I love strolling around new cities, taking in the sights and simply soaking up the atmosphere. It’s also great to see another side to bustling destinations, and I always try and scout out parks and gardens so I can spend an hour or so relaxing with a picnic.
It’s also a great excuse to grab some delicious local breads, meats, cheeses and desserts and have a feast, and if you choose to holiday in Milan, you can be sure the produce you buy will be mouth-watering.
Below are what I think are the best parks and gardens in the Italian city.
Gardens at Villa Reale
Come to the Gardens at Villa Reale and you can spot relatively rare flora such as the Kentucky coffee tree and date plum, while you will also find well-manicured lawns and cherry trees. There’s a catch to enjoying such tranquil surroundings – you must have a child with you who is under 12 years old! This is one of the best of the city’s 54 parks, which in total take up more than 14,600 sq m.
Another thing to keep your eye out for when at the Gardens at Villa Reale are its two sculptures. The Seven Wise Men was created by Fausto Melotti and The Saint, the Youth, the Sage was made by Adolf Wildt.
Sempione Park should also be on your list of green spaces to visit when enjoying a holiday in Milan. It takes its name from the stretch of road – Simplon – that leads from the cathedral and passes underneath the Arch of Peace. The city’s parks and gardens contain wonderful pieces of art and this open space is no different. There’s a statue of Napoleon III, Mysterious Baths by Giorgio De Chirico and Musical Accumulation by Armand Pierre Fernandez, to name just a few.
If you have brought little ones away with you, there’s plenty to keep them occupied. Rope climbing nets, a merry-go-round, roller skating rink and electric go-karts are just a handful of the attractions on offer.
Hire a bike and cycle your way around the beautiful Guastalla Gardens, which were created all the way back in 1555. These Italian-style gardens are home to a Luigi Cagno neoclassical temple and a small shrine, while wild linden and tulip trees form a lovely backdrop to your walk. If you want to learn more about its plants, here’s a top tip that not many tourists might know about – The Voluntary Ecological Rangers hold botanical tours that take you around the different shrubs and trees.
Berna Ciclamini Park
Should you need to seek some shade from the warm Italian sun (after all, you don’t want to sport a red face during your evening out!), head to the Berna Ciclamini Park. This is a leafy space that is surrounded by meadows and plenty of places to chill out with your loved ones, or simply by yourself with a good book.
If you’re something of a botany enthusiast, you can spot trees such as the hackeberry, sugar maple, black walnut, elm and the so-called tree of heaven. After a morning seeing the top sights of Milan, grab some takeaway lunch and head to the park during the hottest hours, before going back on the tourist trail in the afternoon.
Another tip: If you get car hire in Milan, you can also head to some of the city’s surrounding green spaces and sights.
Photo by mauroppp on Flickr.