After browsing Skyscanner for the best flight deals from our local airport, I spotted the £20 return flights from East Midlands to Bergamo (Milan) and couldn’t resist! With my sisters 21st Birthday coming up, a 2-night trip to Milan proved to be the perfect pressie.
Come the 6th February – my sisters Birthday – we packed our bags and headed to the airport for our 6.25pm flight. The flight to Milan takes around 2 hours, so we landed in Bergamo around 9.30pm (note: there’s a 1 hour time difference from the UK). I’d pre-booked our bus transfer tickets online the morning of departing with … and good fortune (and a large dash of organisation) was on our side, as everything ran smoothly from take off to arriving at our ground-floor apartment.
Things to note: * Unbeknown to us (before visiting Italy), when staying overnight in some cities of Italy there is a tourist tax. The charge is dependant on the star rating of the accommodation and varies between each city. You can find out more information here.
We managed to fit a good amount of sight-seeing in during these two days, whilst prioritising quality over quantity. Our main focus of the trip was to get a good feel for the city – absorb a snippet of Milan’s fierce sophistication – alongside exploring the Italian streets.
Our first morning (of our only full day here) cast the city in a golden glow; the 9am sun reflecting on cafe windows and tunnelling down cobbled streets. Despite our modest 9am start to the day, to our surprise the locals seemed to be beginning their days at a similar time. Baked goods and strong coffees were being enjoyed in nearby eateries, joggers and dog-walkers were pacing their mornings with routinely activities. By nature, Milan seemingly had the art of ‘slowing-down’ perfected. On the contrary however, the same notion was apparently not to be applied where driving was concerned. Cars and vespers were to be dodged like bullets.
Milan women seem to inherit a sense of both beauty and style that blurs the boundaries between effortlessly natural and undeniably well-groomed. Whilst exuding the kind of confidence that only belongs to someone who truly feels comfortable with who they are.
Our first call was to the tourist haven that is Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano). Taking nearly six centuries to complete and dedicated to the Nativity of St. Mary, the Cathedral is impossibly grande. Adorned with around 135 spires – each of which mounted with a statue of important people throughout Milan’s history and the Bible – and boasting gothic architectural characteristics, the cathedral is truly impressive.
To fully enjoy the cathedral’s astounding architecture, we decided to take a tour of the cathedral and the rooftop terrace. Tickets can either be purchased online or from the Duomo Info Point – where you can choose to either take the stairs to the terrace or gain access via the elevator. The cathedral houses different relics and beautiful stained-glass windows, spending some time admiring the interior of the cathedral gives you a real appreciation for the scale and age of the building.
Once at the rooftop terrace, you’ll be gifted with a fantastic view over the city and a closer look at the intense detail and time spent crafting the ornate decor and spears. With no time restrictions on how long to spend in or on-top of the cathedral (although, be mindful in peak Summer Season as queue times can be lengthy), we spent far longer than anticipated just relishing in the sheer scale and beauty of the cathedral.
Come early afternoon, we stepped back into the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square) after spending a good portion of the morning at the cathedral. Reminding us of the time, our bellies grumbled with the promise of a truly authentic Italian pizza. We set en route our pizza-promised mission and satisfied our appetites with 15-inched circles of mozzarella covered goodness.
Known for it’s food, our post-lunch pursuit was to find ourselves some Italian gelato. After all, could we really visit Italy without over-indulging in carbs and dessert?
The rest of our afternoon was committed to seeing a little more of the city and its surrounding areas. With limited time, in true-tourist style, we opted for a bus tour to see the city. If we’d have had more time, we’d have definitely explored the city by foot some more. But that being said I’m also a bit of a sucker for a hop-on, hop-off bus tour and would highly recommend!
We learnt little nuggets about the history and modern-day workings of the city and took in the sights from top-deck whilst relaxing in the rare February sun (that subtly masked the stubborn Winter chill). Come early evening we took in the energetic atmosphere at the Cathedral Square before returning to our apartment to finish our leftover pizza’s – that we’d got boxed up at the restaurant earlier – and to reflect on the day.
The slow-paced nature of the local’s that was so apparent from this morning seemingly became the foundation for the mentality of our own day. Not once did we feel rushed or compelled to increase our speed in which we were choosing to explore the city.
The city is the heart of Italy’s economic industry and the home of a thriving fashion scene, as well as being renowned for possessing some of the World’s most famous art and musicians. However, it is much more than this. Milan is a heart-throb, impressionable and fascinating, a living paradox with a relaxed atmosphere yet buzzing fashion industry and crazy driving-style.