Places to see in Milan
The Duomo (Dome), which traditionally symbolizes the city of Milan, is the most extraordinary example of Italian late Gothic art. Located in the very heart of the city, it represents both the core of the city and the unavoidable destination of countless visitors from Italy and abroad.
Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
The renowned Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, one of the first buildings in Europe built in glass and iron, was inaugurated in 1867 by King Vittorio Emanuele II himself.
The events of the castle unfold in the city’s wide window of history, beginning with the original nucleus of the castle, named Porta Giovia, that dated back to 1358-1368 in the times of Galeazzo II Visconti. He used the castle as his residence during his stays in Milan, but above all, he used it as a military garrison.
Filippo Maria Visconti made it his fixed residence, continuing with the consolidation and construction of a real fortalice. It was Francesco Sforza who, after becoming ruler of Milan in 1450, gave particular impetus to the reconstruction of the building that was gravely damaged between 1447 and 1450.
Last Supper (by Leonardo da Vinci)
Leonardo’s Last Supper (L’Ultima Cena), famous the world over, is inside the Refectory at the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan. It was commissioned from the artist by Ludovico Sforza, also known as “il Moro”.
The Museum of Science and Technology of Milan
The principal attraction of the museum is the permanent exhibition devoted to Leonardo, which a whole gallery is assigned where 30 model of machineries, planned by Leonardo are exposed, spacing from those civil to those military, from the studies on materials to the architecture, with the model of the ideal city.
The collections of the Pinacoteca of Brera are born from the concentration of paintings requisite following emanation of suppression laws about churches and convents in the Napoleonic age (1798) and got rich when the Belle Arti Academy was assigned to collaborate. So a series of portraits and self-portraits of painters were exposed in the four rooms to the first floor and some works that will become the symbol of the museum: The Wedding of the Virgo (1504) of Raffaello; The Madonna with his Child (1510) of Gentile Bellini; The Crucifixion di Bramantino.
AC Voltage and Plugs
AC power is 220 Volts, 50Hz. Plugs have three round pins in-line (the central is ground and may be missing sometimes). Schuko (German-style) plugs are also used but somewhat less popular. Most of the power sockets at the conference will be able to accommodate Italian and Schuko plugs. Adapters for UK and US power plugs are available in several electrical supply stores.
The local currency is the Euro (the symbol is €; 1 Euro ~= 1.34 US Dollars, but the rate fluctuates between 1.2 and 1.5). It comes in coins (1-2-5-10-20-50 cents, 1-2 Euros) and notes (5-10-20-50 and, less common, 100-200-500).
The local language is of course Italian.
Number formats and prefixes
Italian phone numbers have variable length, both in the “prefisso” (prefix, used to be the area code) and in the local part of the number. The prefix must always be included, even for local calls.
A leading “0” denotes area codes for wired phones (e.g., 02 is Milan, 06 is Rome). The leading “0” is an integral part of the area code and must be dialed also when calling from abroad.
A leading “1” is normally used for toll services or emergency numbers.
A leading “3” indicates the prefix for cellular phones (e.g., 347, 340, 338). They are not related to a specific area, neither, to some degree, to a specific provider.
Toll free numbers have the “800” prefix (but they are normally free only from landlines), whereas other prefixes starting with “8” are toll services and may be expensive.
Finally, international calls must be prefixed by “00” and the international prefix for the country you are calling (e.g., 001 for the US, 0044 for the UK). The international phone prefix for Italy is 0039.
113: Polizia (police, general emergency)
118: Pronto soccorso (Emergency medical service)
115: Vigili del fuoco (fire brigade)
Calling from cell phones
Definitely the most convenient and economic way of calling abroad in most cases. Cellular phone coverage (GSM) uses 900 and 1800 MHz frequencies, so if you have a suitable phone you can use your regular subscription to make and receive calls. Roaming charges are very high, 1-2 € per minute are not uncommon.
You can buy prepaid SIM cards (no subscription necessary) for use in your phones in most telephony stores by just showing a picture ID (which will be photocopied as a law requirement to identify users of SIM cards). Apart from special offers, typical entry fees are around 10 € and include 5 € of traffic. Tariffs vary depending on the plan you choose, and they are all exceedingly complex to compare. Incoming calls are always free, outgoing calls normally have a connection fee (up to 20-25c per call) and a per-minute rate which depends on the destination but can easily be in the 25-30c range or more. The most common cell phone operators are Vodafone, TIM, and Tre, the latter more focused on video calls and slightly more expensive.
Calling from hotels
Same as everywhere, charges for phone calls from hotels vary. Some hotels will just apply the tariffs of the telecom operator (normally up to 10-40c connection fee, 10 to 40c per minute for local/western europe/us calls), other might apply a surcharge. We suggest you to check with your hotel.
Calling from public phones
Public phones are rapidly vanishing these days, except in airports and train stations. They might be coin-operated but more often will take a calling card (on sale in some bars and tobacco shops) or sometimes a credit card (squeezing out a fair bit of money from it, as in most places in the world).
Banks, Credit Cards and ATM
Banks are typically open 8.30-13.00 and 15-16.30. Most of them also have ATM machines (“bancomat”), which are open 24/7 and take most credit cards.
Tipping and Receipts
Tipping is not required nor expected in Italy: the bill (“conto”) always includes service. So, in particular in bars, restaurants, taxis, etc., it is perfectly fine to pay exactly the amount on the bill, or possibly round it up by say 2-5% depending on the amount to make the numbers round. Italian law requires businesses to release, spontaneously or at least on demand, a receipt with date, sequence numbers, and identification of the business.
Shops are generally open Monday to Saturday, 9.00-13.00 and 16.00-20.00. Some stores are closed on Monday morning. Others (usually electricity, hardware, etc.) are closed on Monday afternoon. Supermarkers and department stores usually are open 8.00-20.00 (excluding Sunday).
Useful links about Milan
- Milan Public Transportation (ATM) Web site
- Milan Tour
- Milan Travel Guide
- Milan Information and Tourism
- Tourist Office
- Italy Guides travel guide