Things to do in Bergamo if you have a Milan Bergamo Airport Layover or Extended Milan Bergamo Airport Stopover
Milan, unlike most usually historical European cities which throw the sights in your face, requires quite a lot of exploring - take it as it is, and you might enjoy its fashionable glitter and business-like modernity, but might find it not very "captivating". If you spend time, though, you'll find a forward thinking, diverse city filled in every corner with history, and with a plethora of hidden gems. If you have a layover, do take some time to explore and form your own opinions.
The Duomo, in Duomo Square. Milan's main cathedral, a massive late Gothic church (started in 1386) in white marble, with hundreds of spires and thousands of statues on its exterior and a famous façade. Inside the cathedral pictures are supposedly prohibited; however, the attendants rarely stop anyone doing so. If you are feeling nimble, you can climb up onto the roof and enjoy the spectacular views of the city between the Gothic spires (roof open daily 09:00 to 17:30; EUR 6 for the stairs, EUR 10 for the lift).
The Last Supper
Saint Mary of the Graces ('Santa Maria delle Grazie') houses the famous Last Supper ('Cenacolo Vinciano') by Leonardo da Vinci. While not really suitable for an unexpected layover (tickets are reserved months in advance). If you are feeling lucky, canceled reservations are sold from 08:15 every morning (if there are any).
The La Scala Theatre and Museum
The La Scala Theatre is of the most renowned opera houses in the world, and has seen performances by stars such as Maria Callas and Pavarotti. It first opened in 1778 and re-opened in 2004 after extensive renovation. The theatre has a large and remarkable museum containing sets, costumes, musical instruments, ceramics, art and more. The auditorium can been seen from the boxes excepted when rehearsals or performances are in progress. Open every day (except holidays).
Visit the Galleria
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele is the mother of all shopping malls: upscale shops in a splendid 19th century palace of a mall, with a stunning mosaic floor, and wonderful glass roof and cupola. From Prada and Louis Vuitton to a Gucci cafe and McDonald's, this mall has it all, and more (including art galleries and bookstores). At Christmas time, it becomes an enchanting place, with beautiful lights and glitzy decorations. For real Milanese cheap food, go to Luini for a Panzerotti on nearby Via San Radegonda.
Shop til you drop
Milan, being a worldwide trendsetter, is a fashion shoppers' paradise. There is pretty much every form of shopping in this city that one can imagine: from the designer's prestigious emporia, retail giants' outlets, small entrepreneur's tiny and funky boutiques, to second-hand average shops. The main shopping area is the so-called Fashion Quadrangle (quadrilatero della moda), a set of blocks roughly between Duomo Square (Piazza Duomo), Cavour Square (Piazza Cavour) and San Babila Square (Piazza San Babila).
Relax in the public gardens
Giardini pubblici (public gardens) is an old 18th century park complex in the Montenapoleone/Porta Venezia district, designed in an English Romantic garden style. Inside, you can find rockeries, water features, fountains, statues and monuments, and other interesting features. You also get a planetarium, a natural history museum, and on the other side of the Palestro street, you can also find an opulent Royal villa which today hosts a contemporary art collection within grand ornate halls. Reachable via P.ta Venezia, Turati or Palestro metro stations. The gardens are in an excellent position since they're quie near to the Duomo and Brera district, and extremely close to the Montenapoleone street and the glamorous shopping area around it.
Tip: The simplest and plainest place to have a drink in Milan is a drinking fountain - there are loads of them around the city!
As always, make sure you leave plenty of time to get back to BGY Milan Bergamo Airport and clear security in time for your connecting flight. Enjoy your transit city rather than whiling away the time leaning up against your luggage in the departures lounge.
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