If you’re out and about Milan, you’re thinking that there must be something other than just the glamorous aperitivos, the obnoxious fashionistas, and the endless window shopping. You’re right there is a lot more to this city than you could imagine, I mean those things aren’t that bad (even though obnoxious isn’t exactly a compliment), but sometimes you just need to unplug and immerse yourself in some culture/nature.

Now because you’ve got that urge in you, I went on a day trip with my gf to find some spots for you. She’s defo a lot better at describing travel than me, but hey….you’re here reading my stuff, and that’s what you get. Plus I have some pretty pictures, so you can just look at those if you can’t be bothered with reading.

So, where did we go? We went to Pavia. It’s a small city outside of Milan full of amazing architecture, and also a lot of nature as well. What else do you want? Nature and Culture god that’s the golden ticket ain’t it? Plus I didn’t even get to the best part there’s a train that leaves every half an hour from the city.

Let’s delve a bit deeper into how to get to Pavia. If you’re in Milan you’ll know about the Passante by now, those are the S-trains that leave from some subway/underground/metro station around the city. You’ll find these S-trains in 9 different stations across the city: Milano Rogoredo, Milano Porta Vittoria, Milano Dateo, Milano Porta Venezia, Milano Repubblica, Milano Porta Garibaldi, Milano Lancetti, Milano Bovisa, Milano Nord Quarto Oggiaro. At least wherever you’re staying you know you can hop on one of them.

We left from Porta Venezia taking the S-13 train that has its final stop in Pavia so BAM. Anyway, it’s quite central, a 25 min walk to Duomo, or two/three stops on the red line (M1). Leaving from Porta Venezia took us about 45 mins to get to the Pavia train station, which is a 10-minute walk from the city center. But we’ll talk about the city center in a bit.

Being a lazy Sunday we didn’t want to be around that many people, you know how the city center can get in Italy on a Sunday, so we decided to spend some time in the nature, and lucky for us right on the outskirts of Pavia you can find a nice little park that skirts the Ticino River.

The Park is called the Parco della Sora, (I’m not sure what that means but in Florence “Sora” is “Sister/Nun”, but maybe in Pavia it means Bojack Horseman) and you get there from the train station hoping onto the 3 or 4 bus, the fare ranges from 1.30 to 2 euro. That depends if you buy it from a tabacchi or your phone (by downloading the Autoguidovie app, it’s free and also in English. You need to register a card to pay, and most importantly once you buy the ticket you HAVE TO ACTIVATE IT YOURSELF, ON THE APP, IN THE “MY TICKET” AREA) in this case it’ll be €1.30, while if you buy it on the bus it’ll cost you €2.

We took the 3 bus all the way to the final stop that is something called “del Colombarone”, the park actually starts from this spot and we went down a little road that had us right next to the river in a sec. The only thing is that it’s been raining in Milan for a bit and we didn’t think about the fact this park being soo close to the river it would’ve been a bit flooded. So we had to go back to the main street to get in from another entry. We walked all the way down to the Golf Club, to get there simply get back on the street on which the bus left you and keep going. Now, why would I tell you about the 4 bus if I took the 3? Well, it’s because as we kept on walking we passed at least 4 different 4 bus stops. So, if you want to walk the park towards Pavia take the 4 and get off at the Golf Club.

Once we arrived we enjoyed some nature and also found a little Bamboo Forest, so yeah not too shabby. Little advice from me would be to go around lunchtime, at least you get some peace and quiet, we realized that people started pouring in around 2-3 right after they finished eating to digest, you know, Italians.

After spending a couple of hours in the park we decided that it was time to get back into the city center, cause, to be honest, we were both getting a little bit hangry, cause we didn’t pack any lunch, and thought it was a good idea to eat later. So, we waited for the 4 bus and got back to town. From the park to the town it’s about a 15/20 min ride, it really depends on traffic, and how many people are on the bus with you. The stop you need to look after is the Minerva Stop, it’s in a huge roundabout with a massive Minerva/Athena statue in the middle of it. Get off, and walk down the main central street that is on the same side of where you got off.

look at me being so artsy

The center is really nice, we got to the Duomo of Pavia in about 10 minutes, and the vibe in the city is pretty chill, except around parking lots, like it’s really odd how agro people in Pavia are around parking lots. While sitting at a bar in Piazza Petrarca, we heard at least 2 people having some pretty intense arguments about parking. Like that old school Italian movie style of arguing, I’ll admit it, it was fun.

Anyway, how long will it take you to walk about the center and see the main sites? I’ll say about 30 mins, that isn’t without counting going in and visiting, but just strolling around and snapping quick picks to say you’ve been there.

Another pretty important thing to know is that if you want to visit the Duomo, you can get in there for free and there really aren’t that many people there so it’s quite chill.

Now how do you get back to Milan? Well pretty simple get back to the Pavia train station and wait for the S13 usually at every 09 and 39 on the hour. Hop on that S-13 and wait to get back to Milan relaxed and recharged.