Milan or Bust!

2:30:00 AM Brooke Neal 1 Comments

Truth be told, our trip to Milan was somewhat of a bust.  Between weather, traffic, car problems, poor planning and a tour guide no show we actually saw very little of what Milan has to offer.  As often as we travel, as much as we have learned, I can't believe I broke some of the basic rules of travel.  Thankfully, we are close enough that if we want, we can make another trip to Milan, but that is not the case for most, so here are a few tips I learned the hard way.
1.  Plan and book ahead: This is The Santa Maria della Grazie, it is home to Leonardo di Vinci's The Last Supper.  Unfortunately, this is as close as we got to the famous painting because reservations are needed to see the masterpiece.  Only 25 people are allowed in at a time for 15 minutes and when it's sold out, it's sold out. No sweet talking, batting of the eyes, or "I've come a really long way" will get you in.  Even if there are "no shows" the church will not give away those tickets.  In winter time, tickets are sold out 1-2 weeks in advance. In summer you are best off to book a month in advance.

The Details
The official ticket website for The Last Supper is Viva Ticket .
Address: Santa Maria della Grazie 2, Milan 20100
Cost: 8e includes booking fee / optional 3.50e per ticket for guided tour.  If you want an English guided tour you need to call +39 02 92800360 for reservation.
Hours: 8:15am-7pm T-Sun

Now, there ARE ways to get last minute tickets, but it will cost you double or triple the price. There is a tourist office on the back side of the Duomo that sells last minute tickets for 30e.  Their offerings are limited, but beggars can't be choosers, right!
2. Don't put off your "must see." If there is something special you want to do or see, don't put it off, do it early in your trip.  You never know when a site will close, weather will turn or any other number of things will prevent you from seeing your site.  We had planned to take the roof top tour of the Duomo, but on Monday it snowed, closing the rooftop.  Unfortunately, it was closed Tuesday for the same reason.  We did get to see the interior of the church, but I was disappointed we didn't get to climb the 200+ steps to enjoy the bird's eye view.

The Details
Cost: 7e adults/3.50 children (price for taking the stairs.  If you take the elevator, it's more)
Ticket Booth: The kiosk selling Duomo roof top tickets is behind the Cathedral on the right hand corner.  

3. Check the weather!  I am not a fan of wet weather.  I can handle chilly and even cold, but not wet, nothing de-motivates me faster.  Since I hadn't planned ahead or done much research before our to Milan I scheduled a walking tour for Monday--Good way to get acquainted with the town and get a bit of history to boot.  Unfortunately, the tour guide didn't show up.  We stood at the appointed landmark for 25 minutes (along with another person waiting for the same tour), but to no avail.  When I dialed the phone number on my reservation it went straight to voicemail.  To make matters worse, practically all museums are closed on Monday.  So, with no guide, no plan and no good weather we ended up back at our hotel.
4. Do a little restaurant research: I can promise you one thing, my husband and I will argue at least once per trip about food, it happens on EVERY single time!  Our chronic problem is, we don't plan ahead where to eat and when hunger strikes nothing is worse than wandering around trying to find some place that appeals to both your pallet and wallet (believe me I know this scenario well).  As is often the case, we end up eating at a second rate fast food chain.

Now, let me just say, this cup of cocoa was delicious and our window seats over looking the Duomo were pretty fantastic. And sometimes, all your children want is a familiar kids meal, but usually not more than 2 or 3 blocks from main sights you can find reasonably priced, local food.  You just have to inquire beforehand--your hotel, Trip Advisor and Rick Steves' (our guide book of choice) can always offer up suggestions.  

1 comment:

  1. Yet more fantastic tips B. Thank you! We too always argue about food and where to eat when we are travelling, I am glad it's not just us! :D

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