Seeing Leonardo in Milan

seeing Leonardo

First thing you need to know about visiting Milan’s city center is: park your car and take the public transportation. I found this blog post to be pretty helpful if you need info on the Metro. You can purchase tickets for busses, trams and the metro at tobacco shops and kiosk that always seem to be strategically located near stops. Since my kids haven’t had much experience with metros they were really excited to ride it. They declared this to be “the best part of the day“! The metro system in Milan is excellent. The map is easy to understand and often when searching for directions to a destination the metro stop is referenced. However there are large maps of the city at every metro stop and you can look up the street and determine what stop is nearest by. We found that the Italians were always very friendly, kind and eager to be helpful even if they did not always speak English. We bought day passes everyday because we had multiple stops and it was most economical. Coco was always free- she is 4, but the lady at the Kiosk said it was determined by height and our son was too tall to ride for free- he is 9. We spent about 20 Euros a day on transportation for the whole family, which is cheaper than parking and a WHOLE LOT LESS STRESSFUL!

tabacco shop

These kiosk shops are locate all over the city and inside the metro stations as well, buy your tickets here!

The second thing is squeeze in a visit to one of Milan’s many Museums. We choose to visit the highly recommended National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci because I was told that it was the best with kids. In fact if you (your kids) speak Italian you can participate in the hands-on-workshops scheduled through out the day. If the children happen to be very young you will be attending with them and can probably limp your way through with English (especially if the teacher speaks English:)). The younger kids usually make hot air balloon replicas with tape cardboard and balloons, but the older kids have opportunities in a lab style setting to do all kids of more complicate science and technology workshops- I think they probably need Italian language skills to understand.

tryptic huge boat in the museam

train catching and beautiful ceiling

gabriel not cooperating- again

Why can’t every one pay attention and look at the camera!?

group in front of big model!

This was a giant model ship with millions of strings- gorgeous!


model ships

these are about a foot long and are such beautiful works of art!

love this model with all flags!-2

We spend many hours walking through the exhibits and still only saw a portion of the museum. There were entire warehouse style buildings housing locomotives, and my favorite area was home to a full sized wooden ship, lots of model ships, and airplanes of all sizes. The kids really liked the transportation portion but we explored areas about recycling, engineering, plastics, communications, and of course the Leonardo da Vinci drawings with replicas. This was primarily a long hall with images of his drawings hung with explanations and presented with models of the inventions. It was quite interesting and beautiful and I can help but have a greater admiration for this amazing Renaissance man.

Leonardo boat replica 1-detail

Leonardo replica 1-detail

Leonardo replica 1

I loved practicing some photography skills that I had just learned in my photo class while trying to capture beautiful old mechanisms from early machines- particularly clocks. The insides of these things are just a beautiful as the outsides- but the dim lighting was a challenge and in most of the museum we were not allowed to use a flash. So I really had to use my newly acquired knowledge of the camera to shoot manually. They turned our so lovely I might have to print a few and use them for a decoration. museum dials 6

At the end of the museum is a gift shop. It is full of some expensive treasures and good learning toys- all of which you can purchase in the states. They also have a great little play area where the kids got to do some building of their own and chill out for a while.

funny face- long day

One last thing to mention- this is an important one if you travel with little people. I have talked about public bathrooms before- its a bit of a pet peeve in France and Italy, but It is worth mentioning that you should always carry tissue and wipes with you in case you need to use the facilities. If you are lucky enough to find a toilet, and even luckier it is also more than a hole in the ground, it will not likely have toilet tissue, or soap. Many of the metro stops have bathrooms- it is the best place to look for a public toilet.

Have you been to Milan? Why did you choose it as a travel destination? Do you have a kid friendly recommendation in Northern Italy? Leave me a comment and tell me about it!