By arungupta on Sep 29, 2007
- Milan : Milano :: Rome : Roma :: English :: Italiano. In simple terms, Milan and Rome are English names for Milano and Roma in Italian (called as Italiano in Italian). Everybody will understand if you say Milan or Rome but When in Rome, live like Romans and so pretend-like-a-local.
- Airports: Milan has two airports - Linate and Malpensa. Linate
caters to the domestic traffic and Malpensa to both domestic and
international. Malpensa airport is out of Milan and Linate is in the
city. Make sure to check which airport is closer to the hotel
(especially if you are planning a domestic and international trip out of
Milan) and book your flights accordingly.
The airport in Rome is Leonardo DaVinci and is located in Fiumicino city. But all the locals call it as Fiumicino airport and even all the directions mention Fiumicino.
- The taxi fare from Malpensa airport to anywhere in the city is fixed at 70 Euros irrespective of what comes in the taxi meter. The driver who dropped us from airport to the hotel of course did not convey that to us because the meter in his taxi showed 95 Euros and he happily took the money we gave him. The taxi driver who dropped us at airport told us about this so make sure to not pay more than 70 Euros if you going to/from Malpensa.
- In all my experience so far, Taxi drivers take only cash. So make sure you know the approximate distance/time/cost from the airport to your hotel and have sufficient cash. All the airports have an ATM machine which is very convenient.
- Keep a jacket handy depending upon the city and time of the year. Make sure to check the weather before packing your clothes. In winter times, it's good to carry an Umbrella. We checked the weather online before starting our trip but it turned out to be complete reverse of what we expected.
- "Grazie" is "Thanks" and "Ciao" is "Hello" or "Bye" in Italiano.
- If you are traveling with kids, it helps to mentally prepare them by sharing the itinerary, giving them an estimate of the flight time, amount of walking/waiting required (especially in Rome which needs lot of walking) for any tourist spots and of course carrying some handy snacks for them if the wait is too long or if the meal is delayed. In Rome, Gelato was easily accessible through out the city and worked as a great incentive for my son :)
- Having breakfast included in the hotel package turned out to be a big boon as it gives a good head start for the day. You can always have breakfast in the hotel anyway but it might be more cost effective to be included in the package.
- Avoid flights during peak office hours. We spent an extra 45 minutes because our flight arrived at Malpensa airport at 5:30pm and then got stuck in traffic going to the hotel.
- Both the hotels in Italy (Melia Roma Aurelia Antica and ATA Quark Hotels) did not have Iron boards for some inexplicable safety reasons. This might be a trend in Italy hotels so make sure to carry clothes that need no ironing, or wear them without iron or use the laundry service to get them iron. The later option requires you to give the clothes a day in advance and pay an exorbitant amount for getting a simple tee-shirt ironed.
- Most of the tourist spots in Milan are accessible using public transport. We bought a day pass (for 3 Euros and available from most of the kiosks near Metro stations or Light rails) that is valid in Metro, Tram/Light Rails and other public transport. This keeps you mobile and provides option to move around.
- McDonalds are available at most of the places in case you care.
- In terms of places to visit, Duomo of course is the main destination in Milan. There is a Fashion Galleria right next to Duomo and a significant part of the day can be spent there. The Last Supper painting has a 2 month wait but you can always talk to one of the local travel agency who typically buy the tickets in advance and can take you inside.
Here is my travel album:
All my travel tips to Europe are aggregated here.