As a big football fan, a trip to the San Siro to see AC Milan, one of Europe’s most successful football clubs has always appealed to me, an idea I put forward to a group of friends who were tempted in by bargain £40 return flights to Bergamo. Growing up watching Football Italia on Channel 4 as a kid, Milan were always a club I had a soft spot for and after a big spending spree in the summer, it felt like a good time to make the trip.
Following a quick flight, we were greeted by fog and an English-style downpour at Bergamo airport, which wasn’t particularly welcoming. The journey from Bergamo airport to Milan Centrale takes around an hour by bus and costs €5 each way. Once at Centrale, our next task was to navigate the metro to find our hostel which was located a short walk away from Lambrate train station. A 48hr metro pass costs €8.75 and can be purchased from the small newsagents within Centrale station.
Due to the poor weather the afternoon consisted of a meal and a trip to Lidl to pick up some booze for ‘pre-drinks’. Once suitably tipsy we headed back to Centrale, expecting to find something resembling a nightlife.. we were wrong… bar a couple of cocktail joints, there was absolutely nothing going on, however, we were tipped off by a couple of locals about Navigli, a stretch of bars and restaurants alongside the canal which was much, much livelier.
The rest of the night is a bit blurry but there were enough drinking establishments to keep us entertained and we ended up in a club till past 5. Taking the metro while drunk is always a bad idea though and it took us the best part of two hours getting back to the hostel, getting to bed around 8am and waking up at midday to make our way to the match. Surprisingly hangover free, getting to the San Siro was pretty straight-forward despite being a bit out of the way.
There wasn’t much around the stadium except a McDonald’s, a dodgy looking pub and an American diner type place but the ‘fanzone’ meant there was no need to venture very far away from the ground; dozens of burger vans selling beer, which were pretty samey but did the job. A hot dog and a bottle of Birra Moretti will set you back €10.
If you buy tickets online in advance then don’t forget to bring ID because the stewards didn’t seem very lenient.
The San Siro itself is pretty incredible even when only 3/4 full, our tickets were in Primo Anello behind the goal – great view of the match but a low roof blocks off the rest of the stadium so I’d try and go in a higher tier next time. The flags and banners you associate with European football create a good spectacle but the overall atmosphere was a little subdued due to a tepid performance which got the manager sacked after the game. The game finished 0-0 and I have to say it was a bit disappointing, seeing a genuinely world class player such as Bonucci was a pleasure but its hard to dish out too much praise to the two teams bar Torino’s goalkeeper, Sirigu who was outstanding.
The tube is a bit of a nightmare after the game due to the crowds but we eventually reached Duomo to check out the stunning cathedral and the world-famous shopping district. As someone who hates shopping, even I was impressed as the main Galleria shopping centre is beautiful and full of some of the biggest names in fashion if you feel like spending an absolute fortune.
I can’t say I was overly impressed with Milan as a city, the Duomo area is impressive but the majority of the city is nothing much to look at and absolutely covered in graffiti. I wouldn’t really recommend it as a night out due to its price and its lack of variety in terms of bars but the food is very good as you would expect from a major Italian city. Unless you’ve come into a bit of money and fancy going on a crazy shopping spree, or if you have tickets for a big football game then I wouldn’t really suggest Milan as a weekend destination.
If I find cheap flights to Bergamo again then I think I would just stay in Bergamo which looks very picturesque, especially with the Alps visible in the distance. Brescia is also a short distance away and Turin is two hours by train, so aside from landing tickets for a big Serie A derby or a huge European game, I can’t see myself heading back to Milan anytime soon.