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!

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.

Watch Movies in English in Milan

Who doesn’t love the smell of popcorn, the darkness, the shared experience of 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 you’re in luck! A series of films in English are shown in movie theaters for the international community.

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!

Film review image19 – 20 – 22 October
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
EVERYTHING WILL BE FINE
directed by W. Wenders, starring J. Franco, R. McAdams, duration: 118 minutes

26 – 27 – 29 October
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
EVEREST
directed by B. Kormákur, starring J. Brolin, J. Clarke, duration: 121 minutes

2 – 3 – 5 November
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:15pm
WOMAN IN GOLD
directed by S. Curtis, starring B. Reynolds, H. Mirren, duration: 109 minutes

9 – 10 – 12 November
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:30pm
THE MARTIAN
directed by R. Scott, starring M. Damon, J. Chastain, duration: 130 minutes

16 – 17 – 19 November
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:00pm
THE PROGRAM
directed by S. Frears, starring L. Pace, B. Foster, duration: 103 minutes

23 – 24 – 26 November
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:15pm
LIFE
directed by A. Corbijn, starring R. Pattinson, D. DeHann, duration: 111 minutes

30 November – 1 – 3 December
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
THE INTERN
directed by N. Meyers, starring A. Hathaway, R. De Niro, duration: 121 minutes

14 – 15 – 17 December
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
BLACK MASS
directed by S. Cooper, starring J. Depp, J. Edgerton, duration: 122 minutes

11 – 12 – 14 January
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:00pm
MR. HOLMES
directed by B. Condon, starring I. McKellen, M. Parker, duration: 103 minutes

18 – 19 – 21 January
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:30pm
SPECTRE
directed by s. Mendes, starring D. Craig, L. Seydoux, duration: 130 minutes

25 – 26 – 28 January
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:00pm
THE WALK
directed by R. Zemeckis, starring J. Gordon-Levitt, B. Kingsley, duration: 100 minutes

1 – 2 – 4 February
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:00pm
IRRATIONAL MAN
directed by W. Allen, starring E. Stone, J. Phoenix, duration: 96 minutes

8 – 9 – 11 February
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
SECRET IN THEIR EYES
directed by B. Ray, starring N. Kidman, J. Roberts, duration: 120 minutes

15 – 16 – 18 February
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:00pm
FREEHELD
directed by P. Sollett, starring E. Page, J. Moore, duration: 103 minutes

22 – 23 – 25 February
1pm, 3:00pm, 5:30pm, 8pm, 10:30pm
BRIDGE OF SPIES
directed by S. Spielberg, starring T. Hanks, A. Alda, duration: 135 minutes

29 February – 1 – 3 March
1pm, 3:20pm, 5:40pm, 8pm, 10:20pm
CAROL
directed by T. Haynes, starring C. Blanchett, R. Mara, duration: 118 minutes

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