So, you have two days to spend in Milano and you are not sure what to visit? This itinerary was thought up to make your visit simply perfect.
Day 1 - From Stazione Centrale to Montenapoleone
You arrive at Stazione Centrale on a Saturday morning. Well, you don’t have to go far to start enjoying Milano. Mercato Centrale is a heaven for foodies. And it’s not only travelers that go there. When you’ve satisfied your either dolce or salato palate, it’s time to start discovering the city.
Walk down towards Piazza Repubblica, or get a bike sharing rental for the day with the Bikemi app. It’s monumental rationalist architecture that takes you down to Piazza Cavour and the old medieval gate. Walk underneath and you’re in Via Manzoni and the Fashion District. The epicenter of it all is Via Montenapoleone, a glittering street flashing the best fashion stores in the world.
Explore the city centre
At the end of Via Manzoni lies Piazza della Scala with the neoclassical opera theater that stars the world best in classical music and ballet. But Verdi and Puccini can wait, because you can enter Galleria Vittorio Emanuele from the back. After more luxury shopping (Prada has its store here), the gallery opens to the Duomo in all its gothic majesty, with the glittering gold Madonnina. Right at the corner, there’s Camparino where you can sample one of the best espressos in Milano at the counter in the same café where Depero congregated with the other futurists. Campari spritz maybe later, it’s not even lunch time yet.
Move to Darsena and Navigli
Milano means old trams from the early 1920s, but there’s also orange jumbos from the 1970s and the futuristic Sirio line from the 2000s. The start of Via Torino near Duomo is the perfect setting to catch a tram. Flows of pedestrians and popular shops, and three lines that stop there in one of the busiest intersections in the city center.
Via Torino is a meandering street full of shops targeting young consumers and espresso bars, which veers to the left in Carrobbio reaching one of the hidden wonders of Milano: Colonne di San Lorenzo, Roman columns before a basilica with a square where people like to hang out.
Walk down Corso Porta Ticinese and you’ll reach the mysterious Sant’Eustorgio bell tower, along with the church that holds the remains of the Three Mages.
To the right of neoclassical Porta Ticinese lies the Darsena, the ancient basin where the Navigli canals converge and where you can shop for a sandwich in the covered market or sit at a bistro for a quick lunch on the renovated quay by the water.
Take the tram to Porta Nuova
Now that sugar levels are restored, it’s time for the second leg of the Saturday. Get on tram #10 which has its terminus near the Porta and enjoy great views of Milano from the window: Piazza Aquileia, Via Ariosto, Via Pagano, Arco della Pace, Corso Sempione, and the Monumental Cemetery.
Your destination is what many consider the second center of Milano after Piazza Duomo, i.e. Piazza Gae Aulenti. Get off at Garibaldi train station, and you’ll be dwarfed by skyscrapers. The plaza is magic and you can walk on water amid global brands. From there an urban park, BAM – the Library of Trees, lures you to the Vertical Forest, one of the most admired landmarks of the new Milano for its fusion of architecture and sustainability.
Enjoy the milanese nightlife
Time for a break, with a yoga session, a good book, or some urban exploration. Isola, the alternative neighborhood at the feet of Vertical Forest, has plenty of craft shops, food joints and community gardens. You can while away the time here waiting for the happy hour.
After that, we advise to dine in another great covered market with delis and gourmet shops: Mercato Comunale Isola, which just opened. From there, jump on the subway at Zara, where the yellow and lilac lines intersect. We suggest you take the yellow northbound for a few stops until you reach Dergano.
Once you’re out of the station, take Via Magellano and get to Piazza Dergano. Nearby, you can down a few beers or cocktails at Mamusca, a bar-cum-bookstore beloved by the locals in this very Milanese yet up-and-coming neighborhood. Hey, it got really late: call a taxi, if you feel tipsy.
Day 2 - Start the day at Castello Sforzesco
When you wake up late on a Sunday, you need to go a pastry shop and have a great Italian breakfast. An excellent choice is Pasticceria Marchesi 1824 just off Via Meravigli.
From there reach Piazza Cairoli, with the statue of Garibaldi and the imposing Castello Sforzesco, a major sight which contains awesome museums. Then do some walking or jogging at Parco Sempione, the central art nouveau park of Milano.
Sarpi-Chinatown: it's lunch time
Head towards the Arena, then walk down Viale Montello: when you cross Via Sarpi, you’re in the heart of Chinatown! This is the right place to enjoy a proper lunch eating Shanghai-style cuisine or some street food from the Italian South. Drink some green tea and walk to Cimitero Monumentale, sparkling in its white marble.
End the weekend in Hangar Bicocca
From there enter the driverless M5 subway line to Ponale (direction: Bignami) for a futuristic trip to Hangar Bicocca, a vast space for the contemporary arts in a formerly industrial district that now hosts a large university and residential condos. The exhibits are always spellbinding (and free) and there’s a great bar and cafeteria. Damn, it’s already time to leave and head to the station!
It was short but packed with experience and style.