Milan?

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Pizzaman, Jan 21, 2014.  |  Print Topic

  1. Pizzaman
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    I'm planning our next family trip to Italy with our two young children. We've been before and visited Rome, Florence, Venice, Naples, Amalfi Coast and Sicily.

    I had debated adding Milan to this upcoming trip, but so far haven't heard great things when asking folks who have been. Casting a slightly wider net, what do folks here think about Milan as a destination in Italy?
     
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  2. Wandering Aramean
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    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Meh.

    Loved climbing to the top of the Duomo and such:
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Other than that, however, it wasn't all that special to me. Then again, we were there the week between Christmas and New Years and many things were closed so maybe we missed something. But I don't think so.

    And climbing up there with small kids will be no easy feat.
     
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  3. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Milan ( like Naples) suffers from the perception (often by people who have never been there/need to find a reason not to go there:)) but if you are willing to do a little research it is a wonderful city.
    Milan is a sprawling industrial city but most of the things that might interest tourist are concentrated near the Doumo.
    OK so the two most visited sites are the Doumo, the Last Supper so I wont even dwell on those.
    Then there is the high fashion boutiques if you are into that.

    1) Even if you are not a fan of opera a tour of La Scala is a must.
    2) The imposing Castello Sforzesco with its attendant galleries and adjacent park.
    3) Close to the above if you are into art there is the Pinacoteca di Brera
    and finally one of the most amazing cemeteries I have ever visited where the residents seem to go out of this world :D to outdo their neighbors and the final resting place of some of Europe's famous names some you might recognize ( Eva Peron was buried here before she was re-buried in Buenos Aires)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cimitero_Monumentale_di_Milano

    If you have the time or are in the area I found the nearby city of Pavia ( alma-mater of Columbus) well worth a stop even if can only visit the Certosa di Pavia one of Europe's most beautiful (Carthusian ) monasteries which located some distance outside the downtown area.
     
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  4. Pizzaman
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    Thanks, newbluesea. Any thoughts on dining? Also, any family-oriented activities? I'm sure we would do the Duomo, etc, and I'm inclined to do all of the 3 things you mention above as well. The cemetery sounds very interesting, something that everyone might not see when visiting.
     
  5. cliburn
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    cliburn Gold Member

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    Don't forget about The Last Supper at Santa Maria Della Grazie..... Really worth seeing (if only for the 10 mins they give you).
    There are some great churches including one with an ossuary (maybe too scary for the kids). Not sure about things for kids.... Going to the top of the Duomo would burn a lot of energy.
    The Navigli district is great for an apertivo. Food? It's Italy -- it's great, but Lombardy cuisine a bit different than the south. Gelato is great.
    A side trip to Lake Como (which is easy) links to lake ferries is a great option. Bergamo is also a nice side trip.
     
  6. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Without seeing Seth's comment, my own thought was "meh". However, it is the largest city left that you haven't visited. Are you set on only visiting cities? Small towns and farm land are really special in Italy (but few big chain hotels to stay in).
     
  7. storyteller
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    storyteller Gold Member

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    We stayed in Varenna (an old medieval town, complete with castle ) on Lake Como last April. Got there by chauffeur from MXP, for €150. We were exhausted & wanted to get there with no fuss, so this was a great option. Caught the slow ferry back to Como after 4 nights up there. Beautiful scenery the whole way.

    Varenna is about 10 minutes by ferry from Bellagio, but is way less busy. Also just 10 minutes from Menaggio on the other side of the lake. Lots to explore in just these 3 places.

    We stayed right next to the ferry, in a beautiful curved little cove, so very convenient & lots to look at. Also did a cooking class up in the hills above Varenna. The chef came to pick us up & dropped us off.
     
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  8. newbluesea
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    newbluesea Gold Member

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    Ah yes I forgot about the Navigili district ..canals constructed from when Milan was a seaport perhaps Milan's most happening area, lots of shops, galleries and restaurants.
    You can also take boat-ride tours there.
    As far as restaurants go my last visit was with friends who took me to some great local places but I cannot remember the names that is if they if they had any:)
    One very memorable place I do remember however was Pont al Fer also in the Navigili.

    Sorry not much help with the kids (although when I was their age the castle and a cemetery would be highlights of my trip:))

    I also recommend the beautiful Lake Como and the kids will love the little lake steamers which stop off in every village on the lake.

    BTW when are you planning your trip? We will be spending three nights in Moltrasio (Lake Como and where Versace is from??? and is buried) Oct 13-15th and will be Italy from Oct 2-20th
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
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  9. Pizzaman
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    Thanks, Larry, storyteller, Seth and newbluesea for all the thoughts.

    Our daughter was too young to remember Rome the last time she was there, hence the reason we were leaning towards Rome and Venice as two destinations we wanted to include in this trip. With the kids at a young age still, I'm not sure I want to conquer 3 different areas in a 8-10 day trip. I think I'd be fine but my wife might go a bit bonkers.

    I was thinking that Tuscany/Lake Como and Bellagio was a trip unto itself and likely one done without the kiddos to spend some time drinking wine in Tuscany. Does that seem like a fair comment? I would consider lobbing off Rome or Venice to add on Milan/Lake Como but maybe I should just be thinking about planning two separate trips.
     
  10. ericb

    ericb Silver Member

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    Throwing it out there, how about Croatia?
     
  11. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    One of my absolute favorite places with kids is Venice -- we spent a week one winter when my kids were about 7 and 9. Being New Yorkers, they were already used to walking a lot and not having to deal with transportation (other than hopping on and off Vaporetti and Traghetti, which they loved) was great for us. It's true, they weren't that interested in the museums but they did love the Doge's Palace. I just find there's a magical feel about the place which seems to rub of on children as well (at least, ours).

    Have you considered the Cinque Terre? Maybe not great if your kids are still very young, but if they can walk a bit this is a very picturesque area and has beaches (such as the are) or at least opportunities for sea bathing. Fun short train rides between the towns and boat connections in season. Just to the west, Levanto, Bonassola, and Framura are three pleasant seaside towns connected to each other by the old railroad tunnels that you can walk or bike through. Further up the coast are Porto Fino, Santa Margherita, and even Genoa. You could also combine the Cinque Terre with visits to Lucca and PIsa if you haven't been there.
     
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  12. ffitalia

    ffitalia Silver Member

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    If you go to Milan, considers even a few days to Torino and Egyptian Museum
    If you go to Cinque Terre and Liguria do not forget a day to Aquarium of Genoa
    For dining in Milan I suggest "casa tua osteria" (web site italian only)
    For other restaurant view this thread

    But for 8-10 day trip I suggest you visit only Rome and Venice. 3-4 day for Rome, 3-4 for Venice and ths islands. + transfers
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
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  13. uggboy
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    We've been twice to Milan and wouldn't shy away to visit for a third time, from staying at the Park Hyatt hotel, experiencing the Duomo, Christmas market, architecture, soaking up the elegant atmosphere, visiting the shops, of course, it's Milan, the world's fashion capital and don't forget the food, from ice cream to pizza and pasta, plus some great wines and there's La Rinascente, the world famous department store which has a top floor food hall worth checking out. I would recommend around 3 to 4 days in Milan. The city offers more than meets the eye. The Galleria Vittorio Emanuale || is a real favorite of ours too.

    See also our review of the Park Hyatt here on MP:
    http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/park-hyatt-milan-italy-review-photos.23704/#post-1845550

    [​IMG]
    [ PURE LANDMARK PLEASURES ]
    by || UggBoy♥UggGirl || PHOTO || WORLD || TRAVEL ||, on Flickr The Galleria Vittorio Emanuale ||

    Here are some of our photos we made during our visits to Milan:

    http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=43102195@N08&q=Milan

    Enjoy this great northern Italian city. Safe Travels and report back from your family adventures.
     
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  14. Pizzaman
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    Larry, I haven't taken my kids to Venice yet but I certainly got the feeling when I was there that it would be a great place to bring kids. I really do feel like it would be a great place for the kids to run around for a few days. I haven't considered Cinque Terre. Our youngest will be 3 shortly. I might consider adding something on in the Pisa/Genoa area on the way from Rome to Venice and saving Milan for future trips.

    uggboy, one of the reasons I was considering Milan was for the PH. I certainly could see making a trip of Milan and then either heading South to Genoa and then out to Lake Como (or both). My heart still leans Venice and Rome, as those cities have a strong pull for me. But, I won't know how much we'll love other areas unless we explore....
     
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  15. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    Are you travelling by train or by car?

    If by train, and you're looking to break the trip between Rome and Venice for a night or two, consider Bologna or one of the other cities along the Via Emilia (Parma, Modena). Lovely, historic towns with great food and a few smaller sites to occupy a day or two, all on the train line.

    If by car, I'd look for a castle hotel in Tuscany or elsewhere -- always popular with kids!

    I love Lake Como, but I'm not sure how much there is to "do" there with kids (except ride the ferry around to different towns). Visits there mostly seem to revolve around finding nice views and looking at the lake. Granted, I was there with adult friends rather than my family, but I still think it could get kind of old for kids pretty quickly.

    Finally, going west from Milan you could visit Piedmont. Lots of very atmospheric medieval hill-top towns with castles (and castle hotels) along with wine-growing regions of Barolo, Barbera, Asti, etc. You would need a car for this, however.

    What month are you going, by the way?
     
  16. Pizzaman
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    I've done Italy by car and train. I lean towards the train for traveling longer distances. It's one of the few countries I feel that way as I almost always rent a car. Train is also likely better when the kids are younger for longer distances. We've done Florence in the past and loved it, but I get the sense there is less to do for kids there. I had considered a side trip as you'd mentioned. Of the cities along the Via Emilia, do you have a favorite?

    ETA: We're going in July.
     
  17. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    I love train travel, not least of all in Italy. However, many of the really fantastic places to visit are not accessible by train (Lake Como and the Cinque Terre are exceptions). I'm thinking of rural areas of Tuscany, Umbria, Piemonte, etc. Of course, having a car in the cities is a nightmare.

    On the Via Emilia I've only spent time myself in Bologna and Ravenna. Bologna would be a much more interesting family destination (Ravenna is a nice enough small city, but visiting there is all about seeing the Byzantine mosaics which are probably not great kid fodder). It has some very cool towers you can climb (and climb and climb) for good views, lots of portico covered streets for walking (including a four kilometer long portico leading out of the town to a pilgrimage site on a hill top -- but you can also take a bus), and good food at a variety of fanciness levels. It's also a major university town. I don't think you'd want to make it the base of an entire vacation (unless you're really serious about food), but for a day it would be a pleasant stop-over and certainly more characteristically (or perhaps stereotypically) Italian than Milan.

    Of course, Bologna is the home of ragu and spaghetti Bolognese.

    Florence is not my favorite Italian city as a city (it's largely 18th/19th century and heaving with tourists in the center), but there's a fantastic food market and, in the streets around the food market, hundreds of leather goods stalls as well (I have a couple of carry-ons from there that never fail to get positive comments which is nice for a profoundly style-challenged person like me). But in the hills around Florence are lots of medieval towns and castles and great easy walking among vineyards and forests (our older daughter did her first "hike" of a few hundred feet at 16 months in the hills of Chianti).

    An alternative to Florence is Siena, but it's not on the main train line (probably better to get there by express bus). Much nicer city than Florence, entirely pedestrian in the center, with a famous town "square" (the Palio), cool curving streets, and lots of sweet shops (panforte is a local specialty)
     
  18. KathInJax

    KathInJax Silver Member

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    We did an Italy trip in June '08 when my nephew and nieces were 10, 7 & 5. We went to Lugano, Venice, Florence, Palermo, Sorrento, Rome and London.

    One thing to consider in July is Rome will be HOT. It was brutal in June that year, and our apartment did not have air conditioning. The kids loved most of the places that we went, but by the end of it, the middle child was asking for a taco - she was sick of Italian food!!

    In Lugano, we took the funicular to Mont San Salvatore - which they loved. We also took the bus over to Menaggio and the ferry to Bellagio and Varenna.

    In Venice, they loved the vaperetto and the doing the glass demonstration on Murano. They also got to feed the pigeons at St. Marks - but I think that has been outlawed.

    In Florence, they liked climbing the campanile and there is a Leonardo da Vinci museum that has hands on exhibits - where they spent several hours. They also got to ride the carousel in Florence. We spent one day going to Pisa - and my nephew was extremely excited about having his picture taken holding up the tower.

    Palermo was about seeing family and see my grandfather'a birth place.

    In Sorrento, they waded in the ocean, got shoes made and got carsick on the drive to Positano.

    In Rome, they got to watch a movie being made (When in Rome), went to a papal audience, toured the Vatican, Colosseum and threw coins in the Trevi fountain.

    To date, that has been their favorite trip - beats Ireland, Paris and Spain.

    I am going back to Milan in May with my Mom and cousin. We are going to Turin first and then Milan. We are planning day trips to Lake Maggiore and Lake Como.

    You might look at taking the Lake Maggiore Express - a train from Stresa to Domodossola to Locarno. You then take the ferry back to Stressa. There is also funicular in Locarno.

    http://www.visitstresa.com/Lake_Maggiore_Express.htm

    We are also planning on visiting Isola Bella and if I have enough time, the Monastary of Santa Caterina del Sasso.

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Caterina_del_Sasso

    I hope this helped!
     
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  19. Paolo Scuri

    Paolo Scuri Silver Member

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    May I suggest in Milan:

    Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci: http://www.museoscienza.org/english/
    There are many activities for children: there's the submarine Enrico Toti which you can board.
    There's even an app to download:
    "LeonardoAround is an application for iOS to explore about Leonardo da Vinci’s historic sites in Milan."
     
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  20. Lynda
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    Lynda Milepoint Staff

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    Whenever anyone mentions Italy, I have to tell them about the best B&B I ever stayed at. It's in the Le Marche region, which is really beautiful with small Medieval towns and lovely beaches but not as touristed as other areas of Italy. It's called Vento di Rose ( http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Re...e-Monterubbiano_Province_of_Fermo_Marche.html ) and it is very kid friendly. You could take a bus from Rome to Pedaso (very nice buses) and either rent a car there or have the B&B hosts pick you up. Very much worthwhile and a change from visiting the larger cities.
     
  21. traveltoomuch

    traveltoomuch Silver Member

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    Wouldn't somewhere further north be better in that season? The Netherlands or Iceland, perhaps? Maybe Estonia?

    Back to Italy... I loved the Cinque Terre. I overnighted in Corniglia, the smallest of the towns, and have mixed feelings about recommending it. It's a lovely, quiet place, but if you're planning to be out late (presumably in the other towns), the hike up the hill in the evening will feel long.

    Sadly, no specific advice to offer re: Milan.
     
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  22. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

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    Good thread as I have a meeting to attend in Milan in May and it will be my first trip there... thumbs-up2.jpg
     
  23. tommy777
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    Italy is by far my favorite country to visit on this planet. Melinda and I go to Lombardy at least once a year and know the area very well.

    My family vacationed in Lombardy often when I grew up, been there dozens of times. It's my favorite part of Italy.

    About Milan: newbluesea hits the nail on the head. It's a great city. Is it worth a visit? Absolutely. It's not Rome, but as you can see from this thread, plenty of interesting stuff to do

    My Dad's favorite restaurant, Savini, is located in the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. He claimed they have the best Milanese style Risotto in the world. Haven't been in a while, but the place is great and walking distance from your hotel (which I assume will be the PH in your case if you go ;)). The PH has an awesome location. It's really close to the Duomo and the Galleria. La Scala is also a couple of blocks away. The most amazing indoor Opera in the world. Heck, Opera was born there.

    Lombardy lakes

    I prefer Lake Garda and the Verona area. Don't know if your kids can stand 3-4 hours of Opera, but Arena Verona is definitely something that should be on your bucket list. We love to stay in Sirmione, a little town on the tip of the Peninsula at the bottom of lake Garda. I have dozens of restaurant recommendations. Zenato is down the street, this is Amarone country. Our hotel is always Hotel Sirmione located inside of town. Been coming there for years.

    Lake Maggiore is my second most favorite lake with interesting Swiss towns in the northern part of the lake. Como is my meh in this area.

    I could write pages and pages about this area of Italy, but bedtime right now.
     
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  24. Pizzaman
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    Lots of great suggestions. Thanks, everyone. We've been to Italy in July and August before and didn't mind the heat. It wasn't as hot as it can be either time, but I think we can survive it.

    I'm starting to lean against including Milan on this trip and doing a trip in the future for Milan and points West. If I can get enough days in Italy I'm likely to tack on a day to explore a new city like Bologna or Parma.
     
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  25. dhammer53
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    dhammer53 Gold Member

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    Bumping for myself and others that may be Milan bound in the near future. ;)

    I was thinking of blowing off Milan, but not anymore. Maybe we'll spend 2 - 3 days here, then do an overnight up to the Lake Maggiore area.
    Another option (for my second trip ;)) is to head to Nice and Cannes.

    http://www.stresa.com/transports

    Dan
     

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