So our first day and experience of Milan wasn’t great, but today we visited the centre so hopefully the beauty can overcome the beast.
After a refreshing nights sleep, we braced ourselves for the day ahead. We got into the car, dogs as well, and drove to the garage to drop the car off to be fixed. We dropped the car off and got a quote to how much it would be for the car to be serviced and tyre to be replaced (this was not a pretty price but had to be paid or we couldn’t carry on with our journey). So after another shock, we brushed it off and started our journey into the city.
It was a long walk of about an hour to get to the centre, luckily we all like walking and it gave Monty a chance to get rid of some energy. As we stated to draw closer to the centre we started to see the history. We first came across piazza vetra which was a lovely way to come into the city, with its lovely buildings and towers surrounding it. We then strolled down the streets of Milan and along the way we passed lots of small shops and cafes and that is when we turned a corner to see the greatest view of Milan.
When turning the corner you couldn’t miss this, unsurprisingly, fifth largest church in the world. The size of the structure along with the detail makes this cathedral a truly beautiful one. No photo will show how this building really looks and you need to see it in person to really appreciate it.
You will find the square with the cathedral to be a very busy one filled with art students and other tourists alike. The one thing you will notice is that there are a lot of people trying to sell you stuff, unless you want to buy anything the best bet is to just ignore them, otherwise you will notice them following you to try and get you to buy there stuff. We are quite lucky in the fact that we have two large dogs, which seems to deter people from coming too close (our dogs are big softies generally but no one needs to know that). Also with any tourist area there will be pickpockets or people trying to scam you, and even in the beautiful city of Milan that is no different so keep everything closed up and with you at all times (again with having the dogs I think this helps).
Around the square, there is then several streets you can take to start to discover more of the city. There are museums and churches in several areas of Milan, so travelling by foot would be the best option.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Our next stop was shopping. If you think you have been shopping you haven’t until you have been Milan, and where better that the galleria vittorio Emanuele? It is filled with all of the high end brands such as Prada and Gucci (yes I know I’m back to Gucci but who can blame me), and the architecture around is one of the best I have seen whilst shopping. We were incredibly nervous about bringing our dogs in and how people would react, but as with everywhere else in Italy, people were stopping us and someone stopped to ask if they could take a photo! The boys where loving it and even outside some of the restaurants they had dog bowls to keep them refreshed. I had to again be dragged away from the shops I couldn’t afford, and out we went to explore more of Milan.
When you walk through to the other side of the galleria vittorio Emanuele, you will come across a small square. This is a very quiet area, but is nice to get away from the heavy hustle and bustle just steps away from you. In this square is a statue of Leonardo da Vinci, for you to just sit down for a minute and remember such a great man is recommended. After a quick break we carried on our walk through Milan.
After a short walk down the main streets we came across a rather large fountain and behind it a castle. It is quite a plain but great looking castle and it was fine to walk in with our boys and also free, note – when your inside you can then do tours or see some of the exibits that then incur a charge. We took a nice stroll through, seeing some of the history around this castle. When walking through, you can imagine what it would have looked like in its prime. Walking through the castle also brings you out to a park. This is one of the main parks in Milan and you can see why. Being later in the year, it was beautiful to see the leaves begin to turn and the conkers starting to land on the ground. You can take a walk in and out of the footpaths and walk around the lake.
Food in Milan
Walking around Milan can be daunting when trying to choose food but for us we have the extra pressure of finding somewhere that is dog friendly. Most places have outside seating this time of year so that’s not a problem you may say, but having two larger dogs it’s also important to find somewhere that the waiters don’t mind and also people around you (if your not a dog lover, I can imagine a big hairy dog next to you whilst eating is going to be the best experience). So as we were walking back towards the duomo, we came across a cafe that looked nice, and the waiter loved Monty, which is always a bonus. The waiter kindly gave us a four seater to give us more room with our boys. We sat down and ordered and they also got us some water for our boys. The food was beautiful with me having a bolognese and Simon having a chicken pasta dish. Despite the boys getting restless, and again and people stopping in the street to say hi to the dogs, we got through it all in one peace and had a lovely meal….oh and I forgot to mention we had a view of the duomo.
Always be warned, although we had a good experience, the reviews we read online weren’t as good but I think you should always use your own judgement at the time. It is also worth taking note that places in tourist areas charge more money, and to look around before choosing the first place you see.
So after a bad first impression, and some unlucky incidents to happen in Milan, it was actually a very lovely and historical city considering its age, so I would recommend to anyone to go and see it for yourself. Personally, we would love to go back to Milan in the future and take the weekend out just to look in all of the museums and churches.