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    A trip out of Milan: 15 places not to be missed

    Who I am
    Pau Monfort
    @paumonfort
    SOURCES CONSULTED:

    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    After the articles on the 5 trips out of town on the lake near Milan and the one on the 15 destinations that can be reached by train from Milan, here you will find other 15 proposals for as many out-of-town trips to do in the day starting from Milan. I have included a bit of everything, from trips in the middle of nature to the more cultural / historical ones, so you can choose the one that best suits your interests (you can find them in order of distance from Milan). 


    15 trips out of town (to be done in one day) starting from Milan

    1) Former mental hospital of Mombello (22 km)

    The closest out-of-town trip to Milan that I propose is the one toex-mental hospital of Mombello. Let's talk about a abandoned place since the 80s which has mainly become a photographic / film set for lovers of industrial archeology. The former mental hospital of Mombello was one of the most important psychiatric hospitals in Italy, and came to host up to 3000 patients. Born in 1865 with the conversion of Villa Pusterla-Crivelli, was then enlarged and built as a small village; in addition to the wards of the patients, the asylum also housed scientific lavatories, libraries for doctors but also for the patients, tailoring and small craft workshops, gardens and arable spaces, laundries, a theater and even the headquarters of a newspaper. Today it is in a state of neglect, nature has taken over this place of pain, but it remains very fascinating. To visit it you have to park along Via Montegrappa and then proceed on foot, being very careful; of course it is at your own risk because it is a place in ruins and unsafe. You can then continue the day with a walk and a nice picnic at Groane Park, which is very close.  



    Where to eat: picnic at the Groane Park

    2) Crespi and Trezzo d'Adda (33 km) 

    A little more than 30 km from Milan, along the highway to Bergamo, there are two truly fascinating "villages" overlooking the Adda river: Crespi and Trezzo d'Adda. Crespi d'Adda, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, it's a workers' village (among the best preserved in Europe) built by the Crespi family to house the workers of their cotton mill and their families. We therefore find the houses of the working families (complete with garden and vegetable garden), the villas for the managers (which were built later), the church, the school, the cemetery, the hospital, the sports field, the theater, the fire station and other community facilities. An ambitious project that took its final form around the 20s and that has remained unchanged since then (even if the houses were later sold to private individuals). It is a very special place that is worth seeing. Switch also to cemetery where is the very particular tomb / mausoleum of the Crespi family. A few kilometers away there is then Trezzo d'Adda, with the remains of the imposing Visconteo Castle and Taccani Hydroelectric Power Station on the banks of the Adda, still functional and can be visited by booking a visit through this site. 


    Where to eat: Al Molo 13 restaurant 

    3) Montevecchia and the Curone Valley (34 km) 

    A “classic” day trip from Milan is that a Montevecchia, in Brianza, a small village with stone houses and a few bars / restaurants located on a hill. On the highest point of the latter rises the sanctuary of the Beata Vergine del Carmelo, which dominates the town, and looking out over the plain (if the sky is clear) you can also see the Madonnina del Duomo! Montevecchia is also home to the homonymous Natural Park: the Montevecchia and Curone Valley Regional Park. This park is a protected area that affects ten municipalities and from the town of Montevecchia there are numerous (well-marked) paths that cross it. Not far from Montevecchia there is also a place that I love very much and where I recommend you go to eat (but also to sleep if you can), the Galbusera Bianca Oasis, which I told you about in the article on the Cascine outside Milan. 


    Where to eat: Galbusera Bianca Oasis

    4) The ghost town of Consonno (53 km)

    Together with the former mental hospital of Mombello, Consonno it is one of the most loved and photographed abandoned places in Lombardy. Originally here there was a village inhabited by 200 people, until, in 1961, the Grand Officer Count of Villa dell'Olmo Mario Bagno (an eccentric Milanese entrepreneur) decided to buy it to build a "city ​​of toys“, A kind of Italian Las Vegas. In a few years in Consonno some restaurants were built, a dance hall, a luxury hotel, several buildings with references to the most varied cultures, a medieval castle and the super-photographed "minaret". After a first landslide in 1967, the second and more violent in 1976 destroyed the access road to Consonno, decreeing its end. Mario Bagno tried to fix the road and relaunch the locality but he didn't succeed. Since then it has been in a state of neglect; there have been several attempts at redevelopment in recent years, but they have not led to anything. I would like to remind you that a large part of Consonno is still privately owned and unsafe, and that municipal roads can only be covered on foot. Cars have been denied access by means of poles which are normally only open on Sundays. Consonno is accessible by car (any day of the year) only from the road it goes up from Villa Vergano and go through here ; from there then you will have to walk about 1km.



    Where to eat: Hotel Belvedere restaurant

    5) Villas on Lake Como (60 km)

    As a great lover of historic villas, Lake Como is a kind of Holy Land for me and I could not fail to include it among the day trips to do in the day starting from Milan. Overlooking the lake there are in fact some of the most beautiful villas (and gardens) in Italy. Alas, many villas are private and not open to visitors (such as George Clooney's famous villa in Laglio .. just to give an example), but many others can be visited and are truly magnificent. In particular, I recommend you visit these 3: Villa Olmo, Villa del Balbianello and Villa Carlotta. Villa Olmo it is located on the Como lakefront and was built at the behest of Innocenzo Odescalchi at the end of the 700th century. The visit to the ground floor, with its beautiful, very refined and elegant rooms, is free, as is that of the magnificent Italian gardens that surround the villa. Villa del Balbianello it is located 27 km from Como and something incredible. The villa is located on the tip of a small peninsula in Tremezzina, in an enviable position that makes it one of the most spectacular villas on the lake (several films have also been shot there including “Star Wars” and “007 Casino Royale”!). Find more info in this article that I dedicated to Lake Como. A few kilometers after Villa del Balbianello there is another of the most famous villas (and gardens) of Lake Como, Villa Carlotta. The villa was built by the Clerici marquises at the beginning of the 700th century, but reached its peak with the subsequent owner, Gian Battista Sommariva. It was he who transformed a part of the Italian garden into a romantic park and embellished the villa with neoclassical works of great value by Canova, Thorvaldsen and Hayez. 


    Where to eat: Trattoria La Moltrasina 

    6) S.Pellegrino and Val Brembana (73 km)

    If you are looking for a trip out of Milan in the name of relaxation and well-being, you can head north of Bergamo, in the heart of Val Brembana. Here is the famous spa town of S.Pellegrino Terme, known all over the world for the homonymous mineral water, S. Pellegrino water. Since the thermal baths were built in 1840, this small village in the valley has been transformed into a renowned holiday resort for the wealthy international bourgeoisie. In addition to the baths, others were gradually built beautiful Art Nouveau buildings like the majestic Municipal casino, Grand Hotel and the water bottling factory. The spa complex was renovated in 2014 and houses the QC Terme S.Pellegrino, where it is possible to do over 35 practices, housed in two buildings rich in history and charm, including panoramic pools, whirlpools, hydrojets, sensory pools, waterfalls, Kneipp path, Vichy showers, saunas, relaxation rooms and natural solarium. If you are looking for a place to relax and pamper yourself .. it is the right place! Find more info in the article Spas and Spas near Milan. The more active ones can instead devote themselves to trekking following one of the many paths of Val Brembana. 

    Where to eat: Tyrolean restaurant

    7) Franciacorta (75 km)

    Staying in the surroundings of Bergamo, you can take a day trip out of town also to Lake Iseo and Franciacorta, two areas that I particularly love because they are extremely varied and full of things to do and see. There Franciacorta is famous because it produces the first Italian sparkling wine Classic Method which had the classification DOCG (in 1995), with grapes from the Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay vines. These vines find an ideal climate here thanks to the breezy position south of the lake and Val Camonica and the wines they produce are excellent. In addition to wine tasting, however, Franciacorta offers much more. I recommend you also visit the peat bog of Sebino, Monastery of San Pietro in Lamosa and the Olivetan abbey of San Nicola. Find more info in the article I wrote about Franciacorta. The Iseo lake then it is a real gem !! A body of water enclosed in the mountains with Monte Isola in the middle. Even the towns bordering the lake are no exception, such as Lovere, Sale Marasino and Iseo itself. 

    Where to eat: Agriturismo Solive

    8) Lierna, Varenna and the Wayfarer's path (75 km)

    From Lake Iseo, we now move to the lake of Lecco for another day trip that is possible to do in a day from Milan, the one a lierna to cover the 2nd stage of the Path of the Wayfarer (which comes to Varenna). This trip allows you to combine both the sporting and naturalistic part, and the more cultural one, but you can decide to limit yourself to just one of the two. Find all the info on this beautiful path in the article I dedicated to it. As for the things to see a Varenna, I definitely recommend the Vezi Castleor, which is located at the point where the Sentiero del Viandante ends in Perledo, just above Varenna. It is a suggestive medieval fortress overlooking the lake, immersed in a centuries-old olive grove. Inside you can visit the tower and the undergrounds that date back to the First World War. To see then also Villa Monastero, with its beautiful botanical garden and the House Museum, and Villa Cipressi, a magnificent complex of buildings and gardens, created and built between 1400 and 1800. 

    Where to eat: Crott del Pepot

    9) Orta San Giulio (80 km)

    The trip out of town to Orta San Giulio is by far one of my absolute favorites. The village of Orta San Giulio and the baby San Giulio island they are real jewels !! Orta San Giulio is about 80 km from Milan (it takes about 1h 15 ') and has been included among Most beautiful villages in Italy. It is a well-kept medieval village located on the tip of a small peninsula stretching out over the lake; on the hill immediately above is the Sacro Monte of San Francesco (included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites together with the other Sacred Mountains of Lombardy and Piedmont) with 20 small Renaissance chapels. Practical tip: park your car at the Sacro Monte car park (free) and then walk down to Orta San Giulio! From the village then take the public ferry or private motorboats (84,5 euros return) to reach the islet of San Giulio. The island hosts a Cloistered monastery and a mini-village that can be visited along the only road that goes around the islet, the Via del Silenzio. On the island you can also eat, there is the beautiful San Giulio Restaurant with a terrace that overlooks the water (if you book, they will come to pick you up by motorboat in Orta). Speaking of eating… in Orta San Giulio there is also the famous restaurant of Cannavacciulo, in the magnificent Villa Crespi (to be booked months in advance just in case!). 

    Where to eat: San Giulio restaurant

    10) Borromean Islands (91 km)

    Another of the most beautiful outings that can be done from Milan in my opinion is this and I have dedicated an entire article to it: Borromean Islands (Lake Maggiore): how to visit them, when, how much does it cost. The Borromean Islands (Isola Bella and Isola Madre) are located in Lake Maggiore and can only be visited from the end of March to the end of October. The closest point to reach the Borromean Islands is the town of Stresa, on the western shore of Lake Maggiore, but there are ferries that also stop there starting from Arona, Angera and Baveno. From Stresa you can take the motorboats that depart from the Molo di Carciano and go around the 3 islands at set times (they stop first at Isola Madre, then Isola dei Pescatori, and finally Isola Bella). You can buy this ticket which is valid for a full day and allows you to get on and off as many times as you want within the hours 9: 30-18: 00. Both in Isola Bella and Isola Madre (the smaller of the two) it is possible to visit the magnificent gardens and palaces of the Borromeo family which are truly amazing! Still on Lake Maggiore, possibly to be combined with the trip to the islands (only if you dedicate at least 2 days to them), I highly recommend you go for a ride (maybe a bee overlooking the lake ...) Luino and Laveno, two very beautiful villages on the eastern shore of the lake.

    Where to eat: Verbano Restaurant (Isola dei Pescatori)

    11) Valsesia (120 km) 

    After these above all cultural trips, now I am talking about a beautiful trip out of town more based on sport and nature. The scenario in which to practice various activities (rafting, canyoning, hydrospeed or kayaking) is the Valsesia, an alpine valley in the province of Vercelli, whose waters flow into the Sesia river, from which it takes its name. Valsesia is considered the greenest valley in Italy and is surrounded by several peaks that are part of the massif of Monte Rosa. When the snow of these mountains melts, the Sesia and its tributaries fill with water and it is possible to do various sporting activities a little different from the usual, such as the Rafting (with rubber boats), the torrentism (on foot), the kayak andhydrospeed (which is done with the help of a floating support and a pair of fins). My favorite is canyoning (or canyoning) which consists of walking down narrow gorges (or canyons) crossed by streams. The obstacles in the path consist of waterfalls, rock jumps, slides, flooded corridors, and ponds, and it is therefore impossible to go back using the same route. If you want to know more, you can read the article Where to go rafting and canyoning near Milan. 

    Where to eat: Piane Belle restaurant

    12) Val Verzasca (123 km) 

    If there is one thing I love about Milan it is that it is particularly convenient for reaching many places, including Switzerland, as is the case with Val Verzasca. This valley of the Canton Ticino rose to the headlines a few years ago thanks to the photos published by an influencer and was renamed the "Maldives of Milan”, Thanks to the crystalline color of its waters. The mouth of the valley is truly spectacular, with an imposing wall of 220 meters (the Verzasca Dam), which became famous thanks to the jump at the opening of the film by James Bond “GoldenEye”The most photographed point of the Valley, however, is the Ponte dei Salti in Lavertezzo, a 1960th century structure, rebuilt where there was a Roman bridge. It has suffered various damages over time and its last reconstruction dates back to XNUMX. The water that flows under it is emerald colored and it is possible to bathe in this paradise. In addition to this, in Val Verzasca you can do many outdoor activities such as walking, canyoning (even here!), Cycling routes and much more. If you are coming from Milan / Como, you must take themotorway towards Chiasso, take exit 48 towards Monte Ceneri and from there continue on the cantonal road following the signs for Tenero-Contra and then Val Verzasca (tourist signs) to park here. PS To enter Switzerland by car you have to pay a "vignette" (which is valid for 1 year) and costs 40 francs (about 37 euros)

    13) Val di Mello (130 km)

    Another truly fascinating naturalistic place that can be reached in a day starting from Milan is Val Masino. This valley is located in Valtellina, above Morbegno, and has 3 branches: the Valle dei Bagni, the Valle di Predarossa and the Val Masino. Since 2009 this area has become a Nature Reserve and is protected. The main wealth of these valleys are the woods, the thermal waters (with the Bagni Masino) and the granite, which represents a real paradise for rock climbing and attracts thousands of enthusiasts from all over the world. Within the Val Masino there are paths and walks for everyone; among the easy and almost flat paths, there is the path of Forest of the Baths and the path that crosses the Val di Mello up to Alpe Pioda. Those who want to climb a little can go as far as Omnio Refuge (2100 mt- 2h30 '), in the center of the amphitheater of the Gold Valley or face the Path Rome. This “granite path” was designed in 1928 and has become a classic for mountain enthusiasts: a 38 km loop route divided into 5 stages. Another very special snetiero that you can find here is the Sensory path of the Bagni di Masino, a 1km sensory journey designed for the blind and visually impaired. 

    14) Alpe Devero (160 km)

    The penultimate trip out of town that I propose is the one toAlpe Devero, in Piedmont. It takes a while to get to this place, but it's really worth it !! Valle Devero is a beautiful alpine valley that belongs to the Ossola Valley, located in the extreme north of Piedmont, on the border with Switzerland. To reach it, take the SS del Sempione and a few kilometers after Domodossola take the “Devero e Valle Formazza” exit until you reach the hamlet of Goglio. The paid parking (exactly here - at the moment you pay € 6,00 for the whole day) is nearby. Alpe Devero is famous for its many alpine lakes and for its magnificent mountain views, and it is possible to explore it with a large number of trails, including some for everyone. The most popular one climbs towards Crampiolo passing through the Lago Azzurro or Lake of the Witches. From here we continue towards the very large Devero lake or Codelago, around which a long and panoramic itinerary develops that takes you back to Crampiolo on the other side of the lake (about 3h). Alpe Devero is beautiful 365 days a year, but in my opinion the best time to see it is autumn with the foliage.   

    15) Bernina red train (160 km)

    The most distant out-of-town trip from Milan is the one on the Bernina, but it is still feasible in the day, especially if (which I recommend) to participate in an organized tour. We leave Milan in the morning at 7 and return in the evening, but you have to think about nothing. The mythical trafficking of the Bernina Express (the Bernina red train) and from Tirano (Sondrio) arrives in St. Moritz it was inaugurated in 1910 and declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2008. This railway line has always been considered a true flagship of 2000th century engineering (it was even copied by the Japanese!) And represents one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world to be made at least once in a lifetime. When do you get back on a 61-meter mountain by train? During the 429 km journey you go from 2253 meters above sea level in Tirano to XNUMX meters at the station of Bernina Hospice (hence the name of the red train), which divides the Val Poschaivo dall'Engadina, and it is a unique succession of incredible natural landscapes: green meadows, woods, lakes, villages and perennial glaciers. Find all the info in the article The Bernina Express: from Tirano to St. Moritz with the Bernina red train. 

    Where to eat: La Vineria (Tyrant)

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