A Stylish Escape: Milan in a Weekend

After facing several strikes in the airline industry, I finally boarded on a Lufthansa flight to Milan for a weekend getaway. Milan has always attracted me, not just because of its magnificent Duomo, but also for its fashionable ambiance and much more. Despite frequent travels to Italy, including visits to Amalfi and Tuscany, I had never managed to include Milan in my itinerary. However, after my recent trip, I must say that exploring Milan over a weekend turned out to be an incredibly memorable short excursion.

Flight from Frankfurt to Milan Linate Airport

The flight from Frankfurt to Milan Linate airport was a short and smooth journey of just 50 minutes. Unlike my previous experiences with busy traffic and challenging driving situations in Italy’s major cities, Milan seemed surprisingly different. Upon arrival, I found a dedicated taxi line at the airport, which made transportation into town hassle-free. In less than 25 euros and approximately 20 minutes, I reached my hotel, Sina De La Ville, located near the Duomo, thanks to the quick taxi ride.

Piazza del Duomo; Milan in a weekend

Hotel Sina De La in the center

Hotel Sina De La has a convenient central location, just a brief two-minute stroll from the Duomo. Given my limited weekend stay and desire to focus on exploring the city center, this proximity was ideal. Unlike many other Italian hotels that typically offer sweet cakes for breakfast as per tradition, Hotel Sina provided from cured ham to British-style breakfast items, along with an assortment of bread, cooked ham, fresh fruit, juices, and even fresh salads. Additionally, the hotel featured a spacious rooftop pool, adding an extra touch of luxury to the experience.

Milan Weekend Itineray

Friday evening:

  • Seafood dinner at a’Mare Restaurant
  • Strolling through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage
  • Night scene at the Piazza del Duomo

Saturday morning:

  • Visiting Scala Square
  • Exploring the Castello Sforzesco

Saturday afternoon and evening:

  • Shopping along main street
  • Viewing Navigli evening scene

Sunday morning:

  • Take photos of the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage in the morning light
  • Departure from hotel and arrive at the Airport via metro
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Friday evening (Dinner, Duomo, and Galleria)

Seafood dinner at a’Mare Restaurant

Before diving into the vibrant night scene around Piazza del Duomo, I made it a priority to fuel up with a gourmet meal at the a’Mare Restaurant near my hotel. Although the prices were on the higher side, every bite of the clam pasta and tuna with black sesame coating was a testament to Milan’s culinary excellence. To elevate the experience, I carefully selected two wines to accompany my meal, their fruity notes perfectly complementing the dishes.

Stroll through the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage

With my appetite sated, I eagerly ventured into the bustling streets to immerse myself in the city’s vibrant nightlife. Passing by the iconic Duomo, I made my way to the illustrious Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage, a shopping hub of luxury and culture.

The main structure consists of two passages with glass roofs, intersecting in a central hall crowned by a magnificent glass dome. The prestigious brands like Prada and Dior dominated the central position, while bookshops, art galleries, and souvenir shops added to the eclectic mix.

There was even a hotel within the complex, along with numerous bars, cafes, and restaurants catering to every taste. While luxury shops had more salespersons than customers, the restaurants were bustling with activity, providing a glimpse into Milan’s vibrant dining culture.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage; Milan in a weekend
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage; Milan in a weekend
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage

Night scene at the Piazza del Duomo

As the sun set in Milan, the area near the famous Piazza del Duomo became really busy. The cathedral looked stunning with lights shining on it. While capturing photos in the dim light posed a challenge, but it also hid some construction work on the Duomo. Music filled the air, making the atmosphere lively. More and more people kept arriving and leaving, making the scene always changing. Even late at night, the place stayed lively, showing off Milan’s exciting nightlife.

Piazza del Duomo; Milan in a weekend
Piazza del Duomo; Milan in a weekend

Saturday Morning (Scala Square, Castello Sforzesco)

Scala Square (Piazza della Scala)

My first stop of the day was Piazza della Scala, a charming pedestrian square at the heart of the city. Connected to the Duomo square by the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage, the square is named after the renowned Teatro alla Scala opera house which occupies the north-western side of the square. On the opposite side is the Milan’s majestic city hall, while the Palazzo della Banca Commerciale Italiana locates at the north-eastern corner. Despite being a touristic site, the square had only a few locals mingling among the visitors in that early morning.

Castello Sforzesco

The castle, built with a quadrangular layout, boasts square towers and an ogival gate, once accessible via a drawbridge. Key structures include the Torre della Corte and Torre del Tesoro. Noteworthy is the Torre Ducale, featuring a Bramante-designed loggia bridge. Inside, the main gate leads to a spacious courtyard, revealing impressive features such as the Tower of Bona of Savoy and the Rocchetta defensive structure.

Entry to the garden was free of charge, but its sheer size and the wall of trees along its edges made me hesitant to walk further. As the temperature soared to 20 degrees Celsius, my thick winter jacket felt cumbersome. Consequently, I decided not to walk towards the Arco della Pace, situated at the garden’s far end.

Castello Sforzesco; Milan in a weekend
Piazza della Scala; Milan in a weekend

Saturday Afternoon and Evening (Shopping street, Navigli canal evening scene)

Shopping streets

After lunch, I made my way to the luxury shopping street zone, stopping by the Mandarina Duck bag shop, my favourite brand. To my surprise, I found a bag I liked at a much lower price than in shops in Germany. Without hesitation, I bought it and felt delighted.

As I entered the luxury shopping zone, I was surrounded by world-renowned brand products. The area was bustling with people, nearly half of the passersby clutching shopping bags. However, I couldn’t help but notice that the buildings in this corner looked less affluent compared to those near the Piazza del Duomo.

Navigli canal evening scene

After enjoying an early dinner, I headed to the Navigli neighbourhood, renowned for its picturesque canals that wind through the area. These canals, originally engineered to supply water from the Ticino and Adda rivers, now serve as the backdrop for a bustling dining scene. I discovered so many restaurants lining the waterways, each filled with guests and lively vibes. The air was filled with the sounds of upbeat music and animated conversations, evoking memories of lively evenings I’ve experienced in Chinese water towns like Wuxi NanChangJie and Xitang. As I soaked in the atmosphere, I couldn’t help but regret not having dined in this area.

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Take photos of the Duomo and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II passage in the morning light

The pictures of the Piazza del Duomo and the shopping center didn’t turn out well due to the crowds. However, early in the morning, as the sun was rising, the square was nearly empty except for a few photographers. It was the perfect moment to capture some stunning shots, which beautifully concluded the short trip to Milan in a weekend.

Travel Tips for Milan in a Weekend

If you find yourself with some extra time, make sure to experience these gems: Enjoy a coffee in the historic Galleria passage, take a walk on the rooftop of the Duomo in Milan, and savour a dinner in Navigli.

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