A day for the highlights of Milan

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
2
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
10
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
3
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
2
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
8
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
8
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
57 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Europe
country
Italy
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 70
Time of year visited
August
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
223rd/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 70% SUMMARY RATING: Worth doing

Summary

Milan felt like the definition of style – not only the perfect buildings and the art, but everyone walking around looks like they’re just about to hit the catwalk.  Maybe this was just a summer thing, but either way it seemed to ooze style!

That being said, I didn’t find it a particularly deep city for things to do / see, so I’d say a full day is enough, with some obvious sites to draw your attention

highlights

#1 Climbing to the roof of Milan’s Duomo cathedral to see the intricate gargoyles and views over the city

#2 After doing some basic background reading, seeing Leonardo’s Last Supper painted to the wall of the Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie’s refectory and realising the techniques he used

#3 Having a coffee in the stunningly gorgeous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II arcade with its magnificent glass rooftop and exquisite marble floor

#4 Sitting and starring at the dramatic and giant marble Duomo cathedral. Justifiably the Milan crown attraction

#5 Looking at the huge front of the Duomo from the nearby Piazza del Duomo

Travel Tips

  • Base your time on the 3 highlights of the Duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele and Last Supper, but be sure to wander into the adjoining streets around these places to stumble upon spots which are less touristy and still gorgeous
  • The Duomo Cathedral – you’ll naturally wander into the cathedral itself and look around at how magnificent it is, but it’s most impressive from the outside, so I’d really recommend taking the walk to the rooftop where you can see views of Milan and the intricacy of the various gargoyles, and also to grab a coffee in one of the many places in nearby Piazza del Duomo where you can look at the cathedral (€10 including the rooftop)
  • Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – this is right next to the Duomo and I’m a little surprised it isn’t shouted about more. It is gorgeous! Yes the food and drinks in the restaurants are overpriced, but you’re paying for the chance to sit and appreciate the wonderful settings
  • Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper – Milan is jam packed with world famous Renaissance art, but the stand out is of course the Last Supper. 2 main tips: 1. You need to book ahead to guarantee a spot – you only get 15 mins in the refectory where the painting is located (€12). 2. Do some basic reading on the techniques Leonardo used before seeing the painting. Like many others, I often take a glance at an artwork, think it’s nice and move on without really appreciating why it is famous / genius.  Whereas here I’d read the biography of Leonardo (by Walter Isacson) and so understand the context of the painting and the various techniques he used.  Whilst I recommend the book (if indeed you may choose to skip a few chapters!), you can get by by just reading a basic art background to the painting – it will really add to the experience. For example, see how he added the windows, complete with sun coming through the right side, to match the actual room and subtle techniques to draw the viewer’s full attention to Christ in the centre
  • I wish I’d . . . to add to the overall Milan experience, I wish I’d rented a bike or Segway to add a different dimension to the day

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone