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2 Days in Milan: Cool Things to Do, See & Eat on a Weekend in Italy

Learn why you should spend 2 days in Milan. Discover things to do in Milan Italy in 48 hours. Explore Milan in just 2 days.
Milan is an easy Italian city break from Dublin. Spend 2 days in Milan for great food, atmospheric walks, and world class shopping. 

Read on to discover some ideas on how to spend 48 hours in Milan Italy.

2 Days in Milan: Milan Duomo (Milan Cathedral)

Via Bernadetto Marello Saturday Market and Pizza Lunch

We chanced upon a Saturday market on Via Bernadetto Marcello selling an eclectic mix of items including olives, clothing, fruits and vegetables, flowers, seafood, live fowl, cooked fowl, and pooches...pooches? 

Check out the little fuzz ball I found in a bin of cheap t-shirts. We stopped at Pizzeria Spontini for two heavenly deep dish slices dripping with mozzarella and a glass of red wine. 

We walked off lunch en route to our hotel passing a greener side of Milan.
2 Days in Milan - pizza and red wine

Where to Stay in Milan

We soon arrived at Hotel Berna not far from the Central Train Station, dropped off our stuff, and continued our explorations. Hotel Berna was comfortable, affordable, and conveniently located.

Milan’s Duomo

The Duomo is at the top of the sightseeing list for any visit to Milan. We took the subway to the Duomo and emerged to see the cathedral's spires reaching for the clear blue sky. 

Small, intricately carved heads adorned the exterior. Inside, Milan Cathedral is equally impressive. Classic tapestries lined the nave. A sculpture by one of Da Vinci's proteges looks like the skin is hanging off the skeleton. 

The anatomical detail is unprecedented for works from this era when autopsy was forbidden. The sun dazzled through colorful stained glass.
Things to do in 2 days in Milan
From left: (a) Gelato from Grom (b) Door hiding out at Bernadetto Marello Saturday Market (c) Milano Stazione Centrale (d) The fashionable people of Milan.

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and a Stroll Through Central Milan

We emerged from the Duomo and turned toward Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The shopping arcade boasts an impressive glass dome. Frescoes line the walls. I think this is one of the best things to do in Milan when it rains.

The floor looks like exquisite marble. We emerged from the opposite end of the Galleria to a square featuring a statue popular with the local pigeons. 

We saw the local tram passing in front of the Opera House. A lonely dog moped outside during the intermission of the matinee. I guess he didn't like the lead soprano.
2 Days in Milan: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
We chanced upon an art exhibit by Artemisia Gentileschi. I've been fascinated by this artist fond of rather visceral subject matter since reading The Passion of Artemisia, a fictionalized account of her life. 

We visited Milan at the end of October and roasted chestnuts were already on sale (to my delight). We also passed some lovely shops selling gourmet treats and meats. 

Of course, we're fans of Italian coffee and sweets. A marzipan-filled window drew us in. We parked ourselves at a stand-up table near an alcove filled with wine, liqueurs, and jams. We opted to try a delicate nut and marzipan filled morsel. 

At a separate shop, we spied smiley jack-o-lantern cookies. We just had to try Milanese gelato and Grom scored strong marks online. We opted for a chocolate, hazelnut concoction. 

One of the best parts of Milan was watching the locals strut their stuff. Shopping and fashion are clearly big business. The Milanese definitely dress to impress. Bellissima!

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for ideas for more Italian city breaks? Want to add on other destinations to a trip to Milan? Here are some places that I recommend.
  • Milan to Venice is less than 3 hours by train. Spend a weekend in Venice in winter to avoid the tourists and have a magical experience.
  • It takes between 4 and 5 hours by train to get from Milan to Trieste. Spend three days in Trieste and discover some of the best coffee in Italy and one of the least touristy places in the country. Trieste is also a convenient hopping off point for a trip to Slovenia. If you have more time, consider spending 3 days in Ljubljana or a few days on the Slovene Riviera.

Around Milano Stazione Centrale

Milano Stazione Centrale is an impressive edifice. We took some time to explore the inside. We were impressed by the bleached white stone. The advertisements in the station were rather amusing. I liked that the station had a lift for baggage -- ingenious! 

We ate near the Central Station one night at Fashion 2 restaurant on Via Napo Torriani. We started our meal with a simple plate of pasta and sauce. For our main course, we opted for veal Milanese -- a huge portion of meat pounded thin and breaded. 

We also tried pork with butternut squash mash and vegetables. The meat was really tender and melted in our mouths. Returning back to the hotel, we stopped to admire the neon signs lined up against the night sky.
2 Days in Milan: Eat veal milanese and pasta

A Slow Day in Milan

For our second day in Milan, we decided to stay closer to the city center. I stopped to admire the top fashions on offer. I spotted a little white puppy looking longingly out of a shop window. 

We wandered through Giardini Pubblici Indro Montanelli. I can never resist an open gate. Inside, we discovered a beautiful pond and gnarled rock formations. 

Once again, we saw the Fall foliage in full swing. Stately sculptures added to the charm. The Milanese love their dogs. We could see some canines frolicking a distance away from a doggie water fountain. 

A well coiffed mansion also sat on the grounds. We emerged into the heart of Milan's fashion district. We continued through the bustle of the city toward Parco Sempione. 

We sat in front of a dancing fountain and enjoyed a slice of gourmet pizza. We continued through the fortress into the park. A pair of mermaids guarded a small footbridge.
2 days in Milan: hands sculpture in the park

Shopping for Italian Fashion

Exiting the park, we found ourselves in the vicinity of Alfonso Garlando. I'd done a bit of research online and knew they sold shoes for big-footed ladies like myself. 

They don't sell Sidewalk Safari inspired walking shoes but they do sell lovely pumps and other dress shoes at bargain prices. I couldn't resist and bought two pair for less than 70 euro. 

We continued our walk past a sculpture of a man with a head in his heart. The ultra fashion district was next. We saw shops selling clothes for hundreds of euros. Needless to say, we stuck with window shopping.

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SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for some other amazing destination ideas in Italy? Why not:

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: 2 Days in Milan: Cool Things to Do, See & Eat on a Weekend in Italy
2 Days in Milan: Cool Things to Do, See & Eat on a Weekend in Italy
Learn why you should spend 2 days in Milan. Discover things to do in Milan Italy in 48 hours. Explore Milan in just 2 days.
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog