Visitors to Italy are spoiled for choice when it comes to great getaways and city breaks. From the spectacular historical sites of the capital to the great art galleries and museums of Florence, the country is endlessly fascinating.
Milan is a city that is sometimes overlooked, however. So, for this latest in Quingo Scooters’ series of getaways across Europe, we head to the north of Italy and discover a city renowned for its fashion houses (and its great coffee). Here is our pick of some of the best accessible attractions and experiences in the city of Milan.
1. Have the best coffee in the world, bar none
Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you really do have to experience cafe culture in this beautiful city. There are too many great cafes to choose from, of course, and everyone has their favourite.
But our pick is Pasticceria Cucchi, which has been a Milan institution since 1936. For those of us who use a mobility scooter, there’s space enough outside to sit and soak up the atmosphere of the local neighbourhood. Their coffee is sublime, of course, but this place also does a fine line in beautiful cakes too, if you fancy a little something to go with your coffee.
A couple of quick tips if you do go for a coffee in Milan: cappuccinos are for breakfast and espressos are for any time of day. Other than that, enjoy!
2. Shop until you drop
Beyond coffee (and football) there is, of course, one other thing that Milan is world famous for: fashion. If you want to browse for something special then head for the Quadrilatero d’Oro, the so-called ‘Golden Quarter’. It is where all of the biggest fashion houses have their stores, but it is also where plenty of other, far less-well known creators have made their homes too.
Many of the stores are in historic buildings and so are often less accessible, but even where they’re not, the window displays alone are usually a remarkable and theatrical show in their own right. Some tour companies also offer accessible tours of the Golden Quarter too.
3. Gaze in awe at the Duomo
The city of Milan’s spectacular Duomo cathedral is unmissable, and not just in the sense that it dominates the Piazza Duomo in front of it. The square, and the cathedral that gives it its name, is the beating heart of the city.
The square itself is level and accessible to those of us who use a mobility scooter, while there are two ramped entrances into the cathedral itself. Once you’re inside, the aisles are broad, level and accessible.
The cathedral was started in 1386, and took a remarkable 600 years to build. It is a breathtaking architectural labour of love, and will be one of the highlights of your visit.
4. Pause for breath in the Botanic Gardens
Milan is a beautiful city, but it can be a busy and tiring one too – so where better to take some time out than in some historic botanic gardens? The botanic gardens in Brera are cool and shady and most importantly completely accessible throughout.
When you are hidden away in this urban oasis it is hard to believe that you are right in the heart of the city. As you roam around its paths keep an eye open for its stunning collection of aquilegia and rhododendrons. The gardens have been around since the late 1700s, and today this is simply a wonderful place to relax and spend time.
Did you know?
If you have any spare change left over from your visit to the Golden Quarter, you can always donate towards the upkeep of the Duomo. There was a time when you could ‘adopt’ one of the gargoyles (it would only set you back €100,000), but now it also possible to choose a spire that you want to support.
Getting to Milan
As you’d expect, there are plenty of regular flights to Milan from the UK. If you want to fly direct, you can depart from the London airports, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Bristol.
There are actually two airports that service Milan, Linate and Malpensa. Linate is the closest to the city, but both Milanese airports are completely accessible to those of us who use a mobility scooter.
There is an excellent assistant service available on arrival too. As usual, you’ll need to let your airline know your requirements in advance. To find out more about the special assistance service at Linate, take a look here. There is a similar offering at Malpensa: again, take a look at their web page here for more information and to arrange any help you may need.
Getting to the city centre from Linate in particular is straightforward, with a number of public transport options as well as accessible taxis. There is an accessible shuttle bus to the central railway station, as well as an accessible bus service (line 73). In terms of getting around within the city itself, the picture is steadily improving. Many of the new buses in particular now have accessible ramps. Meanwhile the city’s metro system is also partially accessible, with lifts down to a number of the stations on the fully accessible yellow line in particular.