Have you ever been on the platform at the station, awaiting your morning commuter train and you look up at the display and it reads a destination far more exotic than your office? At times we feel the urge to escape and living in Lausanne, a common arrêt for high-speed trains, gives us the freedom to. Milan is a perfect weekend destination for Lausanne locals, as it is close enough to both indulge in a weekend of fine dining, shopping, and cultural exploration and to still have you back and ready to work on Monday morning.
Like a starved supermodel, the generalizations about Milan are usually all looks and no substance. A major nucleus for fashion and design, travellers tend to overlook this city when searching for something ‘traditionally Italian’. But a 3.5 hour train ride from Lausanne will take you straight to the heart of all that Milan has to offer, and directly into a rich and fulfilling Italian experience.
Milan is known for its creation of and accessibility to fashion and regardless of your style (or your budget) the city has something to offer. Corso Buenos Aires is the largest shopping street in Milan, and one of the largest in all of Europe; it hosts a vast variety of specialty stores, from Italian leather goods to linens and lingerie. Also, the streets off of the Piazza del Duomo or near the Palazzo del Senato(Montenapoleone area) offer a range of stores from affordable shops like H&M and Gap to luxury and designer brands like Armani, Valentino, and Versace.
Try to stay away from high-traffic tourist sites like Piazza del Duomo, as prices tend to be inflated and don’t necessary reflect the quality of the food. Some of the best places are off of the beaten path, and most of the time the hand-written menus change depending on what’s in season. Try the Cotoletta alla Milanese (pan-fried veal cutlet), a specialty of the region, and always feel confident in ordering the house red wine as it’s affordable, dry, and smooth.
If you’re searching for a fun and unique dining experience, reserve dinner tickets for the ATMosfera tram restaurant. The trolley picks you up at Piazza Castello at 20:00, and once on board you will be treated to wine and a fixed-priced dinner (either meat or fish) while exploring Milanese streets under the glow of the evening lights. The dinner lasts for about two hours and costs between 50 and 60 euro per person. Make sure to call ahead and book tickets. For more information visit the website here.
Milan has an expansive underground metro system that keeps your feet blister-free and your wallet full. Buy an urban day ticket for 4.50 euro, either at a newspaper stand advertising ‘biglietti’or the computer kiosks underground.