Milan, one of the fashion capitals, a pizza and Panettone based heaven, and also an Italian city I’d never visited. I surpassed myself at just how much I saw, ate, drank and snapped whilst limited to just 2 days in a place I’d never frequented before…
Heading to Milan? It is easy to fall victim to the ‘must-sees’ told to you by so many blogs/travel guides/websites. If you only have 24 hours somewhere, in my opinion, prioritise what YOU want to see and do. Mine will always primarily involve two things: alcoholic beverages and food. Of course, beautiful buildings, iconic attractions and a dreamy four-poster bed come in at close seconds, but the cocktails and cuisine always take the crown.
First of all, find yourself a very central hotel. Whilst on a map, the city looks incredibly cosy with each area within close proximity, the reality is that from one street to another the distance is what I tend to refer to as ‘a mission’ to get to. A central hotel saves a fortune in cabs, saves your feet from failing on you in those five inch heels (it’s a fashion city darling!) and guarantees you get to sample as many culinary delights as possible.
If you can, fly in to Linate airport, NOT Malpensa. Epic fail number one was flying into the latter, cue a 50-minute (and serious ££££) cab journey into the city centre, as opposed to a 10 minute journey from Linate. There’s just as many flights to Linate, in fact perhaps more and equally priced.
THE HOTEL: Chateau Monfort
The beautiful fairytale interior is somewhat of a surprise with this hotel, from it’s fairly nondescript exterior. The lounge and bar area looks like something straight out of Alice in Wonderland whilst the spa area is heaven in a hot-tub. I didn’t get chance to trial any of the treatments on offer there, however if relaxation and luxury appeal more to you than the food, definitely book in! If you can stretch to book a suite, the bedrooms are out of this world stunning, whilst the standard double rooms are no where near as impressive, naturally. The marble bathrooms, however, do make up for what the bedrooms lack. Breakfast is typically Italian, and bloody delicious, whilst a coffee was as tall, dark and handsome as the men. Best of all, is the location though – a short ten minute walk to the Duomo Cathedral, the one tourist spot I HAD to visit, and equal proximity to the main shops, bars and restaurants.
THE BAR: Nottingham Forest
So this bar is not typically Italian, in fact far from it. It is however, a lot of fun. Prepare your liver for a small amount of damage, as every cocktail on the menu was as lethal as it was delicious. Featuring ‘molecular mixology’ – aka fancy AF, the bathtub (complete with bubbles and blue liquid) is one to start, whilst my ‘plus one’ had something in a test tube, that was quite simply rocket fuel, but tasty nonetheless. You can’t book, but as a couple you should be fine if you arrive earlier.
THE BREAKFAST SPOT: Motta Milano 1928
The pastries here are too good to be missed, and the views over the Duomo make for an even better looking breakfast. From a simple croissant to the insane tasting custard-y plait, we sampled a fair few and all were as close as you’ll get to a mouth orgasm. Moving on… If ‘interior goals’ are a thing, then this place personifies that. Gatsby-esque without being garish and chic from floor to ceiling, the bar and restaurant area provide some serious Instagram inspo.
FOR A ROMANTIC DINNER: Ristorante Da Giacomo
You couldn’t pick a more typically Italian spot for dinner, and this is faultless – from the old-school library interior with dim lighting and rustic furnishings, to the bread platter, the pasta dishes and the iconic Milanese dish (breaded veal). The waiters are charismatic without being overbearing and the meal was one of the best I’ve eaten in Italy. We had two pasta dishes for ‘Primi’ – the Spaghetti Paolo Petrilli, which is simple tomato and basil but tastes outrageously good, and the Raviolo Nero Alla Marinara, which is prawn Ravioli. Second course was two portions of the Cotoletta Alla Milanese (the breaded veal I mentioned) with salad, followed by us rolling out the restaurant and vowing to fast for two days. Lasted 2 hours…
FOR A TOURIST PHOTO: THE DUOMO DI MILANO
You can’t possibly visit Milan and not go to the most iconic building there, the Cathedral. Beyond beautiful, the architecture is breathtaking inside and outside and wandering around the interior, the pillars and story-telling glass windows is not only stunning, but strangely calming. You can book tours where you can walk around the rooftop, between the turrets and archways, which I highly recommend. If you’re after that important blogger shot, be sure to arrive first thing in the morning, around sunrise when you don’t have rucksacks and red raincoats ruining your shots – this is where I failed.