I finally decided to visit Rome. The only problem was, I didn’t necessarily want to pay too much for the trip. After reviewing the average price of a ticket to Rome, I created a budget of $500 that I did not want to exceed.
Sticking to my budget seemed impossible when booking the actual flight.
The price varied from $680 to $987 depending on the airline. There had to be another way to get the most out of my budget. So, flying directly into FCO (Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport) was no longer an option. It was time to find an alternative route.
Milan’s Malpensa (MXP) handles a large number of international flights, and at times, it's cheaper than flying into Rome. This option led me to book a multi-city flight. Multi-city flights involve flying into one city in a country and flying out of another. This meant flying into MXP and out of FCO for the total cost of $431. For the rest of the trip, I took the Trenitalia and made my way to Rome. Overall, I paid $532 to visit Milan, San Marino, and Rome.
In Milan, I spent the night at the Ibis Styles Milano Centro to be closer to the train station and to be centrally located.
I recommend flying into the Malpensa Aeroporto to get to the city (Milano Centrale). The train from the airport took 50 minutes for the cost of €13. (€26 round trip). There is also a bus for €10.00. FlixBus is another option, prices may vary according to the time of purchase. If you're not a fan of public transportation, taxis are available at an average price of €110. Uber is also an option, but I found it to be more expensive than the local taxi (€158).
My first meal in Milan was at the Radicetonda, a vegan restaurant, which had a set menu and daily specials. The food was delicious!
After, I decided to explore the city before the day was over. Here are some of the places I visited.
Standing in the Piazza del Duomo, the main square of Milan is the Duomo. The second-largest Catholic church in Italy, second to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. The cathedral took roughly six centuries to build but now stands as a symbol of Milan. Unfortunately, it was closed when I arrived, but I had the opportunity to take in the intricate details of the gothic-style exterior. If you ever get a chance to visit, please do!
Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele
In front of the Duomo is the statue of Vittorio Emanuele II (Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele) the former king of Italy. The statue was placed in Piazza Duomo in 1896 to honor the king's entrance into Milan.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
To the left of the statue is the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. This is Italian shopping at its best. A place where you can find luxury brands, boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. At the center of the shopping mall, there is a mosaic of a bull on the floor. Legend has it that if you spin three times on the bull’s balls, you will receive good fortune. (Ouch!)
For dinner, I decided to try Flower Burger. I know, who goes to Italy to eat a burger? Well, I did! Italy is best known for its pizza, pasta, and cheese, but I wanted to try more vegan/vegetarian meals. Flower Burger was recommended as one of the best in Milan, so I had to try it.
Also, I wanted to have a drink at Backdoor 43, which claims to be the smallest bar in the world. The popular speakeasy can hold up to 3 or 4 people. If you can, please consider booking ahead. Unfortunately, the rain made sure I missed out on this experience.
The next morning, I had breakfast at La Colubrina. It was a nice friendly environment. I tried a few items and got a complimentary treat while I sat and listened to the stories about the owner and her daughter's vegan journey. I also got invited back for dinner but couldn’t because I was leaving that morning. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to take them up on the offer.
I left Milan with an appreciation for the people and a desire in my heart to return. I hope I can one day.
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