Population: 1 302 000 (4 052 000)
Milano (Milan in English) is the 2nd largest city in Italy, Lombardy's largest, Italy's financial center and the world's fashion capital. Milano doesn't feel like a typical Italian city; the streets are clean, the traffic is slow, the streets are not too crowded, there are police officers everywhere and it feels pretty safe. Milano feels like a really good city, not as historically interesting as Rome, but definately enjoyable and a very nice and calm place to be in. Milano is also a city of design and new inventions: you can find rotating sushi bars, big TV screens in the metro and self service supermarkets. The architecture in general is average, there are no really old buildings, most buildings are either modern or just a hundred years old. But there are some really impressive churches, one of the world's most beautiful cemetaries and a few modern skyscrapers, like the famous Pirelli Tower, but more are under construction as a part of the new development program of the city. You can find many exclusive brand stores in Milano, especially for fashion, and Milano feels like a rich city. There is a large football team in the city. The setting of Milano is not the most beautiful: it is situated in the inland in Lombardia with no big river or lake nearby (2 rivers and a creek runs outside the city center though), it is completely flat and the mountains are quite far even though it can be seen on clear days (something we didn't experience). The streets are in general not very big, even though there are a few avenues, but they are not so small either. One thing that makes you recognize the city is economically important is when you see guys in suits everywhere. The most important part of Milano is Piazza Duomo, the square where both the world's largest gothic cathedral and the world's first shopping galleria is. The absolute city center is pretty compact, but the whole central area is too large to be walkable. There is a good metro system, buses, trolleybuses and a nice tram system with both brandnew and antique trams in the city. We went to the huge main station of Milan after a 2 hour train trip from Genoa. It was hot (about 30 degrees) and sunny all the time. We stayed for almost 3 days at a hotel, as the highlight of a big trip in France in Italy.
Genova skyline with Porto Antico, the city center and the mountains.
We stayed at the 3 star Hotel Serena, a small hotel in a beautiful bulding near Corso Buenos Aires, a busy avenue with some brand stores in central Milano. The city center is just a short metro ride, but a long walk, away. The hotel is modern, but nothing special. It was extremely cheap for its standard, so we could understand that breakfast was not included.
Fortunately there was air condition in the (small) room, that also had TV and a nice bathroom (toilet). Yellow was
The views from the hotel room at sunset. Some of Milan's tallest highrises can be seen.
TV screens at an underground metro station in Milano. The metro system is pretty good.
3 generations of trams in Milano.