Milan was lovely – it’s a lot more modern than the other places I’ve visited in Italy but that didn’t reduce its charm at all! Here’s my Top 5 things to do in Milan.
5. Archaeology Museum
I mainly visited here because I walked past it and saw that it was a museum but I found it really interesting (if I hadn’t chosen to do Chemistry at university, I would have done Archaeology). There’s parts of the original city walls in the courtyard (and a really creepy-looking dummy in one of the towers. I swear I jumped about a mile when I saw it – I was not expecting it!)
4. Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle II
Definitely the fanciest shopping centre I’ve ever been in – only designer shops are give the privilege of being here. Have a wander around Prada and Gucci, among others (and, like me, feel sad when you can’t afford to splash out on a fancy handbag!)
3. Sforza Castle
I loved the look of this – it’s so unusual compared to the other castles that I’ve seen in Italy. I spent a good couple hours wandering around all the little museums inside – Michelangelo’s Rondanini Pieta is a must-see!
2. Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
I was extremely lucky to see this! I booked my ticket months in advance and showed up for my scheduled time, only to find out that the museum staff were on strike and the museum was closed! Fortunately, just as I was away to leave, a member of staff came out of the building and there was, amazingly, a space left for the next day. So I got to see The Last Supper after all! It’s bigger than I thought and I loved it – I love anything to do with da Vinci, really!
1. Milan Cathedral
One of the highlights of my trip, I bought a ticket that included going on the roof, seeing the archaeological site underneath the Cathedral, and visiting the museum across the road. I showed up just after 9am and decided to go on the roof first. I’m glad I did! There were maybe only half a dozen other people up there and the roof is unlike any other cathedral roof I’d been up before. The inside of the Cathedral was also beautiful but, in my opinion, it paled in comparison to the roof! I’d definitely recommend it!
So, I finally worked up enough courage to go abroad alone!! (This is a huge deal for me, as I am a very shy, introverted person). I’m so glad I finally travelled alone, though – it was incredible! I found myself opening up more and talking to locals more than I usually do when I’m abroad. I even found that some restaurants gave me money off my food (or let me skip the cover charge) if I practiced my Italian with them – but I think the blonde hair helped as well!
Seriously, Italian men love blonde women. It was a bit surreal. Most of the time, it was the odd comment, or ‘bella‘ as I walked past them in the street but I did have one creepy moment when I was walking to the train station in Pisa and I walked past a guy sitting on a bridge who looked at me and asked ‘Like fucking?’. I gave a little eye roll and replied ‘no’ – what, did he actually think that that line would work and I would be all ‘take me now!’? Nope!. Anyhoo! I walked over the bridge and was almost on the other side when I glanced over my shoulder – the guy had followed me! As soon as he realised that I had noticed him, he kept repeating ‘Like fucking?’ over and over and over, no matter how many times I said ‘no’. Eventually, I stopped, turned around, and gave him the best glare I could – and, surprisingly, it worked! With a grin, he wandered off, and I never saw him again.
But, other than that, everything was great! There were some moments – like when I saw the actual Shroud of Turin – when it was literally just me (which I wasn’t expecting. I was expecting having to elbow people out of the way to see anything), and I managed to get in for free, or really cheap – admittedly, this only happened twice, but it was really nice!
During my two weeks, I visited Rome – where I saw the Colosseum and the Vatican – and my hotel was literally right next to the Capuchin Bone Church – which was fascinating.
Pisa – I took the cheesy tourist photo and, no, I’m not going to post it on here, as it’s really bad… Also, make sure to check out the Cathedral and the Baptistry and surrounding buildings – they’re exquisite!
Cinque Terre – I loved it here. It was so cute! And it was literally all hills and stairs. I climbed the stairs to Corniglia in 25 degree heat, only to reach the top and realise I could have gotten a bus. On the way back down, I decided to count the steps. 382!! I climbed 382 steps in 25 degree heat!! My cold, Scottish skin was literally melting when I reached the top – I’m not used to the heat. On an unrelated note, Manarola was definitely my favourite town – and it was the town I was staying in!
Turin – Like I mentioned above, I saw the Shroud of Turin! I also visited the Egyptian Museum – the second biggest in the world, after Cairo. Plus, my hotel was amazing! It was surprisingly cheap and the room was huge! And filled with so many plants!
Milan – I had booked tickets to see The Last Supper months in advance. I showed up at the museum for my scheduled time – only to see that the museum was closed, due to the staff being on strike!! I was absolutely gutted!! Luck happened to be on my side, however, as there was someone actually working there and they came outside just as I was away to leave – and I managed to get my time switched to the next day!! The painting is bigger than I thought it would be – but it was amazing!! Also, if you are in Milan, I would definitely recommend going on the roof of the Cathedral – it’s incredible!!
Verona – Verona is adorable! And the views from the bridges are amazing!! I saw Juliet’s balcony – which was packed!! I pretty much spent the day I was there walking through the city – it’s absolutely beautiful! And the fruit is amazing!
Venice – Ah, Venice. How I missed you! I think I walked all over the entire city (or at least, it felt like that, with the amount of times I got lost!). I also visited Murano and Burano again (I love Burano). And this time, I visited the Isola di San Michele – which is literally just a cemetery on an island. It was really interesting.
I’m so glad I did this and proved to myself (and my family and friends) that I could do it. I’m already thinking of other places to visit (hoping to get another Interrail trip in before I turn 26 in October!!)
Total miles travelled: 3962 miles/6377km (Just under 4000 miles!! Whoop!!)