6 Hour Layover in Milan

7:26:00 AM


milan duomo



Se bellissima.

2004.

I cannot believe that it’s been 12 years already since Claudine and Piolo’s movie “Milan” was first released in theaters. Though I haven’t watched the movie as a kid, I knew it existed through some enticing tv promotions. I look back on, up to this day, how beautiful Venice and Milan were on-screen. And with all the stout-bodied pigeons flying and circling through the main characters, I knew, then, I had to be there.

2015.

For 11 years, I stopped thinking about Milan as I never thought I’d be able to see Europe ever in this life. But because our Schengen visa was approved, I made it in this gorgeous city! Although Milan wasn’t originally part of our Eurotrip itinerary, we tried to squeeze it in because of a cheap flight from Budapest. Likewise, I’d probably regret it for the rest of my life if I won’t visit Milan while there’s an opportunity. We had 6 hours to see the city before our train ride to Venice. If you have a few hours to spare while in Milan, here’s a short itinerary on how to do it.

milano centrale
Milano Central Train Station Platform


Getting to Milan from Budapest


We bought a reasonably priced plane ticket for a 2-hour flight via Wizz Air, a budget airline in Europe. The rate was €30 (Php 1,600) per person inclusive of 23-kg hold luggage. Malpensa Airport is one of the largest airports in Italy. It’s well connected with public transport links so there’s no need to get a cab to get to the city center.


Commuting from Malpensa Airport to the City Center
If you’re arriving on a low-cost airline like Wizz Air, there’s a bus into Milano Centrale for €8 (Php 400). Allow about 50 minutes each way for the journey. To get to Milan Cathedral from Milano Centrale, the fastest way is the subway. Take the yellow line (direction San Donato) and the fourth stop is Duomo. One way ticket costs €1.50 (Php 75). Since we only had a 6-hour layover, we decided to spend all our time within the Piazza del Duomo.

milano centrale
Beautiful train station in Milan

Sightseeing in Piazza del Duomo


Milan Cathedral (Duomo)

Did you know that Milan Cathedral is the largest Gothic cathedral in the world? It is exceptionally large and its marble exteriors are elaborate. And the facade? It’s more stunning in real life!  Admission to the cathedral is free for individual visitors and worshipers. I read that the roof terraces of the Duomo are beautiful. However, since we had our luggage with us, we were not allowed to enter the premises. If you wish to witness its terrace via the elevator, the price is €12 (Php 600); €7 (Php 350) if you use the stairs.

Sunlight at last 
Milan Duomo
Milan Duomo

Galleria Vittorio

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is one of the world's oldest shopping malls. It was designed in 1861 and built between 1865 and 1877. The mall is covered by an arched glass and iron roof. While the central space is topped with a glass dome. The Galleria is small but it connects two of Milan's most famous landmarks, The Duomo and the Piazza della Scala. It has many shops of famous luxury brands and expensive fine-dining restaurants - which we can’t afford, of course.
Inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II 

Glass dome inside the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Glass dome inside the Galleria

Piazza della Scala

Did you know that while Leonardo da Vinci lived in many cities during his lifetime, one of his most famous works, the Last Supper was created during his stay in Milan? A  monument was erected at the Piazza della Scala in honor of Leonardo da Vinci, considered one of the most multi-talented people to have ever walked on this planet.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Outside the Galleria
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
Piazza della Scala

The Catch

It’s crowded.
For a moment, it felt like I was in Quiapo (a place for marketplace bargain hunting in Manila). There were a lot of peddlers selling selfie sticks and pellets for the pigeons in front of the Duomo. It felt like Milan lacked the kind of glamour I expected it to have. We also noticed that there’s a lot of Filipinos in there. Some can even speak fluent Italian. What’s even more surprising was that the train stations had billboards and advertisements of known PH establishments like Western Union and Bank of the Philippine Islands; plus, the prints were in Tagalog. Milan must have been a real home for many Filipinos already. Anyhow, we still enjoyed our time in Milan, even though the Piazza del Duomo had overflowing visitors. The church was so magnificent that I didn’t mind the crowd that much.

milan cathedral
"Pinoy Crowd"

Summary of Expenses for a 6-hour Layover in Milan


Particulars
Price in Euro
Price in PHP
Bus from Malpensa Airport to Milano Centrale
€8
Php 400
Metro (Yellow line), two-way
€3
Php 150
Fast food lunch in Milano Centrale Train Station
€5
Php 260
Total
€16
Php 810
I wish we had more time to see the other sites of Milan. But Venice, Florence and Rome were waiting! Italy is a country that’s unbelievably beautiful. It offers so much to see and do that it would take a lifetime to explore.

Milan, nice to meet you!

Finally ticked off Milan in my wishlist

Your turn, guys! Any suggestions on how to spend a layover in Milan?


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