I planned this trip to Italy for my mum to celebrate a special birthday. We had 3 nights in Milan and a day trip to Venice. I wanted to try and cram as much as possible in to the time we had to get the best out of the visit and I certainly managed to make sure there was not a second to spare. I came home absolutely exhausted but full of great experiences and memories to cherish.
On day 1 we arrived in Milan and dropped our bags at the hotel. We headed out and strolled round to the Duomo which was about 10/15 minutes walk from our hotel. We came round from behind Duomo and when you reach the front and can see the building in full view, it’s an incredible sight. Architecturally it’s simply stunning. The gothic style is really impressive and like nothing I’ve ever seen before. We spent a few hours wandering around, finding our bearings and having a look in a few shops. Around 7pm we went for dinner and there was only one option for me – PIZZA! Afterwards we started walking back and got to experience the Duomo by night which was just as beautiful as by day.
Day 2 was spent in Venice – there’s a full post coming on Sunday.
Day 3 started around 8am with breakfast at the hotel. There was plenty of choice including pastries, fresh fruit, yogurts, cereals, meat, vegetables, savouries and of course tea, coffee and fresh fruit juice. We fuelled up and headed out for the day. First stop was the Duomo again but this time we were going to experience it properly. We arrived around 09:15 and there was only a small queue. There are airport style security checks as it’s obviously a high risk place so prepare for a long wait to get inside. Once inside you are free to wander and take everything in at your leisure. It’s almost breathtaking when you step through the door. It’s so expansive yet feels so intimate at the same time. My pictures from inside are not great as it’s quite dark. We took our time walking around and taking it all in. We then explored the archaeological area which was impressive. Afterwards we went outside and round to the back entrance to take the lift to the roof terraces. Further security checks were undertaken at this point. When we stepped out we were overwhelmed with the views. There are still some stairs to climb when you reach the top and they are very steep. We were lucky it was a lovely day and visibility was good.
After enjoying the views for a while we headed back down in the lift. Btw if you have a jam packed itinerary like we did, I would recommend taking the lift. I don’t think it’s worth using all your energy walking up the stairs especially as when you reach the top, there are still stairs to climb. It’s much better use of time to pay a little extra and take the lift.
After that we needed a sugar rush to keep us going. We headed to the Magnum Pleasure Store to make our own Magnum Ice Cream. This was something I was really looking forward to as we don’t have the stores in the UK which is disappointing. The first part is to decide which ice cream you want – vanilla or chocolate. Then you choose the coating – white, milk or dark chocolate. Finally, you select a few toppings which included cinnamon bites, powdered strawberries, crushed pistachio nuts, chocolate balls, mini meringues. A chocolate button is then added along with a swirl of white or milk chocolate. Definitely a worthwhile experience if you are an ice cream lover like me.
We then spent a few hours doing what I love most – shopping! We wandered around the streets at leisure exploring different stores and trying things on as we went. We also ventured into Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is a beautiful shopping mall with original features and a lovely relaxed atmosphere.
We grabbed some pizza for lunch from Spontini and chose to take it out. We sat in Piazza Del Duomo enjoying the glorious weather. It was a beautiful day, the warm sun on my skin felt amazing! After people watching for a while we were on our way again. I obviously had to stop by Laduree to pick up some macarons not just for myself but also as a gift for a friend. Laduree is just one of those special places which I’ll always love to visit any time I get a chance. We had some late afternoon tea at an organic cafe then made our way back to the hotel to have a short rest and get ready to head out for the evening.
We went to see Newton Faulkner at Legend Club Milano. I’ve always been a fan of Newton but hadn’t heard his latest music. When I noticed he was playing whilst we were in Milan, I thought it would be a good opportunity to catch up with his latest album and also to experience live music in a different country. I like to see how others react to music. In my opinion, there’s nothing like a Glasgow crowd. I’ve gone to concerts all across the UK and also a few times in Paris, now Milan too and it’s really interesting to see how different cultures react. It didn’t surprise me how warm and welcoming the Italians were as that was exactly how we had felt throughout our trip. They were very encouraging and got involved at every opportunity which made a difference as it was an incredibly intimate gig with a maximum of 100 people I would say. It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the new music, so much so I’m going to see Newton again on 3rd April when he brings the tour to Glasgow.
We arrived back at the hotel at 1am after a very long and tiring day. It was totally worth it though as we got to see and do so much in a short space of time and I feel like we really experienced culture, history, art and music which is a lot for a 4 day trip.
Day 4 started with breakfast then we packed and went to the airport. I was sad to leave but very happy with the memories made.
I had such a wonderful time in Italy and cannot wait to explore more of the country in the future. Sorry the post is very long, I didn’t want to split it into multiple posts but hopefully it will be useful for anyone planning a visit in future.
Stay tuned for my Venice diary on Sunday.