8 Hours in Milan?
June 28, 2009 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Things to do close to the central train station in Milan?

My good friend and I have a few hours in Mllan (probably about 2 PM until 11, when we get on an overnight train) in late July; neither of us have ever been there before. Ideally, we'll check in our luggage at the central station and wander around for the day. What would be some good things to do (preferably within walking distance of the train)? Most tourist sites I've seen assume that we'd be staying for a few days.

I like shopping, but am not made of money. We both like eating ridiculously good but cheapish food. Like most tourists, we love seeing and doing new things, especially things we can't do just anywhere.

Bonus: how avoid looking too much like nerdy Americans while we're there?

posted by universal_qlc to Travel & Transportation around Milan, Italy (6 answers total)
The area within walking distance is not that interesting, I'm afraid. But 9 hours is certainly enough to take the metro and go anywhere.
As for looks, just dress like an investment banker on a workday; not being Italian, you'll still look under-dressed. Alternatively, don't bother, it's not like you'd get robbed.
posted by dhoe at 11:06 AM on June 28, 2009

I agree with the poster above: there's not a lot to do within walking distance of the train station except eat. Hop on the metro, which is connected to the station. It's cheap and efficient.

Go see the Duomo, the Castello Sforzesco, and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. You can get to all three of these at the Duomo stop on the metro. Honestly, I recommend just walking around the city and taking in the sites, or even checking out a few museums. There's not a ton to do in Milan, especially compared to the rest of Italy, but it's a really nice city with some big piazzas and old architecture. Make sure you eat some panini. ;) If you get lost, just get on the metro and head either back toward the Duomo or the central station.

As for dress, you'll obviously be a tourist if you dress casually. But there are tons of tourists in Milan, so you won't stand out. Last time I was there, I wore a t-shirt and khaki shorts, and I overheard a few guys on the bus debating if I was American or German. But I did not feel as under dressed as some of middle-aged German tourists I saw, with their baseball caps and their fanny packs.
posted by canadia at 11:42 AM on June 28, 2009

Oh, and another thing, I spent a total of 3 days in Milan -- arriving at 7am, staying the night, and heading for Bergamo the next day. I spent another day coming back to the city for my flight out. So yeah, there are things to do if you're only going to be there for a short time.

I also have to add that the most awesome thing I did in Milan was climb to the top of the Duomo. I think it costs something like $10, but it's totally worth it.

If you want to see my pictures of Milan, PM me and I'll give you the link to my google folder. ;)
posted by canadia at 11:46 AM on June 28, 2009

Before our trip to Italy this spring we were told a sure tip-off somebody's American is that they wear shorts.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:06 PM on June 28, 2009

I and a couple of hardcore geeks spent our one day in Milan at the Leonardo da Vinci Museum. I can't remember how we got there from the train station but it wasn't bad, and the nice guy at the museum let us put our backpacks in his office (ymmv), and we wandered happily around looking at all the scale models in geeky bliss. Yes, we missed all the must-see sights but we were in engineering geek heaven.
posted by girlhacker at 12:20 PM on June 28, 2009

I did this exact thing on my trip to Italy in May. I had decided that I didn't really want to see too much, so rather than staying overnight, I just checked my luggage (I think it was 4-5 euros per bag) at the station and grabbed the metro.

I took the metro down to the Duomo. From there you can check out the Galleria. I also walked down to the Church of Santa Maria delle Gratzie, which is where da Vinci painted the Last Supper. They had sold out of tickets to see it, so you may want to book in advance.

If you're into fashion, you can also head over to the fashion district. I was backpacking so I wasn't interested in buying anything, but it was fun to wander around in that area.
posted by sciencemandan at 1:15 PM on June 28, 2009

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