Insider’s View

Boating Fair in Milano

View of Navigli during boat fairWouldn’t you rather be on a boat right now? Ideally, with the sea breeze blowing through your hair, enjoying a refreshing drink, on your way to a white sandy beach with your besties.

If you’re in Milan this weekend, you might not be able to make this exact scenario happen, but the NavigaMi boat fair may be about as close as you can get.

Join other boating and sailing enthusiasts to check out 80 boats and 70 exhibitors. This year, the fair will be held on the Darsena, a great location and one of Milan’s best newly renovated areas.

And after getting info on the latest boating developments, you could meet up with friends and have that refreshing drink… on dry land.

Where: Darsena; M2 Porta Genova
When: 13-15 May, 10am-11pm

 

App Review: VisitMilano

You’re new to the city and want to see all the best tourist attractions as you settle in to your daily life. Or you’ve already been in Milan for a few weeks but you need a little help navigating your new city. Or you’ve been here months but you want to take advantage of the many events happening around town. Or you’re practically a local but you have friends or family coming to visit, ready to see all the sights.

You could surf the web for all this info, sometimes running into roadblocks if you don’t speak Italian. And right here on MilanoZine, we have a quick guide to sightseeing in Milan, which we highly recommend!

Main menuBut now there’s a one-stop solution to all these scenarios: VisitMilano. It’s the official tourism app that was recently released by the city of Milan.

Main Functions
The VisitMilano app is available for Android and iPhone – we reviewed the Android version. The main screen has several of the main features you can scroll through, with the @turismomilano Twitter feed at the bottom (with tweets in both English and Italian). You can access the menu (as seen in the screenshot) from the upper left-hand corner.

One event in this sectionThe app’s most important functions include:

  • Events: Info on events in the city
  • Attractions: Top tourist spots
  • Itineraries: Several different topic-based itineraries
  • Getting Around: Information on public transport and purchasing tickets

The other sections on the app’s main menu don’t seem to be very helpful: The “Favorites” section is simply a questionnaire, in Italian, about who you are; “Creative Milan” had just 5 design-related events and exhibits; “Chosen for you” only listed one random exhibit on my phone (even after I updated the info in the “Favorites” section); the “Milan for you” section allows you answer a questionnaire about the app and send pictures and information to Turismo Milano; and of course the Credits provides info on who developed the app.

Map view of eventsEvents and Attractions
These two sections are the backbone of the app, with lots of useful info for both tourists and longer-term residents. Events and attractions are available both as a list and on a handy map of the city, so you can get an idea of where they’re located. There are descriptions of each item, but, in our opinion, the English text could be improved upon. However, descriptions are good enough for users to understand and learn more about the city.

Both sections are divided into various categories based on your interests. Events can be searched by date and can also be saved to your phone’s calendar. Another cool feature is that some events and attractions are located outside the city, in case you’re interested in taking a day trip.

One area with room for improvement is there is no location-based list functions: that is, events and attractions can’t be listed based on your location, as is available in other apps (e.g. TripAdvisor and Swarm).

Itineraries
The app has a good selection of itineraries for various kinds of tourists. Whatever your interests, from fashion and design, to history and art to food and sports, there’s a cool itinerary for you. And, again, locations outside the city center are often included.

Menu for Getting AroundGetting Around Features
In the Getting Around section, you can purchase tickets for public transport, find out the best way to get from point A to point B (Trip planner), get info on bike sharing and parking. The “Public transport” section is supposed to give you info on the closest stop to a certain location, but it wasn’t working when I tried it (it kept pointing me to Piazza Fontana regardless of what address I inserted).

The purchase tickets functions seems to work. If you want to buy tickets, you’ll be charged using mobile phone credit (tickets can be scanned directly from your phone). Your phone can then be scanned as you go through the turnstiles to get on the subway.

Map of itineraryTrip planner can be pretty helpful to someone who’s not familiar with the city. However, it’s not very user-friendly because it just shows you a map, with no written instructions on what tram or subway to take and which direction (as you can see in the screenshot). And it can be confusing because you need to use a specific address (i.e. Piazza del Duomo, Milan) instead of a landmark like “Duomo” when you search.

The Bike sharing function works well: you’ll see where the bike stands are located and how many bikes are available at each location. It will also show you how to get to a specific bike stand, if necessary.

 

Data Usage
If you’re worried about international roaming charges, no need for concern: this app is not a data hog (though we always suggest using local WiFi whenever possible when traveling abroad!). And on our Android phone, it only takes up about 34MB of memory.

Pros
Lots of info on events, attractions and several good itineraries for travelers. The bike sharing and purchasing tickets for public transport sections can be handy.

Cons
The English used in descriptions for events and attractions is not the best. Some functions, like the Trip Planner and Chosen for You sections, need improvement.

In Short
A good app for newcomers to Milan, but let’s hope for updates soon to fix the various problems we found!

The Best Art Exhibits in Milan in Spring 2016

You’ve chosen to study in Italy, a country famous for its food culture, its stunning landscapes and its art history. But as soon as you land in Milan, you realize that it’s a city famous for fashion and design, yes, but also business, finance and… maybe soccer. What about the art? Compared to other Italian cities like Rome and Florence, it might not be as blatant, but art is definitely an important part of Milan’s identity, as long as you know where to look.

In fact, there are so many choices in a city like Milano, it can be overwhelming. So we’ve selected a few of the best temporary art exhibits you can visit around the city… right now! They all feature Italian artists, focusing on restored artwork, urban paintings, futurism, art in Milan in the early 20th century or contemporary art, take your pick!

Rediscovered BeautyPortrait of Malta Knight by Caravaggio
To showcase recently restored artwork, the Intesa Sanpaolo Foundation has put together an exhibit of a wide variety of paintings, sculptures, other objects and archaeological artifacts from museums all over Italy (and one museum in Slovakia). Artists include Caravaggio, Perugino and Lotto, with a total of 140 works restored and brought together in Milan. Definitely worth a visit!
When
: 1 April-17 July 2016
Where: Gallerie d’Italia, Piazza della Scala 6; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €5

Mosè Bianchi: Lost Milan
Ever wonder what Milano looked like in the 1800s? From the Duomo, to the Colonne di San Lorenzo to the Navigli, many monuments were the same, but the details surrounding them were very different. Check out this exhibit of paintings of the city by an Italian artist from Monza.
When: 18 March-26 June 2016
WhereGAM Manzoni, Via Manzoni 45; M3 Montenapoleone
Admission: €6

Umberto Boccioni: Genius and MemorySelf-portrait of Boccioni, 1909
Futurism was an art movement that took over Italy at the turn of the 20th century. And one of the most famous and influential futurist artists was Umberto Boccioni, who passed away 100 years ago. Find out more about this very Italian style and see 280 works of art by Boccioni, including drawings, paintings, engravings, photographs, books, magazines and documents.
When: 23 March-10 July 2016
WherePalazzo Reale, Piazza del Duomo 12; M1 M3 Duomo
Admission: €13

Milan Galleries Between the Two Wars
Between WWI and WWII, the city of Milano was fertile ground for artists and intellectuals, who often met in the galleries around the city. A number of artistic movements were born or matured, including futurism, chiarismo and aeropittura. This exhibit brings together 100 works of art, including paintings, sculpture and related documents, for a complete look at the art of the time.
When: 25 February-22 May 2016
Where: Fondazione Stelline, Corso Magenta 61; Mi M2 Cadorna
Admission: €8

La grande scacchiera installationBonus 1-day art event:
BAG-Bocconi Art Gallery
Did you know you can see a wide range of contemporary works of art right here on the Bocconi campus? Every year, the campus opens its doors to the public during Bocconi Art Gallery, offering guided tours, talks with the artists themselves and live music. It’s a fun evening, especially for anyone looking to find out more about the Italian and international contemporary art scene.
When: 12 May, starting at 5:30pm
WhereBocconi University, Via Sarfatti 25; M3 Porta Romana
Admission: Free

Leonardo’s Vineyard in Milano

The Renaissance master tends his garden, examining the plump grapes just before harvest. Later, while taking a break from painting the Last Supper, he oversees the winemaking process as his workers press the grapes and ferment and age the juice and pulp.  After it has been aged, he tastes the finished product and enjoys what his very own vineyard has produced.

Gate and vineyardThis is the image that a trip to La Vigna di Leonardo evokes. Experience a tour of the Renaissance villa where Leonardo Da Vinci stayed while in Milan. Then wander around the villa’s beautiful courtyard, including a small vineyard that once belonged to Leonardo himself.

This unique museum opened last year, just in time for the Expo. Leonardo’s vineyard was destroyed during WWII, but researchers recently started working on identifying the variety of grape that had been planted there. After testing the soil, the same vines were replanted in the same location as the original vineyard.

Stone well in green settingSo, if you’re curious about the Renaissance painter’s life when he lived in Milan, first go see the Last Supper. Then go to La Vigna di Leonardo.

La Vigna di Leonardo
Corso Magenta 65
+39 02 4816150
Admission: €10 full price; €8 students
Opening times: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm (last tour starts at 5:30pm)

GETTING THERE
Metro: MM1/MM2 Cadorna, MM1 Conciliazione, MM2 S. Ambrogio
Train: FNM Stazione Cadorna
Tram: 16 e 19
Bus: 18, 50, 58, 94

Movies in English in Milan: March-June 2016

The smell of popcorn, the darkness, a room full of people all focused on the same thing at the same time. What’s not to love about going to the cinema? If you don’t speak Italian, you might think this is something you’ll have to forgo during your time studying in Milan. But never fear! A series of films in English is screened in movie theaters each week for the international community.

Movies shown in their original language (read: English) are available in Milan every week at 3 different cinemas on 3 different days of the week. This is where they’re located:

Mondays – Anteo Spaziocinema, Via Milazzo 9 (Porta Garibaldi or Moscova stops, green line)
Tuesdays – Arcobaleno Film Center, Viale Tunisia 11 (Porta Venezia stop, red line)
Thursdays – Cinema Mexico, Via Savona 57 (Porta Genova stop, green line)

For more information on the program, go to the Sound & Motion Pictures website (information in Italian, PDF download in English). And always be sure to check dates and times with the movie theater.

Without further ado, here’s a list of the upcoming movies. Enjoy the show!

Film Fest flyer7, 8, 10 March – 3pm, 6pm, 9pm
THE REVENANT
directed by A. González Iñárritu starring L. DiCaprio, T. Hardy: 156 minutes

14, 17 March – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
15 March – 2:45pm, 5pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm
JOY
directed by D. O.Russell starring J. Lawrence, R. De Niro: 124 minutes

21, 24 March – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
22 March – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
THE DANISH GIRL
directed by T. Hooper starring E. Redmayne, A. Vikander: 119 minutes

29, 31 March – 3pm, 6:15pm, 9:30pm
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
directed by Q. Tarantino starring S. L. Jackson, K. Russell: 167 minutes

4, 7 April – 1pm, 3pm, 5:30pm, 8pm, 10:30pm
5 April – 2:45pm, 5pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm
SPOTLIGHT
directed by T. McCarthy starring M. Ruffalo, M. Keaton: 128 minutes

11, 14 April – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
12 April – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
HAIL, CAESAR!
directed by J. and E. Cohen starring G. Clooney, J. Brolin: 106 minutes

18, 21 April – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
19 April- 2:45pm, 5pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm
TRUTH
directed by J. Vanderbilt starring C. Blanchett, R. Redford: 125 minutes

26 April – 2:45pm, 5pm, 7:15pm, 9:30pm
28 April – 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
TRUMBO
directed by J. Roach starring B. Cranston, D. Lane: 124 minutes

2, 5 May – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
3 May – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
ROOM
directed by L. Abrahamson starring B. Larson, J. Tremblay: 118 minutes

9, 12 May – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
10 May – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
RACE
directed by S. Hopkins starring S. James, J. Sudeikis: 100 minutes

16, 19 May – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
17 May – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
BROOKLYN
directed by J. Crowley starring S. Ronan, E. Cohen: 111 minutes

23, 26 May – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
24 May – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
CRIMINAL
directed by A. Vromen starring G. Gadot, R. Reynolds: 100 minutes

30 May – 1pm, 3pm, 5:30pm, 8pm, 10:30pm
31 May – 3pm, 6pm, 9pm
LEGEND
directed by B. Helgeland starring T. Hardy, E. Browning: 132 minutes

6, 9 June – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
7 June – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
THE DRESSMAKER
directed by J. Moorhouse starring K. Winslet, L. Hemsworth: 118 minutes

13, 16 June – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
14 June – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
LOVE & MERCY
directed by B. Pohlad starring J. Cusack, P. Dano: 121 minutes

20, 23 June – 1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
21 June – 3pm, 5:10pm, 7:20pm, 9:30pm
FREE STATE OF JONES
directed by G. Ross starring M. McConaughey, G. Mbatha-Raw: 100 minutes

Top 5 Packing Tips for Study Abroad in Milano

It all started a few months ago when you went to the study abroad fair. You were overwhelmed by the number of incredible options. Then you finally narrowed down your choices and applied. After weeks of wondering, hoping and calling on help from a higher power, you received your acceptance letter. Now, the moment is finally here: you’re about to leave for study abroad!

Amidst all the excitement, this is also when you realize one important detail: you’re not just embarking on a new adventure in a new country with a new language, you also have to… pack! That means fitting all the worldly possessions you’ll need to survive the next few months into just a few suitcases.

In addition to the usual advice for airline travel (be aware of weight limits and carry-on restrictions), here are the most important tips and tricks to keep in mind when packing for study abroad in Milano.

Students studying in common room1. Pack light!
Our number one, most important piece of advice for packing is to pack light. Though you may be tempted to bring your entire wardrobe and everything you might possibly need during your semester abroad, resist all temptations. When packing your bags, it’s a good idea to leave about half of what you originally wanted to bring.
Keep in mind that Milano is a cosmopolitan city, so you should be able to find whatever you may need in or around town. And looking for where certain things are sold can be a bit of an adventure!

2. Pack for the Milanese weather
The Milanese climate is famous for grey skies and fog in the winter, but summers are generally hot and humid. And throughout the year, you can experience pretty much everything in between. So be sure to pack an umbrella for rainy days, sunglasses for sunny ones, and a winter coat and hat/scarf/gloves for the blistery winter months.

3. Pack to look nice, but also comfortable
Milanese style is usually very put-together, even for students – so be sure to pack more than just sweats and t-shirts. Looking nice is not just for the fashionistas in Milano. That said, you should also think about comfort, especially for your feet. If you’re planning to travel or even just go sightseeing near Milan, you’ll probably do a lot of walking, and that means comfy shoes are a must!

4. Pack your travel gear
Many study abroaders take advantage of being in a new part of the world to see as much of it as possible. So be sure to leave some room in your suitcase for everything you need to be a good tourist: a good camera to capture memories, good footwear (as mentioned above), a journal or sketchbook and anything you may need for transit. Don’t forget things like power adapters, and of course your passport and visa paperwork!

5. Pack something from home
Last but not least, we suggest you bring something unique to your home town or region. With an increasingly globalized world, it’s nice to remember that there are still objects or traditions that can only be found in certain parts of the world. You could bring something that reminds you of home to help you on days when you get homesick. Or you might bring a gift for your future friends or roommates, your host family or someone who helps you out as you get settled into your new surroundings. It’s a fun way to share your home culture in a new setting.

So, what are you waiting for? Get packing!

Where to Hear Live Music and Concerts in Milan

Ho la musica nel cuore
L’occasione mia più grande
Per aver la vita accesa
Per non essere riflesso
Di una luce poco mia
– 
Biagio Antonacci, Ho la musica nel cuore

Music is a universal art form. It crosses boundaries and can speak to all of us, no matter what language we speak. So, where can you find great tunes in Milano? Here’s a breakdown of the most important venues around the city, whether you’re interested in jazz, pop and rock or classical music and opera.

Clarinet detailJazz, Pop and Rock

The second-largest city in Italy, Milano attracts a lot of big names in pop and rock. If you’re looking for jazz, you might need to do your homework, but there are a few locations that specialize in jazz and its sub-genres. Here are just a few venues around town.

Alcatraz: A cool discotheque famous for alternative and rock performers, Alcatraz is an institution in Milano. Check out their calendar for both domestic and international artists and enjoy the show!
Via Valtellina 25; M3 Maciachini

Blue Note: Looking for New York City style jazz and cocktails in the coolest part of the city? Then head to Blue Note in the Isola neighborhood and enjoy ensembles, bands and singers. They also put on a pretty good Sunday brunch.
Via Borsieri 37; M5 Isola

Circolo Magnolia: If you’re into cool, alternative groups for the in-crowd, then Circolo Magnolia might be the place for you. Of course, to get in, you need to be a member! To get your membership card, you can fill out the online form and then pick it up at the ticket office.
Via Circonvallazione, Novegro-Tregarezzo; buses 73, 923

La Salumeria della Musica: This is a very intimate venue features more obscure performers (since not as many fans can pack in the locale to watch each group). Expect to find variations of jazz on the agenda.
Via Pasinetti 4; tram 24, buses 95 and 34

Magazzini Generale: A cool discotheque located in an old warehouse, expect famous DJs and rock musicians to perform here. It’s located close to the Bocconi campus and is usually packed with partiers.
Via Pietrasanta 16; tram 24, bus 90/91

Mediolanum Forum: For popular Italian and international artists that might not fill up the San Siro soccer stadium, head to the Forum in Assago. The venue also currently hosts the local basketball team while their arena is being rebuilt.
Via Giuseppe di Vittorio 6, Assago; M2 Assago Milanofiori Forum

San Siro Stadium: The city’s football stadium, San Siro (or its official name Stadio Meazza) is the venue for mega-concerts, often in the summertime when soccer games are not being held. If you like big-name pop stars with big shows, this might be the place to see your favorite performing artist.
Piazzale Angelo Moratti; M5 San Siro Stadio

Teatro degli Arcimboldi: A smaller venue, this theater hosts a wide variety of events, from musicals to international and Italian pop and rock to classical music and ballet. It was built in the early 2000s and originally hosted La Scala productions while the historic opera house was being renovated.
Viale dell’Innovazione 20; M5 Bicocca

Saxophone silhouetteClassical Music and Opera

If you’re interested in classical music, there are also quite a few places to choose from. The world-famous La Scala Opera House is the most prestigious of these locations, but other spots host various kinds of orchestra and chamber music.

La Scala: One of the world’s most famous opera houses and a symbol of Milano, La Scala is a must-see attraction. And serious opera and ballet aficionados should definitely try to catch a show while in town!
Via Filodrammatici 2; M1 Cordusio, M3 Montenapoleone

La Verdi: A wide variety of classical music is on the agenda at this venue. Check out their calendar and student discounts!
Largo Gustav Mahler; tram 3, buses 71, 90/91

Teatro dal Verme: If orchestra music’s your thing, this is a great place to go! A beautiful 19th century opera house, this building was also used as a cinema before being renovated to host concerts and other performances.
Via S. Giovanni sul Muro 2; M1 Cairoli

Società del Quartetto di Milano: Originally open only to members, this venue is now open to the broader public. Their calendar includes the most famous classical music composers from the 18th and 19th centuries, with a variety of performers.
Via Durini 24; M1 San Babila

Bonus: Bocconi students should check out the university’s website for info on student discounts at various venues around the city.