Time flies by real soon. It was just an year and a half back I came to Milan with two big trolleys and a small backpack, with no idea how and what I will do in class full of designers. I had so much enthusiasm and ambition. I was scared, believe me I was, but I was even more excited imagining living here, in the city of design. Where almost most of it happened.
Now after that year and a half, I know almost every nook and corner of the city, ask me about any area and I can tell you how to reach there and in what time. I love walking around and getting lost, that’s usually how you find your way back, isn’t it? By getting lost. Then comes Italian food and the Milanese way of “dabake Khao” types food system called Aperitivo. I love the system. I can have a drink and eat unlimited food in the price of the drink. Wow! If I knew something like this in pune when I was back in India I am sure, we COEPians would have flocked outside these places like people still do at KataKir Misal.
It wasn’t to much different from back in India. It is cleaner and prettier for sure, but people are almost same just fairer. When my sister visited Italy and my mother asked her how is Italy? She told my mom- “Its just cleaner version of India” and then it stuck me. Oh yes. Maybe that’s why I feel so connected to it and I don’t at all feel alienated here. I have friends who are almost all Indians apart from my international classmates. We are always cooking something Indian and experimenting every weekend. We have tried cooking almost all kinds of Indian food which we never even imagined making back in India.
For me the experience here has been great. Yes there are a few problems. There are many thieves and racist people as well. But there are good people, people who help you and try to make most of it for you even though they don’t understand what you are talking about.
Yes, Italian is a problem many a times. Even though I understand almost 70% of Italian when they talk, talking and framing sentence myself is another story. I cannot converse fluently in Italian, what I usually do is listen and reply in English with lots of hand gestures and it works almost every-time.
Getting around the city
If you are here for more than a month. I suggest get a ATM (Milan Transport Agency) Pass. It cost 200 Euros per year or 22 Euros per month for students below 27 years old.
You can get the card at ATM points in all main stations in Milan (Duomo, Centrale, Cadorna, Loreto, Garibaldi or Romolo). Visit the site to know more. To make this card visit any of these ATM points, take a coupon, Fill up the form and wait for your turn. Show your identity documents and give your passport size picture , pay the money and collect the card. Simple as that.
You can also buy the daily pass or 10 journey passes costing 1.5 Euros and 14 Euros respectively. All the passes are valid for nay type of transportation in Milan (Tram, Train, Bus, Metro).
You can purchase these tickets in any local tabacherias (Every square aka piazza have one tabacheria)
This one is easy. You can find big supermarkets almost everywhere in Milan. Esselunga and Penny are everywhere then they Simply, Lidl, Carrefour. Penny is most affordable for student pocket money and they are almost everywhere. Carrefour is close second in the race. If you are planning to be a regular in any of these stores make sure you take the membership card of the same, these are almost free but you get great discounts and gifts every noe and then.
If you are Politecnico student and you avail the DSU scholarship, you get 5 Euros everyday as food expense form Polimi. You can use this 5 Euros at limited store. In Leonardo which is the main campus you can use this card at many places around. Me being form Bovisa Campus I can tell you about please around Bovisa where you can buy good food with or without this MENSA card.
Cento Venti Cinque is my favourite, they make the beset pasta in the area. They always have 5 types of pasta, 3 vegetarian and 2 non vegetarian.
Ovasado aka Food and Cafe it is next to Cento Venti Cinque, it has cheapest pastas in the area and the normale portion is enough for one. I usually eat here when I am high ton budget.
Charlie Brown, BIS and Bovisa kebab: these are the fast food kind of places, here you can get the most affordable pizza, kebab or falafel with fries and coke.
You can even use your MENSA card at supermarkets in Bovisa like La Scelta, Simply Punto or even the Indian grocery Store named Index.
There is no short of places for hangout in Milan. Area around Duomo, Cologne and Navigli are the hot spots for students and foreigners. Duomo being one of the most famous and majestic place in Milan every fancy bar and cafes surround this white marble cathedral. Vittoria Emmanuelle, Italy’s oldest shopping mall is just next to the Duomo. Not just that, but you can find all famous luxury brand stores in and around this place. If you walk through Via Torino tracing the main shopping street, you will reach what they call Cologne or roman pillars. Here people usually take a bear bottle chill, but beware you can find many druggies here. Both kind, who does and who sells. If you keep walking from here toward north, you will reach the hottest and best chill out place in Milan. Navigli.
You will find great aperitivo places here around Navigli. So yes. Aperitivo is something very typical of Milan. Here you only pay for your drink say 7 to 12 Euros and all the food is complementary. I love this system. You can drink dn eat both at very affordable price and in place like Navigli. My suggestion is an apertivo Place named Vintage. It is cheap and has good food even for vegetarians.
Other great Aperitvo Place is Duomo Dal opposite to Arco della Pace.
Apart from Apertitvos, there are great clubs in Milan. And if you have an ESN card you are blessed because with that card you can enter clubs in Milan at discounted rates whole week. Every day of the week one or the other club is discounted for the ESN card holders.
If you want to eat and work at the same time, there are many fancy and beautiful co-woking spaces in Milan. In next posts I will list down places to visit in and around Milan, cafe and restaurants, co-working spaces and much more.
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