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

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Emily Jablon:  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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Daraius Liked Shopping at Agent Provocateur
…and then went to Chantal Thomass.
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Daraius’ Attention was Kept at Chantal Thomass

But then he got bored.

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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.

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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.

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Daraius’ Dream Cars!

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

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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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