Five Things You Never Knew About Milan
Giavanna, Paris, Spring 2019
March 12, 2019

Having visited much of Italy previously, I had some idea what to expect on my long weekend trip to Milan. Still, Milan managed to surprise me.

1. The way people dress may surprise you
Like Paris, my host city, Milan has a reputation has a high-fashion capitol. However, also like Paris, this is not necessarily evident in the looks you will see on the street. Everyday people are not walking around in couture, but rather pretty normal clothes.

Fitting the entire Duomo in one picture is difficult

2. There is a lot of graffiti
A lot of big European cities have no shortage of street art, or graffiti. But, of all the cities I’ve been, Milan has the most of it. It is not uncommon to see an important looking historic building covered in graffiti at the street level.

Views from the sidewalk!

3. It is possible to have less-than-spectacular food, but unlikely
In my experience, Italian cities really live up to their reputation for unbeatable food; Milan was no exception. Both landmark places—like the must-see Cat Café—and small, family owned restaurants had food that did not disappoint. Still, like any place, it is possible to stumble across some just-okay food, but it seems less likely to happen in Milan.

So much detail in the architecture

4. Public transportation is quaint
The metro in Milan is a typical metro. But, the mode of transportation my friends and I frequented was the above-ground trolleys; they were more convenient and also more fun. Stepping into one of these trolleys (that just drive on the street along with cars—but certainly do not blend in) truly feels like stepping back in time.

The top floor of the art gallery next to the Duomo offers a great view

5. Seeing the Duomo really is worth the trip itself
The Milan Duomo Cathedral is one of the largest in the world. It took centuries to be completed, and the entire city seems to be centered around it, in a way. From every angle and elevation, you notice more and more details of the ornate architecture. There is truly nothing like it—it will humble you, as if standing in front of a huge mountain.

More views from the sidewalk

Giavanna is a spring 2019 SAI Paris student from the University of Florida.

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SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.