Milan and Venice (part two)

Before I went to Milan and Venice, I had done some research on the Internet on what places to visit and I collected some practical information. I will share the findings and my own experience with you here in this post.

Opening hours in Milan

The stores in Milan are usually open from 9:00 to 13:00 and from 15:30 or 16:00 to 19:30 or 20:00. However, many of the bigger stores may have longer opening hours. On Saturdays, the shops tend to close earlier and on Sundays, you might only find a few to be open. For food, most restaurants tend to be only open during breakfast (short period early in the morning), lunch (12:00 to 14:00) and dinner (past 19:00). In between, it can be difficult to get something warm to eat. You could still try to find fast food places such as McDonalds, as they are open the whole day. This is quite different from what I am used to in the Netherlands.

Due to these irregular opening hours, this means you have to carefully plan your activities beforehand. For example, plan some sightseeing in the morning and find a place close by (to reduce travel time) to have a nice filling lunch in order to be able to last past 19:00. Also don't plan all your big shopping sprees on Saturday and Sundays, as most stores are not open or just for a short while. You should do more sightseeing and taking pictures on these days instead. Moreover, try to enter the restaurant, some time before the stated time slots that they are open for business, to avoid large crowds. It can sometimes become difficult to find a place to sit.

Traveling around in Milan

At the Linate airport, you can find the Starfly bus, which takes you to Statione Centrale (Milan Central station) every 30 minutes, at exit 6. A bus ticket costs €5 per person. While you are at the airport, you should take some of the various brochures and city maps of Milan, which are available for free.
It is best to also buy tickets for unlimited traveling, when you plan to see a lot of the city. An one day pass costs €3 and a two-day pass costs €5.50. You don't have to use it immediately. The time starts counting from when you validate your ticket by putting the ticket in the machine, when you go through the tourniquet, and get a stamp on the back of the ticket. These tickets can be bought from ticket machines in the metro station or at kiosks and newspaper stands.

For side trips to other cities in Italy, you can buy the train tickets beforehand at Trenitalia (website in English). All I needed to do, was printing out the reservation information and taking it with me on the train. It was pretty hassle free. It saves you the trouble of buying the tickets at the ticket counter, where there might not be an English speaking employee around or having to stand in a long line.

Trenitalia train from Milan to Venice
The Trenitalia train that I took from Milan to Venice.


At Venice train station, you can buy a ticket with which you can make unlimited use of the boats connecting various places in Venice for 12 hours long. The ticket is called the Biglietto dodici ori and it costs €16 per person. While you are there, make sure you also take a good Venice city map and a vaporetto (what the boats are called) schedule, so that you know when you can expect a boat to arrive at the various docks. I highly recommend taking the boat, when there are less people on board. For instance, taking the boat in opposite direction or close to closing time (around 18:00-19:00). You might then get to experience sitting on the seats located outside at the front of the boat. Sitting there, you can feel the cool wind go through your hair and small water drops will very refreshingly splash up on your face.

These boats are similar to large speedboats and I really don't mind. It is fast and comfortable and you also get to see a lot of the places in Venice. It isn't going extremely fast, so you can still take excellent pictures of the surroundings on the boat. But if you are interested in getting on the romantic, Venetian gondolas, you should ask the person standing on the boats for the price, before you get on the boat. I heard it can get very pricey.

view from the Rialto bridge in Venice
Famous view from the Rialto bridge in Venice.

Food in Milan

You should definitely try the hams, cheese, panini, pastas, mozzarella salads, and ice cream. Officially, ice cream is called gelato in Italy (Remember this word as it is the name for the highest possible achievement in the world of ice cream ^_^). ]

For very affordable and good food, you can go to Ciao ristorante, a Italian restaurant chain with self service. You can find a Ciao restaurant straight away at Linate airport. So even before you take your first step on the Italian soil outside, you can already have a taste of Italian food. Or if you could not manage to locate one of their restaurants during your trip, you can still have a meal there, right before you leave. There is also a Ciao restaurant in Milan Central station. Another Ciao restaurant can be found in Piazza Duomo, opposite from the Duomo cathedral. With self-service, it means that you take a tray and fill it with the warm and cold dishes that are already made and displayed at the various food counters. There are many food for you to choose from, such as pastas, risotto, salads, meat dishes, potato fries, and deserts. After you have filled your tray, you pay for all of them at the cash register. Afterwards, you take your tray and find a table to sit. This can sometimes be really challenging, because it is very crowded during lunch and dinner times. It would cost you around €10 for a meal. I really enjoyed their mozzarella salad, so have a taste of that when you are there.

Like I wrote in the previous post about Milan, I had visited Grom, a really nice gelato store that I can recommend to you. You can find their website over here.

Italian gelato on display
The famous mouth watering Italian gelato, regretfully not from Grom, as I was more focused on savoring the ice cream than on making pictures. I cannot resist the urge to grab the big yellow ice cream scoop to directly dig into the mountains of gelato. ^_^
Italian gelato
More incredibly delicious gelato.

Food places that I have not been to, but have reasonable prices:
- Spizzico is a Italian fast-food chain, where you can get a set meal with one pizza slice, a portion of fries, and a drink for a reasonable price. This is also easy to locate as you can almost find it everywhere in the city.
- Brek restorante, in Piazza Santa Babila. It is located near the San Babila metro station.
- City Life, Via Vittor Pisani 26. It is a self-service restaurant located near Central station of Milan.
- G. B. bar, Via Hoepli, 3. It is located near the Duomo. The prosciutto ham panini is highly recommended.
- Luini Panzerotti, Via S. Radegonda 16. It is located near the Duomo. Their website can be found here. They are famous for their fried or oven-baked dough snack filled with cheese, tomatoes, and other fillings of choice. You can get one for around €2.50.

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