Milan isn’t everyone’s idea of the perfect Italian vacation destination, but it is close to one of the busiest airports in the country – and there are certainly some things worth seeing. Of course, if you’re in the city for too long and in need of new surroundings but don’t want to bother with packing up and moving on quite yet, then check out these day trips from Milan – they’re all quick trips, easy destinations to get to, and offer a welcome change of scenery.
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- Italian Lakes – Both Lago di Como and Lago Maggiore are close enough to Milan that the towns along the southern shore of each lake can be great day trips. The lakes are incredibly popular with Italians as well as vacationers from abroad (especially Germans), so you’re not exactly going to find peace and quiet in these towns, but it’s hard to beat them for sheer picturesque beauty in nice weather.
- Turin – Turin (or Torino, as it’s called in Italian) is a fairly big city, but it doesn’t feel as big or busy as Milan. It was the setting for the 2006 Winter Olympics, and it’s home to the Shroud of Turin. It’s not a break from city life, but it is a pretty city – and if the Turin chocolate festival is going on, all the better.
- Bergamo – This city has a modern side, which is nice enough but not really worth a visit. Instead, it’s the old walled city on the hill that’s perfect for a stroll. It’s tiny, so it won’t occupy an entire day unless you’re really taking things slowly, but it’s charming and relatively quiet, even though it’s also kind of touristy.
- Bologna – With the new high-speed rail lines connecting more cities in Italy, there are more options for day trips. On the Frecciarossa, you can get from Milan’s Central Station to Bologna in an hour. That means you can leave behind the busy city for all the famous Italian foods you’re craving in the heart of arguably Italy’s premier food region. There are pretty churches and historic buildings to see, to be sure, but to me Bologna is all about the food. (For the husband, it was also equally about the nearby Lamborghini Museum and Ferrari Museum.)
- Florence – Florence is the kind of city where you could easily spend a week or more and not see everything there is to see, but if you’ve been before and just want a quick day trip to the Renaissance capital as a break from Milan then you’ll be pleased to know the high-speed trains will get you there in about an hour and 45 minutes.
- Vigevano – If you really want to get away from other non-Italian tourists, head to this town not far from Milan where the Italians go. Vigevano has one of the prettiest piazzas in Italy, and not much to “see” or “do,” which is one of its charms.
Photo by: Carlos Villela