Northern Italy, home to Venice and Milan is a world away from our typical mountain lifestyle. And yet being only a few hours away from our base in the Alps, inquisitiveness finally got the better of us. Milan, less than 3 hours door to door was our destination. Milan with kids? The capital of fashion? Think again, surely? Especially Milan with my kids, who are not particularly city savvy. Well, we had a ball! There is loads to do in Milan with kids!
Actually Milan is surprisingly rather family friendly with kids travelling free on public transport and a great park right in the city centre. There are some amazing stays in Milan. We stayed in a beautiful Airbnb apartment we found in central Milan in an ancient quadrangle with resident tortoise, AND vast amounts of gelato, our girls just didn’t want to leave! If you want to really get into the Italian vibe before leaving, check out the best movies about Italy here.
Here are our 5 reasons to go to Milan with kids
1. It’s a relatively small city and easy to get around on foot.
Most streets radiate off the most famous sight in town – the Duomo. The 5th largest cathedral in the world, the Duomo (meaning ‘cathedral’ in Italian) is smack in the middle of the city and definitely THE first place to visit during your stay. The Piazzia du Duomo is a buzzing throng of activity rammed with tourists, hawkers, polizia and pigeons! And the perfect place to eat gelato! We rocked up early and queued for tickets for the rooftop which the kids loved and gave us magnificent views over the city.
2. Watch a children’s opera at the world famous Scala Opera house for €1.00!
Milan is home to the Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous masterpiece ‘The Last Supper’ which we would have loved to have seen. Tickets need to be bought though months in advance so on this visit it wasn’t an option and I’m not too sure how interested the girls would have been.
However, we were absolutely thrilled to get press tickets to the world famous Scala Opera! It’s a little known fact that they perform children’s operas a handful of times a year. The performance, sung in Italian to Mozart, was outstanding. The girls were spellbound at their first taste of opera!
La Scala put on two opera shows and five concerts a year specifically for children. One is always at over Christmas. Check upcoming shows on La Scala website where you can book tickets in advance. Beware tickets sell out fast for these gold dust shows so look at the schedule months ahead and even plan your visit to Milan around this very special experience for your children. Our tip is to sign up online to La Scala’s newsletter which will give advance notice of performances. And yes children’s tickets are only 1 euro!
3. Geek out at the amazing Museum of Science & Technology
The Museum of Science and Technology in Milan is the largest of it’s kind in Italy and . Super kid friendly it has loads of interactive exhibits and workshops. Check out cool transformer art, assemble lego robots, nerd out on particle physics or explore space. This museum is so vast you could lose yourself inside for days.
4. Milan trams!
The tram system is exceedingly easy to use & kids travel for free. The kids loved it. In fact, we realised they’d never been on a tram before. We LOVED the Italian transport. Italy oozes style but it’s not the legions of boutiques or fashionistas that have us hooked – it’s the stylish vehicles! Piaggio’s, classic trams and vespas all brought a smile to our faces, although we surprisingly didn’t find our favourite – the classic Fiat 500.
5. Milan’s Architecture
Milan and fashion are synonymous. But architecture? We were blown away by how simply stunning the architecture is. A mash up of ancient Rome, renaissance, gothic and neoclassical architecture, Milan is a wonder to wander around. Gaze up at elaborate facades, symmetrical stone pillars and elegant arches. Divert along many of the city’s side streets and you’ll find imposingly high buildings punctuated with grand giant sized gates. Occasionally we’d spot one open and spy inside. We were surprised to see quadrangles, lush and green. Each one a tranquil oasis inside the hustle and bustle of the city. We stayed at an amazing airbnb right in the middle of the old city backing onto a wonderful quadrangle complete with a resident tortoise. As you can imagine, coming home after a day’s sightseeing the girls loved chilling out here. It really made our stay.
Driving in Italy can be stressful. We drove to Milan but didn’t fancy facing the inner city traffic so parked at the secure airport parking and took the train in. It was easy and we’d highly recommend this to make your visit super stress free.