Alas, my first solo trip has finally arrived! I’ve been trying to plan one for the last two years and I was finally able to embark on this journey BY MYSELF. I’ve felt like I was in a ‘weird’ place the last few weeks leading up to my trip – so I knew that it was much needed and would hopefully provide me with some self-care. I really wanted to reflect and make some changes in my life and this trip was going to be the perfect time to do that. Coming back from this trip, I feel much better as a whole and am finally getting back on track with my goals, work, etc.
Many people have asked if I was afraid to travel on my own and how it was going to work out considering I don’t speak Italian fluently – the answer is no. I picked Italy because I felt like Europe is relatively safe. Anything dangerous can happen anywhere, you just need to be aware of your surroundings and not put yourself in situations where something bad can happen. Or maybe I am just desensitized from living in NYC for 5 years!
Overall, I really LOVED my Italy trip. I picked to fly in and out of Milan because of the great price I got on my roundtrip ticket with a deal I saw on the Flight Deal. I didn’t create an itinerary besides my transportation because I wanted to just enjoy the cities and roam around without following a list. I picked one main attraction I really, really wanted to see in each city and then just went from there.
I got suckered into buying the Milano Card, but I would have to say this is completely unnecessary unless you are planning on staying in Milan for a longer period than I did. I think the best way was to just buy a metro card with an unlimited day pass. I got the 48 hour one and it worked out perfectly for me. I ended up giving my card to someone waiting in line at the machine since I was headed out of Milan in the AM next day tand it was still good for another 10 hours! I think it is 8,25 € for a 48 hour ticket and well worth it. The metro system was very easy to navigate. I used Google Maps when I was looking up directions and it tells you which metro station is the closest to it. The system is great and it was very easy to get around. I even took the train into the city from the airport.
Places to See/Things to Do ✴
- Duomo di Milano – one of the premier tourist attractions in Milan. Be prepared for long queues, but note that you can buy timed tickets to go to the rooftop. I didn’t get a chance to do this, but they had an event out front with red balloons shaped like hearts that people were buying where the money was donated to those in need. And it was a spectacular site and photo op. Reminded me of Banksy’s famous ‘Girl with the red balloon’ painting.
- Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – A lively shopping mall FILLED with tourists. But stop for a moment and take a look up at the beautiful, glass-topped ceiling. I was in and out of there – but was amazed at how beautiful it was. It was too cramped for me to spend any more time than just walking through.
- Il Cenacolo | The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci – I am not a religious person by any means, but this was something I definitely wanted to see. Unfortunately, one of the days I was in Milan was a Monday and they were closed. Highly recommend buying tickets ahead of time as soon as you have dates set because they sell out fast! Otherwise, you will have to book tickets through a tour which will be more expensive and time consuming. I will have to come back to see it another time!
- Corso Como – Shopping! Who doesn’t like to shop?!
- CityLife Shopping District – this is a brand new, shopping center so there wasn’t a huge variety of stores to choose from. But it was great to just visit and rest my legs a bit from walking miles upon miles.
- Sforza Castle – I stumbled upon this on my way back to my hotel in the evening. There’s a beautiful fountain out front and the lighting around the castle makes it a great photo op. It was built in the 15th century and was quite a site to see. I wish I did more research and had this on my list of places to check out.
- Cimitero Monumentale di Milano – this is one of the two largest cemeteries in Milan and one of the most visited! It’s close to public transportation many people go to visit each year to see the artistic tombs and monuments. My hotel was right by it and although it seems like a grim visit – it’s amazing to see the types of tombs that house some of the deceased (some which are famous).
Restaurants/Foods to Try 🍴
- Cotoletta alla Milanese – breaded meat pan-fried in butter. Veal is the most popular, but I am not a huge fan of veal. I tried the pork version. It was okay. Would’ve rather used my calories on a bowl of pasta instead, but I had to try it before I left Milan.
- Ossobucco – braised veal shank that just melts in your mouth
- ALL OF THE PASTA
- Sorry I don’t have any restaurant recommendations – I just roamed around and popped into places versus picking from a list.
- Cantine Isola – This place was PACKED when I walked by on a Sunday evening. Everyone outside was holding a wine glass and just enjoying each other’s companies. And when I say packed, I’m talking almost over 50 people. It’s located in Chinatown where cars don’t drive down that road and it was the spot to be. It has so much character, it seems like a hidden gem amongst the tourist traps!
- Corso Sempione – this area was great for after dinner drinks. It was a street lined with bars with outdoor seating and lively crowds. I ended my night at Jazz Café and people watched sitting outside.