Dear Italy,

My Milano Bucket List

After an errand on Wednesday afternoon, I happened to pass by a seemingly old church and even older ingresso to a building adjacent to it, both located on the campus of the University of Milano. I later learned that just beyond the ingresso was the original site of the Ca’ Granda (AKA the Policlinico, AKA Milano’s general hospital), and just beneath it are archives and crypts–also known as the ‘Path of Secrets‘. It is open to the public in the afternoons from Wednesday through Sunday, and you can even book a lunch or dinner there!

As I read more about this fascinating landmark, I wondered about all the other places in Milano I’ve yet to visit (or learn about). To give myself some credit, I did manage to go see the Last Supper in August after SIX years of wishing and wanting; but, I still have a way’s to go. In order to both keep myself accountable and maybe inspire some of you who are living or planning to visit here, here’s my [most recently updated] Milano bucket list:

1 My first, and ultimate, Milano bucket list item is to step inside the Duomo. It’s ridiculous–and embarassing to admit–that after spending an entire summer here in 2013, studying here in 2016 and finally moving here last year, I have yet to see the interior of this spectacular Gothic cathedral. I did manage to climb (ahem, take the elevator) to the top when my father visited in September, and–although the view of the city is gorgeous from up there–I still would very much like to enjoy a proper visit.

2 Right in Piazza Duomo lies Milano’s Palazzo Reale, or the Royal Palace, former seat of the city government and present-day host to temporary art exhibitions. Milano was bombed heavily during World War II, and a fire from a nearby building completely destroyed the Great Hall of Caryatids. (Here’s a definition if you didn’t know what that meant, either!) Although there was a period of renovation after Pablo Picasso chose the Hall of Caryatids as a ‘Guernica’ exhibition venue, serious restoration did not begin until 2000 (and is actually continuing today). Fun fact: The last official state visit to the palace was by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, whom was welcomed by King Vittorio Emanuele III. I’m thinking after a quick visit to the Duomo for some architectural admiration, a guided tour of the Palazzo Reale would be perfect for this history nerd 🙂

3 After a failed attempt to buy tickets for the ballet at La Scala last week (long story…), experiencing the magic of this iconic opera house remains in my top five. I remember the first time I saw the building in person–it was a spring day in 2012 and I shrieked like a little girl when Rocco pointed it out to me. Since I’m not a huge fan of the opera (attended two during my time studying in Roma), I’d like to take another shot at the ballet. I just read that beginning from June 26th until July 9th, La Scala will be showing ‘The Sleeping Beauty’. Tickets go on sale on April 26th, but I’m sure they’ll cost a pretty penny. In any case, I’ll keep you updated!

4 I’ve passed by and walked through my next bucket list item countless times, but never actually took the chance to visit the interior of Castello Sforzesco. The Sforza family ruled Milano for 100 years, transforming it into a powerful and dynamic city-state. Although the Sforza’s did not originally build the fortress, they did call for the reconstruction and elaborate decoration of the castle during their ruling years (including hiring da Vinci as a designer/engineer!). Parco Sempione, the largest park in Milano, sits just behind the castle and was originally part of the Sforza property. Since I live so close to both, it won’t be hard to set aside a few hours to enjoy an afternoon tour of this Milanese landmark.

5 Located inside Parco Sempione is La Triennale di Milano, a museum built in 1923 devoted to Italian art and design. During the summer, I’d ride past this museum nearly everyday on my BikeMi (Milano’s bike-sharing service) bike and wondered what was inside. Turned off by the prospect of lack of air-conditioning and excess of mass crowds, I never went in. Although I’m seeing some reviews that say it’s better to read up on the current exhibitions before visiting (because some pieces are really “out there”), I still think it’d be pretty interesting to visit regardless. With spring quickly approaching, I think a trip to La Triennale will be a go in the next month or so!

6 This next item is neither a landmark, nor a museum but it deserves a spot on my bucket list. A couple of months ago, I was around l’Arco della Pace for dinner and I saw for the first time an ATMosfera tram. The company responsible for Milano’s public transportation, abbreviated as ATM (MTA spelled backwards, haha), offers guests an opportunity to dine aboard an antique, operating tram for an intimate brunch or dinner. Initially I was hesitant about the freshness and quality of the food, but at €70 a person, I’m thinking dinner on an ATMosfera tram must be the real deal.

7 My seventh and final bucket list item is to attend a concert or soccer game at San Siro, the largest soccer stadium in Italy. Stadio Olimpico in Roma is the second largest, and–ironically–I saw a game there (you guessed it) when I studied abroad. Ed Sheeran is actually playing at San Siro in June, but I’m 99.9% sure all tickets are sold out; so, a Milan match in the spring or summertime sounds perfect 🙂

Of course, there are countless other “must see and do” bucket list places in the city, but–for now–these are mine. What would you add to yours? Let me know in a comment!

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