Corso Como – Corso Como, 10
Corso Como is a microcosm that opens up as soon as you pass through those tall doors at the front street. Dive into the fashion store, skip through the bookshop and then have an aperitif in the garden. Make sure you get a table with a view on the entrance as this place is perfect to do some people watching.
Stand on the roof of the Duomo
Did you know you could climb up the roof of the Duomo? Lazy people can even take an elevator which results in quite large masses of people up there. Nevertheless the experience is breathtaking – and scary at times. I loved how we gained a completely new perspective on the building and seeing all the architectural details like the elaborate gargoyles up close. Furthermore you have a great view on the city and the Alps.
Order the Chefs Menu
Milan’s chefs know how to cook and the list of great restaurants is quite extensive. For our first evening we booked a table at a place called Rebelot (Ripa di Porta Ticinese, 55) in the Navigli area. Arriving there we ordered the chefs menu. Have you ever eaten raw squid with white chocolate, passion fruit and a bell pepper? Well I have and I have to admit that it was not the best dish of the evening. Anyhow it’s great when dinner turns into a little adventure. The duck carpaccio with artichokes and the sirloin with panetone were just flawless, so was the selection of wines. Sorry for the missing picture but my mouth was faster than my camera!
Take a stroll through the Quadrilatero del Silencio
Since my first visit in Milan the area around the via dei Cappucini and via Mozart is my favourite part of the city. The buildings are pompous and hailing from the beginning of the 20th century they sport wonderful art deco details. Just take a stroll through the area, but don’t forget to look up and try to get a little lost, otherwise you might miss the flamingos, the ear in the wall – a former interphone system – or the building hiding under a thick blanked of greenery. If you need a little break from all the walking head for the Villa Necchi Campiglio, where you can rest your legs by the swimming pool and enjoy some refreshments.