Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 16 – What Did We Do in Milan?

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Emily:  Daraius and I went to Europe in September to celebrate our 2nd anniversary for ~2 weeks.  It was my first time in Italy so I was very excited!  In Italy, we visited Varenna on Lake Como, Milan, Venice, and Rome.

Since we were in Europe, we visited a friend in Strasbourg, France and also spent a night in Zurich.  We started our trip with a one day layover in Chicago to see friends!

Activities In Milan

Daraius at the Duomo di Milano

Our Anniversary To Italy – Trip Report Index:

This post will highlight various activities in Milan, which include:

Activities In Milan

1.  Duomo di Milano (Milan Cathedral)

The Duomo di Milano is one of Europe’s largest and most beautiful churches.  The Duomo is just behind the Park Hyatt, Milan and you can walk to it in less than 5 minutes on foot!

Activities In Milan

Emily Outside of the Duomo di Milano

We climbed the stairs and took in the amazing view.  The Duomo took ~600 years to complete and is the 5th largest church in the world.

The detailing of the Duomo was quite magnificent…

Activities In Milan

The Duomo’s Architectural Details Were Amazing!

with the sculptures …

Activities In Milan

Daraius in Front of the Spiral Statues at the Duomo

and Gothic detailing…

Activities In Milan

Emily Appreciating the Duomo’s Gothic Details

and gargoyles and fanciful creatures.

Activities In Milan

The Duomo was Decorated with Mythical Creatures

We climbed the 250 steps up to the roof.

Activities In Milan

It was 250 Steps to Reach the top of the Duomo

If you plan on getting inside the church, it is important that women wear at least a t-shirt and shorts or a skirt that covers the knees, because the guards were turning away women who were dressed in less than that.  

For some strange reason, men with shorts appeared to be allowed inside, but you may want to wear jeans or slacks to be 100% sure.

Activities In Milan

The Duomo has a Strict Dress Code

Inside the church, we went on the suggested tour in the Rick Steves’ Italy guidebook, and read about the history of the church.

Activities In Milan

The Church has a lot of History

We walked around the church…

Activities In Milan

Walking Around the Church

and admired the exquisite details.

Activities In Milan

The Details in the Church Were Exquisite

We also got to see the sculpture of St Bartholomew by one of Leonardo da Vinci’s students.

Activities In Milan

There was a Sculpture by one of Leonardo da Vinci’s Students

We also visited the church at night and it looked completely different with the lights.

Activities In Milan

The Duomo is More Impressive at Night

2.   The Last Supper

Daraius reserved a viewing of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous “The Last Supper” 2 months before our trip to Milan.  You can reserve a ticket online at the Cenacolo Vinciano website.

Each ticket cost 8 euro or ~$11.  This includes 3 euro for the base ticket, 3.5 euro extra for the guided tour and 1.5 euro for booking online.

The Cenacolo Vinciano is ~1 mile away or a 20 minute walk from the Park Hyatt, Milan.  You could also take a cab for ~10 euro or ~$14 from the Park Hyatt, Milan.

Activities In Milan

Emily Outside of the Entrance to “The Last Supper”

Tours are given every 15 minutes, with only 15 people allowed in at a time.  You are supposed to arrive at least 20 minutes before your viewing time to check in and wait for your group to be called.

There is a small sitting room where you can read in more detail about the history of the painting.  Because the painting is in a church, there is a dress code.

Activities In Milan

There is a Dress Code for “The Last Supper.”

You must reserve tickets ahead of time because they do sell out.  There were no tickets available for immediate sale when we visited.

Activities In Milan

“The Last Supper” Tickets Have to be Bought in Advance

We signed up for the English guided tour.

The tour is only 15 minutes and the guide talked the entire time which did not give us time to focus on the painting and to admire its workmanship.

Activities In Milan

Tickets to “The Last Supper”

The painting itself is painted on an actual wall, rather than on a canvas.  It wasn’t in the best of condition, but it’s still a fantastic mural.  We were not allowed to take pictures inside, but there was a reproduction outside for folks to take pictures.

Activities In Milan

Despite the Poor Condition, “The Last Supper” was Fantastic!

After our 15 minutes were up, we went to the Santa Maria delle Grazie church next door.

Activities In Milan

The Santa Maria delle Grazie had Interesting Architecture

3.   Walking at Night

The Park Hyatt Milan is near all the sites so we could see everything during the day as well as during the night.  We loved walking down the streets by the hotel at night!

The Duomo di Milano is very dramatic at night and there are lots of people on the square outside.

Activities In Milan

The Duomo di Milano – Very Dramatic at Night

Even the post office looked very grand and impressive at night.

Activities In Milan

The Grand Post Office Building

4.   Shopping in Milan

Milan is famous for shopping, and rightfully so.  There are shops everywhere! From the Gap to Gucci and everything in between.

Right behind hotel is Galleria Victoria Emanuelle II.  The Galleria Victoria Emanuelle II is the one of world’s oldest shopping malls.

There was a domed ceiling in the middle…

Activities In Milan

The Dome in the Galleria Victoria Emanuelle II

and a mosiac mural of a bull in the center of the Galleria Victoria Emanuelle II.

It’s good luck to put your right heel on the bull and spin backwards three times.

Activities In Milan

Emily Stepping on the Bull for Luck

There were tunnel-shaped glass ceilings.

Activities In Milan

Inside the Galleria

We went to the La Rinascente department store, which is just across from the Duomo and ~5 minutes walk from the Park Hyatt, Milan.

I liked seeing the over-the-top outfits at the Dolce & Gabbana store.

Activities In Milan

Emily Dreaming of Dolce & Gabanna Dresses

Daraius seemed more interested in the lingerie.  We stopped at Agent Provocateur

Activities In Milan

Daraius Liked Shopping at Agent Provocateur

…and then went to Chantal Thomass.

Activities In Milan

Daraius’ Attention was Kept at Chantal Thomass

But then he got bored.

Activities In Milan

Regular Shopping Bores Daraius

We purchased a few things, and went to the Duty Free center for our tax refund.

We had our passports with us and got the forms to show at the customs officers at the Milan airport to get our tax refund.

Activities In Milan

The Duty Free VAT Refund Line Moved Quickly

We preferred the outdoor stopping.  That’s because the shops had a larger selection of their clothes in the street shops than in the mall.  And the prices were lower outside of the mall (unless you went into  a high-end shop).

And Daraius got to see his dream cars on the streets.

Activities In Milan

Daraius’ Dream Cars!

I also liked window shopping, where I got to see such lavish accessories, like gold plated shoes!

Activities In Milan

There Were Gold Plated Shoes!

Bottom Line

Daraius really wanted to visit the famous La Scala opera house, but it was closed.

But he enjoyed visiting the Dumo and seeing the Last Supper mural, though he got bored shopping with me and stayed behind in the hotel rather than go out window shopping again!

I had fun (mostly window) shopping, though, and would happily go back to Milan!

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34 Responses to Our Anniversary to Italy: Part 16 – What Did We Do in Milan?

  1. The blog post says ticket prices are 8euro, but the pics of the actual tickets display 3.50 euro. Does it cost more to reserve in advance?

  2. I think I got robbed. I purchased tickets for the Last Supper for March 7, 2014 from a website called tickitaly.com and the tickets were 23 euro per person. Ouch! I hope your readers don’t make the same mistake I did. :/

  3. So interesting!

  4. Sforza Castle was also pretty impressive. We loved Milan and found it a great place to fly into Italy with miles, especially if da Vinci in Rome doesn’t have good miles flights available.

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  11. @WB – I updated the post with the price breakdown. You pay 1.5 euro extra to book online and 3 euro for the guided tour.

    @Lively – I wouldn’t have known about the discounted tickets if it were not in the Rick Steve’s book. I googled around as well and found higher ticket prices. It could be worth it, though, if all the official tickets are sold out and you want to see the mural.

    @Linda – We missed Sforza castle, but that gives us something to come back for!

  12. Hi
    Quick question about travel in Europe – what is the best way to convert USD into Euros? Do you use your ATM while in Europe or exchange funds before you leave the US?

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  21. @Kadence – I try to use a credit card with no foreign transaction fee. And I use a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM to get a better rate than I would changing money in the US.

  22. I’m just curious how you keep your passport, etc. safe when walking around. I have a cross-body bag like Emily’s that I was thinking of brining with me to Europe this spring, but was unsure whether that is enough.

  23. @Krystyna – We leave our passports in the hotel safe as soon as we arrive along with extra cash and credit cards.

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