Milan 2 Day Itinerary

We went to Milan for the weekend just to do parkrun. Basically, we found ourselves in Switzerland, as we had transported some equipment our daughter needed for an experiment. But they don’t do parkrun in Switzerland. So on Friday, we jumped into our (her) hired van and drove to Italy.

Itinerary

Day 1Drive to Milan
Lunch in Monza Park
Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Milano Re Hotel
Day 2Milano Nord Parkrun
Milan Cathedral
Museo del Novecento

Attractions

1Monza Park
2Autodromo Nazionale Monza
3Milano Nord Park
4Milan Cathedral
5Museo del Novecento

Day 1

Drive to Milan

After breakfast, we set off for Milan. Today’s drive is a combination of beautiful mountain scenery interspersed with numerous tunnels. In all, we notch up 54 km underground – I feel a bit like a Womble. Half way through the 17 km long Gotthard tunnel, the road signs change from German to Italian and when we finally emerge, we are in the Italian part of Switzerland. We cross the Italian border and are happily driving along, when we spot a not particularly large sign stating that we are in a booth free toll area and have 15 days to pay online.

Heading for the Mountains
Heading for the Mountains

First stop, on the outskirts (10 miles north east) of Milan is Monza. We stop for supplies in a supermarket. One thing that I often miss when I travel is good cheese. Not a problem I will be having in Italy!

Cheese
Supermarket cheese counter

Lunch in Monza Park

We reach the enormous Monza Park and find a nice spot for our picnic lunch. The park is enormous, with 700 hectares of parks, gardens, a villa, sports facilities etc. But I am here for one thing; to visit the iconic race track.

Lunch in Monza Park
Lunch in Monza Park

Apparently, during the week, the track is open to the public. I have told daughter No 2 that we are taking her hired van for a spin and take a photograph of the van by the track sign to send her. I find this way funnier than she does.

Day at the races?

Autodromo Nazionale Monza

After lunch, we walk through the woods to the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. It takes a while to work out where to go in the huge 113,000 seat complex. Parts of it are closed. But there’s also a lot of action; people with passes, security guards, visitors milling around. I’m all for striding on brazenly until challenged. But the old man is way too square for such behaviour.

Autodromo Nazionale Monza

Eventually, we find our way into a stand on the Ascari Chicane. We watch three cars pass by, then nothing. We wait a while, thinking we’re too late. Then all off a sudden, there’s a crescendo of noise and proper GP style racing cars appear. It’s an unexpected bonus.

Ascari Chicane
Ascari Chicane
Autodromo Nazionale Monza
Autodromo Nazionale Monza

During a break, we move to the main stand, opposite the pit lane to watch the next session.

Monza Pit Lane
Monza Pit Lane

Milano Re Hotel

Then we head to our hote, Milano Re, excited but deaf. At the hotel I attempt, unsuccessfully, to access the motorway toll (Pedemontana) website. It’s not easy; apart from the fact that it’s all in Italian, the validation link doesn’t work and the website is incompatible with my phone, with all the text boxes overlapping each other. Let’s hope I can sort it within 15 days, as the fine for non-payment is €338. I didn’t take any photographs of the hotel, but it was very pleasant and right opposite the park so ideal for getting to parkrun in the morning.

Day 2

Milano Nord Parkrun

Milano Nord parkrun
Milano Nord parkrun

It’s Saturday – AKA parkrun day. Today, we’re going to Milano Nord parkrun in Milan’s Parco Nord. This morning’s run has pros and cons. Pros: (1) it’s a scenic route (2) it’s flat (3) the participants are of diverse ability, so I’m not on my own at the back and have someone to follow. Cons: (1) there are a lot of other park users to avoid (2) my knee hurts (3) I’m not fit (4) it’s bloody hot. I persevere and make it to the finish line. Note, that as mentioned above, it’s a pretty park. Even if you don’t intend to run round it, it’s well worth a visit.

Milano Nord parkrun
Milano Nord parkrun

There was supposed to be water, but the fast runners have drunk it all. So I hobble off to the supermarket dehydrated and grumpy. For breakfast, I buy spoonable Gorgonzola. Cheese you can eat with a spoon! I love Italy. We return to the hotel and I have Gorgonzola and blueberry jam sandwiches. Literally the best breakfast ever. No longer grumpy!

spoonable Gorgonzola
Spoonable Gorgonzola

In the afternoon, we take the Metro into Milan. Outside, the temperature is 31 degrees. The train is like a sauna on wheels. The lady opposite keeps wiping the sweat off her face with a tissue. She started the journey with pencilled in eyebrows. By the time we arrive, she looks like Harry Potter’s gran (zig zag mark on her forehead – I thought it was funny!)

Milan Cathedral

We arrive in the main piazza next to the enormous Milan Cathedral with its 135 spires and 3400 statues of pink marble. It’s quite spectacular!

Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral

To visit, you need to queue to get a ticket to join the queue to buy a ticket before you can queue to get in. The cathedral is open from 9-7 daily. A ticket for the cathedral costs €7. It’s €10 if you want to climb to the roof terrace via the stairs or €15 to take the elevator. I’ve already done two laps of the park and am too tight to pay €5 to use a lift, so settle for admiring from the ground.

Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral

Finally, we make it into the cathedral, which is equally grand with its carved pillars and stained glass.

Inside Milan Cathedral
Inside Milan Cathedral

Back outside, there is a lot of noise in the piazza. We go and investigate – it’s the Milan Rally Show. The competitors and their vehicles are all lined up. Italian Stig appears to be among them.

Milan Rally Show
Milan Rally Show

Museo del Novecento

We continue across the piazza to the Museo del Novecento; a modern art gallery in a stone building with a large glass spiral staircase running through the centre.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

The museum is open from 10-7.30 (closed on Monday, open late on Thursday). Entry costs €10.

Museo del Novecento staircase
Museo del Novecento staircase

You work your way up the spiral through the various galleries. The artwork appears to have been ordered from best to worst.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

It’s worth persevering though, as there are great views across the piazza to the cathedral from the top.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

It’s been a long day, so we decide to head back towards the hotel in search of pizza and beer.

Museo del Novecento
Museo del Novecento

Leaving Milan is complicated. We need €1.90 interurban tickets but accidentally purchase €2.00 intraurban tickets (or maybe the other way round – I’m not sure). Anyway, our tickets don’t work in the turnstiles next to the machine that dispensed them. We are sent to the office to swap tickets. After filling in some paperwork, we must pay €1.70 to change 2 x €2 tickets for 3 x €1.90 tickets. We don’t want three tickets, but the cashier explains that they can’t give refunds and their books must balance, so we must buy a superfluous ticket. There is a full and frank exchange of views. The old man accuses them of robbing tourists. We are asked to leave. We return to our hotel, via a pizzeria. Our weekend in Milan has been interesting but exhausting.

Note: We would have loved to see Da Vinci’s painting of The Last Supper, but tickets sell out well in advance. So, if that is on your wish list, more foresight is required that merely jumping in a van and hoping for the best.

Trip Taken: June 2019

Updated: October 2022

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s