We spent just over a weekend in Milan as we headed to Monza for the Formula 1. This was my first ever F1 experience and what a great first one to have, the Monza track known as the temple of speed as it is the fastest F1 track. Our ticket included entry for the Saturday (qualifying rounds) & Sunday (finals) but we just went on the Sunday as we decided to explore the well known fashion capital of Milan on the Saturday & explore the lakes region on Monday. Technically this is a 48 hour break away you don't really need an itinerary for a day out at the F1!
Milan sightseeing included some time at the famous Duomo, a magnificent cathedral, constructed of white marble and looks as incredible as it sounds. Visitors need to be decently dressed (i.e. shoulders & knees covered) so be prepared if you do want to see the inside of the cathedral. While you're inside you can also climb to the top of the duomo to get a view of the city (we didn't get to do this as we ran out of time), otherwise if you want to see the duomo & the city, you can do this from the top floor of the the Museo del Novocentoright next door.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is the prettiest mall in Milan with long, stunning architectural walkways and also a chance to spin your heels in the famous bull mosaic to secure your return to Milan and in true fashion we all took a spin at this - when in Rome (or Milan..) right? Also, while you're around this area, be sure to get to Panzerotti Luini where you can get little panzerottis. The lines were spilling out the door for a fried dough parcel filled with ham & mozzarella which Matt loved. Sweet versions are also on offer if you're not feeling something savoury when you visit!
Navigli, the canal region is a really charming part of Milan and worth a visit. We also had an amazing pizza lunch here too!
One major thing to see when in Milan is Leonardo's Last supper, located next to the Santa Maria della Grazie and although no photos are allowed inside, seeing it in all its glory was pretty amazing. Tip: Book super early if you know you're going to Milan as there are limited places each day as they are trying to preserve the natural state of the painting.
As it was a hot summer's day while we were in Milan, indulging in a gelato is definitely a must. We cooled down with a raspbery & lemon gelato from Grom, located just around the Colonne di San Lorenzo. Viewing a spot of history while people watching from this location was a pretty good break!
Apart from all the major attractions in Milan, we also visited the main cemetery in Milan - the Cimitero Monumentale. It might seem a bit depressing to visit a cemetery while on travels, however this is a brilliant one with many intricate sculptures on display. It's also an easy way to escape, to reflect & enjoy the peace and quiet within, just minutes from the city centre.
One of the dinners we had while in Milan was at Piazza Borromeo, a small, modern & delicious meal, hidden away behind the duomo where you can find locals tucking in and enjoying some amazing Italian food at a very reasonable price.
On Monday we decided we'd use this day to explore one of the lakes. Lake Maggiore is 2nd largest lake in area in Italy, after Lake Garda. We chose this lesser known lake (as we decided to save Lake Como for a proper trip next time - there's always a next time!). The best way to explore and see the Borromean Islands within the lake is to jump on a boat from the town of Stresa. The boat takes you to Isola Madre, Isola Superiore and Isola Bella and gives you a bit of time on each of these cute little islands. This was a perfect end to our weekend, a relaxing & peaceful way to say our farewells (for now) to this beautiful region of northern Italy.
We couldn't leave Milan without one more pizza, so we decided to try the pizza at Spuntino, where they serve thick cut pizzas - surprisingly tasty and enjoyable!