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The new Milan: Cadorna and Skyscrapers

Milan’s new technological and forward-looking image

Milan works restless, Milan hosted the last International EXPO, Milan as a big modern capital. But Milan can be also a tourist attraction! Start your tour from the new train station of Cadorna designed by the famous architect Gae Aulenti. Here is the station of Malpensa Express connecting the city to the airport.

Here we have a famous sculpture: a giant Needle And Wire. It is one of the most discussed art works in Milan lately, made by two architects whose names are difficult to remember (’cause she is Dutch and he is Swedish…). Not easy to understand its meaning: the colored wire represents the subway going underground with its three lines, yellow, red and green. The sneaky composition reminds the heraldic symbol of the Family Sforza, who ruled over Milan in the past. And of course also the industriousness of the city, that was born in ancient times from the ability of tailors working on silk and cloths. The history of Milan about fashion starts long time ago.

From the train station of Cadorna reach the Garibaldi District by bike: here is the new Gae Aulenti Square surrounded by skyscrapers. That is her again, Gae Aulenti, who made up a new image of Milan that competes with New York, London, Rotterdam or Paris… Ten years ago there was nothing here, today – they say – it is the new pulse. That is Milan’s new technological and forward-looking image!


Watch the full web serie Milan & Leonardo da Vinci

Visit Turismo Milano official web-site

Cover pic by Flickr User Josef Grunig


Video full text: Cadorna and skyscrapers, the new Milan

I’m in Milan.
A Milan that’s industrious, that’s feisty and that stages Expo.
The northern city of Milan is Italy’s operational capital. Milan.
Milan was created by a number of brilliant minds,
all of whom are headed up by the mastermind par excellence: Leonardo Da Vinci.
Milan is also where the sun shines, occasionally!
Here are the municipality’s bicycles. What’s that employee doing?
You’re moving the bikes from one place to another.
We sort them out every morning and every evening, filling the empty spaces.
It’s a never-ending task. Here someone is already in need of a bike and quickly.
This is typical Milanese efficiency!
I’m going to take a bike too, but I need help.
Patrizia is an architect from Milan. So how do I get hold of a bike?
Do you have a card? Never mind, let’s use mine.
We’ll take number 5. This is yours!
Mine? For today!
This is Cadorna station, the Malpensa Express departs from here.
Patrizia tells me about the new station in Cadorna, designed by Gae Aulenti.
Following the launch of the Malpensa Express
it became necessary to reorganise the spaces in this square.
Here we have the famous needle and thread,
one of the most talked about works in Milan in recent times.
It’s the brainchild of two architects with difficult sounding names, she’s Dutch, and he’s Swedish.
Its simplicity, however, does not make it easy to interpret.
The coloured thread undoubtedly represents the subway system,
with its three lines that pass beneath us: the yellow, the red and the green.
The snake-like volutes recall the heraldic symbol of the Sforza family.
And then, of course, Milan’s industriousness,
the ancient origins of which are to be found in the ability to work with silk and fabrics.
And in the skill of the tailors.
Milan’s historical involvement in fashion has roots that date from a very distant past.
I almost like it!

On my bike I reach Porta Nuova in the Garibaldi District,
and I’m in the new square in the centre of the skyscrapers.
So here we are, we meet at last. Where are we?
We’re in Piazza Gae Aulenti, the Milan’s new look.
But did you have to read it to say this?
Created for Expo, it is the technological and forward-looking image of Milan
that is the envy of New York, London, Rotterdam and Paris.
The Milan of the future!
Ten years ago there was nothing here, now it has become the new beating heart!
So what do we want to see in Milan?
Despite the look of a metropolis, Milan too has the land on which it stands.
I want to see the agricultural, natural Milan.
Leonardo, who was from Florence, lived and worked in Milan.
It was he, in fact, who invented the modern farm!
Leonardo is a very important person to investigate, even from an agricultural perspective.
But I’m interested in the here and now, Milan is an agricultural area,
and there is an interesting project entitled “Feeding Milan”.
There are some farmhouse right inside the city.
Milan was redesigned by Leonardo, take the Navigli waterways, for example.
He was the first to draw a perfect map of the city!
I’m not really interested in Leonardo!
Are there any cows grazing in Milan? That’s what I want to see!
But Leonardo is surprising, with his intelligence,
his ability to think about so many things at once.
He was capable of being an engineer, designing things for war, and he painted as well, and how.
Leonardo is Milan.
I’m going to have a look at a type of Milan that is surprising but in which Leonardo did not have a say.
We’ll meet back here when we’ve done our own thing.
We’re both on bicycles and this is what brings us together!
Yes, Milan should be seen on a bicycle!
That’s because this is an Italian Slow Tour.
Ciao! Let’s say farewell, but like this, in a trendy way.


Visit Milan: helpful hints

Italian name: Milano


Milan has got three airports:

  1. 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 €
  2. 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 €
  3. 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:

  1. Serravalle Designer Outlet – Shuttle departure from Milan Central Station or Cairoli square
  2. Fidenza Village Outlet Shopping – Shuttle departure from Piazza della Repubblica 5, at the corner with Turati st.
  3. Vicolungo The Style Outlets – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square
  4. Rodengo-Saiano Franciacorta Outlet Village – Shuttle departure from Cairoli square

Italia Slow Tour

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