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The Misers Guide to Milan, Italy
Visiting Milan on a budget sounds like a bit of stretch. After all, this is the land where Prada, Armani, Versace and other renowned highbrow brands call home. Such expensive inhabitants make it almost impossible for tourists to stick to their budgets. Almost. With a little digging though, and a lot of pre-planning, you can indeed see Milan on a budget.
Being the capital of fashion means that most of the quality things you can buy tend toward the pricey side. But this doesn’t mean you can’t find low prices for great quality goods. Because it’s the capital of fashion, it’s also the capital of the discount outlet store. There are plenty of these outlets in Milan and on the outskirts. The only thing required is a lot of patience and some spare cash, but the rewards can be well worth it — prices may be 10-20 times cheaper than in the shops. To maximize your savings, know what rates your bank or the outlet charges for purchases you put on credit. When it comes to your credit card, take a few minutes prior to your trip to find the best for you – compare bank accounts online before you leave. That way there won’t be any surprises when you return home.
One of the traditions that Milan’s locals really stick to is the time for the ’’aperitivo’’. In short, this term is all about drinking a cocktail, or something light just before dinner time, after work is finished. Those who serve this ’’aperitivo’’ also serve something to eat, which may vary from some snacks to a pizza or some spaghetti. It’s a great way to fill up if you’re intent on visiting Milan on a budget.
The Milan Duomo is Milan’s iconic cathedral, and the best part about it is the free entrance. However, visitors who desire to see the Treasury must pay a small fee of around $1.50 USD. The cathedral is also a great place to enter when the weather outside is either too hot or too wet.
Even though Milan isn’t particularly known for its parks, it has its decent share of green spaces. Parco Sempione is one of the must-see parks among visitors who just want a spot to stop for a second, take a deep breath and enjoy the beauty of nature. The park has jogging and bike paths and of course best of all, it’s free.
Another freebie you can visit, especially if you are travelling with kids, is the Acquario Civico, the local aquarium.
Palazzo Reale is the Royal Palace, which used to be the center of Milan’s government. It was almost torn down in order to build the Duomo nearby, so even though it doesn’t look as impressive as the cathedral, the Royal Palace is a good stop because it’s free, it has a tourist information office and it holds a richer historical ambiance than the Duomo. On the second floor, visitors will have the chance of seeing a former theatre.
Visiting Milan or any part of Italy on a budget is quite a tricky task because there are so many attractions, especially when it comes to shopping, but saving money requires sacrifices, and Milan is one city that is certainly worth the effort.