I scooped up tickets to Milan for about $20 each round trip. We only had 24 hours in Italy’s second-largest city, but we made the most of it with plenty of pizza and architecture.
Unfortunately, like most old and large cities, the airport is an hour bus ride from the city center. Buses run frequently and cheap, but it eats up a lot of time when you already only have 24 hours. We got to the large central bus station a few hours before sunset. We quickly headed to the center where we saw the sun’s rays paint Milan’s Duomo orange. This cathedral is one of the largest Gothic churches in the world. We wandered the streets nearby as the sun set in search of food. We stopped for cappuccinos as the church bells rang for 5. Then we had pizza and prosciutto for dinner with beer (Italy is not known for it’s beer and it shows, but I just can’t get into wine).
With full bellies we visited the Sforzesco Castle which is open until 7pm in the winter. The courtyard is lovely with reflecting pools and old Roman columns. The museums at this time were already closed, but we could see some of the artifacts through the windows. The exhibits are split between Michelangelo and Da Vinci and also show the history of Milan and the castle from the pre-Roman era through the Renaissance.
In the morning we headed downtown around 8am. Apparently Italians sleep in on Sundays because the plaza was empty. There was no line to go inside or to the top so we of course did both. The inside is stunning and immense. The outside is a Gothic paradise of creepy and bizarre sculptures.
Next we headed back to Sforza as the city slowly began to awaken. We opted for the Da Vinci exhibit. There are many mini exhibits in each side ranging from paintings to musical instruments. I definitely recommend choosing what you’re interested in first and skipping through the others because the whole tour is very time consuming. The highlight of the museum was La Sala delle Asse which was painted by Da Vinci. The ceiling is an intricate floral design and is currently being renovated. As part of the special room exhibit, the lights were low and haunting ambient music was playing. I swear the temperature was also lower than the rest of the castle. It was my favorite part of the whole trip because it was so eerie. You got a strong sense of how old the room is and you could almost feel Da Vinci’s ghost.
After, we had more cappuccino and some pastries before taking the long bus ride back to the airport. Next time I’m in Milan I want to see The Last Supper and the Michelangelo exhibit.
Our next trip is currently unknown. We’ll be doing something after Christmas, but have yet to decide. Serendipity!