Art, Faith & Fashion Trip – Journey Begins

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This is a series of posts about my trip to the cities of Milan, Rome, Pisa and Paris.  It started with Milan. Here’s the story of how we got there 🙂 .

We were in Pori, Finland during summer of 2014. Since summer is the best time to be in Europe. We were planning a trip to some place in Southern /Central Europe. This trip got within the budget only because we were able to plan our trip around Ryanair and airBaltic flights. Although four days/ four nights for four cities is very less time but you try to make best of whatever opportunities come your way.

We took Ryanair Flight: FR4725 from Tampere to Bergamo, Milan. Bergamo airport is about 50 kms from Milan central station. There are several bus services from the airport which drop you to Milan central station (Stazione Centrale) for €5. It’s a different story that we had paid €6 online. Lesson learnt, buying online may not always be cheaper especially if you are in Italy. The bus took about an hour to reach central station. From there we had to go to our hostel (Scream Hostel, viale Monza 111, Milan, 20127, Italy, Telephone: 0039 0226828982, Email: screamhostel@hotmail.it ). The hostel is close to a Metro station named Rovereto. After asking for directions we took Metro Line2 (M2) towards the direction of Gessate / Cologno Nord and got down at Loreto. From Loreto we changed to Metro Line1 (M1) towards Sesto 1° Maggio F.S and got down at Rovereto. At Rovereto station a gentle old lady voluntarily gave us directions. She also taught where to look for house numbers. Also that numbers are even on one side of the street and odd on the opposite (a common practice in European cities). This information was very helpful, Grazie signora! Scream hostel is inside an old building which according to the owners housed Marshall Mussolini. To get into the building you have to press a number mentioned on the gate. Then the lady at reception will open the gate for you and direct you to reception. You can read my review here. After freshening up we went for dinner to an Indian restaurant named Aangan. You can read my review here. After dinner we retired for the night. It was bit hot and humid but being an Indian was able to bear it.


Scream Hostel entrance

Stay tuned to know what we did in Milan.

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Art, Faith & Fashion Trip – Milan

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The second post in the series. Milan – the fashion capital of world.

Though the sky was overcast but it couldn’t dampen our spirits. Armed with maps and directions we set off towards our first stop for the day Castello Sforzesco (Sforza Castle). A castle built in 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan, on the remains of a 14th-century fortification. Later renovated and enlarged, in the 16th and 17th centuries it was one of the largest citadels in Europe. Largely remade by Luca Beltrami in 1891–1905, it now houses several of the city’s museums and art collections.

From ROVERETO metro station we took Line No M1 (towards RHO FIERA / BISCEGLIE) for 9 stops and got off at stop CAIROLI Castello. This metro station is right in front of the castle. Admission to the castle itself is free but there is an entry fee for the museums.

Street in front of Castle

Castle entrance

Gardens inside castle

Flower in garden

Castle wall from inside

Castle from the park

Lotus in the park

Some flowers from the park:

 

After strolling and clicking pictures around beautiful park/gardens we had light breakfast at snack stall in castle. Before heading to our next destination we shopped for souvenirs of Milan at a stall near the castle entrance.

We went back to CAIROLI Castello stop and took Line No M1 (towards RHO FIERA / BISCEGLIE) for 1 stop and got down at CADORNA. From there we changed to Line No M2 (towards ASSAGO FORUM/ ABBIATEGRASSO) for 1 stop and got off at stop S. AMBROGIO. From the metro station we walked to Sant’Ambrogio Church(an eleventh century church built on the site of a fourth century church). The church is really beautiful. A wedding was in progress when we reached there. We watched the proceedings for some time then we walked through beautiful streets of Milan towards our next destination.

Some pictures of Sant’Ambrogio Church:

Corridor of church

Inside Church

Church Courtyard

A Beautiful Balcony

One of the streets in Milan

Next destination San Maurizio al Monastero Maggiore got into our itinerary mainly due to rave reviews at tripadvisor. In fact it is ranked #1 for attractions in Milan. Must say it was a wise decision due to its beautiful frescoes. Moreover there is no entry fee to see those magnificent paintings. Please read my review here.

A few pictures of frescoes inside the church:

After seeing some breathtaking frescoes we walked towards our next destination. On the way my friends shopped sunglasses at a store named Ottica Vigevano on Via Santa Maria Segreta, 6. I remained content with window shopping.

As we could not have proper breakfast in morning plus all that excitement and walking made us very hungry. We found one McDonalds right opposite Milan cathedral. Though had to struggle with a large crowd but ultimately found a cozy corner for a sumptuous American lunch.

After lunch we walked across to Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano). The largest in the Italian state territory and the fifth largest cathedral in the world and. A must see monument in Milan. Entry to the Cathedral itself is free albeit you need to dress appropriately (no bare shoulders, shorts etc.). The Duomo square was an awesome place with lots of people enjoying the warm summer sun and whiling away time clicking pictures of Duomo and its surroundings. Duomo square is flanked by Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II on one side. It’s one of the world’s oldest shopping malls. It was designed in 1861 and built by Giuseppe Mengoni between 1865 and 1877. Please do read my reviews for the Cathedral and Vittorio Emanuele II archade.

A few pictures from our collection!

Milan Cathedral (Duomo di Milano)

Inside the Cathedral

Crowded Duomo Square

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

After some more window shopping through the arcade we crossed to other side right in front of Piazza della scala which is opposite Teatro alla Scala (La Scala Theatre). It was around 3.30 pm and we had some time before we had to take a train to Rome. We sat on the benches in front of Leonardo Da Vinci’s statue tired and weary. My friends went out to explore the area but I stayed back. In the background a street musician couple were belting out melodious songs. It was a perfect setting for sitting silently and watching people from different parts of world with different languages, cultures and ethnicities going about their activities. In fact piazzas (squares) of Italy are considered best places for such people watching activities and spending time just doing nothing.

I want to re-live and share some of those magical moments through frames frozen in time.

Teatro alla Scala (La Scala Theatre)

Leonardo Da Vinci’s statue

A few roses from the garden beneath the feet of Leonardo’s statue.

After our tired legs regained some strength we headed towards Via Monte Napoleone. An exclusive shopping district home to some of the top names in fashion and design. Good place for window shopping. Walking around we reached Corso Vittorio Emanuele II which has more affordable stores. As evening was drawing close the place was getting crowded with lots of shoppers. The ambiance was perfect for spending the evening shopping but we had to catch a train so we headed towards Duomo metro station.

Corso Vittorio Emanuele II

Also on same street

From DUOMO we took Line No M3 towards COMASINA for 4 stops and got off at CENTRALE FS. From Milan central station we took 9553 FRECCIAROSSA to Rome. It was quite a thrilling experience to travel in a high speed train for first time in my life. The train reached speeds of 300 Kms/hr.

That was the end of an amazing trip to Milan. Given the time constraints we had to skip many places from our itinerary for the day. Actually to cover everything in Milan you need minimum two days. Before I finish here are some useful links.

Milan metro map: http://subway.umka.org/map-milan.html

Milan’s online journey planner using public transport (came in very handy): http://www.atm.it/en/Giromilano/Pages/default.aspx?bwid=2638df8e-af5a-4509-b4f8fc864345c92c-54105808&wbt=nav&contextname=2638df8e-af5a-4509-b4f8fc864345c92c-54105808&ORIGINE=Milano&DESTINAZIONE=Milano&sthm=Fermata:%20Duomo%20M3&edhm=Fermata:%20Stazione%20Centrale&xs=514862&ys=5034581&xe=516151&ye=5036883

Italy’s railway reservation site : http://www.italiarail.com/ & http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=4ddd1a035296f310VgnVCM1000005817f90aRCRD

For information on international trains from Italy: http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=70bab5d8039cf310VgnVCM1000008916f90aRCRD

Our Walking route map

Video of our visit to Milan, Italy on 28-Jun-14.