Go on day trips from Milan.

The Milanese love going on day trips outside the gates of the city as they say and there are lots of wonderful places nearby. Here is the Insider Guide to the greatest places

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Como.

50 km north of Milan is Como by the beautiful Lake Como surrounded by mountains.It takes about 1 hour from Cadorna station to Como lake and a return ticket is a little under €10. It’s a cosy and very beautiful small town with antique town walls and a great shopping area in the historical center and actually also the place where our personal love affair with Italy began many years ago.

Como is famous for its silk and we recommend you visit the outlet Diffusione Seta located at 8-11, Piazza Cavour (find on map).

When we were there last we had lunch at the super neat
Ristorante Sociale, 6, Via Rodari (find on map) – prices are reasonable and and the food is local and solid – but next time we are planning on trying out the much more sophisticated restaurant with all the great reviews
The Market Place, 21/A, Via Borsieri (find on map) – closed on Sundays.

Another fantastic thing to do here is to take the ferry from Como (just by Piazza Cavour) for e.g.Bellaggio or out to see the incredibly beautiful villas, located in the area. Here the app Navigazione Laghi is a really good tool – Download for Android | iPhone

You can go from Como with the funicular up to Brunate where on a clear day you get an amazing view of Lake Como and the Alps

There are several antique markets in Como:
On the first Sunday every month 8 a.m.-7 p.m. on Piazza San Fedele (find on map)
On the second Wednesday every month (Except January and August) 8.30 a.m.-7 p.m. in Porto Torre, Viale Carlo Cattaneo (find on map)
On the last Saturday every month (except January and August) in Via Muratto og Piazza Ferretta (find on map)
On the third Sunday every month. 8 a.m.-7 p.m. (except January and August) in Via Spallino (find on map)

Bergamo.

Then there is Bergamo, situated about, 45 minutes away by train from Milan. You can go from the stations of Stazione Centrale, Cadorna and Garibaldi

Bergamo is one of the few towns in Italy whose historical center is still located within the original town walls which have maintained their original aspect.

Bergamo is divided into two parts Bergamo Bassa (low Begamo) and Berrgamo Alta (high Begamo), Bergamo Alta  is the historical part of the town which you can get to either by the city funicular or by taking the 45-minute hike up.

There are monasteries, historical buildings and an ancient botanical garden.

The wonderful Accademia Carrara museum is located in Bergamo Bassa.

There is an antique market in Begamo Alta on the thrid Sunday of every month (except August) on Piazza Vecchia (find on map)

Among the many lunch places in Bergamo:.
Hostaria del Relais San Lorenzo, 9, Piazza Mascerono (find on map)
Antica Hosteria del Vino Buono, 25, Piazza Mercato delle Scarpe (find on map)

Villagio Operaio Crespi d’Adda.

A villlage built by the Crespi family for the workers on their factory. It was very advanced for its time (late 1800s) with free education for the children of the employees, a free indoor swimming pool and the first village in Italy to have modern public lighting. In 1995 the village was entered nto the UNESCO World Heritage List. The directions on how to get there can be found here.

Isole Borromee and Stresa.

The Isolee Borromee (the Borromean Islands) are located in the Maggiore Lake and can be reached from Stresa by boat, they are lovely at all times of the year but are paricularly stunning during springtime, They are famous for their amazing palaces and gardens. There are three islands: Isola Bella with the Borromean Palace and gardens, Isola Superiore (Fishmerman’s Island) a tiny island with a beautiful fishing village and Isola Madre with a botanical garden and Palace.

Stresa is quite close to Milan and can be reached from both the Central Station and the Garibaldi station, the trip takes about an hour.

Stresa has a lot of great restaurants where you can have lunch, some examples:
Antica Stresa, 34, Piazza Cadorna (find on map).
Astoria, 21, Corso Umberto I (find on map)

But you can also eat on Fisherman’s Island (Isola Superiore), example
Belvedere, Via di Mezzo (find on map).

San Pellegrino Spa.

If you feel like pampering yourself go for a day to the San Pellegrino spa (terme) (find on map), you need a car to get up there. Prices and opening hours here. A small piece of advice; go on a weekday.

Lodi.

Lodi is another town that is very near Milan, it takes about 35 minutes with the train going to Bologna, and you can catch it from both Stazione Centrale and Cadorna. Lodi is a lovely little town whose interesting archtecture dates all the way back to 1160.

There is an antique market in Lodi on the first Sunday of every month (except January and August) 8 a.m.7 p.m. on Piazza Castello (find on map)

A couple of good places to have lunch in Lodi are:
Antica Trattoria il Gattino, 71, Corso Mazzini (find on map)
Il Pomodoro Pelato, 48, Via Cavour (find on map)

Vigevano.

And please don’t miss Vigevano in the province of Pavia. It takes about an hour to get there and we recommend taking the train from Porta Genova railway station (find on map)

IMG_7857Vigevano is an incredibly beautiful art town with an amazing renaissance square Piazza Ducale, considered one of Italy’s finest. There is also a castle, Vigevano’s own Castello Sforzesco which was transformed from a fortress to the residence of a prince in 1492-94 by Ludovio Sforza. Furthermore Vigevano is famous for making shoes and there is a shoe museum inside the Castello Sforzesco with no admission.

There’s an antique market in Vigevanoon the thrid Sunday of every month (except August) in the area between Piazza Piazza Martiri della Liberazione, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II and Via S. Croce (find on map).

Good places to have lunch in Vigevano:
Cappuccetto Rosso Bistrot, 4, Via Carrobbio (find on map)
Cafe del Mar, 34, Via Leonardo da Vinci (find on map)

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Wine and Food.

If you love wine and great food there are some areas we recommend you visit and you could spend the night in one of the many agrotourisms. Some great areas are Franciacorta, Asti and Langhe (where, among other towns, Alba is located).

There are many food and wine festivals in both Piedmont and Lombardia. These festivals are great for getting an insight into small communities and their seasonal products (wine, truffles, cheeses, chestnuts, mushrooms, pumpkins etc.)

 

Star-studded restaurants outside Milan.

If you came to Milan by car there are lots of great restaurants in Lombardy. We want to mention:

D’O  Davide Oldani’s wonderful restaurant with 1 Michelin star, located in San Pietro all’Olmo, Cornaredo (find on map). Davide Oldani is the chef who invented the concept Pop Cuisine (Cucina Pop). Remember to book well in advance.

Cannavacciuolo Bistrot. 1, Piazza Martiri della Libertà in Novara (find on map) which belongs to Antonino Cannavacciulo, one of the new judges in the Italian edition of Masterchef.

Antonino Cannavacciuolo also runs the restaurant (with 2 Michelin stars) and hotel Villa Crespi at the beautiful Lago d’Orta.

You can find the Michelin guide’s other suggestions here.

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Milan in one day – the best shopping route with a side of culture (Brera).

For those of you who are only in town for a short visit we have made a mini route where you get all the best Milan has to offer in terms of both shopping, food, architecture and culture. For our first express shopping route we have chosen the area from Piazza Gae Aulenti to Piazza della Scala, from the new and modern to the old and traditional.

  • Start on Piazza Gae Aulenti; Milan’s newest area, where you should see “Bosco verticale (the vertical forest))
  • On the piazza you find the famous Muji,
  • Grom ice cream,
  • Replay store with Italian denim and a nice bar where you can have your morning coffee,
  • and Illy café – the world’s best espresso.
  •  Located under the square is the supermarket Esselunga if you want to shop for specialties.
  • From there continue down Corso Como and check out the famous design store and art gallery at no. 10 – good place for lunch.
  • at the end of Corso Como turn left and check out High Tech with all you can desire for your home and on the square (Piazza XXV Aprile) is food temple Eataly
  • Continue into the Brera area (Via Solferino, Via San Marco and Corso Garibaldi) which is the old artistic neighbourhood of Milan with lots of quirky and chic stores and galleries.
  • If you’re here on either a Monday or a Thursday it is worth your while to visit the open air market in Via San Marco.
  • Visit the Pinacoteca di Brera for a shot of culture.
  • The area is rich on places for lunch and a great aperitivo
  • Continue down to Piazza della Scala with Milan’s famous Scala theater.

 

If you still have energy and time to spare you are now directly behind Piazza Duomo just walk thorugh the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele which links Piazza della Scala and Piazza Duomo and you have Milan’s cathedral right in front of you.

Now you are probably starving and you are close to several good restaurants e.g. Langosteria Cafè,4, Galleria del Corso (find on map) excellent seafood €€€, Piz, 34, Via Torino (find n map) genuine Neapolitan pizza €, I 12 Gatti,11/12, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II on the corner of Piazza della Scala (find on map) with a fantasic terrace on the top of Milan €€ and Mama Burger,18, Via Agnello (find on map) good quality burgers €.

Enjoy your perfect day in Milan!

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Insider tip no. 10: outlets near Milan.

If you’re into incredible bargains in clothes, shoes, bags and accessories it is actually worth your while to visit one of the many fashion outlets near Milan. Be prepared to spend a full day on it but most of the places are little villages with restaurants and cafés so you can get a fun day out of it. Fares are around €10,00 roundtrip and most of the companies give you vouchers to either the restaurants or some of the shops on top. 

Scalo Milano
Visit this newly opened shopping center in Locate di Triulzi (find on map) just 30 minutes from Piazza Reppubblica in the city center by the railroad link S13 (passante) and a 2/minute walk from the station. There are great brands like Karl Lagerfeld G-Star Raw, Twinset, Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Kartell, Alessi and many others at outlet prices. You can also get there by shuttle service from Largo Ciroli three times a day. The center is open Mondays-Wednesdays 10 a.m.-9 p.m. and Thursday-Sundays 10 a.m.-11 p.m.

Vicolungo
Shopping tour from Piazza CairoliIMG_8249

Foxtown
Shuttle
from Foro Buonaparte

Franciacorta Outlet Village
Shuttle from Largo Cairoli

Fidenza Village
Shuttle from Largo Cairoli

Serravalle
Shuttle
from Foro Buonaparte

Mantova Outlet Village
Go by train and then bus from Mantova Station

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