When we decided to go to Milan, I didn´t know much about what we were going to do here. I really only had one association in my head – Milan = San Siro (ok, ok, I know what you might be thinking, but please don´t judge me! I´ve grown up with football – thanks, dad! :)). I´ve never thought of Milan as a tourist-friendly location, such as Rome, Florence or Venice. So I had to sit down to the Internet and find out where to go, except the famous stadium. And I discovered that Milan has a lot to offer! Additionally, Milan’s best-known sights are located within a walking distance, making it easy to see the best of Milan in one day.
Duomo di Milano
I guess I should be really ashamed! I graduated from the History of Art and do not remember that in Milan there is a beautiful Gothic cathedral, known as the “Dome” – the largest in Italy and the fifth largest in Europe.
If you´re a religious person, I recommend visiting the Cathedral Church of Milan dedicated to St. Mary of the Nativity at the time of the Sunday service (times of services here). It also has the advantage that you don´t pay for the admission to the cathedral when visiting the service.
The square in front of the Cathedral – Piazza del Duomo – was partly closed at the time of our visit due to the last leg of the famous Giro d’Italia cycling race (so my advice: always check out before, if there aren´t any events like this in the place where you are heading). But even at least the children enjoyed feeding the pigeons in front of the cathedral.
I hope that during our future visit we will have more time to walk on the roof of the cathedral, from where there are wonderful views of the surrounding area. I think our kids would like it too!
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is a roofed (or better to say glass-topped) street located on the Piazza del Duomo. It is full of high-end luxurious boutiques and even luxurious restaurants.
I walked this is the oldest shopping center in Italy with my mouth wide open, because here I could only do window-shopping and/or fall into faint seeing the prices on the fancy menus.
Castello Sforzesco – Sforza Castle
On the site of the original medieval fortifications of the city, Francesco Sforza, the Duke of Milan, built the castle in the 15th century. It was was later (due to its enlargement and modifications) one of the largest citadels in Europe.
Today it houses various museums and art collections. We didn´t visit any of them, but as the entrance to the castle is free, we walk through the grounds at least.
Just behind the walls of Castello Sforzesco is a huge park, which is a green oasis in the middle of the city. Various events are taking place here, such as football in zorbing balls or festivals. We bought a traditional focaccia at the nearest stand and made a picnic like the locals.
After a rest in the grass, we took a pleasant walk to the end of the park, where you can find the Arco della Pace (Arc of Peace).
When we walked around its periphery (heading east), we found, among others, a children’s playground, the large Arena Civica (which looks like it dates back to antiquity, but was built in the early 19th century in neoclassical style, that was very antique-inspired) or Aquarium.
In this part of the city, you will stop feeling like in a busy metropole, but you´ll feel the touch of small Italian villages, where people enjoying meeting their friends over the cup of cappuccino or a glass of good Italian wine in countless restaurants and bars.
Kids were mostly interested in local Gelateria – we have found one on the pulsing Via Fiori Chiari right in the heart of this district.
We ended our walk through this district near St. Mark’s Church.
And what were my impressions of visiting Milan?
Milan reminded me of Prague. Not only because of the metro and trams, but also the multi-storey buildings of the palaces in the city center, the large square with a riding sculpture and ubiquitous pigeons (and, unfortunately, the homeless as well). Parco Sempione reminded me of Stromovka, the Dome of St Vitus Cathedral. It just felt like home here 🙂
On the one hand, I was a bit disappointed that we haven´t managed to visit all the places I had on my itinerary. As my husband wisely reminded me: when traveling with children, one must lower their expectations and adapt to their pace and needs. But on the other hand, we have something to look forward to next time! 😉
And what about you? Were you with children in Milan or another metropolis? Are you enjoying visits to the city, or do you prefer other destinations? Tell me in the comments bellow! And do not forget to save this photo on Pinterest!