Milano - Luxurious window shopping

"I want to go on a city trip" said my friend. "But I don't want to fly."
Well, there are several possibilities for cities in a comfortable train distance from Zurich and she chose Milan. I hadn't been there in years but remembered that I had liked it back then, so I agreed.
Early booking also gets you really cheap tickets on TrenItalia. What more do you want?

Our trip started on a grey, rainy morning - but when we got out of the Gotthard tunnel, south of the Alps, the sun was shining and we already felt that this trip was worth it!

After just over 4 hours we got out at Milano Centrale station.
We were both broke (I had recently moved into a new apartment and spent all my money on new furniture and decoration) and Milano is not exactly a cheap place to go shopping. What's more, I had already blown my budget for that in Istanbul last month
Instead we decided to focus on sightseeing of cheap / free attractions and on taking tons of pictures of said attractions to feed our Instagram accounts.

So,why not start with the train station? It's quite big and attractive.

Built in 1931 this is a great piece of architecture and very photogenic.
The lady on this mosaic doesn't like what she's hearing!
On the floor
The entrance hall is huge! This is just one of the 3 staircases. It looks like a temple to transportation and it's clear that Moussolini built it to impress the world.
I had booked a hotel that's only a short walk from the station so we were soon checked in and ready to go.

The Big Apple
Walking towards the old city center was not very interesting at first. Just lots of insurancse and other business buildings along a big avenue.

This changed immediately when we crossed the Via Senato and walked into the area that is fittingly called Quadrilatero della Moda. This is where you can find one designer boutique after the other - international brands and local manufacturers like this shop for beautiful gloves. We saw at least a dozen models that we liked. 
But here is the great thing about these shops: everything is so expensive that we really weren't tempted to buy anything. It's more like visiting a museum. Expensive shops = cheap sightseeing!
Porsche Design - they even make (super expensive) shishas!
This shop had the greatest wigs, hats and masks.
Via Santo Spirito - where the Holy Ghost shines upon you.
Posing with animals
A lot of super rich people once built their palace homes here. From the street you often just get a glimpse into their beautiful courts. But from time to time there is one you can enter.
Small door that leads into this splendid world.

Pebbles mosaic? Yes please!
Another building that was clearly inspired by ancient Roman layouts.
Just your usual humble window....
Some green in the city

We finally arrived near the Dome but needed a restroom and a refreshment before actually going there. Both were available at the Rinasciente department store nearby. Plus a sweets counter with shoes made of chocolate.
And on to the Dome! It's so big I had to photograph it in panoramic mode! 
It was about 5:30 PM and too late for a visit but at least we had a first glimpse at it from the outside.
Right beside: Gallerie Vittorio Emanuele II - a super stylish shopping mall.

Somebody thought it would be a good idea to build an ugly skyscraper right opposite....
But that just emphasizes the beauty of this building.
Did you notice? We hadn't had gelato yet! Time to change that.
With ice cream in our hands we had ample time to admire the colorful floor.
This is the original, very first Prada store from 1913 and they still have the original furniture.

Time for another museum visit, come in!
The ground floor may be nice but wait until you go downstairs! 
Time for a mirror selfie.
So many shoes, handbags, suitcases... we took a lot of time to admire them all.
After some more strolling around it got a bit chilly and we returned to the hotel by metro. There is a restaurant just across the street where a lot of locals eat, which is always a good sign!

This is their normal size pizza, and it was delicious! 
All we needed after this was a short walk around the block and a good night's sleep.