Nikola Frates is a Senior Flight Attendant and has lived in Italy for 15 years. Not just anywhere in Italy, in the fashion metropolis Milan. The friendly flight attendant has compiled some insider tips for a successful trip to Milan for you.
At first, we’re flying Vienna-Milan-Vienna-Milan, and afterwards my colleagues and I will make the best out of the limited amount of time we have. Tomorrow morning we’re on our way back to Vienna. But before that I’ll show the crew my favourite places: A little bit of sightseeing, a little bit of shopping and a delicious dinner with a typical Milanese Aperitivo!
We begin our working day with a briefing about our flight to Milan, and already we’re looking forward to today’s trip to Bella Italia. One quick coffee break and it’s time to go: with the security check, then the trip by bus to the aircraft, emergency equipment check, any preparatory work necessary in the galleys and the cabin. Boarding begins, and I make the Welcome Announcement. The whole team is incredibly relaxed, and the good mood is soon transferred to all the guests. We’re flying there in absolutely amazing weather, and after the service we begin with the approach. We’ve all been to Milan many times in the past, of course, but are still totally excited after landing – a day together in the fashion capital doesn’t happen just every day, after all!
#1: Piazza del Duomo
After we’ve left Malpensa Airport and arrived at our hotel, our evening of celebrations begins. A quick shower later, and we’re sitting on the Malpensa Express heading for Milan city centre! All the members of the team describe their personal experiences and favourite spots in Milan. After 40 minutes on the train we’ve reached our destination, Cadorna station. We get off at Duomo station and enter the Piazza del Duomo. The cathedral is a perfect example for the extraordinary Italian architecture. Very interesting for tourists: You can walk on the roof of the cathedral!
#2: Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
As well as Louis Vuitton and Prada, the Galleria is home to marvellous bars and restaurants, making it the perfect space to take some highly civilised time out. The octagonal central place in the Galleria, the Ottagono, is called Milan’s living room. The Italians love to take a break for coffee here and enjoy the colourful hustle and bustle. Look out for the mosaic floor! In the center of the Ottagono you see the coat of arms of the Savoyard house: Turning your heel here is supposed to bring you luck!
#3: San Babila
The final stopping-off point on our tour is the Romanesque Church of San Babila. Said to have been constructed back in 1095, the building was extended in the 16th Century, as a result of which it is reminiscent of the Baroque period, despite its age. Make the time to view the church from the inside – it really is a dream!
Just let yourself drift away and enjoy the beauty of the courtyards and alleys
Shopping, Shopping, Shopping
After the sightseeing tour, our shopping tour begins with an obligatory (and eagerly awaited) excursion to all the shops in Milan that we find along the way.
After our tour of a selection of Milan’s shopping temples during the day, the dolce vita in Italy’s second city continues into the evening. On the way back to Duomo underground station, we take a look around concept store Excelsior, where we find all this season’s trends over a number of different floors – just as we do at La Rinascente, a traditional Italian department store directly opposite.
Mecca for Italian food
We move on by underground, this time to Moscova station. Once there, we walk along Corso Garibaldi in the direction of Piazza 25 Aprile, past hotspots such as the Radetzky and a few shoe shops – to Mecca for any lover of Italian food!
Eataly offers a vast range of Italian specialities and products over four floors.
Then, as the sun slowly begins to set and the people on the Piazza del Duomo are casting long shadows on the cobblestones, it’s time to enjoy the most important time of day in Milan: L’Aperitivo! Locals like to hook up here for a glass of Campari after work and before dinner: the liqueur made from citrus fruits is the classic Milanese aperitif, and best drunk shakerato (shaken) and con una lacrima di gin (with just a drop of gin). All the bars serve little snacks as well between 6.00 and 8.00 pm. Gaspare Campari invented the drink when opening Milanese institution Caffè Camparino, in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, back in 1915. The bar rapidly became a meeting place for artists including Giuseppe Verdi and Giacomo Puccini.
Our walk continues through Corso Como and the brand-new Isola district, where avant-garde designers such as Moschino and Les Hommes have set up new homes in recent years. Just in time for sunset, we end up with a classic Campari shakerato at rooftop bar Ceresio 7, which blows us away with its sophisticated design, two pools and sensational view.
Il piccolo della Pesa
We were originally planning to spend the evening at the traditional Trattoria della Pesa; that was full-up, unfortunately, so we end up enjoying a classic – and excellent – Risotto alla Milanese at its sister restaurant, Il piccolo della Pesa.
After dinner, it’s time to head for the airport, first by underground, and then the Malpensa Express. Our duty starts at 6.00 am the next morning, with our flight back to Vienna – and so our pleasant day-trip to Milan comes to an end.
Let's go explore Milan
You want to get to know the fashion metropolis and enjoy a Campari shakerato in the evening sun? Here you can find a flight, that suits to you: