Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Cattolica International

Milan guide

While Milan is best known for being the finance and design capital of Italy, it has many unexpected stories to tell and a great deal of beauty to share besides the hustle and bustle of business and fashion. Combining art masterpieces and technology, cathedrals and skyscrapers, quaint neighbourhoods and hypermodern architecture, traditional and modern Italian food as well as cuisine from all around the world, Milan departs from what many imagine Italy to be.  
This day-by-day guide will offer you some of the best places to eat, visit, relax, and study if you are a newbie to Milan or are looking for new places to discover!  
Monday: If you are an Università Cattolica student, make sure to visit the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio right by the Gemelli campus to get away from the crowds and relax after lectures.  
While the Basilica of Sant’Ambrogio may not be as famous as the Duomo, it is truly a secret gem hiding in plain sight. Consecrated in 387 and reconstructed in the 11th century in a Lombard Romanesque style, it became a model for these kinds of churches in the future. Appreciate the two red brick bell towers, curiously one taller than the other, and the enormous atrium containing archaeological remains. It will be the perfect place to get your daily dose of history and culture without the exhausting crowds of more popular attractions. 
And remember, if you need a quick pick-me-up after the lectures to have more energy for your visit, make sure to grab a coffee at the bar Madamadoré in Galleria Giuseppe Borella, which is a well-known spot among Università Cattolica students. 
Tip: Note that Sant’Ambrogio is Milan’s patron saint and there is even a dedicated holiday every year on December 7.   
Tuesday: Grab a piping hot calzone with your course mates in the budget friendly Luini or have the best panino in Milan at De Santis
Italy is famous for its delicious and high-quality food and Milan is no exception to this rule. While there are many top-notch restaurants all around the town, there is also a variety of amazing and budget-friendly options that many students and locals alike appreciate.   
Head to Luini for the most famous freshly oven-baked calzone (a folded pizza made with leavened dough), De Santis for the best panino in town or Miscusi for mouth-watering homemade pasta. 
Tip: If you want to feel like a local and avoid being politely frowned upon, skip the cappuccino after your lunch. Italians believe that drinking cappuccino after lunch will hamper digestion and is reserved for enjoying during breakfast hours only. 
Wednesday: Admire the clash of old and futuristic Milan by visiting the Isola neighbourhood and jumping on the ultra-modern metro M5 line to visit Tre Torri for more contemporary architecture.   
Milan is very well known to be one of the most modern and divergent Italian cities where skyscrapers stand tall next to old traditional Milanese-style buildings and retro trams run right next to driverless metro lines. Isola is one of the best neighbourhoods to see the clash of times. Enjoy the views of the Bosco Verticale or the Vertical Forest towers for a sense of what the city of the future could look like or experience the old Milan by catching an early aperitivo at Bar Frida’s hip and beautiful outdoor area. Alternatively, head to the Tre Torri district to see skyscrapers by some of the world’s most famous architects such as Zaha Hadid. 
Tip: For more design wonders, every year the famed Salone Del Mobile - Milan Design Week www.salonemilano.it takes alongside Fuorisalone www.fuorisalone.it which is a set of events distributed in different areas of Milan on the same days as Salone del Mobile.
Thursday: Skip your local supermarket and head to the Mercato Centrale Milano to pack a bag full of fresh artisan foods, before jumping on the M2 metro line and enjoying it on a picnic in Parco Sempione.   
While Milan offers many supermarket choices to do your daily groceries, reserve a day to enjoy fresh homemade artisan foods from both local producers and further Italian regions. The market, full of talking, laughing, screaming and joking, offers some of the freshest and most varied produce in town. Eat the food while it’s still hot at one of the many counters in the market or take it away to share with your friends on a picnic in Parco Sempione
If you are looking to buy something more than just food, head to the East Market festival loved both by the locals and city visitors alike for vintage clothing, collectables, jewellery, home décor and much more. 
Tip: Visit www.mercatocentrale.com to see if any degustation or cultural events are taking place on the day of your visit or see when the closest East Market festival edition takes place at www.eastmarketmilano.com.
Friday: Study with your friends in the green and sunlit Combo courtyard before catching the famed Milanese aperitivo later in the evening along the lively Navigli.  
While studying in the University library is common among students, many are looking for a change of atmosphere and less silent spaces to study with their mates or do group work all while sipping on a delicious coffee.   
Combo is a great choice as they offer spaces both inside and outside in the cosy courtyard. Other student-approved options include Santeria Paladini, Pavé and Moleskine café. Remember, while Wi-Fi is freely available in all these places, charging outlets can be a problem as not every table is within their reach. Make sure to charge your computer fully in case you are not able to sit next to one. 
Once you’re done studying you can head down to the Navigli canals which will be teeming with energy on a Friday evening and order a famous Milanese aperitivo
Tip: Aperitivo is usually available from 5 pm to 8 pm. After 8 pm, it is time to head out for dinner.   
Saturday: Visit Duomo and go up to enjoy the views from the rooftop before heading to Santa Maria delle Grazie for Da Vinci’s The Last Supper
No stay in Milan is complete without visiting the main landmark of the city - Duomo. The cathedral, dedicated to the Nativity of St Mary, took six centuries to build and the final details were added only in 1965. But the real gem is found on the top of the cathedral. Book your ticket in advance and be prepared to take a spiral stone staircase of 919 steps or pay extra for an elevator ride. Whatever you choose, very few places in Milan offer views as gorgeous as the city skyline you can see from the Duomo rooftop. A short 20-minute walk from the cathedral, you will find Santa Maria delle Grazie, a church with one of the most famous paintings in the world - Da Vinci’s The Last Supper.  
Tip: Always book your ticket for Da Vinci’s The Last Supper in advance online and remember – you will have a short 15-minute time slot to appreciate the masterpiece. 
Sunday: Relax on a day trip to Lake Como and hike up to the Volta Lighthouse to enjoy spectacular views of the mountain surrounded lake or catch a football match at the famous San Siro Stadium.  
When the hustle and bustle of the city have worn you out, hop on a train in the Milan central station and take a short-day trip to one of the surrounding towns. Como offers great views of the lake and pristine subalpine mountains with many hiking trails. Pack some food, hike up to the Volta Lighthouse and enjoy nature. Other great day trip ideas include Varese, Pavia, Parma and Verona.  
Alternatively, if you happen to love football as many locals do, hop on the M5 metro line and head for the San Siro Stadium to watch a game and experience the fan action and emotion live.  
Tip: See when the famed Derby della Madonnina takes place to see a match between the two prominent Milanese clubs, Inter and A.C. Milan.