Northern Italy Road Trip: Milan & Beyond

Italian lakes, palaces and ancient hilltop towns.

Chaotic and crazy, driving in Italy isn’t for the faint-hearted. Driving in big cities like Rome and Milan can be exhilarating but I get it’s not for everyone. It’s not always as bad as it seems though. When arriving in a big city like Milan, you don’t actually have to drive around the city. You’re better off finding your hotel, parking your car and catching public transport or walking. This way you can save most of the driving for small, less daunting small towns and villages.

In today’s post, I share a road trip highlighting some of the best destinations in Northern Italy. This includes the Italian lakes, Lake Como, Lake Iseo and Lake Garda. It’s a beautiful region and traffic to these places is a little calmer than the big cities. I also suggest visiting an ancient walled city, Italy’s best foodie city and a couple of places you might not have considered.

Read: Northern Italy Road Trip

The Story Behind the Photo: Duomo, Milan

I’ve had my ups and downs with Milan. I find it a bit too fashion and shopping focused and the seemingly constant haze that covers the city is concerning. But at one point I considered moving there. I had just finished studying and was looking for a base to work from. I looked at a few apartments but they were so run down you had to redecorate and install your own kitchen to make it liveable. Then I looked into the smaller city, Piacenza. I had friends living there and they introduced us to a real estate agent. For €400 per month, we could rent a large 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in the city centre. It seemed ideal. I was working online and this would give me a chance to establish my new business without too much pressure. Plus I would get to learn Italian! But then I discovered you can only apply for Italian residency from your home country. I had just arrived in Europe so there was no way I could return home. So instead, I moved to Montpellier in the south of France and later to Paris. If I had moved to Piacenza, my life would have taken a completely different trajectory. It’s funny how things turn out sometimes.

This photo of Milan’s Duomo is from that time when I was apartment hunting. I was staying with friends who lived in a town called Casalpusterlengo. It’s a small little place with absolutely nothing going for it. We had gone into Milan to see the sights and they insisted on eating at McDonald’s. I was so excited to try authentic risotto Milanese but they wanted to eat burgers, which was a treat for them. They were our hosts so what could I do? The thing is though, McDonald’s in central Milan is located directly opposite the Duomo, the most famous sight in Milan. So you can sit and eat a €3 burger and fries while enjoying this incredible view.

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