High-end brands at awesome prices? Sure, though I can’t completely confirm, because my 24 hours in Milan were spent at the Duomo. The Duomo di Milano took 6 centuries to build and is dedicated to St. Mary of the Nativity. It is also, in my opinion, the most beautiful building in all of Milan. I might even go as far as saying it is the reason for visiting Milan (except maybe Wes Anderson’s café in the Prada Institute).
A few blocks over from the central train station is the hostel, Ostello Bello. Because of an early train out of the the Milan Central Station the next morning, Ostello Bello was in the perfect location. Ostello Bello is exactly what I think of when I think of a perfect european hostel and they really let you know you are in Italy.
Upon arrival, they take your bags and tell you to relax for a minute while you’re filling out a paper for staying there, including important information, but also icebreakers like “What is your favorite song?” They bring you a free welcome drink of your choice, which when in Italy why not start off with a wine, and they offer ice cold lemon water. It really reminds you why you’re traveling after a hectic not as social morning leaving Denmark in the rain (Side note: I am a little biased in favor of the Italian way of socialization).
The rooms are clean, all works well and they incubate a friendly and helpful environment. More bonuses for Ostello, though, beyond the welcome drink and staff reminding you to relax a moment, is a tasteful included morning breakfast and because we’re in the Italian culture, a spread of olives and artichokes (and more wine) in the evening over meeting new people and unwinding after a day in the city. Okay, okay, I’ll get off talking about the hostel, but, if you’re in town and on a budget, just stay here.
After pinching pennies in Denmark to justify a 6 euro cappuccino, finding a delicious cafe for lunch, Panini Durini, located a block over from the Duomo, offering classic Italian sandwiches with hams, chicken, artichokes, grilled zucchini, black olive spread, white cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and homemade bread along with a perfectly Italian made cappuccino for only 1.20 was heavenly and beyond worth a name drop in this post.
Now for the Duomo. You can’t miss it — Its bright glorious existence is very visible when you’re nearby. When you arrive in front of it, there are two options…well, three options. Tickets for inside the church, tickets for the terraces, and tickets for both. Side note, you can choose not to take the elevator to the terraces and walk inside the church up the stairs. HOWEVER, VERY IMPORTANT, you can not have on hats, tank tops or shorts to gain access to inside the cathedral. I repeat CAN NOT, have on shorts, tank tops, or hats. This is true for a lot of cathedrals throughout Europe. So when planning to visit a special cathedral remember to dress accordingly. The terraces offer a beautiful one-of-a-kind view of the city. From one side you are gazing onto “new Milan” and from the opposite side “old Milan”.
If I had more time to spend in the city there is lots of history in old Milan worth wandering through and checking out. But if it boiled down to 24 hours, unquestionably you will find yourself at the Duomo. The only regret I had was that I didn’t have an audio guide or pamphlet with more information on some of the architecture I was standing in — and it’s so beautiful and you’ll find yourself wondering about it. Find some information. I also had a hat and shorts on, not thinking of the church rules and regretted not being able to go inside, if it’s anything reflective of the terraces then it’s mesmerizing.
I haven’t forgotten about the shopping I jokingly mentioned earlier. The coolest little glass domed area exists beside the Duomo, housing a Prada, Gucci, Armani, and a few cafes/restaurants. Who doesn’t want a spritz of Prada’s ‘Candy’ when in Rome, I mean Milan? Shops exist all around town, and mannequins don effortless fashions. Milan also holds many exhibitions for more than just fashion (Design, Global food, etc.), so if you happen to be around during one of these, check it out.
Final stop before taking a train out of the city — Central Station. The station stands out lying at the edge of business buildings and the new side of Milan and all the more to notice and admire its many kinds of architecture. Grab another cappuccino and a fun design or travel magazine for your journey from the bookstore, and be reminded to relax as you notice the complexly designed building. Milan made the perfect 24 hour stop in the middle of a long trip to relax and rest up. Next stop: Venice.
Favorite Sights/Activities: Duomo di Milano, Galleria Vittorio
Favorite Food/Drinks: Panini Durini
Transportation: Train, Walking
Lodging: Hostel (Ostello Bello)
Secret Suggestions: Make sure to check in advance if an exhibition is going on during your visit.
Travel Tips: Remember to dress accordingly to be able to see the inside of the Duomo.