Milan, Italy

This past Friday Andrew and I hopped on the train after work for a 3.5 hour ride to Milan, Italy. We’re trying to take advantage of all the places we can get to easily after work for a quick weekend trip from Lausanne and this was a great destination!

Sights:

The Expo Milano 2015 World’s Fair: On Saturday we woke up early and headed to catch the World’s Fair when it opened for its last day of operation. We walked through the grounds, with jaws to the ground at the creativity of the various country’s pavilions. We had no prior plans for which pavilion to visit, and just randomly chose to get in line for the Colombia pavilion.

Some of the country pavilions. Wild looking, right? The grounds for the EXPO were massive, we mapped that it would take 30 minutes to walk from end to end!

We had heard bits and pieces of information about the Expo from word of mouth and some co workers, but we still did not have much knowledge of what to expect of the worlds fair besides the theme being “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Well, unfortunately we were disappointed. We waited for two hours to get inside the Colombia pavilion, only to be herded from room to room to watch tourism marketing film clips in Italian. The pavilions for each country were really impressive but the presentation we saw was not. It was just an advertisement for the country and had nothing to contribute to the conversation about feeding the world.

The grounds for the EXPO were incredibly crowded, not sure I have been in crowds that thick ever before. We had a suspicion that we would not find much better from any other countries, nor get inside anything without waiting for another two hours, so we grabbed a quick snack then high tailed it out of there to get back to the city and spend our time seeing the city instead.

We walked around a bit, had coffee at a cafe, did some people watching, grabbed some gelato (when in Italy!) then headed to see the Duomo.

The Milano Duomo
My favorite part of the day (besides the food 😉) was getting to go up to walk on the roof terraces of the Duomo. We were up there at sunset, so it was the perfect lighting of the city and so cool to be up on the roof of a massive cathedral. I do not think I have ever been able to be so close to all the exterior details of a cathedral before, where we could up close see the buttresses, statues and details in the stone work. It was amazing!

On Sunday we got up early and headed out to walk the city. Our first destination was the Castello Sforzesco, where we were able to walk through the grounds and courtyards for free. We grabbed a coffee then headed out back and strolled through the Parco Sempione behind. It was a beautiful fall morning and nice to get out into a park where the locals were all out and about going for walks, runs and bike rides.

Left: The entrance gate to Castello Sforzesco Right: The Arco della Pace on the end of our walk through the Parco Sempione

The rest of Sunday we walked. Then we walked some more! Though throughout the weekend we did mix in some use of the public transit system’s Metro, which I will say was excellent and easy to navigate. I think we only waited longer then 2 minutes for a train once during the time we were there – pretty awesome! Anyways, we walked through the Brera district, went down to the Navigli neighborhood to walk along the canal and have lunch, then headed for the shops. We first went to go check out the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, one of the oldest indoor malls in the world (19th century!), it was beautiful. The building houses labels including Prada, Versace and Louis Vuitton. Not exactly my price range but fun to walk through. Afterwards, we walked back to our hotel through the city along the Corso Vittorio Emanuele and Corso Buenos Aires, which has every store you can imagine. Shortly after that, our day came to a close as it was time to get on the train and head home to Switzerland!

Eats: I was beyond excited to come to Italy and eat all the Italian food I could get my hands on. This was definitely a focus, so I took recommendations from TripAdvisor, which steered us in the right direction to these hits!

  • Fiori Chiari Plates in the Brera neighborhood Saturday night: A gem. It was in this cute neighborhood of Milan, lit by candlelight, a slightly modern feel with a cozy, romantic ambiance. The food was delicious and exactly what we were looking forward to in Italy. Afterwards we grabbed a couple drinks at the cocktail bar Cinc around the corner. I don’t normally post many food pics but I couldn’t resist for this trip!
The dining room at Fiori Chiari Plates
The meat and cheese plate for appetizer
Duck ravioli, eggplant balls and fresh pasta with Eggplant, Tomatoes and Basil. Heaven!!!
  • Posto di Conversazione in the Navigli neighborhood. We enjoyed our Sunday lunch at this canal-side restaurant. It was warm and sunny, perfect for sipping some house white wine and having another delish pasta meal.
Beautiful day for another plate of fresh pasta along the canal!

Accommodation: We stayed at the Grand Hotel Puccini.  This was a good spot in that it was located directly next to a metro stop, a ten minute walk from the train station and also in a shopping district. The breakfast was good, our room was clean, but otherwise an average hotel. This trip we elected to not go too expensive or fancy with amenities since we didn’t plan on being in the room very much. It worked perfectly!

Well folks, that’s a wrap! Next up … London!!!! 

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