Navigating Milan

Guest Post By: Lucy Wood, a Senior studying Marketing. She studied abroad through a Foster Exchange and Direct Enroll at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy, during Autumn Semester 2022.

At first glance, Milan seems like a large city. With two ring roads outlining the city center and the Duomo smack in the middle, hosting 14 universities, 1.35 million people, and being the fashion capital of the world, it is fair to say it is expansive. However, when it comes to transportation in and around the city, I found it possible and quite preferable to walk around the city rather than taking the bus, tram, or even the metro. When I first arrived in late August, I wasn’t familiar with the metro and tram system, so I found it worth my while to walk to my destinations such as a meeting place for a tour or when I wanted to go sightseeing. Luckily, Bocconi was a 5-minute walk from my living situation, so I quickly learned that route. Walking around gave me a better sense of the city, landmarks, and my surroundings. I loved walking because I could see the contrast between what’s left of the old Italian architecture still standing and the newer buildings due to the city being heavily bombed in WWII. It took me a long time to remember certain routes because the city is not laid out like a grid as I am used to, being from Seattle. I noticed that it was very easy to take a wrong turn but when I did, I was pleasantly surprised when my accidental turns led me down new streets full of cute shops, cafes, and restaurants. When I found a place I was interested in, I would ‘star’ it on my Google maps list and share it with my friends so we could go back together. To this day, I have 76 cafes, restaurants, shops, and museums starred on my Milan list and I probably went to 50% of them. I have clearly saved some for another visit, but this way I got to learn to expect the unexpected while abroad.