29 January 2012

Ciao Milan: Q & A - Part 2

I don't have to put a warning here anymore. Rest assured this is longer than Part 1
So sit back, relax and imagine yourselves in the places i will state here.

P.S. Don't forget your calculator. :D

From the first blog i made, my friend RipeMango got some questions, so i want to put it up here, for more details.

Best Buys for Shopping:

Via Montenapoleone/Via Sant'Andrea/Via Manzoni/Via della Spiga:
As i have stated before, these streets were the most chic (and expensive) place to shop. Even if the price tags are larger from your budget, you can spend many a happy hour admiring the window displays.

Corso Buenos Aires:
It's the longest/busiest street for shopping spree. Some branded ones can be found too (which you wont see at Via Montenapoleone). At least a lot were affordable here.

There are lots of malls in Milan, but not like the huge SMs, Glorietta or Greenbelt.

Rinascente: this is an expensive mall, located adjacent to the Duomo of Milano. You can see all the expensive brands here, from bags to clothes, to perfumes, etc. I only dared once in buying a D&G sunglasses on sale here. More than that i'm contented to just touch Furla and Balenciaga bags. Looking and touching are free anyway. :)

IPER: there are lots of Iper (Coop) around the city (Iper Fiordaliso, Iper Grande, Iper Metropoli, Iper Torre). It's like a tiny version of SM, with reasonable pricy stores.

Metropoli is just near our house, i just walk or take 3 bus stops from where we live.

Brands: (For affordable prices)
Clothing: Milan got OVS, Terranova, Pimkie, Jennyfer, Bershka, Tezenis, etc. I supposed H&M and Zara are affordable too, unlike Banana Republic, Gap or Mango.

Shoes: I can't seem to advise a good affordable stores. =( Footlocker isn't quite cheap, as well as Geox, Camper, etc.

Bags/Accesories: My favorite is Carpisa. Then there's the Segue, OVS too. Accessorize is too much! =)


I already mentioned the Ciao Ristorante on part 1, it's like a buffet. you just have to get whatever you want, serve yourself and pay at the cashier.

There are some i forgot to mention with affordable prices: (will take again the 55Phpesos for 1 euro conversion)

*Burger King (like Mcdonalds')
*Chicken and Chicken: like the famous KFC.
1 menu for single costs 5.80euro = 319Php : includes 3 leg fried chickens, 1 bread, 1 softdrink & 1 coleslaw

1 maxi menu costs 20euro = 1100Php: includes 1 bucket of fried chicken, 4 coleslaw, 1.5 liter of softdrink & 4 breads

*Doner Kebabs (if you feel for it), from normal bread 3.50eu = 192.50Php to menus 5.50eu = 302.50Php ..and above.

You can always find affordable bars and small restaurants around. Lots of them are scattered in Milan. Italians love to eat outside.

Some best places to eat:

For curiosity sake, you can always have the real feel of Milan by going or tasting what have been called their bests. They're not cheap obviously.

Princi - panifici e pasticceria (bakery & pastries). you will find 1 Princi near the Duomo, and some scattered around the city. I've eaten pizza and some pastries there. The prices are worth it.

Pizzeria Spontini - said to have the best pizza in Milan. I haven't eaten there yet, honestly for the distance reason. it's not located near the center of Milan. 1 slice of normal pizza costs 5euro = 275Php. (a normal pizza restaurant's price for 1 whole pizza, minimum is 4.50euro = 247.50Php, so you'll know the difference)

Panzerotti Luini - Panzerotti consists of a pocket of dough filled with varying amounts of melted mozarella cheese, tomato sauce and some fillings, which is then wrapped, salted and deep fried. Luini is the best place to go, near Duomo. You're lucky to not find a kilometer line there everyday. minimum price range from 6euro = 330Php, and above.

Flea Market
If you really want economical prices for everything: from food, shoes, clothing, home stuffs, etc. flea market isn't bad at all. it's like the Divisoria scenery. But of course, with your 100euro, you can buy a lot! Some branded stuffs are there, from the factory itself. they were sold for some damages or wrong sizes. If you're good in "maghukay-hukay", chances are you'll find what you want.
The longest flea market held during Saturdays is at Naviglio Grande, all the way to Via Sant'Agostino, from 8am to 6pm.


So, you ready now for the side trips?
If you will stay in Milan for about 1 week, you can have a 1 day side trip each day to other parts of Lombardy and other region. I will suggest some places to go.

1. Como
By train from Milan, it only takes less than an hour to go here. The ticket costs 9euro (back and forth) = 495Php. The train stops literally in front of the lovely lake Como. You won't be lost.
Lake Como is over 400meters deep and said to be one of the deepest lakes in Europe. Ferry services are available to travel from other small towns and villages. The lake is also well known for the villas which have been built from the Roman times, and of course, for the awesome villas of the rich and famous: designers, celebrities, football players, etc. Hence, Villa Fontanelle formerly owned by Versace, Villa Oleandra, by George Clooney, Villa La Casinella, owned by Virgin Airlines owner, to name a few.

Funiculare- The Funicolare, a cable tram that slides up against the hills of Lago di Como up to the higher neighborhoods of Como, called Brunate, with an elevation of 715meters high. Funicular station is near the Lake Como, and costs 5euro = 275Php, back and forth. Every 15 minutes, the funicular is available. It only takes 7 minutes to go up. Whew! I'm afraid of the heights, and i might say, i "braved" the cable tram. When i saw it as "not a hanging cable car", i took the ride. I just turned a bit deaf, maybe from the elevation effect. The view from the top is priceless. You don't want to miss it.

Duomo di Como - The first thing you will see turning left from the train station is the Armani Store, then walking ahead is McDonald's, then Duomo di Como. Other stores and bars surrounds the Duomo, as well as the souvenir shops.

2. Mendrisio, Switzerland
If you happen to go and stroll around Como in half day (that is arriving around 9am and finishing around 12noon, then you can have a short side trip to Mendrisio, Switzerland, for shopping purposes. It's only 20 minutes from Como. There's only one thing in mind when Mendrisio is being mentioned: FoxTown! It is a factory outlet very popular in Switzerland. You can buy with 40% to 70% discounts. From Milan to Mendrisio, 1 hour by bus, it costs 10euro back and forth (550Php). It is open everyday including Sunday, from 11am to 7pm.
So, if you're already in Como, you can just get a bus near the border (Chiasso), and the immigration will just check your Schengen Visa, and ask where will you go. Foxtown is the easiest (no questions asked) word. pardon me for i don't know how much the bus fare costs, since they still use Francs as currency in Switzerland. Maybe less than 10euro. You can pay in euro, but they give francs as a change. Don't worry, people can speak english a bit there. Most of them speaks italian and german.

3. Capriate, Bergamo
From Milan to Capriate, it only takes half an hour by bus. Around 9euro back and forth) = 495Php. You won't want to miss the MiniTalia Leolandia Park. Here you will see the miniature of all the Italy's best attractions. Cool! Fun Rides, Aquarium, Farm includes the whole park. It opens from 9:30am to 6pm. Entrance now is 24euro (1320Php). Kids less than 100cm is free.If you will try some rides, i guess you will spend a whole day here.
For more details and curiosity, visit my blogs:

4. Venice
Who didn't hear about the most romantic city in Italy? The city above the sea? From Milan to Venice, you can take the train at Stazione Centrale. It only takes 2.5 hours. Ticket costs 45euro (2475Php) back and forth. From the Sta. Lucia (Venice) station, you will need a water bus or taxi to take you to Saint Mark's Square. I'm not so familiar with the price now. It takes some 20 minutes or so to arrive there at St. Mark's Square. From the square, you can just walk and enjoy the gondolas, lagoon and endless souvenir shops.
If you kick for Murano glasses, it's your chance to buy here cheaply.
Feeding birds at St. Mark's Square is prohibited now. Unless someone is watching you, feed quickly and click your camera as quick as you can. =) When entering the church, sleeveless and shorts are not allowed. I have been to Venice twice, i couldn't wait to go back.

5. Florence
Florence is the capital of the Tuscany region. The city is world famous for its gothic and renaissance buildings, art galleries and parks.
For the bullet train it only takes 1 hr & 45minutes from Milan, with the ticket costing to 71euro (3905Php), and by a intercity train, around 3 hrs and a half from Milan, with the ticket costing 41 euro (2255Php) From the train station, all you can do is walk (as what my friends told me) because almost the tourists spots aren't so far. I havent been to Florence, so it's also for me to find out how awesome the city is.

6. Rome and Vatican City
If you will tour in Italy and you'll land in Milan, Rome is not so near. From Milan, it takes 6 hours and a half with the Intercity Train which costs 66.50euro (3657.50Php). If you'll take the bullet train, it takes 3 hours and a half which costs 116euro (6380Php).
In my experience, taking the economical train isn't bad at all. You can leave Milan for instance, friday evening, around 11pm, and then arriving Rome on saturday morning, by 6am or so. From the Rome station, you can just take directly the subway that will lead you to every spots in Rome. Being early is cool, because taking pictures is more fun, no one's around. Then you need to line up early too for the St. Peter's Basilica (Vatican City) to avoid long wait. It opens 9am, so being on the line by 8am means having more time to stroll. Sleeveless and shorts are obviously not allowed inside the church. 2 day-tour is never enough while in Rome. But, i think spending a day in Rome is good enough to avoid spending too much for hotel. Hotels aren't so cheap in Rome. You can go to Vatican City, Fontana di Trevis, Colosseum, Roman Forum (Ruins), Pantheon & Piazza della Spagna and Navona in a day, as long as you don't stay much in one spot.

For some info's about Rome's Spots' tickets/entrance fees/hours:
Vatican City: For Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel entrance costs 14euro (770Php). The entrance to the Pope's and priests' tombs underground is free.

Colosseo (Colosseum) : opens at 8:30-5:00pm (last entrance at 4pm) the hours of closing will differ especially during summer which extends to 6pm. Entrance costs 9euro (495Php).

The Pantheon: opens from 8:30am - 7:30pm everyday. Sunday at 9am-1pm. Admission is free!

Roman Forum (Ruins): opens 8:30am-1 hr before sunset. Entrance fee is 9euro (495Php)

1 star ranges from 28euro - 50 euro (1540Php - 2750Php) per night
2 star ranges from 33euro - 60 euro (1815Php - 3300Php)
3 star ranges from 60euro - 200+eu (3300Php - 11000+Php)
Take note that the farther the hotels from the city, the cheaper the prices.

Even France is near Milan, but, i hate to put it as a side trip because, touring France is another story. We wouldn't want to tour like road runner running and hurrying to savor the places, don't we?

If you are really ready for the budget in touring Italy, i would advise you take a 4 or 5 day (maximum 1 week) trip here. It's not really enough, but at least, you can go around to places you want to. Exhausting but fun. Once in a while we need to uncheck our bucket list, right?

If you happen to be my friend, just tell me 1 month ahead if you got plans, so i can ready myself (and my house as well to accomodate you), and be your interpreter and tour guide. No fees charged. Just offer me a good plate of carbonara! =)

So, there...
See you soon!

Questions are good. I can't detail everything here. Thanks!


RipeMango said...

Wow. I feel like I wanna leave now :) There's nothing like having a friend to tell you things in details, and in the perspective that you want. It feels more tangible now, rather than reading it, in the guidebooks... which either is pushing a certain product/ restaurant / or hotel.
This needs further introspection, and evaluation on the budget :) i noticed that food is not so expensive naman, parang sg lang. it's the transportation that can be quite pricey. May mga entrance fees pa ba sa Rome? and it's advisable to stay overnight in Rome, right? I wanna see the spots told about in Dan Brown's novels...
thanks butterfly for working on this. such a big big help!!


butterfly said...

Thanks RipeMango for the questions.
Yeah, the foods aren't so expensive nga naman. it's always the transportation that's expensive.If the train tickets weren't that much, we could have travelled each weekend in different parts of Italy. =)
Anyway, when we went to Rome, fortunately, meron kaming tinulugan. my mom-in-laws' former boss knew a lot of politicians, so ipinahiram yung house nung isang congressman. of course, bihira namang pumunta ang politicians sa houses nila, so ayun, we planned of a 2-day tour. otherwise, balikan lang kami. just what i have said nga, pag aalis ka ng gabi friday, dadating ka ng as early as 6am in the morning kinabukasan, if Intercity (6hr-travel) ang ticket. getting the bullet train is another story, kc 3.5 hrs lang di ba. sa Vatican, kasama na yung let say 1 hr to line up and wait for the opening, so more or less 10am tapos ka na dun, then we can roam in other parts of the city. lahat naman accessible by subways and bus. im not from Rome, so hindi ko masyado kabisado ang ikot-ikot. but of course, as long as i can read and speak italian, we'll never be lost. =)
the Dan Brown's novels were shot at Piazza Navona (the scene of a man being drown tied on a chair sa fountain-Anegls & Demons), and some other buildings.
When you're in Rome, you seems to feel the 14th century, sa main roads palang, wala syang smooth cement, lahat bricks.
Just ask more questions when they popped on your mind. I'll answer as long as i can. =)
keep on saving!

butterfly said...

and another tip: travel light when you come, but bring big luggages. you might bring a lot of Italy with you when going back to SG =)