48 hours in Milan.

After jet-setting across Europe for 14 days, on one foggy winter morning last year, I landed in Milan’s Malpensa Airport. I was glad that I finally got to set my foot in Italy – a country that I always loved and longed to visit. A friend of mine drove me to a nearby caffè and treated me into a cappuccino and a croissant with pistachio cream filling. Then, we spontaneously decided to make a day trip to Lugano, a small town bordering Switzerland.

 

Lugano – A Swiss town with an Italian flair.

Lugano is a Swiss town with a Mediterranean flair and an Italian accent. Although I had only a few hours in this beautiful city, I was thrilled as I was in Switzerland. Its charm merits at least a short visit. If you are in Milan or Como, Lugano is just an hour’s drive away.

 

Lugano is the largest town in the touristic region of Ticino, Switzerland’s third most important financial, banking and business centre. This beautiful traffic-free city lies in a bay on the northern side of Lake Lugano, surrounded by a ring of mighty mountains offering sweeping views of the alpine scenery. It is a vivacious city, with fancy shopping boulevards, bars and pavement cafés. Take a stroll along the streets that sprawl luxuriously along the shores of Lake Lugano. Enjoy the pleasant tranquillity of the mountains, museums, parks and old patios. Every spring, camellias and magnolias bloom in the floral promenades making the lake shore an inviting spot to laze around.

 

The Lombardy Region.

 

Stretching from the Alps to the lowlands of the Po Valley, Italy’s Lombardy region lies in the north of the country, sharing a border with Switzerland. The region is home to some of the most picturesque medieval towns that boasts world-class art and architecture. Lombardy is the leading industrial and commercial region in Italy that is blessed with the luxuriance of a waterfront vegetation. The undulating beauty of the mountainous northern stretches has long been attracting flocks of tourists to this territory.

 

 Holiday like George Clooney in Como.

Overlooking the panoramic views of Alps, you’d find neo-classical villas, stunning gardens, quaint villages, Belle Époque–era houses and resorts lining the shores of Lago di Como. Every lake town has its own splendours. It’s simply a matter of what appeals to you and your budget. Every summer tourists flock to the famed towns of Bellagio, Varenna, Menaggio and Como in search of a perfect holiday getaway. Como is an old town that sits at the southern end of the east branch of Lake Como. The stunning waterfront has become a favourite romantic retreat among the affluent and aristocrats. Indulge in the old world elegance of Como, while you stroll along the spaghetti maze of cobblestoned streets and waterfront promenades. You can either window shop at the posh boutiques or soak up the atmosphere, having an aperitivo or gelato at one of the trattorias near the dock, where you can catch a ferry to any part of the lake. Those who do spend time in Como, find it to be worthwhile: there’s a splendid 15th-century cathedral, the Silk Museum, the Romanesque Sant’Abbondio, historic San Fedele that can be visited if you are on a short day trip from Milan.

When in Como, don’t forget to take the funiculare (the cable railway) to Brunate, a small village that is perched 1,600 above the city of Como. Bruante is an Italian comune with only 1,800 residents. The vantage point gives spectacular views of Lake Como and the surrounding cityscape of Lombardy.

 

Explore Milano.

Milan makes a fine base from where you can explore Northern Italy and its bordering Alpine beauty. This contemporary city might not be your ideal Italian holiday destination but it has some distinctive charm that will captivate you instantly. Milan’s strategic location gives convenient access for a quiet escape to one of the most off the radar lake towns in Lombardy region. Milan is also the hub of northern Italy’s rail network that passes and tunnels through the Alps. There is an excellent system of autostradas in Milan, which connects Lombardy with neighbouring Switzerland, France, and Germany.

Dubbed as Italy’s fashion, business and “elite” capital, Milan – the capital of Lombardy region has a reputation of a booming, innovative modern day city where rickety trams trundle past buildings nestled in its cosmopolitan streets and nineteenth-century glory.

 

Duomo

Duomo is Milan’s icon. The construction of Duomo began in 1386 under the Viscontis. Its interior and exterior reflects distinctive Gothic, Baroque and Now-classical architectural features. Head to the Piazza Del Duomo in central Milan to marvel at the majestic marble façade of Milan’s symbolic cathedral.

 

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II – Visit the oldest shopping Boulevard in Milan.

The monumental triumphal arch near the Piazza Del Duomo is constantly crowded with people. This is the entrance to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II aka Milan’s living room. Architect Mengoni built this mesmerising arcade, dedicating it to the King who unified Italy. Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II has been a viable luxury shopping destination since 1856. It is also where you will find some of Milan’s prestigious restaurants and upscale top designer houses including the oldest Prada store. The roof and the elegant ceiling is made out of iron and glass. Statues on the facades just below this roof, honour Italian artists and scientists. The four mosaics below the central dome represent four parts of the world: Europe, America, Africa and Asia. The Galleria in Milan is a masterpiece, which stands as a symbol of Italian unity and patriotism today.

 

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