Slow itinerary by urban train, looking for some hidden places in town
Milan urban railway tour: Villa Necchi Campiglio
Green oasis with vegetable gardens, trees and plants in the city
by Roxana Iacoban
The second day had arrived and it seemed like we had been there for a lot longer because of the intensity of our encounters and the amount of things we got to see. Due to the changing weather we didn’t get a change to use the Bike sharing service before, so as soon as the rain stopped we went for it. I found out that there are around 100 bike sharing stations all over Milan and that it is pretty easy to buy a pass and use the card. There are also 2 types of bikes: the yellow ones are normal bikes, while the red ones are electric.
We took the yellow bikes from Porta Nuova and we headed towards Porta Venezia. When we got to Porta Venezia, we were really impressed by its architectural beauty, sign of the old town delimitations. We crossed the street from Porta Venezia towards the Idro Montanelli Park, which I had read a little about and was curious to see. It was founded in the 1700’s and it is famous for being the first park open to the public and dedicated to citizen’s leisure and free time. Reading from the map at the entrance, I could see that the park hosts many interesting visiting points, one of which the Natural Science Museum. It must be a really popular destination for kids and families at the weekend, because there was a long line to get there, so unfortunately we had to skip that. But we were very close to Corso Venezia which is a beautiful street that offers a variety of architectural styles and cozy cafès and restaurants.
We wandered a bit along the street admiring the buildings above and in 5 mintutes walk we reached our second destination: Villa Necchi Campiglio. Who would have imagined to find a green oasis with vegetable gardens, trees and plants in the heart of the city? I sure didn’t! We were happy to find out that there was also an Art exhibition inside the Villa and another in one of its gardens: Manualmente Carta. Practically in each room of the villa, we could admire paper made gowns from different periods and places in the world, whereas outdoors there were booths with paper made jewellery and interior deisgn pieces.
The villa was superb. I found out that it dated back to the 1920’s and it was designed by the Italian architect Piero Portaluppi for the Necchi Campiglio, a family of rich entrepreneurs. In 2001 this beautiful building was donated to the FAI and is now part of a patrimony that includes several architectural pieces and buildings open to the public. It is impressive how the rooms are all different, due to their use or the people they hosted. You can still find something intact as if you had gone back in time peeking in someone’s house: the books, the clothes, the accessories, the souveniers are still there, untouched. Although almost 100 years have passed since it was built and designed, it is still today very impressive for its luxury and beauty. The bathrooms are absolutely stunning, and as I was glaring at them, an old lady who stood next to me said: “These bathrooms are bigger than my own apartment” (just to give you an idea ).
We continued our visit outdoors where we admired the pool, which we found to be the first outdoor heated pool in Milan, the flowers, statues and ornaments. There is also a beautiful restaurant in the garden, surrounded by glass windows to give you the impression that you are in the middle of a natural environment, because immersed in green. I suggest you to book the table in advance, because especially at the weekend it is a very popular place. Our visit came to an end, to we headed back towards Corso Venezia to have the last walk along those great buildings, and down we went at the urban railway station to catch our “passante ferroviario”. Destination: South-Est Milano, Nocetum.
(to be continued…)
Visit Milan: helpful hints
Italian name: Milano
Milan has got three airports:
- Malpensa Airport is the largest international & intecontinental Airport in Northern Italy. 30 miles Northwest from the city centre. Connections:
→ Train Malpensa Express: trains leaves every 30 minutes in each direction, connecting the Airport to Milan Grand Central Station or Cadorna Railway Station. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 45 min, price: 14 €
→ Shuttle Bus: Malpensa Shuttle and Malpensa Bus Express connect the airport to Milan Grand Central Railway Station and Milan’s Underground Network. Terminals 1 and 2. It takes 60/70 min, price: 8 €
- City Airport Linate is an international airport connecting Milan with main European cities, located just 4 miles from the city centre. Connections by shuttle: Atm Bus n. 73 from Milano Duomo M1 – M3 (Piazza Diaz, direction: San Babila), first ride at 5.35 am, last one at 00.35. Frequency: every 10 min, price 1,5 €
- Milan Bergamo Airport Orio al Serio is mainly low cost flights Airport, located 30 miles Northwest from Milan. Connections only by Shuttle: There are 4 different bus companies, pricing changes from 5 up to 8 €
ATM is Milan public transport service both for bus, tram and subway. Single ticket costs 1.50€ for 90-min ride. Consider daily/weekly subscriptions. You can buy tickets also texting to 48444. Milan Subway is the longest in Italy, covering 95 km: Donwload and check the map.
Moving in town can be nice also by bike: Milan has got a powerfull bike sharing service providing both regular and e-bikes. Here is the experience of our Ambassador Kim Harding with BikeMi service and a useful video of our Ambassador Roxana explaining how does it work. Car Sharing is also good with many different companies to choose.
Try also the local urban railway train, called Passante Ferroviario, check the experience of our Ambassador Roxana Iacoban travelling by local train in town.
What to do in Milan
Milan is the Italian financial center and one of the European capitals of Fashion. Known for its nightlife as well.
Some tips on Italia Slow Tour: watch our web serie about Leonardo da Vinci’s places, climb on top of the Duomo, visit Prada Foundation, Museums and Art Galleries, taste some fine gelato and try the local Aperitivo and – not joking – enjoy a sailing trip (!!) or some time deep in the nature close to some actual farms and fields.
Where to sleep
Accomodations are quite expensive in Milan, fares rise up and hotels get full according to the rich event calendar of the city (see: Fashion Week, Salone del mobile, Big concerts, Theatre and Sport events, etc.). If you are not specifically interested in any of those, try to travel during other periods to save some money.
Italia Slow Tour recommends:
- Hotel Cervo in Garibaldi District if you want to stay close to city centre and enjoy the nightlife
- Hotel Concorde located on the Green Way Milan-Lecco to Lake Como, if you want to move around adn travel by bike
Shopping in Milan
The famous Fashion District involves the following streets/areas: Via Montenapoleone, via Manzoni, via della Spiga and Corso Venezia. The so called “Quadrilateral of Fashion”. Here you can find all kind of brands and shops. Easy to reach by Subway (stop at Montenapoleone station).
Don’t miss the Street Markets! Almost every day you can find one: best are the ones in Viale Papiniano (on Tuesday) and Via Fauchè (on Saturday). More on the official website of weekly street markets. If you are into sustainable local products, Milan has got 8 actual farms in town and a green Earth Market.
If you are interested in Outlet Shopping, in the outskirt of Milan you can find 4 different Fashion Outlets, in a radius of 62 miles. Here you can find everyday a lot of famous high quality Italian brands on sale, with prices cut off up to 50%. All the outlets are connected to the center of Milan by Shuttle Bus:
- Serravalle Designer Outlet – Shuttle departure from Milan Central Station or Cairoli square
- Fidenza Village Outlet Shopping – Shuttle departure from Piazza della Repubblica 5, at the corner with Turati st.
- Vicolungo The Style Outlets – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square
- Rodengo-Saiano Franciacorta Outlet Village – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square