Milan City Break: The City
Milan City Break. As I wrote on my previous post “Happy New Year” (see here), my partner and I went to Milan for 3 days. We chose Milan, mainly because we found very good priced tickets from Belfast to Bergamo (an airport near the Milan City). Secondly, we chose it as neither of us had been in Milan. I’ve been in Italy 10 years ago, but not in Milan. For our stay, we chose an Airbnb apartment near city centre, but not near any underground station.
For this trip we decided to leave everything free, without any planning, go with the flow. We usually plan everything, and by everything, I mean EVERYTHING. From plane tickets (we even read the small term and conditions) to accommodation, food, bus tickets, and a full day program. So usually, we are on the run in our trips. But this trip was different. We wanted to go somewhere without all the stress of planning every little detail. Milan was great for something like that.
The first thing we booked were the tickets. A couple of days later we looked for hotels. Unfortunately, it was the last minute and we couldn’t find good deals. So we looked for Airbnbs. In the meantime, I searched on Google where was safe to stay in Milan. I also phoned my cousin as he travels to Milan very often for business. His advice was to choose to stay somewhere which wouldn’t be near underground stations. As he said to me, it isn’t very safe to walk around the underground stations in the evenings or late the night.
Anyway, we booked an apartment via Airbnb in an area called “Guastalla”, or you can say the apartment was near the “Tribunale di Milano”. It wasn’t that far away from the city centre, but still we had to walk 15 minutes to reach it. Other than that the underground routes are so easy to use. Even if you haven’t used underground before in your life you will can easily use the underground in Milan.
We took a bus from the Bergamo airport to Milan central Station, and we walk from there to find the Airbnb apartment. The route to Milan lasts for about an hour and there aren’t many things around to see. Of course, while we were getting closer to Milan the scenery started to change.
Here are some photos of Milan while we were walking to the apartment.
I saw this building while we were still on the bus. I was glad we found it again on our way to the apartment. Milan is a city where you can find a mixture of amazing classical, neoclassical and modern building. The building above is called “Palazzo Montedoria”. It was designed by Giò Ponti in 1971. It is covered with green ceramic tiles which are characterised by a smooth and diamond-cut surface.
In contrast, here is a detail of a building around the city centre. Most of the older buildings in the city are full of details, curved, or painted.
Then again, you can see buildings like the “Tribunale di Milano”.
This is the tower of the Tribunale which is 61 meters high. It was built to be used as a storage for the archives. The building is covered with marble.
This building is located in the Largo Francesco Richini road. Which is next to the University di Milano. We went there by mistake. We were a bit lost, but we had plenty of time until the meeting with the guys from the apartment.
What I liked about it was the full scale windows which make the building look modern. But I liked the shutters. In Greece you can’t really live without shutters, but the buildings there they have balconies. Or even if some old ones don’t have balconies they have something like a bar for protection.
But in this building, there isn’t anything! You can see the window and then there are the shutters. Nothing in between. And as you can see they are not decorative.
Anyway, I thought that this was a bit strange, so I took the photo.
Rotonda della Besana, Milan city
From Wikipedia “The Rotonda della Besana is a late baroque building complex and former cemetery built between 1695 and 1732. The Rotonda encloses a public garden surrounded by a hectagon-shaped portico, located near the city center of Milan.”
The Rotonda della Besana, is around the corner from the apartment we stayed. As we arrived too early for the meeting, we decided to look around the area. The Rotonda is like an oasis. It was a very sunny and warm day and it was wonderful to be there. The trees and the greenery, children playing around. People eating their lunch. It was amazing. The building and the structure are also very beautiful. It’s like you are in another era.
Anyway, we stayed there for 20 mins before we go to meet the guy to give us the keys.
Airbnb experience, Milan City
Don’t have any photos of the apartment we stayed. Just want to say that we were waiting for 30 mins as the guy who was supposed to give us the keys was at the apartment and he was late. The apartment was nice, modern, white, minimal. But the toilet and the bathtub weren’t as clean as I would prefer. So I tried to use them as less as possible. The same goes for the small kitchen and the sink. Anyway, I think I’m going to write a post about airbnbs and hospitality….
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
For the rest of the first day in Milan we walked around the city and we also visited the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which is an amazing architectural gem. It also a luxury shopping mall. You will find there Luxury brands like Prada, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Armani to name but a few. Also, if you walk just a bit further you will see the La Rinascente. La Roinascente which is a retail department store full of luxury items, not just clothes but furniture too. More about it in part 2. Below is the dome of the Galleria Vittorio and some details.
Sforzesco Castle – Castello Sforzesco
The next day, we continued the walk around the city. This is a photo from the Sforzesco Castle. We passed by the castle on our way to La Triennale di Milano, (more on this in my next posts). So I we were heading to the museum, we didn’t have the time to stay in the castle for much longer. But it is an amazing building.
The truth is that the time you spend walking around the city is very precious. And Milan is a City where you can be “lost”. There are some magical moments when you walk around the city. These are the moments when you discover something hidden, passages and alleys, hidden from the public view. You will be surprised at how many secret views you could find.
Another advice is to always look at the entrances of the buildings. I think it isn’t just a characteristic in Milan, but in the whole Italy, the entrances are not the actual entrances. The buildings have most of the times a central entrance that lead to an open atrium, which is most of the times covered with plants.
The photograph below is one of my most favorite photos from Milan. There is an irony in this photo and I could talk about it for ages. This photo present in the most laconic way our way of living, our society, our ideas, and how we change and intervene in the world.
Anyway, the next day we took the underground and we went to the Corso Como. The areas there are very different from the city centre as you will find a lot of modern architecture and design.
I really liked this gold installation by Alberto Garutti at the Piazza Gae Aulenti! What you see are pipes connecting the different floors of the building and allows the visitors to talk to each other without being able to directly see to whom they are speaking to!
Nearby the Piazza Gae Aulenti, you can find the Bosco Verticale or Vertical Forest! The towers were designed by Boeri Studio and they are simply amazing!
So that’s the part 1 of Milan and a piece of the city’s architecture. Unfortunately, I had to narrow down the post a lot! But I hope the next parts to be rewarding!
Till next post.
Keep well and travel a lot.