This summer my family and I took an extended trip to Israel and scheduled a stopover to Italy. We flew from New York to Milan and had a little over 24 hours to enjoy the city. A lot of people told me to skip Milan that it wasn't worth a visit (unless you were going during Fashion Week or had a big expense account), but I beg to disagree. The city of Milan offers much more than we could ever enjoy in 24 hours and it is worth a stopover or a special visit to see for yourself.
Arrive in Milan airport early in the morning, drop your bags at the gorgeous Sheraton Milan Malpensa Airport hotel (you don’t even have to leave the terminal) before heading out for the day. From the airport to the downtown Milan, you can take a bus or Malpensa Express train service and be in the city center in less than an hour.
Our first stop was to a rectory adjacent to Chiesa di Santa Maria delle Grazie to see the Last Supper, Leonardo DaVinci’s magnificent wall painting that was reopened to the public in 1999 after a 22 year restoration effort. Please be sure to book tickets in advance to reserve your preferred time and they do sell out frequently – especially during the busy tourist season.
Next, we spent a couple of hours at the nearby Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia, "Leonardo da Vinci" the largest museum of science and technology in Italy, showcasing the history of Italian science, technology and industry from the 19th century to the present. The museum was very kid-friendly and the historic models of DaVinci’s innovations offered a glimpse into the extraordinary artist and forward-thinking renaissance scientist and inventor.
For a delicious kosher lunch, head over to http://www.denzel.it - It is only about a 20 minute walk - (pick up something for later as there are not so many kosher food options in the center).
After lunch you can head over to the Duomo di Milano, landmark Gothic cathedral in the center which is adjacent to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the world's oldest shopping malls where you can find many high-end stores from all over the world right next to 19th century coffee houses.
As the afternoon came to an end, we took the kids to Castello Sforzesco. A historic castle right in the center of Milan. The Castle was named after Francesco Sforza, who transformed it into a residence in 1450, but its origins go back nearly a hundred years earlier to the time of Galeazzo II Visconti.
An evening in Milan is not complete without a night at the opera. The La Scala Opera House regularly boasts the world’s greatest opera stars. My husband and I saw Mozart’s Così fan tutte in a small box seat -- it was an experience we will never forget! Check out my inside picture from Instagram here.
Photos above from Shutterstock, except for the Sheraton which came from the hotel. My photos didn't come out so great this time around.
Make sure to check out our trip to Lake Como, the second part of this vacation.