Day Trips From

Day Trips From
Day Trips from Milan

Monday, June 20, 2016

A day in Pavia

Once known as the city of 100 towers, Pavia is a pretty city only a short drive from Milan. Home to an old reputable university, Pavia has plenty of sights to keep you busy for a day. 

Pavia’s most famous landmark the Certosa di Pavia monastery, just a few miles outside the city. One of the largest monasteries in Italy, the Certosa combines Gothic and Renaissance architectural styles to a spectacular effect. You can easily spend several hours here admiring beautiful cloisters, spectacular frescoes, elaborate carvings of the apostles, saints and Roman emperors, stained glass windows. 

In the city itself there is a pretty historic centre with churches and elegant palaces. In Piazza di Leonardo di Vinci near the University you can see a few surviving medieval towers. Check out the 14th century Castello Visconti that once was an opulent residence of a local nobleman, Galeazzo II Visconti. Today it is home to the Museo Civico, Museo del Risorgimento and an art gallery with excellent collections of Venetian paintings, Roman jewellery, pottery, glassware, mosaics and sculpture.

Pavia University was built in 1361 and had many star students over the centuries such as Christopher Colombus. You can learn about its history at the Museum of University of Pavia and walk around its elegant cloisters. 

Certosa di Pavia
There are many important churches in Pavia but if you are short on time make sure to see the main cathedral with its impressive interior and enormous dome. It took almost 400 years to build with such illustrious masters as Leonardo da Vinci and Bramante participating in the project. The Church of San Michele is also worth a visit as it was a coronation venue for Charlemagne and Barbarossa.

Piazza della Vittoria is a good place to chill out after sightseeing. Take a sit in one of the bars or gelaterie here and relax surrounded by elegant palaces. No visit to Pavia would be complete without sampling the local cuisine. Try  the zuppa alla pavese, a broth with slices of bread, cheese and raw eggs, risotto alla certosina with mushrooms and seafood or oca con le verze (goose and cabbage stew).

Photos via Flickr by: Pier Paolo Cedaro, Thierry Bignamini.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A day in Cernobbio

The pretty town of Cernobbio is nestled at the foot of the Mount Bisbino on the shores of Lake Como, only an hour drive from Milan. It make a great destination for a day trip if you want to get away from the crowds and noise of Milan and enjoy a more relaxed pace of life.

There are no notable museums, galleries or archaeological sites to rush to in Cernobbio. The town is all about soaking up la dolce vita atmosphere and enjoying the views that the Italian Lake District is famous for. Stroll along the picturesque waterfront filled with a subdued buzz of coming and going ferries, enchanted visitors and locals going on with their daily business. Lined with sleek shops, pretty cafes and inviting restaurants, the five kilometres long promenade connects the town of Como to Cernobbio. If you have some time, walk its length or hire a bike to enjoy the lake views. 

Cernobbio is renowned for its opulent 19th century villas built by the European rich and nobles. Many of them are still privately owned residences, others have been turned into luxurious hotels. The elegant Villa d'Este is the most famous of them all, a favourite with jet setters who are prepared to splurge up to €1500 per night for a suite. The best way to admire the splendid villas with their impressive gardens is to take a guided boat tour on the lake.

Villa D'Este
Cernobbio has several lovely churches that are worth a visit. In the Church of San Vincenzo founded in the 12th century you can see beautiful frescoes and baptismal font dating back the Renaissance times. The small simple church Madonna delle Grazie has a beautiful Baroque door and 17th century frescoes that will take your breath away.

Church of San Vincenzo
For another breathtaking experience walk the trail “Via dei monti lariani” to the top of the Mount Bisbinio to admire the vistas over Lake Como. Alternatively, you can chill out in one of the waterfront cafes, sipping wine and listening to the gentle murmur of the waves caressing the shore and watching the sun go down. 

Photos via Flickr by: Martin Hapl, Joe Shlabotnik, Britt-Marie Sohlström.