Things I Did Not Hate About Milan

Of all the places I’ve visited in Italy, Milan may be my least favorite. It’s a very generic European big city: expensive, generic and really, really smoggy.

Now if Milan were a city in any other country, I might have liked it more better. Coming off of a two week high in Rome and Bologna though, it just couldn’t stand a chance. Milan was too business-like, too sophisticated, too un-italian to really make much of an impression on me.

I try really hard to see the good in everywhere I go though: I’m an optimist and I think every city has it’s charms if you rummage around enough. Even in a city like Milan which was not my favorite, and not one I’m dying to return to like Bologna or discover Bari, there was still some pretty neat stuff to enjoy.

The Duomo

It may be controversial to say, but I think Milan’s elaborate gothic cathedral blows the Duomo in Florence out of the water. It’s the largest in Italy, took six centuries to build and is full of gorgeous details and towering spires.

Plus, for a small fee you can ascend a giant winding staircase and walk around ON TOP of the church. You can wonder among the stone beams and see the details up close while tourists huddle like ants in the square below. It was one of my favorite activities of the whole trip.

Parco Sempione

Sometimes I forget how much I love wandering around public parks on the weekend and watching the locals enjoy themselves. We accidentally wandered into this enormous green space (which is attached to the medieval Sforza Castle). There was a traveling carnival going on with cotton candy and rides, further afield we found an African drum circle, dogs playing with frisbees and this Napoleonic Arch. Definitely a peaceful way to spend a warm afternoon.

Panzerotti at Luini’s

Our last meal in Italy before we hopped the plane to chilly Germany was panzerotti at Luini’s, a famous shop hidden behind the Cathedral. Panzerotti are a savory pastry stuffed with filling, similar to an empanada or a calzone but with softer dough. You can get them fried or baked, we tried one of each and they were unfathomably delicious with warm cheese spilling out the ends. I’m getting hungry just typing about it.

Actually, we did eat some pretty great meals in Milan, not counting the All-You-Can-Eat-Sushi place I flat out could not resist (I’m only human). Cheap and crisp pizza, softballs of mozzarella and legit pistachio gelato.

Anyways, I would come back to Milan, just for some more Panzerotti.

Have you been to Milan? Am I missing something?

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35 thoughts on “Things I Did Not Hate About Milan”

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  5. Of course Milan didn’t looks like any other italian city. Milan, and Lombardy generally speaking, are not Italy! We speak a completely different language and we have a completely differente lifestyle. We are not italians. The fact that Italy has been trying to suppress our national identy for almost a century, by forcing people from the southernmost part of the peninsula to settle here is another business. Don’t come here expecting to find an italian city, ’cause this is not an italian city at all

  6. Seriously I lived there for a year I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.. what they have to see there you can see in one day.. there isn’t really much to do there as it is so so expensive.. the Duomo is beautiful but that really is all there is the castle is very ugly .. the people are very cold and dull and business like .. go for a weekend but then move onto somewhere else.. the best city in Italy is Florence

  7. I was born in Milano and lived there for my first 21 years.
    I won’t lie saying that’s the best city I’ve ever seen in my Country but it’s definitely the most organized and cosmopolitan as well as being the most “touristcentric”. It’s got amazing food as much as any other Italian city: I would just try to stay away from those restaurants built for tourists, but that’s a rule that applies to any city in the World, I guess.
    Also, if you loved Firenze, Venezia or Roma, you’ll most probably know that Milano is definitely NOT very expensive: see, in Italy, when we have to judge if a city is an expensive one or not, we take gelato’s price as an example, or espresso’s sometimes. If you get a two-scoops gelato in Milano, it will probably cost you between €2.50 and €3.00 (I haven’t been around for two years, not sure 100%) : if you get the same in, lets say, Firenze this would cost you around €3.50-4.50.

    If you visit my city, definitely visit the touristy sights (try to make a booking for The Last Supper!) but also try to get lost in it, because this is the best way to discover it’s treasures. Do not expect a typical Italian stereotype, just don’t expect anything, and let it surprise you.
    And get an aperitivo for me as well, I miss it 🙂


    1. Hi,
      I’m moving to Milan in a few weeks and I’m feeling much more apprehensive than I backscatter reading this post! I’d love any advice you have for me… stuff to do, stuff to avoid, how to live cheaply etc!


  8. Ive been living in Milan for 6 months now and all I have to say is that I hate the place. From my experience I wouldnt recommend this city to anyone unless you are a rich upnosin snob with a fat wallet.

  9. Heheh I agree with one thing. After seeing places like Rome, there’s no chance to say Milan is beautiful!
    BUT I have lived in Milan and I have to say two things! One negative: food is really less good in Milan than in many other italian cities! You may have found some good places and liked it because it’s always “italian food” but there’s no comparison with the typical cuisine of central and south italy 😉
    And the second positive: if you put Luini’s panzerotti (that are a typical Apulian food exported to Milan) among the best things of the city, it means you didn’t visit everything! just to mention my two favorite attractions in Milan (after the Duomo of course) the church of St. Satiro and the neighborhood of Brera

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