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Florence or Milan

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I will be on a business trip to Lübeck in Germany in early Feb. While I'm in Europe I'd like to spend 3 or for days in another European city. I checked out the budget airlines that fly out of Hamburg and found that it is pretty cheap to fly to Florence or Milan.

Milan seems to have the edge for shopping and Florence for food and sightseeing. Anyone spent time in both cities have an opinion? Or suggestions for another European destination?
post #2 of 13
I prefer Milan, but 99% of people will tell you Florence. Milan has a huge edge in food.
post #3 of 13
Just spent a couple days in Milan at a friend's family. The city has a few beautiful parts but mostly it's not that nice. You might also think twice which streets you want to walk through in the evening. Maybe that has changed in the past three years but back then the locals weren't thrilled at all.

Most importantly, how many days are you going to spend? You can fly to Pisa/Milano/Firenze and then take the train (cheap) to anywhere.
post #4 of 13
Originally Posted by itsstillmatt View Post

I prefer Milan, but 99% of people will tell you Florence. Milan has a huge edge in food.


Florence is gorgeous, but it is like being in disneyworld in july, wall to wall tourists. Milan is a business city, elegant, good food, great arcehtecture.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input guys.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Fang66 View Post

I find that surprising. How would you compare the 2 cities in street food/cafe's/restaurants?

My usual plan of attack when visiting a city is to eat at randomly chosen places that look interesting rather than look for places in travel guides etc, although my wife will have one or two must visit places (being Japanese and all).
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
post #8 of 13
Have you been to either before?

Florence is like disc one of the greatest hits album (with rome being disc two). It's got the major sights, it' compact, and it is loaded with tourists. If you've already seen the sights, I see less reason to go back. I was eating on a budget, but the only particularly memorable restaurant food I had was a pizza from a Naples transplant in some shop on the outskirts of town where they had to go find the only guy who spoke English to come help me.

It seems like tourists are often dissuaded from going to Milan. When I was there, I ended up hopping on a train to lake como and using up most of the time I had allotted to Milan. Lake Como was awesome but I really regret not spending more time in Milan--lot if interesting things there. In terms of the tourist experience, it feels more like a chicago than a manhattan; it's a working city full of locals going about their business. There aren't tourist gift shops on every corner and throngs of tourists milling about everywhere. No restaurant hawkers lining the street trying to guide you into their tourist trap source of "authentic" italian cuisine.

You can't go wrong with either, but from your description I would probably suggest Milan. Sounds like you will be able to deal with the fact that the city is not just one tourist attraction after another. And you won't get trapped by your wife's list of "must see" sights since there are only a handful of them. The Last Supper is definitely worth seeing--IIRC the official ticket source runs dry pretty far in advance, but there are some other sources of tickets available on short notice (and I think the additional fee was negligible).
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks otc.
post #10 of 13
I was just in Milan for 4 days, November 24-27. It had been many years since our last visits, in 1982 and 1984. Things have changed, none really for the better. It is still majestic in places, but with many beggars and hawkers. We saw lots of tourists at the Duomo and the Galleria on Saturday and Sunday, but none were English-speaking. Many were Asians.
Years ago, we used to see scores of very elegantly dressed older men, strutting around, Benito style, with their hands clasped behind their back and a cashmere or camel hair topcoat draped over their shoulders. They often had an attractive much younger blonde on their arm. They are completely absent now; probably all dead. Most of the men dress just like Fonzie now. The most depressing thing was to see 400-500 people lined up outside Abercrombie & Fitch, waiting for its opening on Sunday at noon. Brooks Brothers, next door, was completely empty. Most of the fancy shops are branches or headquarters of the same ones you see on Fifth Ave. in NY, on Bond St. and Sloane St. in London or on r. Fauberge St. Honore in Paris.
The food was a bit of a let-down this time: the moderately priced Rovello 18 and Emilia e Carlo were fairly good; the very expensive iL Marchesino and Savini (the grander upstairs restaurant, not the bistro) were both very disappointing. However, restaurant Don Carlos in the Grand Hotel et de Milan was just wonderful, but it would have been a more enchanting evening there if the attire and grooming of the other diners had matched the food and decor. I do not enjoy eating with slobs in really grand and elegant places.
I still prefer Milan to the tourist over-come Florence.
Edited by kennethpollock - 1/1/13 at 10:19am
post #11 of 13

I would say Florence for a more romantic or touristy getaway.  Milan if you prefer the urban feel...

Have a nice trip.  Those two cities are awesome...

post #12 of 13
all the answers are correct, florence is much more touristy and beautiful. MIlan is a working mans city but still nice. If you have never been to either then i would defintely do florence.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
Trip got called off! censored.gif

Thanks for the advice guys.
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