Sunday, February 8, 2015

Milan tourist card options and a couple of principal info sites

Before you leave for Italy, you might want to surf the tourist card sites offering discounts to see which one is best for you (often museum, restaurant and public trasportation discounts are offered, and there just might also be free tickets for the special bus between Malpensa and Milan...the latter is not quite half the cost of the train, but even that--at about E.13.00 one way is reasonable, and the tickets can be bought at the airport). Various options for various time periods are available at various prices, so compare to find the best fit for you.

A word to the wise:...More......

...if you want to see Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper, be sure to look for that as part of the package. Tickets have to be bought weeks, even months, in advance, and go like hot cakes.

Another word to the wise: avoid coming to Milan when there are trade fairs in town. That fills up hotels, and pushes up prices. How to know? Go to the official web site, in English, and look at the calendar for your desired dates. The principal trade fairs to avoid are women's and men's clothing, and the furniture and design fairs.

MILAN PASS (together with Zani Viaggi, who also do bus trips to outlet malls)
I like this one because it includes the Hop On-Hop Off City Sightseeing bus (covered and open) so you can get a better idea quickly of what there is in the city, how far things are from each other, and then decide. Zani Viaggi is also an authorized retailer of official Expo tickets. The web site is available in 80+ languages; if it doesn't open in English, use the pulldown menu in the upper right hand corner.

The offerings seem to be pretty broadly packaged, including options for the Lombard lakes region (don't miss beautiful Como, if you can help it), Rome, Florence and Venice. Go here.

Perhaps the first city card to come out, it seems to have disappeared. I can't find any updated info on it.

Not quite a "pass," it does offer, among other things, a three-hour walking tour that includes Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper. Go here.

Want to do everything on your own? Buy your official Last Supper tickets, here, through VivaTicket.

More do-it-yourself help? Here's the official Expo web site in English.

Italy's official tourism info source...though it doesn't get the support that it should (and a coordinated effort has faded with the abolition of the Ministry of Italy, for Pete's the early '90s). The site and offices still might be helpful. The site has a map on which you can find their office nearest you (if it's still open...).

The official tourism site of the province of Milan (of which the city of Milan is the capital), this web site is full of great info, especially if you're interested in getting off the beaten track, and getting outside of the metropolis.

The city of Milan's official page, it, too, is FULL of info (including for specialized interests and sectors). You'll have to arm yourself with patience and a magnifying glass. Despite complaints, they have kept the black background... I guess they think it's cool, but it's quite hard to consult, the reading is difficult. The web site address to take you directly to the English version is absurdly long. Go here, and click on the English flag button. You'll get there all the same. You can buy your Expo tickets, here, download free apps with tourist info, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

The name has changed a few times, but the idea is the same: to give up-to-date and accurate tourism information. Group tours, whether general or specialized sometimes are offered (for example, a tour of the art nouveau ["Stile Liberty"] architecture in town, or of ancient Roman Milan). Go here to find their info points.

Want a tour of the city? If you want a private tour of the city, there are lots of tour guide associations and private guides whose information is available on the internet. BE FOREWARNED: to be a tour guide in Italy and Europe, it is obligatory to have passed an exam, and to have received a license to operate. This is supposed to help guarantee an acceptable level of service and English, which is obligatory (other languages are available). There are too many to list, here, so here's a link to the oldest association.

And, last, but not least:

Don't forget to surf my blog, "My Milan (Italy)" open since 2010, and my "Art in Milan" (active on Where Milan since 2014) for more great stuff! Come back, and check for new posts!


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