What’s a girl gonna do when a flight sale pops up and Italy for £30 return is all too tempting? Book it with a gal pal and figure the rest out afterwards, that’s what. Armed with boarding passes, an Airbnb booking, very little planning and lots of excitement, off to Milan Tasmin and I went. And we bloody loved it.
I feel like I preface every travel post with ‘This is a photo heavy one guys, I warn you!’ but yeah, this is a photo heavy one. Very. I got a little snap happy and struggled to whittle it down. Diary style travel posts are my favourites to write and you guys seem to like them best too, so here’s 3 days in Milan in diary form. Apologies if I make you want to book a flight this second.
Tuesday night: Drop bags, find pizza
We arrived after what felt like 50 million (the standard unit of exaggeration) lots of public transport (actually 6), we dropped our bags off, had a quick freshen up, and headed straight out to a place Google Maps recommended around the corner because we needed pizza ASAP. Il Principe dei Navigli turned out to be the best choice we could’ve gone for: nearby, good food, nice atmosphere and pretty cheap, plus I’m not gonna complain about free prosecco and starters even if we had no idea why we got them. No photos because it was pretty dark and we were too hungry to faff around with lighting. Damn good pizza though.
Wednesday morning: Duomo, Galleria, and Panzerotti
Now I mean it when I say we had zero plans, but the Duomo seemed like a good place to start, so on the tram from Navigli we hopped at around 9am.
(Sidenote: why do I always feel the need to say I ‘hopped’ on the train or bus or tram? Can promise I don’t literally hop onto every form of public transport…)
Anyway, back to the Duomo. You can’t not be impressed by its size and how bloody beautiful it is. At this point we didn’t go inside because there were already queues way out the door for tickets, but just gawping from outside was impressive. Instead we generally meandered around, window shopped in the Galleria Emmanuele (and said how even if we had the money, high end designer isn’t what we’d buy) – before grabbing a panzerotti for breakfast.
Luini’s Panzerotti behind the Galleria Emmanuele it looked busy enough that it must be worth raving about, so we gave it a shot. The thought of those mini calzones is making my mouth water right now, seriously. I kinda thought they’d be warm but nevertheless, pear and chocolate pastry is gooood.
Meandering took us past the Duomo a couple more times, always avoiding buying seeds from very persistent men trying to get us to pay them to get the pigeons to flock over. No, pigeon man, I’m quite alright ok.
Culottes: Missguided | jumper and shoes: Primark | shirt: New Look
Tbh I had no idea what to pack clothes-wise for this trip (I have a habit of bringing cold British drizzle with me wherever I go and ending up freezing) but I did quite well if I do say so myself. Decided that culottes are the best option for A) being comfy AF, and B) looking a bit smarter than jeans. I just desperately wanted to look like a stylish Italian rather than a clumsy Brit basically. Tried, but failed. Oh well.
More wandering around the Cinque Vie area (at least I think that’s where we were, I only looked it up afterwards), noseying in a few shops and taking many photos. Such lovely morning light, even at around 11am!
Wednesday lunchtime: Highline Galleria
We purchased Milanocards just to make life easier for public transport (I faff enough as it is, don’t need unnecessary ticket buying faffiness) and on later inspection realised it gave us free access to a few places, one being the Highline Galleria. So we thought why not. Rooftop walkway sounded cool! The entrance is a bit tucked away because you have to go round the back and up an unassuming escalator, but once you’re there it’s pretty straightforward. Follow the metal path and stop at the… stopping points (I have no better description, I do apologise). Up there felt like a world away from the busy city, but still with views over the Piazza Duomo. Plus there’s pizza at the end of the route and that’s never a bad thing. We had a little confusion as the Milanocard description implied the food was free with the walkway access, when in reality it was the other way round, but the cards still gave us 20% discount and it wasn’t expensive anyway. I found that in general Milan wasn’t as expensive as I’d expected – I’d imagined it would live up to Italy’s reputation as a pricey country – but we found it not too harsh on the purse at all.
Wednesday afternoon: Sforza Castle and Parco Sempione
You’ve probably gathered by now that the general theme of the trip was a lack of planning, so after lunch we had no idea what to do with ourselves. We ended up making our way over to Parco Sempione and through the Sforza Castle, all the way to the Porta Sempione (Arc de Triomphe kind of thing) at the other end before sitting down and just watching the world go by for a while. Milan had excellent peoplewatching opportunities and I said ‘look how stylish she looks’ a good 50 times in 3 days.
Anddd after all that walking, we proceeded to sit in silence and do nothing for half an hour, because what else do you do when you’ve been with someone and on your feet all day. Getting up from that sofa was a task, I tell you.
Wednesday evening: Aperitifs in Navigli
The sky was unbelievably pink on the bus journey from Bergamo airport to the city centre so we hoped it’d be the same again on the Wednesday evening, but either we sat around for too long and missed pink o’clock, or the sunset wasn’t as dramatic. Either way, we only made it to Navigli Grande well after the sun had set. Oh well.
We’d heard that in Milan the ‘Aperitivo tradition’ was the way to go, and a cocktail with unlimited buffet had my name written all over it. The canal side had just the right kind of busy but not rowdy atmosphere you want in an evening (albeit with the odd pushy person trying to sell you a light up yoyo), and I drank the strongest Aperol Spritz I’ve ever tasted in my life.
Thursday morning: A daytrip to Lake Como
Despite a broken hairdryer and something else going wrong that I can’t remember, we made it out of the apartment by just after 7 and on the train from Cadorna station to Lake Como ASAP. Very excited and with high hopes of it living up to our Pinterest expectations at this point (spoiler: it did). We bought mid lakes ferry passes for the day, thinking we’d visit several of the lakeside towns but ended up just visiting Bellagio and exploring it properly. Obviously the ferry trip was an experience in itself, too! Naturally we picked out our dream houses along the way.
I didn’t let the good weather forecast fool me that it’d be warm on the boat, and came prepared with a wooly handknit that the beady eyed knitters amongst you may recognise as a Kim Hargreaves design. Kept me nice and toasty!
Thursday afternoon: Exploring Bellagio
Bellagio was so pretty I thought I might actually cry. All the twisty hilly streets, cute shops, beautiful waterfront – you get the idea. Just, ahhh. Not a bad spot for a pasta stop, too! A couple on the boat told us there was an 8 euro cover charge at the restaurants on the front, and we quite fancied finding somewhere a little more tucked away in the town anyway. So we found a sun trap serving pasta, plonked ourselves down, and enjoyed a carbonara with ALL the parmesan. For the remainder of the afternoon in Bellagio we meandered in and around the streets, saying ‘have we been up this one yet?’ as we went around every corner. I couldn’t stop taking photos, in case you couldn’t tell.
Obviously I had to choose my favourite streets for Insta pics. I think I’ll let the photos do (most of) the talking for this place.
October was the perfect time to have the golden leaves and Autumn look, but mild temperatures and clear skies that felt like summer. Win win.
No trip to Italy is complete without gelato!
After reluctantly taking the boat back to Como and train to Milan, Thursday evening was similar to Wednesday and involved an Aperitif, buffet, and crashing on the sofa. One bloody good day if you ask me.
Friday morning: Dawn at the Duomo
If you’ve read any of my other travel posts you’ll know that I have a thing for getting our and about early in the morning, and lucky for me Tasmin’s body clock operates the same. We’d agreed to set our alarms for ‘pretty late, 7:30am’ on the first day – gal is on the same page! So Friday morning we headed out at around 6am to catch first light at the Duomo. Those tranquil sunrise moments aren’t quite as easy to catch at this time of year because obviously the crack of dawn isn’t that early and lots of people are already out and about, but still it’s still impressive. I spotted another girl doing the ‘camera on the floor, taking photos with phone’ trick so offered to give her a hand (girl can relate) then we all grabbed a coffee before buying our Duomo tickets as early as possible.
By 9am we were some of the first in the queue for the terraces to climb the stairs for ~that~ view. It seemed strange but cool to be walking on the actual roof, not just a viewing platform or something! Purchasing tickets for the terraces was definitely worthwhile.
Following the Duomo, we made our way back to Navigli for a quick lunch stop (feels like all I’ve written about is food but that sounds about right) before speedwalking back to our apartment to catch the tram, then the tube, then the bus back to the airport. And just like that, our Milan trip was over. Take me back!
lily kate x