The centre of Milan is spread over a fairly large area, but the public transport system is cheap, efficient and fairly swift. It is possible to travel between the central sights on foot, but further afield the streets are often dull, and your time is better saved by jumping on a tram, bus or metro.
Milan’s public transport system is extensive, and you’d be well advised to pick up a map showing routes if you’re planning to be in Milan a few days.The network is run by a company called ATM, and tickets are valid on all the types of public transport. A single ticket lasts 75 minutes and costs 1 – you can use it on as many buses and trams as you like, but you are only permitted one metro journey. Most useful for tourists are the 24 hour and 48 hour tickets (3 and 5.50 respectively). Tickets can be bought at news kiosks, bars and at the Tourist Information Centre in Stazione Centrale. Stamp your ticket in the machine provided the first time you use it (machines are onboard buses and trams, and at the entrance gates to the Metro).
Milan’s underground train network, the Metro (or Metropolitana) is quite user-friendly. There are three lines, distinguished by number and colour. M1 (red) is useful for tourist attractions and the Fiera. M3 (yellow) intersects with M1 at Duomo (the station right in front of the Duomo) and with M2 (green) at Stazione Centrale, Milan’s main railway station (sometimes marked as Centrale FS).You need to know the final destinations of the train you want, as the platforms are labelled according to the end destination (e.g. Direzione Famagosta). Where a line separates, check the train’s destination to be sure you’re on the right branch. ‘FS’ in a name signifies a mainline railway station.
Trams and buses run busily around the city. Their stops are clearly marked by the side of the street; stops are listed on the sign, with an arrow to show direction of travel. A map comes in handy for working out the location of the stops listed. Take care when getting on or off trams (or driving behind them); they are sometimes constrained to stop for passengers level with the signpost, with enough space for vehicles to pass between the tram and the pavement.
Stazione Centrale is Milan’s principal railway station. A gigantic piece of Fascist architecture, it dominates a wide area of Milan’s north-eastern central corner. Trains from Stazione Centrale run to most major Italian destinations, including Rome, Bologna and Florence (an hourly Eurostar train connects these towns; the journey to Rome takes around four and a half hours.) There are a mini-supermarket and several rather dingy bars at the station for refreshments. The Tourist Information Office is located at platform level, concealed within a small shopping arcade – look for its ‘APT’ sign. The ticket hall is on the floor below; there are ranks of automatic machines where you can buy your tickets. Steps down to the Metro are just outside.
- Milan – an intro
- Tourist attractions
- Milan airports
- Day trips
Useful external links