Just an hour and a half flight from Barcelona, a visit to Milan on a weekend can be a perfect European city break.
Milan doesn't seem to get enough credit as one of the top cities to visit in Europe but I've got enough reasons to go there. First, I haven't been to the city. Second, I'm visiting a close friend so I've got my accommodation covered. That's enough good reason (I think).
I arrived at Malpensa Airport (MXP) late in the afternoon. The airport is located in the northern part of Italy so I had to take the bus going to Milan (Stazione Centrale). The journey took less than an hour.
Strangely enough, it felt like I was riding a bus from North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) bound to Manila especially after passing the toll gate and entering Milan. The view from the bus looks very much like the old city of Manila.
I finally met my friends at the Stazione Centrale or Milano Centrale which is the city's main railway station.
It was a dark, gloomy, rainy afternoon so we decided to go straight home since it's already late. But just when I thought my day would be completely gray and over, a nice welcome party and some warm dinner (Filipino style) save the entire day!
Lago di Como
The day started in the beautiful Lake District of Italy, Lago di Como or Lake Como. It is situated 45 km north of Milan near the Swiss border.
We took the train from the Stazione Ferrovie Nord Milano heading to Como, the northern city in Lombardy. It's just about an hour away by train.
During the trip, my friend told me all about Como Lake as one of the most beautiful and famous lakes in Lombardy. I couldn't agree more seeing it for the first time with its picturesque landscapes and luxury villas and gardens. That's the perfect view as we ascend to the mountain via Funicolare Como.
No wonder, most of the locals of Milan spend their weekends at Como. Even famous personalities like George Clooney and the Versace have their own nice villa over there.
The cold mountain breeze, lush greens and clear flowing waters, Como Lake is indeed the most scenic place I've seen in Italy so far. I spent the entire day just marveling at the perfect lake views and the beautiful mountain scenery.
Duomo di Milano
A much-loved symbol of the city and one of the most famous buildings in Europe, Duomo di Milano is the highlight of my weekend visit in Milan.
Nearly 600 years in the making, the extravagant Gothic cathedral stands proudly on the main square of the city called Piazza del Duomo with its soaring spiky spires and towers — 135 spires and over 3,000 statues!
It is considered the second largest Roman Catholic cathedral in the world, after Seville.
The cathedral is very popular to Filipinos through a romantic drama film in the Philippines entitled "Milan" which stars Piolo Pascual and Claudine Baretto. I eventually find myself secretly falling in love just staring at the beautiful Gothic masterpiece.
Just across the square, there's the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls sitting just beside the Doumo.
The Galleria is quite stunning and elegant with its dramatic glass-vaulted arches housing a handful of designer shops like Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton. One thing Milan prides itself on is its fashion district.
Next stop, spinning on the bull's crotch!
Inside this majestic indoor shopping mall, you would see a bull depicted on the marble floor. The tradition goes that placing your right heel on the bull's balls and then spinning around three times, brings good luck. Some say you'll return back to Milan if you do it.
It's easy to spot the "balls" as the part has been worn down a fair deal, as you could imagine. Of course, I took my turn just in case.
If anyone has actually experienced enormous luck after the spin, I'm all ears!