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!

6 Made in Milan Brand Museums

Fashion, the automotive industry, cocktails, design and football. These sectors are all essential to Milan’s identity and business community. And each is represented by a company based in the city with their own museum. Find out more about where you can learn about each company’s history and brand. all Made in Milano.

Bodice of embroidered garment1. Armani Silos: Fashionistas should head to this museum, focusing on 40 years of Armani fashion. Sections focus on different topics, including Stars, Daywear, Esotismi, Cromatismi and Luce. Come to browse 600 outfits and 200 accessories from Armani collections. Get an inside look at the designer’s aesthetic and how it has evolved over the years.
Address: Via Bergognone 40
Getting There: M2 Porta Genova
Opening Hours: Tues-Sat 11am-8pm; Thurs and Sat open till 10pm
Admission: €12

2. Fondazione Pirelli: The automotive industry in Northern Italy is world-famous, with brands based in Maranello (Ferrari), Torino (Fiat) and Sant’Agata Bolognese (Lamborghini). But most of these cars get their tires from a company based right here in Milano: Pirelli. To find out more about the history of the company and their communication materials, visit the foundation.
Address: Viale Sarca 222
Getting There: M5 Ponale
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-5pm; reservations required
Admission: Free

Stand with Campari logo3. Galleria Campari: A brand known around the world for its pre-dinner cocktails, Campari is also based in Milano. Check out their cool multimedia exhibit featuring their communication campaigns, especially from the belle epoque era. With 150 years of history, their image and design identity are still very relevant today.
Address: Via Gramsci 161, Sesto San Giovanni
Getting There: M1 Sesto 1 Maggio
Opening Hours: Tues-Fri: tours at 2pm, 3:30pm and 5pm; first and third Saturday of every month: tours at 10am, 11:30am, 2pm, 3:30pm and 5pm
Admission: Free

Façade of Kartell Museum4. Kartell Museo: Milano is known around the world as a design capital. As one of the most famous Italian design brands, Kartell’s museum does not disappoint. Located outside the city (so you’ll need to take a bus to get there), great collections of 8,000 objects, 5,000 designs and 15,000 photographs are available. You can learn more about the brand’s history, production, materials used, technology and communication strategies.
Address: Via delle Industrie 3, Noviglio
Getting There: Take the Rosate or Motta Visconti bus from the M2 Famagosta stop and get off at the Noviglio Santa Corinna stop
Opening Hours: Contact the museum to make a reservation
Admission: Free

Cup and exhibit from AC Milan museum5. Mondo Milan Museum: For soccer fans (and especially AC Milan fans), this is the museum for you. Learn all about the team’s history, spanning over 100 years, with a focus on famous players, trophies and memorabilia. There is currently a temporary exhibit included in the price focusing on the FIFA World Cup and how its made.
Address: Via Aldo Rossi 8
Getting There: M1 Lotto or M5 Portello
Opening Hours: 10am-7pm
Admission: €18 full price, €12 for Cuore Rossonero cardholders

6. Museo Branca: With a history dating back to 1845, Branca’s museum has been open since 2009. Located in the 1913 factory, it focuses on the brand’s advertising history and the production of the digestif. And if you want to find out even more, head to the Torre Branca (admission cost €5), designed by Gio Ponti and towering 108m above Parco Sempione.
Address: Via Resegone 2
Getting There: M3 Maciachini, Passante Lancetti
Opening Hours: Mon, Wed, Fri 10am-3pm; reservations required
Admission: Free

25 Reasons Why We Love Living in Miano

There are weeks when Milan is dull and grey, and it always feels as if the rain starts to fall on Saturday morning and the sun shines brightly every Monday afternoon. However, although we love to complain about Milan, the truth is that we actually do love it very much. Here is a list of reasons to remind you why you love living in Milano:

25) In restaurants, a salad costs more than a plate of pasta or a meat dish, and yet you choose to order the salad every time.

24) There is a gelateria around every street corner, but you still walk for miles just to go to your favorite one.

23) You also do the same thing with your favourite pizzeria, and you can argue about this for hours with your friends.

22) It’s worth living here for the rest of the year just to experience the two weeks of Fashion Week.

Tree in park21) Lounging in Parco Sempione on summer afternoons, after trying (and failing) to study for your upcoming exam in the park.

20) You need four cups of coffee to sustain yourself through an average day.

19) There is no dearth of places where you can get good coffee.

18) You know the exact difference between a caffè, caffè lungo, caffè macchiato, caffè corretto, latte macchiato, cappuccino, marocchino and at what time of the day each drink is appropriate. You also look down on people who drink a cappuccino after 11.00am in the morning.

Cadorna sculpture close-up17) You use BikeMi to go everywhere even though you own a bicycle that you haven’t used in years.

16) Bumping into someone you know when you are out in the evening because there are just three main areas in the city where most people hang out.

15) Standing in the middle of the night with at least 15-20 other people waiting for the last tram to pass by.

14) You can’t help but support either Inter or Milan once you start living here even if you don’t actually follow football!

13) You start following football regardless of whether you like it or not, and you know better than to go out on the eve of a match.

12) You also know better than to leave your supermarket shopping for a Sunday evening.

11) You can take the metro, change lines twice and still manage to reach your destination well before a direct bus journey.

10) You have a complicated relationship with the public transportation system of the city. You love to complain about it all the time, but get very defensive when you hear other people trashing it.

Exterior and roof of La Scala9) Darsena on a Saturday night.

8 ) You proudly boast about La Scala to tourists and people you meet abroad, while never actually having been to a performance yourself.

7) Hearing the phrase Panzerotto da Luini automatically makes you nod in agreement.

6) The quality of your day is directly related to whether it’s raining or not.

Side view of Duomo cathedral5) Crepes and cocktails in Porta Ticinese right in front of the Colonne di San Lorenzo.

4) The Duomo takes your breath away every time you catch a first glimpse of it, even though you pass it almost every day.

3) Your love for the city can be expressed in just one word: APERITIVO.

2) It’s the only place in the world where everyone is on holiday for the entire month of August.

1) You can’t wait to leave when you live there, but when you are away you miss it and want to come back!

Guide to Milan’s Outdoor Swimming Pools

Young man in fountain in front of Castello SforzescoSummer 2015 has been a scorcher for Milan, Italy and many parts of Europe, with many days seeing temperatures reach the mid- to upper-30s. It’s not easy to get used to sweating amongst locals and tourists on the subway, on the trams and just simply walking down the street. A cold gelato or an icy drink usually helps, as does entering any shop or coffee place with an excellent AC system in place. But there’s an even better way to beat the heat: go swimming!

If you don’t have the option of traveling to one of Italy’s many beautiful beaches, there are quite a few public pools around town. Check out our list of Milan’s outdoor pools below. All you need is a towel, a bathing suit, insect repellent, sunscreen and lots of water! 

Lido di Milano – This swimming pool and sports center dates back to 1931 and its cool retro architecture has worn well over the years. It also happens to be the largest outdoor pool in Milano. While you’re there, you can play other sports like tennis and soccer, gyms, beach volleyball and waterslides. M1 and M5 Lotto, Piazzale Lotto 15.

Piscina Argelati – This public pool is located in the cool part of town near the Navigli. There are three different pools located on different levels surrounded by a green area. If you’re thirsty and hungry after a day of sunbathing, remember that an aperitivo is served at the bar by the pool. M2 Porta Genova, Via Segantini 6.

Piscina Cardellino – Located in the Lorenteggio area of the city, this sports area has a large outdoor pool. It’s about a 15-minute walk from M1 Inganni, but several buses have stops closer to the pool: 49, 50, 58, 64 and 78, Via del Cardellino 3.

Piscina Romano (Ponzio) – Another historical pool complex, it was built in 1929. It’s located near Città Studi, which means you’ll probably be swimming with other students. M2 Piola, Via Ampère 20.

Piscina Saini – This sports center has the largest number of activities and services in Milano, along with lots of classes. It’s near one of Milan’s big parks too, which makes its location very green. It’s not very close to the city center, however, and not even easily accessible by subway. Bus 38, Via Corelli 136.

Piscina Sant’Abbondio – This pool has nice facilities that were built in 1976 and have been recently renovated. The outdoor pool has lots of space to lay out and enjoy the sun. M2 Abbiategrasso, Via Sant Abbondio 12.

Piscina Scarioni – Built in 1957, this sports center has 3 outdoor pools, including one Olympic size pool. It has also been renovated recently. M5 Ca’ Granda stop, Via Valfurva 9.

Idroscalo – Looking for a place with lots of shade, lots of sun, a place to take a dip and cool off and a few options to dance the night away? You could go to the seaside in Liguria or the Adriatic, but if you’re in the city, just go to Milano’s very own lake! You can rent loungers and go swimming, or play one of the 20 different sports available. Be aware that Idroscalo isn’t located near a subway stop, but it’s very close to the Linate airport. Take the 73 or 183 bus to get there.

Remember that all outdoor pools will be open until 30 August.

Bonus tip – Lots of other public pools have sunbathing areas, even if the pools are indoors. So if there’s a conveniently located pool that isn’t on our list of outdoor pools, check to see if you can soak up some rays before doing a few laps!

Free Wi-Fi All Over Milano

Student in park reading tabletIn today’s world, internet access a basic need, on par with clean drinking water, food, heating and a place to sleep.

And a lack of internet access can make the first few days after moving to a new city even more stressful: you’re in a new place, with a new language, new people, a new culture. And you have most of your basic needs met, but you might still be working out one of them: internet access!

If you’re a new transplant to Milano without a decent internet plan, you might be feeling a desperate need to update your various social media accounts to tell everybody about your new city. Have no fear! You can take advantage of a free wi-fi service offered by the city of Milano to all residents and visitors.

Available only in certain locations around town, registered users can use up to 300MB of data every day, plus one hour. After that, the internet speed slows down, but wi-fi is still available. Read on to get all the info!

Registration and Login
Registering is super-easy if you already have an Italian SIM card, but even if you don’t, it’s not very hard to do. For Italian SIM owners, just connect to the openwifimilano network on your mobile device’s wi-fi, open your browser and type in your Italian phone number. You’ll receive an SMS with your password and can then login.
If you don’t have an Italian phone number, you’ll have to register at an ATM Point at one of the various locations around the city (there’s one in the Duomo subway station for example). You will be given your password when you register.
Whether you register on your phone or at an ATM Point, you simply need to login with your password and you will be able to access the wi-fi from any of the many access points around the city.

Access Points
There are tons of access points located around the city, often in parks and areas perfect for sitting on a bench and browsing the web. Just look for the sign, or check out the maps on the Open WIFI website.

Happy browsing!

11 Brand New Attractions and Services in Milano Because Expo

2015 is a great year for Milano. Lots of travel publications are talking about the city as a top destination because of the huge event being hosted here: Expo Milan 2015. (You probably know all about the fair by now… if not, get more info in our practical guide to the Expo.)

To welcome all the extra visitors coming from near and far to the Expo, the city has spruced up, putting its best face forward. The hip canal area, new parks, new exhibits, the Duomo area, public transport and everything in between have all been revamped. So we’ve gathered a hefty sampling of all the new things going on around town, just for you. You’re sure to find a thing or two that you’re interested in!

Check Out the Renovated Navigli
The Navigli area has long been one of the coolest places in Milano for hanging out with friends, sipping a cool drink. Now it’s even better!
View of canal1 Darsena
: The historic harbor of the city was reopened in late April and was quickly embraced by the city as a place to hang out and enjoy the water. There’s a large walkway, a food market and a foot bridge. What’s not to like?
2 Mercato Metropolitano
: Fancy a snack? Or maybe a movie? Then this newly refurbished area near the Porta Genova station is the place to go! It’s like a farmers market meets street food meets outdoor amphitheater. Wander around the market and you’re sure to find something cool or tasty.

Chill in New Green Areas
Milan has its share of parks and greenery tucked in between its busy streets and tall buildings. Here are the latest editions.
Night view of castle and benchesWheatfield: A living art project created by Agnes Denes and sponsored by the Riccardo Catella and Nicola Trussardi Foundations and Confagricoltura. Local citizens planted the field a few months ago and now the field is growing, providing a nice green space in the city. The wheat will then be harvested when ready. It’s a nice place to take a stroll on the path that cuts through the field and admire the juxtaposition of agriculture surrounded by new skyscrapers.
Piazza Castello: The pedestrian area around the Castle has gotten a face lift, with added benches and trees. The white structures kinda match ExpoGate, which is located in the same square. Why not read a book in the shade and take in the scenery?

Browse Exhibit Collections in Brand New Spaces
Milano is home to lots of great exhibition spaces and museums… including two brand new ones!
Empty cafe interiorFondazione Prada
The fashion giant’s foundation just opened their amazing space for exhibits in an area on the outskirts of the city, completing an amazing renovation job on an industrial area. Before the grand opening, there was only one location in Venice, but now Prada’s home town is hosting a huge and very cool space for the foundation. Don’t forget to check out the bar area, designed by film director Wes Anderson. Inaugurated on 9 May, admission is €10.
Museo della Cultura (MUDEC): The Milan Museum of Cultures opened in late March of this year. Located in the hip Tortona neighborhood, it hosts exhibitions showcasing the diversity of world cultures. The two inaugural exhibits feature traditional African works of art and representations of world cultures in Milan in recent history. Admission, which includes an audio guide, is €13 for anyone under 26.

Hang in the Piazza Duomo Area
Restoration works on the Galleria are finishing up and there are a few new tourist activities in the most central area of the city.
Rooftop of GalleriaHighline Galleria: Seemingly inspired by the relatively new NYC park that was built on an old elevated train track, this is Milan’s very own bird’s eye view of the city. Visitor can explore the upper level of the iconic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and admire the Liberty architecture. Full price tickets are €12, but they’re half off until 20 June, and reduced prices are available for large groups. Open until 11pm.
Palazzo Marino: The office of the Milano city government also happens to be a spectacular palazzo dating back to the 16th century. There are 13 areas open to the public, 4 of which have never before been accessible. Admission is free and guided tours in various languages are organized several days a week.

Test Out the Enhanced Public Transport
With a public transportation system that already does a pretty good job of meeting the needs of the public, the city is still expanding its offer. Check out the latest additions below.
Electric bikes
: Milan’s bike sharing scheme has recently added ebikes to their fleet. Environmentally-friendly (they run on solar power), these bikes are great for longer distances and only cost a little more than the traditional bicycles.
10 M5 subway line: The newest underground line now goes all the way to San Siro stadium – just in time for the start of the summer concert season! For info on concerts, check out the TicketOne website.

Try Out Some Expo in Città Events
11 Expo in Città: Last, but not least, many of the above initiatives are included in the wide variety of events included in Expo in Città. This is a website that groups together anything and everything related to the Expo but located in the city and it’s a good way to get a comprehensive overview of what’s going on. You can browse by date, admission price, category or type of venue. You’re sure to find a cool event suited to your tastes! Browse on the Expo in Città website.

*photos from the Comune di Milano website and the Fondazione Prada twitter feed

Watch Movies in English in Milan

Now that last year’s Oscars winners have been announced, it’s time to catch up on all the movies that were nominated for and won awards! Fortunately, if you live in Milan, that will be easy to do, with the English-language film review chock-full of Academy Award winners.

Movies shown in their original language (read: English) are available in Milan each 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!

Sound and Motion logo23 – 24 – 26 February
3:00pm, 6:00pm, 9:00pm
BOYHOOD
directed by Richard Linklater, starring Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette – duration: 165 minutes

2 – 3 – 5 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
THE IMITATION GAME
directed by Morten Tyldum, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley – duration: 113 minutes

9 – 10 – 12 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING
directed by James Marsh, starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones – duration: 123 minutes

16 – 17 – 19 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
BIRDMAN
directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, starring Michael Keaton, Zach Galifianakis – duration: 119 minutes

23 – 24 – 26 March
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:25pm
SELMA
directed by Ava DuVernay, starring David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo – duration: 128 minutes

30 – 31 March – 2 April
3:00pm, 6:00pm, 9:00pm
INHERENT VICE
directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin – duration: 148 minutes

7 – 9 April
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm
STILL ALICE
directed by Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin – duration: 101 minutes

13 – 14 – 16 April
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
BLACK OR WHITE
directed by Mike Binder,starring Kevin Costner, Octavia Spencer – duration: 121 minutes

21 – 23 April
1:00pm, 3:40pm, 6:15pm, 9:00pm
UNBROKEN
directed by Angelina Jolie, starring Jack O’Connell, Takamasa Ishihara – duration: 137 minutes

27 – 28 – 30 April
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
WILD
directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern – duration: 115 minutes

4 – 5 – 7 May
3:00pm, 6:00pm, 9:00pm
MR TURNER
directed by Mike Leigh, starring Timothy Spall, Paul Jesson – duration: 149 minutes

11 – 12 – 14 May
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:25pm
KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE
directed by Matthew Vaughn, starring Colin Firth, Micheal Caine – duration: 129 minutes

18 – 19 – 21 May
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm
WHIPLASH
directed by Damien Chazelle, starring Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons – duration: 107 minutes

25 – 26 – 28 May
1:00pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:15pm
MORDECAI
directed by David Koepp, starring Johnny Depp, Gwyneth Paltrow – duration: 107 minutes

1 – 4 June
3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:20pm
THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
directed by John Madden, starring Maggie Smith, Richard Gere – duration: 122 minutes

8 – 9 – 11 June
3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8:00pm, 10:00pm
RUTH & ALEX
directed by Richard Loncraine, starring Morgan Freeman, Diane Keaton – duration: 92 minutes