One of the highlights of my stay in Milan was attending a ballet performance at La Scala. Traveling by myself, I was able to score for a very good price a last-minute ticket to the amazing Ballet Gala des Etoiles at Teatro alla Scala.
The performance was incredible. It included a variety of extremely well-known ballet scenes such as excerpts from La Rose Malade, Carmen, The Dying Swan or Romeo and Juliet, and one or two more modern ballet scenes as well, which I really enjoyed. The personnel of the theater is sadly neither well organized nor attentive and as a general rule, in many parts of Italy, will ignore you until you make it impossible for them to do so. However, the artistic performance was definitely first-class. A must-see!
Taking pictures during the performance was not allowed, so here are a few photos taken from this link which also gives more details on the programme.
I then proceeded to visit the city, starting with the Duomo – the cathedral at the heart of the city, which construction began during the 14th century and ended in the 20th century. It now holds first place in my personal ranking of the most beautiful cathedrals I have visited until now. The level of detail is incredible and it is was beautifully restored.
It is well worth it to visit the inside of the cathedral. I believe tickets might be cheaper online and you can buy them at the public Wifi spaces present all over the city, although I did not buy my own ticket online because lines were short that day.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II located nearby is a good place for a stroll. Some of the restaurants there, such as Galleria Restaurant and Pizza, serve very good food, although prices will be steeper than in other neighborhoods in Milan since it is a very touristic location.
The Arch of Peace is a great place to picnic, or even work, like I did, since it does have public Wifi. The login process is a pain on the free Wifi in Milan, but it was great to have Internet available in many public places.
Another great place to visit was the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonard of Vinci (a heck of a long name), or in Italian, Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Technologia Leonardo da Vinci.
It is great for people with an interest in science, definitely one of the best science museums I have visited. I would especially recommend it to my colleagues from the National Institute of Science and Technology. The similarity of the names says it all – that museum is the kind of place where are put things people like us used to work on decades or centuries ago. Pretty cool. That museum is huge, it takes at least three hours and good shoes to visit all of it.
The main attraction at that museum is the collection of models built per Leonardo da Vinci’s diagrams and notes. They are great! A few examples:
And a few other pictures of the city:
Of course, this being Italy, the food was great. Aside from all the pasta and pizza, strangely enough, Milan had many excellent sushi restaurants.
I stayed among other places at a hostel in the heart of the city, Ostello Bello via Medici, which was a great value and had amazing personnel always ready to help. That place had an ongoing party pretty much every evening until late at night, centered around their bar and small restaurant, so better come mentally prepared especially if, like me, you are staying several days. I would definitely recommend it because it was such a great experience.