Travel preparations in full swing, bags packed to a tee, checked into my flight, and off to my first, quick stop in Milan. Although not a shopping enthusiast, I am still very happy to land right in the middle of the great January sales (starting on January 2nd until the February 28th).

Synonymous with the heritage of its luxury fashion houses, frequent visitors are surely aware that this city has much more going on than just the lavish retail shops and the swanky restaurants. I discovered this during some quick stopovers between connecting flights. Once again, here I am, for a quick stop in Milan with a great travel companion, before our next stop on our way to the Arctic. This time having just 26 hours, and once again racing against time to make the most of it!

porta garibaldi, milan, travelling

1830 – Stop at the Navigli District

Surrounding the city’s historic canals, this is a prime, lively area for dining and evening entertainment. Once there, trying the Risotto Milanese is a must! It’s a typical Milanese dish followed by a few cocktails in one of Milan’s hippiest areas.  Otherwise, aperitivo time runs from around 18:00 to 21:00, where you can choose your drink, pay a set price, and help yourself to the food from the buffet at the bar. The best thing is that the food is reasonably priced.

0730 –Breakfast at the DUOMO

The next day, following a very early wake-up call, we skip breakfast at the hotel, as my aim is to grab a quick coffee at the Piazze Del Duomo and take some detailed shots of some of the 3,500 statues of saints, animals and monsters adorning the grandeur of the Duomo Cathedral. This is a genuine Gothic masterpiece, and with 135 towers stretching to the heavens; it’s surely difficult to wholly admire it while just on a quick stop in Milan.

duomo, milan

Very happy with my shots, I sit down sipping on my coffee, admiring the activities around me through my rosy pink shades. The day is actually quite gloomy but this is how I like to look at it! It starts to rain, and from the outdoor cafeteria we run to seek shelter under the arches on the opposite side of the Galleria. To my surprise, we find ourselves walking among various book stalls covered in plastic sheets by the local sellers.Piazza del duomo book stalls

Have you ever wondered why Napoleon Bonaparte’s statue stands high, just in front, in the centre of the Piazza? Well, during the period he conquered Milan, he eagerly sped up the process of the termination of the facade of the Cathedral, which before his intervention was taking way too long to be completed. This intervention followed his dream of being crowned King of Italy, right inside this majestic building.


Not having much time and energy left to move around analysing menus, we settle for the closest best option. Il Salotto di Milano, a prestigious, very exclusive, historical restaurant serving tartufo delicacies, situated in one of the world’s oldest shopping malls, Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele II.



Our sightseeing during this quick stop in Milan continues with a visit to the SEMPIONE PARK. Beyond restaurants and shops, there’s this 47 hectare urban park, easily reachable by subway, which provides the perfect detachment from the hectic city. Tucked behind Castello Sforzesco, this was once a hunting preserve of the Sforza Dukes. Then Napoleon came around, and set on about its landscapes. Considering its stretch, it is actually quite an oasis, surrounded with a handful of museums and consisting of numerous trees, winding paths and ornamental ponds.


Back to the hotel for some splash and fun at its luxurious spa. Even though you would want to spend less time indoors, it is always great to spend some time in a relaxing mode to regenerate your body and spirit just before embarking on your next intercontinental flight.

Mandy Farrugia, travel blogger

© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Mandy Farrugia