Meeting people during holidays may not be something special, but keeping in touch with them and finally meeting each other is quite hard.
Fortunately, this was not the case for my Czech friend Jan and I. We have been keeping in touch for more than 2 years and we have always been informed about each other’s lives by whatsapp or skype. We often talked about visiting each other, but it has always seemed to be so far until some weeks ago when he called me and told me about his plan to visit Italy with his family.
So, it was a great pleasure for me to be their personal Italian guide in Milan.
Since Milan is a very big city, half a day might not be enough time to visit all the attractions, however it can be sufficient to have a general idea of it.
I like organizing tours, so I was really enthusiastic, but I admit that it is not such an easy task since I had to choose what to see and what not to see. Also because certain things might not be special for locals, but very fascinating for all those who are not used to that place.
So, I thought about a tour and of course I changed my mind many times, but then I opted for this:
We took the metro and reached “Lanza”. Then, we walked 100 metres and saw the castle. My friends stopped at the entrance to see the many cats that were hidden under the drawbridge. After passing the bridge, they realized that it was much more impressive than they expected.
One of the biggest castles in Europe, dating back to the XIV century, was firstly a defensive fortification belonged to the Visconti family. After that it was completely renovated by the Sforza family, who enlarged the structure and designated a luxurious part to the Duke’s wife. During the years, it knew periods of changes until the most important restoration by Luca Beltrami and became one of the symbols of Milan.
Arco della Pace
We walked through the Sempione park, next to the castle, and we saw a very important historical monument of the city. Built to celebrate the peace among nations after the Congress of Vienna, it is now a meeting point for many Milanese people.
Teatro alla Scala
Teatro alla Scala is one of the most attractive points of Milan. This opera house is the most prestigious theatre in the world. My Czech friend’s father was really happy to see it because he has heard a lot about it and he was so curious to see the theatre.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele
Entering the gallery, they were fascinated by the charm of the place. It has the nickname “salotto di Milano”, ( Milan’s drawing room) because it is a meeting point and it is full of historical restaurants and bars and many shops of the most famous and expensive brands. It is named after the first king of Italy and was designed by Giuseppe Mengoni at the end of the 19th century.
When we went out of the gallery, the “duomo” came as a surprise to their eyes. They liked it very much, not only the cathedral, but also its crowded “piazza”. We wanted to go up to the top of the duomo, but there was a long queue and not enough time.
This is the largest church in Italy and took almost six centuries to be finished. In fact, we used to say that something that takes a lot of time to be ready is like the Duomo of Milano.
This is without a doubt the best symbol of the city.
Nearby, we had a snack. We ate a “panzerotto” at Luini’s, that is a favorite of milanese people. We also had a coffee and took the time to relax.
After that, we had a stroll in via torino, full of shops, that, as I told them, are more accessible to common people than the ones in the Gallery!
In this street there is a sweet outlet where they bought many sweet presents for their family and friends at home. I also showed them a special bar book shop where you can drink a coffee and read a good book.
Colonne di San Lorenzo
At the end of the street, the columns of San Lorenzo were waiting for us. I explained to them that it is one of the few ruins of the Roman age in Milan. There, we took some funny pictures with the church that is in front of the columns.
Our trip is going to finish and our last stop is Navigli. We got into this part of the city through the Porta Ticinese. Immediately, they were attracted by the water and the sense of freshness it gives. Navigli are a canal system that have been really important for the productivity of the area.
Now they are a central point for the milanese nightlife as their major charm is during the night when the artificial lights reflecting in the water animate the city.
Our trip finished at the Central Train Station. This station is a famous fascist monument that put together different art styles such as liberty and Art deco. It’s worth it to visit because it is not only a station, but a successful central shopping center.
Our trip was short, but pretty amazing. I had the opportunity to be the personal guide of a Czech family that really appreciated me, our city and our country. They were all very open-minded and fascinated by our special culture.