After months of running around like a busy and arrogant lady, all of a sudden Milan changes. In the summer time. At weekends. The financial heart of a homemade city that seems hostile to children at first, now looks more attractive, even smiling, with its comfortable sneakers, replacing the sulkiness of ties, white-collars and three piece suits. Milan is a city of contrasts. The modern shopping centre next to a small boutique that still survives, because in 2013 quality and human touch are still valued.
The old rattling trams charm the younger ones every time they pass by and “Lilla” the new metropolitan line, with its name out of a comic book. The old refurbished buildings hide behind their courtyards and the skyscrapers in redeveloped areas invite our children to walk around with their nose up.
Milan is so much more than fog, traffic and smog. The Lombard capital is synonym of great opportunities, and not just for jobs. Rich in services, interesting culture, delicious food and entertainment, Milan welcomes its inhabitants, foreigners and travellers of all ages. The city is ready to be loved by those who are ready to appreciate it, under its cerulean sky on a sunny day or in its grey drizzle.
After a tedious and monotonous year, you will need to give your mind a rest. It might seem impossible to do so on a budget, without having to jump in a car and drive to the coast. But Milan can open its arms and charm you unexpectedly. In its green and sunny parks, families reunite in small tribes, covering meadows and squares with their bicycles. In the city centre, streets and historical Milanese landmarks invite passers-by to exhibitions and open debates, where culture and art become the summer lunch break for the mind.
For culture lovers
If you are looking to chill out away from the summer heat, take advantage of the half-empty city and make sure you don’t miss the summer exhibition that will surprisingly appeal to both adults and children. Milan hosts an extraordinary artist that strongly believed in the idea that every form of art can be understood also by the youngest audience. Leonardo’s world exhibition was recently extended until 28th February 2014. This exhibition is on at the opposite ends of Piazza Duomo, in the heart of the Lombard capital.
If you have a passion for planes or if you simply can’t stay away from an airport, in just 40 minutes the Malpensa Express train will take you from Cadorna train station to Volandia, the flight museum, where you can learn all about the history of Lombard aviation.
Snacking in the city centre
Whenever you are out and about with children, throughout the year or in the summer, snacks and refreshments are a must. Bastianello, right in the city centre, is a historical coffee shop loved by the locals especially for its slow-paced Sunday morning breakfasts. Afternoon snacks are not really on a budget, but as a one-off, a luxury croissant is allowed! If you want to follow the itineraries of the historical sites in town, you can’t miss a milkshake at Viel’s, a well established bar that for the past 60 years have been serving freshly made smoothies in its original furniture and surroundings. Healthy and natural, made with certified products, like the Ice cream shops in Via Marghera, near Piazza Piemonte and Corso Vercelli – Underground station M1 Wagner. No doubt your children will fall in love with it at first lick!
Milan and water
At first it might sound strange, but Milan is a city of water. Connected to a vast network of canals and rivers, the Milan Navigli (canals) await to be discovered: you can follow one of the many itineraries and navigate the Naviglio Grande amongst the hinterland countryside.
And if you fancy a trip further away, but still not too far from the Madonnina statue, you can relax on the banks of the Ticino river or on the shores of the lake, whilst dreaming of dragons, sea monsters and fantastic animals.
Never give up the summer, which also means spending quality time with family and children. Sometimes in order to find something new it is not necessary to go elsewhere, you can just change the way you look at things. Like a child would. So before setting off for new shores, just look again at your city and live it like a newly discovered island, where every day is ‘Friday’, work and stress free!