Last week I had the privilege of being invited by an Italian girlfriend to Milan for the weekend with my daughter. Our daughters are in school together so a girls weekend in Italy was something we had been talking about for a long time and I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity of visiting Milan with a local.
Below is a list of all the things we did over the weekend. As you’ll see it is very much focused on my favorite thing to do in Italy- eat! But there’s also some great things to do if you are traveling with your children, as well as some hidden shopping gems I think you’ll love.
Where We Ate
Terrazzo Triennale: I am not not lying when I say I ate the best gnocchi I have ever had in my life at this restaurant. It’s located on the top of a modern art museum (which looks amazing, although we did’t have time to fully check it out), and has views of the Milan skyline and the Parco Sempione. It was a warm spring day when we went and the views of the green contrasted against the city and parts of the Sforza Castle (see below) was incredible. I am not sure what I enjoyed more the company, the food, or the view. This is a must-book for lunch in Milan.
Giacomo Arengario. After climbing to the top of the Duomo we were famished and this restaurant overlooks the cathedral as well as the square below. Another must-book restaurant that has spectacular views. We shared the seafood selection (pictured above) to start and then a seafood pasta for our mains, both were delicious. We brought the girls (both aged 7) to this restaurant and the staff were super sweet and accommodating with them. There was a wedding party being photographed on the balcony in front of the Duomo and the entire lunch felt a bit magical.
The Bulgari. Best. People. Watching. Ever. We had pre-dinner drinks and sat on the gorgeous patio at the Bulgari. There was an Italian celebrity family celebrating a christening at the hotel and the women (and men) were dressed to the nines. We had so much fun sipping our martinis and watching the fashion show go by. I could have stayed there the entire evening.
Langosteria Bistro. We only had one evening for an adult-only dinner and my girlfriend booked this incredible fish restaurant near the Duomo. I learned that this restaurant is quite famous and has several locations. We booked in to sit at the bar which had such a fun buzzy Saturday night vibe. We shared delicious prawn tempura and I ordered a perfectly cooked cod. The dessert was sorbets and ice creams served on a mound of ice and made to look like pieces of fruit, probably one of the most beautiful desserts I have ever seen and eaten.
Cova Milan. Cova is one of Milan’s oldest patisseries and coffeehouses that is a must visit for afternoon coffee and a bit of ice cream. After eying the gorgeous displays of cakes and sweets we walked through the restaurant of little old Italian ladies in their cashmere sweaters and pearls and sat in the back patio. A perfect stop on a hot day, make sure you check out the selection of ice cream and sweets before you order! Delish!
Where We Shopped
Antonia at the Excelsior. Truth be told there wasn’t that much time for good Milan shopping because we didn’t want to bore the little ladies. We did pop into Gucci, which was total madness overcrowded, and then went to Antonia. Antonia will remind you of Colette in Paris. It’s a great mix of accessories, clothing and gifts, mostly high-end designer that you can probably find in London, but also some hidden gems. This is a must shopping visit as the layout and design of the store is worth checking out.
What To Do
Duomo. It goes without saying that you must visit the Duomo, the awe-inspiring Gothic cathedral that took centuries to build. Tip- book ahead. You must book to enter the church and climb to the top. If you don’t want to take the stair there’s also an option to take an elevator. Avoid weekends if you can because it gets very crowded and check ahead to see if there are any special religious ceremonies as it makes it almost impossible to get in if there is an important mass going on.
Parco Sempione at Arco della Pace. We spent two lovely afternoons watching the little ladies play at the awesome playground in this beautiful park. There are plenty of games, rides, and ice cream on hand to keep your little one’s happy for hours.
Sforza Castle. One to visit for you architecture lovers, this castle was built in the 15th century by Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan. It is very near to the Parco Sempione and is definitely worth walking around. We just strolled around the exterior but there are dozens of exhibitions inside and if you have the time it’s worth booking your tickets in advance on their website.
If there’s something you love about Milan that I missed, feel free to add in the comments below. As always, there’s a lot more photos on my instagram @AmericanGirlinChelsea.