I’ve been to Milan a few times. Four or five times I think.
And each time I had more fun, saw more things, went into more day trips and discovered new places in this lovely city.
You see, many people think Milan is just a simple city that you could see in half a day.
In this article I will try to cover as much as I can from my trips, things to see, itineraries, places to eat, etc. so you could see for yourself that Milan deserves to be on your travel list. Both as a destination and as a travel hub to other locations in Italy.
For me Milan means more than just a city. It means AC Milan-Inter, it means AC Milan-Roma(where I got the chance to see Francesco Totti live), it means Cirque du Soleil, it means many trips(Italian lakes, Genoa, Verona, Padua, Pisa, etc.), it means great food, it means discovering Navigli(a lovely area in Milan often overlooked by tourists and guides), it means beautiful architecture and more.
So what I will do on this article is to structure it in two parts. First part will be covering Milan and the second will focus on the day trips I took from Milan. Of course you could see more, more places but I will only tell you about the things I tried and tested myself.
So without further intro let us start!
Even though Milan boasts with beautiful buildings, amazing art, beautiful parks and great shopping streets if there is one thing I urge you to try and do is …
- Watch a football game
Yes, I’ve said it. I am a huge fan of churches, arts, books but really. You need to see a match in Milan. If you’re lucky enough to see the Derby della Madonnina then you will be one step closer to understanding Italy.
People of old ages, of all backgrounds, moving together towards the stadium. Both Milan and Inter fans. Constantly chanting, cheering for their team. And when you thought it couldn’t get better, wait.
Wait for the first big occasion, the first goal. And you’ll understand what latin blood means. Ladies wearing dresses, men in suits and boys in jeans all screaming, moving fast, chanting, cursing, laughing or crying for their team.
I’ve been lucky enough to catch important matches like Milan-Atletico in Champions League, Milan Inter or Milan-Roma and the atmosphere was amazing each time. Each time the stadium packed.
Now, the second thing I think you should do is…
Visit the Duomo
And when I say visit the Duomo I mean the church and the roof. Don’t sell yourself short and pay that small sum and walk the stairs or take the elevator to the top for a great view of Milan center. As a matter of fact you can buy tickets from here. It saves a lot of hassle and I always enjoyed skipping the lines and not waiting for hours just to buy a ticket.
As you can see from the link I provided you above there are many types of tickets available and what I can tell you is that I have bought a Duomo Pass by lift, priced 16.50 euro, when I climbed on the roof of the church.
I know you must have heard this many times before but take your time and enjoy the Duomo. Don’t just rush in and then climb to the top to take a few pictures. Look at that architecture. It is amazing. For me the Duomo beats Notre Dame in Paris.
- Take a walk in Brera
Yes, once again I put this on the list before other attractions. But it is so worth it. Brera means art. Brera means young people. Brera means many lovely restaurants. Brera means shopping.
Now I’m not advising you to go on an all-out tour and visit Accademia di Belle Arti, the Pinacoteca, the Museo Astronomico, though you could, but rather take your time and walk. This is a different kind of Milan and I’m sure you will love it.
Also Chiesa Santa Maria del Carmine, one of Milano’s oldest churches is situated very close to the Pinacoteca and if you enjoy history and monuments you will surely like this place.
In regards to food I have tested a few places in Brera and if you’re a fan of crepes you can definitely check this place out. Caffe Vecchia Brera, that’s the name of the place and I’m pretty sure you will easily find something you will like from the big menu available.
Next on my list of must do’s in Milan would be…
Leonardo’s Last Supper
The Cenacolo Vinciano is one of the most famous paintings in the world. I won’t bore you with the details of when, how, how much but there are some things you should be aware of.
You need a reservation to see it. This is the most important part. You need to buy your ticket online, select a date and an hour and be there 20 minutes earlier.
There are many sites on the internet that sell tickets to this place but from what I remember I got my tickets from here.
I know what you’re thinking but let me assure you, it is totally worth it.
The painting is located in its original place in the Dominican convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie and I urge you to locate it well on your map, GPS because this is the only place I had the surprise of asking people about without getting clear indications.
As a little bonus, after visiting the church and seeing the painting, you can come back here and tell me if the size of the painting surprised you.
Now, to move on I must ask one simple question. What is a town without a castle?
- Castello Sforzesco
When finishing your tour in the Duomo you can start walking on Via dei Mercanti then on Via Dante (straight line) and you will reach the castle.
The place is big and to make it even more interesting, behind the Castle you can find, walk and admire Parco Sempione.
Tickets to the Castello can be bought from here and at 10 euro they are well worth it.
If you adventure on Sempione and you manage to walk all the way to the arch and feel hungry, there is a small pizzeria that has an OK pizza a few metres from the Arch.
Since Milan is a city of arts you just couldn’t miss….
Or simpler said. Milan’s opera.
Yes, that famous opera house that you can easily reach from the Duomo passing thru the Vittorio Emanuele 2 Gallery. A gallery I am pretty sure you will stop and admire on your way to the opera.
I must confess that while on the outside the Scala is not as impressive as the MET Opera let’s say, the real magic happens inside.
Even if you’re not an opera fan you will surely appreciate this building which was inaugurated in august 1778. Yes, 240 years ago.
Love a city that has canals and water? Then here is the place you should visit…
Not many people know that Milan has canals. And more than canals it has little restaurants, pubs, terraces on both sides of the canals. And they are always filled with young people enjoying a glass of Aperol or some Prosecco.
Here the bars stay open late and you can always find a little party going on.
If you’re hungry there is a wide array of restaurants available so you can pick in ease.
This covers my list of to see sights in Milano.
In time I will add more links and places (restaurants) I tried but didn’t have time to review until now.
In my opinion Milano remains one of my favorite cities. The beautiful streets, the sights, the people, the food, all add up to a great experience.
Now that we covered some of Milan’s bests it is time to move to…
Day trips from Milan.
Before going further I must tell you that I did not add the Central Station of Milan to your list of to see things for one reason. If you chose Milan as a hub and go from there to day trips you will see this amazing building quite often.
For all my trips from Milan I used the train. Trains, at least in the North, are fast, clean and affordable. Yes, you will pay a lot for a ticket with the Frecciarossa 1000 but not if you buy it in time. And this is what I advise you to do. Buy your tickets in advance.
On one of my trips to Italy I wanted to travel with the Frecciarossa 1000, the newly train that everybody kept talking about. And I managed to secure a killer deal from Milan to Bologna and return for about 19 eur/way. If you were to buy that same ticket on the day of your travel it could have costed you about 60-80 euro/way.
So if you want to book at discounted prices look ahead and you will find great, great deals.
On this part of the article I will mention the places I visited from Milan and write a bit about each.
So from Milan I took day trips to Verona, Genoa, Parma, Padua, Lake Como, Lake Garda, Lake Maggiore, Bologna, Cremona and Bergamo.
I really hope I’m not forgetting a place but I will double check it once I am done and look thru the pictures and the photo albums just to be sure.
Before we start I must tell you that trains to/from these places are often so on big cities like Bologna, Verona you can almost have hourly trains. Depending on your preferences you can buy only go tickets and spend a bit more on return but visit the cities in your own pace and rhythm.
I can’t be of much use here since I walk differently, I take different breaks or stop at different things so for example my 5 hours in a city could be too much for you or just the opposite.
So let us start with…
I still remember my first day trip from Milan. Early morning, February, the weather kind of cold I had my tickets already booked for Verona.
To reach Verona Porta Nuova from Central Station in Milan you will need between 1:13 hours with a fast train and 2:00 hours using the Regionale. Yes, tickets vary in price but spending 90 more minutes on the train is a no deal for me so I chose the faster train, the Frecciarossa.
From Porta Nuova, the train station, you can walk to the city (1.5 kilometers) or you can catch a taxi.
Verona is not huge and the main attractions are pretty grouped so you’ll be able to visit in peace, on your own time.
What you can do is simply walk thru the historic center and your steps (and the signs) will take you to all the important sights.
As a starting point you can always begin your route on Piazza Bra which is right next to the Arena of Verona. You can enjoy both a day tour but you can also take part in an event held in this Arena. I don’t know if events are held all year around but when they are held tickets can be bought from here and as you can see there are plenty of options from which to choose.
Simple tickets, just for visiting are 10 euro but I haven’t found an online site from where to buy them.
Next up on our list… Torre dei Lamberti.
As in many places you have two options here. Take the elevator or take the stairs. The tickets are 8 euro and if you visit on Mondays the price is only 5 euro.
The view is great from the Tower so the sum of money is not much considering the location and the views.
When descending from the Tower or before climbing on it you might want to stop in Piazza Delle Erbe. You can admire it from Torre dei Lamberty and look at all the little terraces in the Piazza while up in the old tower.
Not far from here (about 180-200 meters) you will reach the famous Juliette’s House.
I usually wake up early and go see places to have less people in my pictures but here it doesn’t really matter. This place is always filled with people. Maybe if you arrive at the first hour when it opens you will have better luck. Laughing, climbing on the balcony for a photo, touching the tit of the statue for good luck, people are always present in the courtyard and in the house. And I wasn’t kidding about touching the breast. People line up to do it.
The tickets for the house are priced at 6 euro and more info about them can be found here.
Two more things drew my eye while in Verona and that is two bridges. Two famous bridges that is. Ponte Pietra and Ponte Scaligera. Both are very beautiful and they offer lots of spots for taking pictures of the Old Town.
Yes, there are more places that can be visited in Verona but in my opinion the above list covers the essentials.
Taking in account what time you have you can easily sneak in a few more places if that is what you desire.
Now that Verona is done let us move to one of my favorite places from Italy…
Are you surprised? Don’t be. Genoa is amazing. The train ride is 1:30 to 2:00 hours/way and as usual the train tickets vary in price due to the hours, number of connections and type of trains. However there are plenty and I do mean plenty of direct lines so you’ll have no problem in reaching Piazza Principe, Genoa’s railway station.
You see, when booking a train from Milan, you will have many options for Genoa but just keep in mind Piazza Principe and you will be OK.
I still remember my visit in Genoa. I was with a good friend, walking, touring, searching for the house of Cristofor Columbus. I remember walking for almost an hour, looking for that little thing, because it is little, before stopping outside its doors. It only costs 3 euros and it is worth it if only for the historic importance of this sight.
So yes, you can add this little place to your visit.
The one thing though, the one thing I would urge you to see in Genoa is via Giuseppe Garibaldi. This street is amazing. Palazzo Bianco, Palazzo Rosso, Palazzo Tursi and other buildings lined up on this beautiful colored street for you to enjoy. I included a link above because most of the buildings here are museums that you could visit if interested. You can easily find prices there so you can decide what you want to see and how much that will set you back.
It is really a delight for your eyes so do yourself a favor and see this place.
It is only 1.5 kilometers away from the train station and you’ll be going in that direction anyway because you will want to see the harbor and the old town. Some of you might even want to visit the Aquarium and that’s there too. Tickets to the Aquarium can be found here .
Back to the Old Town I can say this. Small, twisted, maze that you will love. Take your time and walk thru it. Stop and look at the buildings, signs, at the little shops and try a few delicious things from the windows if you crave for them. And trust me. Sweets in Italy are delicious.
Admire the maze of streets, the old buildings, the relics of statues and just take your time.
I remember enjoying a Birra Moretti in the harbor, sitting down with my friend eating fresh pastries and paninis bought from a little wagon where workers lined up to buy their food.
One sight you should see while in Genoa is the Cathedral of San Lorenzo, a church so old I will let you discover its age on your own.
If for whatever reason Genoa is not to your taste or maybe you walk fast and finish my suggestions then you will be delighted to know that Genoa is a short distance away from Camogli and Portofino, two jewels of Italy.
I have written about these two places here and from Genoa you can reach Portofino by train or by ferry. If you opt for the train ride you will stop at S. Margherita Ligure and from there you will take a bus directly to Portofino.
After finishing with Genoa why not travel to…
Learn to spell and pronounce prosciutto and parmigiano. You will need it. Parma ham is famous worldwide and everybody loves parmesan.
And if that’s not enough spell pasta. Barilla Pasta. Because Parma is the birthplace of this company.
Named by Unesco Creative City for Gastronomy, Parma does not disappoint in other aspects also. Art, buildings, churches and palaces.
With a direct line that takes 1:30 hours Parma is accessible from Milan and you can start your tour with Pallazo Della Pilotta, a complex building that will surely take you some time. Easily reached from the train station by foot (about 10 minutes) it is a good place to start exploring Parma.
However, if you feel like visiting the Pallazo takes too much time, my first thing to see in Parma is the Battistero. The price is 8 euro for the entrance and in my opinion this place really deserves a visit.
It is a place to admire, to relax and just admire the works of Correggio in a beautiful town of Italy.
If you have time left why not head up to the Parco Ducale to enjoy a small walk in nature, relaxing after a day full of art and food?
Next stop ….
Two hours by train and you will reach Padova, a town famous for its University founded in 1222. The same university where Galileo Galilei was a lecturer.
A Lovely city, filled with young people, Padova left me beautiful memories of Prato della Valle. The largest square in Italy, filled with amazing statues and water, it is a place that was featured on a lot of postcards from Italy.
Take your time, sit down, grab something to eat and just enjoy the monumental work that was poured into building this place.
You might not like churches but the Scrovegni Chapel holds the best preserved frescoes painted by Giotto. Here is the link from where you can buy the tickets but for Padova I would suggest looking at the Padova Card. The card can be bought from here and as you can see for a small 16 euro price you will gain access to a lot of interesting places.
Next on my day trips from Milan come my lovely days spent on Italian lakes. First day was spent on Lazise and Garda on Garda Lake, second day I travelled to Bellagio and Como on Como Lake and on my third day I reached Stresa and the Borromean Islands on Maggiore Lake.
Before reading further or thinking of a trip in these places I advise you to look on the internet for the things you would want to see more and then look for transport between the little towns. Usually you can reach these places by bus or by boat but you always need to take in consideration the length between them and how much time you will end up visiting each place.
First stop as I mentioned before was on Garda Lake where I visited…
In about 2 hours from Milano you can reach Peschiera del Garda train station where you will get off the train and get outside the station waiting for bus 164(double check the number again before going). As a word of advice look carefully at the buses because from the train station there is a bus who takes people to Gardaland, Italy’s biggest amusement park.
15-20 minutes on the bus will leave you in front of Lazise and from there you can start exploring. The place is not big and you can finish it in two hours on a relaxed pace.
The old walls, the little maze of streets, the small harbor, the promenade where you can enjoy a drink while watching the lake, tiny shops everywhere, the feeling of no rush, of calm that sets on you since you enter the town all make for a great experience.
Unfortunately I have just a few pictures from this beautiful place but the Italian lakes is the kind of trip anybody should take once in their life so I’m pretty sure that if you didn’t visit until now, you will do it in the near future.
The Italian lakes should not be hurried. Yes, there are quite a few places that deserve a visit but keep in mind that sometimes you need to slow down to enjoy things.
A glass of wine while watching the seagulls on the lake, a stroll thru the streets, not needing a map, not needing to see certain sights and running from one to the next bring a calm that everybody needs from time to time.
A boat ride away came….
From Lazise you have two options. Go back to the station and wait for the bus or take a ferry. I attached here some info about the prices, timetables and length of trip but I advise you to take the boat trip. Garda is Italy’s biggest lake and I’m pretty sure you will enjoy the short ride between the two towns.
Garda is bigger than Lazise and more visited. The harbor is bigger and the town has a bigger promenade. Plenty of restaurants and terraces where you can enjoy a drink or grab a bite to eat while enjoying the lake view.
If you want you can visit the Palazzo dei Capitani or Villa Canossa but you can also just walk and admire the streets and the nature.
Regardless of what you chose Garda will have something for you.
From Garda to Peschiera train station you can get the bus and I would go with that option due to the small price.
Next day came Como Lake and I First stopped in…
Well technically I stopped first in Varenna, a little charming place where you can spend an hour or two for sure while waiting for the ferry to Bellagio.
Many people skip on Varenna and that is a shame. It is really worth a small visit and I am sure you will enjoy it.
About one hour from Milano you can reach it easily by direct train line and after watching the ferry schedule to Bellagio you can give Varenna a chance.
Don’t take the taxi from the train station to the ferry. You can walk for about 10 minutes and reach the small harbor from where the ferries depart.
After the short trip from Varenna soak in Bellagio.
A small jewel of a town in which you must see two things.
First thing the town. From where the ferry leaves you, you go left until you start smiling seeing how the streets go smaller and smaller, stairs appear and people multiply.
Bellagio is one of the places I regret I couldn’t reach at the first hours of day because it offers amazing photo opportunities for amateur and professional photographers alike.
Via Giuseppe Garibaldi is the old town’s main street but from it several alleys sprout, alleys filled with shops and restaurants and stairs.
There are plenty of stairs in Bellagio so better wear something comfortable when visiting.
The second thing you must do while in Bellagio is visit the Villa Melzi Gardens. While the Villa is closed to the public the gardens are amazing.
You can easily spend an hour in this beautiful place, just walking, admiring all the beautiful trees, flowers or relaxing on a bench while watching the ferries on the lake.
The ticket is only 6.5 eur and trust me that’s 6.5 eur well invested. The villa is on the right of the harbor and it is not as populated as the old town so if you’re looking for calm and unwinding this is the place.
Give yourself one hour to just walk and admire the gardens and then go back to the town and buy your tickets for the bus.
While ferry is an option from Bellagio to Como buses are faster and cheaper so I chose this option to reach the last stop of the day…
Como is something different. The streets are larger, more people, designer outlets, expensive prices.
So different from Varenna or Bellagio.
I can’t say I was impressed by Como. Yes, many people enjoy it and flock to the place due to its fame but for me it was nothing special.
From Como you can take the funicular up to Brunate for a great view of Como and the harbor. The return ticket was 5.50 and while the funicular moves pretty fast I spent some great time in queue so I don’t think I’d stay in line a second time.
From Como you will take an hour train ride up to Milano Cadorna (not Centrale, Cadorna). I always selected Cadorna when arriving from the airport with the Malpensa Express because it was closer to my accommodation than Centrale.
As a tip: I always suggest watching trains from Centrale and Cadorna. You can reach some places(like Como) faster from Cadorna from example while others are better from Centrale. If you’re visiting smaller towns you can check on Trenitalia the trains from Cadorna also.
The third and final day spent on the lakes brought me to Maggiore Lake where I visited…
- Stresa and the Borromean islands.
One hour away from Milano by train, Stresa is a small town from where you can reach the Borromean islands.
I won’t insist much on Stresa even though it is a pretty little village but focus on the islands.
There are three islands. Two big ones, Isola Bella and Isola Madre and the third smaller one, Isola dei Pescatori.
While the first two are large and have big, luxurious residences on them, the third smaller one still holds its traditional way of life.
There are a few companies that offer transport from Stresa to the islands by boats so you can choose freely from them. It is a hop on hop off system so you only need to know when your next boat comes. Usually if I remember right you can only board boats by the company you paid for but I managed to board a different boat and went between islands. You can check some prices here but rest assured you can manage right there on spot.
When I boarded the first boat I did not know the itinerary but in the end I think it was the best route possible.
I started with Isola Madre, which is the largest of the islands. Isola Madre boasts an amazing garden filled with trees and superb flowers. Also here peacocks roam free so I think this is the island that will appeal most to nature lovers.
This is truly a “green” island, the only colors coming from the many species of flowers present on the island.
Next stop was Isola dei Pescatori. The smallest island but the one most alive. It is a pleasure to walk the tiny few streets and watch the stores and the houses. I loved this place and I am sure you will love it too. It is the only island left to its traditional ways and the island where you can get a bite to eat.
The last stop you should reserve for Isola Bella. This island is the most famous from all three islands and stepping on it you will understand why. The palace is amazing, a site, a construction like never seen before.
It is one of the most photographed places in Italy and justly so because it is an amazing work of art. Even more the Palace has terraces filled with plants so the whole atmosphere is out of a fairy tale.
Take your time and admire it from all angles because the construction is truly a work of art.
A small tip here: Isola dei Pescatori is the only one with a long visiting schedule. The big islands have a tighter schedule so check and take this into account when planning your visits.
The more I write, the more I feel like I forgot something but I’m pretty sure it will come to me by the end of the article so let us move towards the next day trip you can take from Milan and that is…
If you’re looking for a young city, a city of arts, a city of a famous university and even more famous food look no further. Bologna delivers.
You can reach Bologna by train in two ways. Use a regular train and get there in 2:20 hours or book ahead the Freciarossa 1000 and get there in one hour. That is right. Just one hour. And if you book in advance with one month(I calculated for the 2nd of August 2018) you can get a 30 euro/way price which might seem high but really, it is one hour and you’ll have a day full to explore.
Bologna is great. And you don’t have to take my word for it.
You can start exploring the little streets, stop at the shops, look at the food carts and I can assure you, you will look a lot.
Bologna is famous for food. I am sure a quick search on the internet will list you tens of things to try in Bologna so you can get overwhelmed pretty fast I am sure.
To help you a bit I would suggest you try tortellino, tagliatele or the green lasagna. I will leave you here two articles that detail many dishes that you can try. Link one here and link two here. And I’m pretty sure your mouth is watering by now.
I had a lovely experience with a restaurant in Bologna and I will try to finish a review and post it on the site as fast as I can.
Apart from amazing food (and trust me Bologna is even famed in Italy for food) Bologna has many things to offer to tourists.
Nicknamed the red city due to the color of the roofs of the houses Bologna is home to Piazza Maggiore, Basilica San Petronio(check the link for hours and prices), the beautiful Fountain of Neptune, Basilica di Santo Stefano and let us not forget Le due Torri(the two towers) with the famous Torre degli Asinelli(check the link for info and buying tickets) open for the public.
Adding to the mix the Palazzo Comunale and Palazzo Poggi and you can start to understand why Bologna is a top destination for many tourists in Italy.
You can rest assured I could have written at least as many other things but I think that if you are pressed on time or just want to see the most important things you should stick to the ones above.
As a final bonus I’m giving you this. Bologna’s canals. Unknown to many people but Bologna has canals. Not like Venice ok but it has them and they are worth looking at. Grab a cone of gelato and enjoy the sound of water running thru the old canals of Bologna.
Having left Bologna my next day trip was to…
Have you ever heard about Amati, Rugeri or Guarneri?
Chances are if you don’t enjoy classical music and the use of violins you never heard of them. But I’m pretty sure you heard of Stradivari mainly because of the famous Stradivarius violins.
Cremona is not big, it is not alert and it is often overlooked by tourists. But when it comes to music Cremona ranks high. Especially for opera lovers.
With direct trains ranging from one to two hours Cremona is an accessible destination from Milan. It is a peaceful town, a quiet one, perfectly suited for classical music.
I think that if you want to spend half of day in it you would walk its old town streets and stop in two places: Torazzo of Cremona and the Cremona Cathdral.
Of course you can always check the Baptisery and Palazzo Fodri because they are also beautiful pieces of art.
But what I enjoyed most was the Tower. It is old, very old, being constructed around 1267 and it offers a great view of the city.
At almost 113 meters tall it is said to be the third tallest brickwork bell tower in the world. As a little bonus, inside the Torazzo lies the world’s largest astronomical clock.
The climb is steep and the space is tight but if you think you can do it then climb it. You won’t be disappointed.
Cremona is great if you are looking for peace and quiet. A simple day just walking without aim, looking around the city and maybe climbing its famous tower.
Next stop and maybe one of the trips that everybody does is…
45 minutes away from Milan lies a little gem. Bergamo. Now the city is split in two parts. Upper Bergamo and Lower Bergamo.
The train will stop in lower Bergamo and from there you can walk (about 2 kilometers), catch a cab to the funicular and climb to Citta Alta.
Here you can just walk and not worry about missing a thing. Sooner or later you will reach/see all the sights. All in your time.
The walls surrounding the city, the little streets winding and seeming to always go up, the shops, the wooden doors…watch them all as you eat a slice of pizza or enjoy a gelato while exploring the city.
You can start your trip in Piazza Vecchia looking at the medieval buildings and you can climb in the Campanone Bell Tower( I did it by steps but I think an elevator is available also). Be sure not to miss the Duomo and the Santa Maria Maggiore Basilica since they are impressive.
Here you can find the Bergamo bus schedule and lines and also the funicular hours and prices so you can plan you trip ahead.
And this my dear friends pretty much covers it.
5875 words later I hope I managed to convince you that Milan is both a city worth spending time in but also a great hub for exploring a beautiful part of Italy.
Of course there are also a lot of other places you can reach from Milan. You can reach Torino, you can reach Mantova, you can reach Monza and others.
For me Milan has been an amazing experience and in due time I will write more articles about places I enjoyed in Milan and include links in this article.
I can’t help you with any advices for accommodation because on all my journeys I was accommodated with a good friend of mine who lived in Milan.
All I can say is that Milan deserves a whole lot more attention. Not just for football or for fashion but for a place where you can spend beautiful days in and also set off to explore Northern Italy.