Summary. Milan, Italy, is the perfect launching point for a tour of Northern Italy. This center for fashion and design, is the home of the Milan Duomo, a breathtaking cathedral that took six centuries to complete. Milan's public transit is easy to navigate with both above-ground rail and a subway system. Being unable to obtain tickets to see Da Vinci's the "Last Supper," we missed out on one of Milan's top attractions. That being said, it ended up being just fine as there are plenty of other things to see in this bustling City, including some of Da Vinci's other projects at the museum dedicated to him.
A wet and bumpy start. Having just traveled all the way from the West Coast of the United States, we arrived in the late morning, tired but ready to get started on our first major international trip with the kids. From the airport, we took the subway to central Milan and got off at the Duomo stop. From there we were supposed to take the light rail to our Air BnB, only we could not find the correct light rail line and it had started down pouring. Tired, wet, hungry, and filled with a bit of anxiety over the lost sight-seeing time, it was fairly rough start. Eventually, after getting a hold of our Air BnB host and walking in many circles with our travel bags, in and about the Piazza and neighboring streets, we located the correct light rail and headed out to the neighborhood where our Air BnB was located. Looking back, we realize that now, with smart phones, it is doubtful that this mishap would occur again. Even so, we have since learned to study the maps a little closer for these type of transfers, and with most travel mishaps, we can now laugh about it.
After dropping our bags, grabbing some lunch, dry clothes, and a quick rest, we headed back onto the light-rail towards the Milan Duomo.
Milan Duomo: Our photographs of this Cathedral do not do it justice. It is truly awe-inspiring and hard to describe just how grandiose it is. Once inside, it is especially evidence why it took 600 years to build this Gothic Cathedral. With columns that dwarf you in size to stain glass windows filled with the brightest of colors, the Duomo is a "must see" while in Milan. Prayer candles are available for those that wish to pay tribute to a loved-one. Doing this became a bit of a tradition in the many Cathedrals we have visited across Europe.
Entrance and Museum combo tickets are 10 Euros each.
Just outside the Duomo, in Piazza del Duomo is a statute honoring the former King of Italy, Victor Emmanuel II (first photo below). From there, we walked over to the Galleria, which was especially perfect timing in light of the then current downpour of rain. Tip: watch for deep puddles caused by steep curbs. My foot managed to find one and become completely immersed up to my calf muscle (whoops).
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II: We are not ones to shop much, but the Galleria is quite the sight to see. Opening in 1877, this indoor shopping mall was ahead of it's time. Filled with stores, restaurants and hotels, the Galleria is representative of Milan's reputation as a luxury shopping destination. Window shopping and people watching are free here, of course.
Right near the entrance of the Galleria is an Autogrill. Eating out in Milan can be expensive. Autogrill, a healthy and tasty fast food franchise, have surprisingly fresh and tasty panini's at good prices. As we were still jet-lagged and not quite ready to cook, this was the perfect place for us to pick up dinner on our first night in Italy. Photo credit: Autogrill.