3 Days in Milan

By Christelle | Posted in Italy,Milan,travel

June 6th, 2017

Milan 4
Milan 1

It is no secret that Italy is my favorite country on earth – any other place that pours as much zeal into food and fashion is yet to be found. My love for Italy is well documented and it still pains me that I don’t live there – unfortunately one of the things they don’t do so well is a viable job market, but hey…

I had travelled to almost every major city and even some small towns in Italy during Erasmus and I always put off the idea of going to Milan, I would often travel through the city just to go to the airport never taking the time to stop. Finding a cheap and direct flight from Luxembourg to anywhere is all but an impossibility, alas I found one going to Milan of all places, it was time to give this ‘industrious’ city a chance.

Yes, you will have seen that picture of the Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle II a million times on Instagram, but there is so much more to Milan than that. Firstly, I would like to add that thanks to expat life I have lived with several housemates from various countries over the years and so one of the few perks of still house sharing in your mid-late twenties is having an inside guide when you go abroad, luckily I had Giulia to bring us around and fully embrace the #livelikealocal hashtag.


Do not underestimate the shopping mecca that is Milan, the amount of discount designer outlet stores selling very high quality items is not to be missed. Yes, the items are still relatively expensive but you will never find those last season Dior shoes or those PRADA sunglasses much cheaper anywhere else, it is worth doing a little research before so you know what areas to pay attention to (Brera Design district) actually you will just fall upon so many places randomly. Italian brands like Moschino and FURLA are particularly purse friendly in Milan.

Italian made shoes at bargain prices. Having a local friend is very handy in these situations and I was taken to her favorite shoe shop in Milan – it was a struggle to leave with only three pairs but my hand luggage wouldn’t take much more. A little shop very unassuming from the outside in the heart of the city Centre called Maura Leone the range of shoes and the price cannot be beaten , did I mention Italian made , Italian leather, lasting you for many happy years to come.
ALSO no visit to Italy is complete without going for a browse in Gucci, unlike Luxembourg where you can’t just walk in with no intention of buying anything and yet still trying everything on. In Milan you can absolutely do this, the store is HUGE it is filled to the brim with locals and tourists and in fact no one even notices while you try on six different Gucci loafers and walk around the shop. Having tried many of the famous horse-bit loafers on I wasn’t really convinced they were worth the hefty price tag. So when I was browsing the shops later and seen that very similar Italian leather loafers were for sale in many of the local shops for a fraction of the price my mind was made up. Of course my Italian accomplice was disgusted at my delight in these identical shoes ‘If you are going to buy them just get the original Gucci’ typical Italian mindset FYI: it’s completely normal to spend a month’s rent on a pair of shoes regardless of one’s paygrade which is why you see so many waiters/bell boys with genuine Louis Vuitton wallets #fashioniseverything #rentcanwait.
Anyway they come in the backless and non-backless version and in every colour you could imagine so pretty much a steal at 99 EUR. Anyway if bargain shoes are not your thing there is plenty more to see/do.

My other main reason for returning to Italy again and again. Famous for their aperitivo which originated in Milan we set out on the search, the concept is around 7-9pm almost all the bars in Milan will put on an aperitivo, i.e. snacks and food at the bar which are complimentary with your drink.
It is important to note that the standard of aperitivo can vary greatly, some places it will be a glorified peanut bowl and some other places will be feast of pasta and pizza. If you are really hungry and you are using the aperitivo as an alternative to dinner then I would recommend going for the buffet simply for the sheer amount of food available, this brings me to my favourite area of Milan which I think is very underrated, the Navigli Canals. Yes it’s a bit hipster but the atmosphere is buzzing and when people watching from behind your spritz there is plenty to see. The canals are beautiful and I for one did not even know Milan had canals, there is an enormous choice of bars and restaurants in Navigli but we somehow ended up on one of the boat restaurants which had a sprawling buffet for the aperitivo, note that Italians tend not to gorge and will only take a relatively small plate, its easy to spot the tourists with the overloaded plates going up several times ( which we may or may not have also done). I love the whole idea of aperitivo and wish it would extend beyond Italy, great cocktails and technically free food in a party atmosphere, what’s not to like.

Knowing a local comes in really handy when you simply want to know where the best pizza in Milan is, without having to rely on all the competing options from a google search. So we made our way over to Pizzeria Gino Sorbillo conveniently located in the city Centre. We could already see a queue forming which is a good sign, this pizzeria is known for its traditional Napolitano pizza pies and very reasonably priced (that’s amore). If you find yourself in Milan craving a pizza….
Eataly began in Turin more than 10 years ago, it now spans the globe with locations as far flung as New York, Dubai and Tokyo. I first visited the branch in Rome around four years ago and was instantly amazed at so much choice in one space.
It is quite simply a foodie heaven and although people say it is mainly directed at tourists, it was chock full of Italians in Milan. We rushed out on our last rainy day in Milan to get there early, enjoying a proper cappuccino (Thank you Giulia for teaching me what a real cappuccino is according to the ratio of foam used and for reminding me that it’s not socially acceptable to order one after noon).
Following our coffee, we made our way upstairs to the pasta section for lunch, the joys/convenience of consuming all your meals under one roof is not to be underestimated – you could spend an entire day eating here. Post-pasta it was time for some cannoli a traditional Sicilian pastry, if you haven’t had one before please don’t waste any more time #heavenly. Finally, we made our way over to the wine section and you can taste various wines, we bought a great wine for a fraction of the price it cost in Ireland. (No.1 reason why I can’t move home btw). If you love Italian food give Eataly a visit and it won’t disappoint.
Milan 13
Milan 14
Milan 15
While Milan is most known for Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper we have to admit we didn’t even try to visit as we hadn’t booked in advance. Instead we headed for Castello Sforzesco where you can relax in the spacious gardens and if the weather is nice, bring a picnic and again people watch or alternatively pose for pictures, see below. The Duomo is the most famous (and photographed) spot, if you get up early enough in the morning you might get a selfie without hundreds of people in the back – otherwise just Photoshop them out.
Overall I had such low expectations for Milan and I really was blown away, it’s a vibrant and fashionable city with way more than I imagined. Once again I had the benefit of someone who knows this city to show us around which makes all the difference, I would recommend it as a great weekend city break and as a shopping destination.
Ciao Ciao !

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