Going on a Vacation to Milan
Milan is one of the largest cities in Italy and one of the most highly developed areas of all of Europe. If you like to be in a city when you go on vacation then you must visit Milan when you are in Italy. It makes for a great combination of a city vacation amidst cultural and historic relevance. There are over one million people living in Milan. Not only is this where you will find Da Vinci’s famous painting “The Last Supper” but this city is also one of the best shopping centers of the world. Many fashion designers have their houses here and you will find opportunity for a lot of window shopping or real shopping while in Milan for your Italy vacation.
The Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II is said to be the oldest shopping mall in the world. It was designed and built in the 1800s and features a huge glass and steel arch covering a long street. At its center is a large glass dome and to this day the oldest shopping mall in the world continues to be a bustling retail center with shops selling everything from books to haute couture and numerous restaurants serving tourists and residents of Milan. During your Italy vacation in Milan you will find that the Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II connects 2 of Milan’s most popular attractions. These are the Duomo and the Teatro Ala Scalla.
The Duomo is the cathedral of Milan that you may visit while on vacation in Italy. This is where the Archbishop of Milan resides. With its amazing gothic architecture this cathedral played an important role in establishing Catholic traditions and spreading the Catholic faith. In Italy, the only church that is larger than the Duomo is St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City in Rome. Most guided tours of Milan will feature a visit to the Duomo and you will get a chance to see this beautiful feat of Italian history.
The Teatro Alla Scala is a world famous opera house in Milan that you must visit on your Italy vacation. It was built in the late 1700s after a carnival fire destroyed the previous opera house. It was known to be the gathering place of the rich in Milan and had a gallery area above the boxes where the less wealthy were allowed to come to also enjoy the opera performances. After much controversy the theatre was renovated a few years ago. Most of the controversy was regarding a concern with whether the historical details would be lost. But during your Italy vacation here if you see the Teatro Alla Scala you will find that an excellent job was done in preserving the history of this great opera house.
When in Milan on your Italy vacation, you must also visit the Sforza Castle. It took 10 years to build this in the 1300s. It was built to be a defensive fortress and has undergone several reconstructions, additions and transformations over the centuries. There are several museums here that you can visit on your Italy vacation and most of them feature castle art such as defensive armor and furniture from its royal inhabitants. This castle also holds Michelangelo’s final work of art, a marble sculpture known as the Rondanini Pieta.
All about Passports and Visas for your Italy Vacation
When traveling to Italy there are several things you must have. The least of these are a passport and maybe even a visa. If this is your first time traveling out of the US you will need to apply for a passport. You may also need to apply for a passport if your old one has expired, is damaged or lost. Applying for a passport is a fairly simple process which may be as simple as a trip to the post office but be sure to start early so you can be ready for your Italy vacation. There are stories of people who have had to cancel vacations because their passport was not ready. You don’t want to do this as it will be very disappointing and also expensive especially if you have reserved an airline ticket or some sort of package vacation.
The US Department of State asks that you allow six months for them to process your passport application however some travelers have found it only took a few weeks for them to receive their passports. You can apply online however first time applicants must apply in person. The main supporting document that is required is a valid original US birth certificate. Passport applicants are sometimes surprised to find that their original birth certificate needs to be submitted to the Department of State with a promise of it being mailed back. Many people tend to be leery of this especially because they have found how difficult it is to get a replacement birth certificate. However, most report that within a short period of receiving their new passports, their birth certificates arrive in the mail safe and sound. For all the details on where the 9000 passport application accepting facilities are and how to apply for a passport for your Italy vacation you can go to www.travel.state.gov/passport
If you are a US citizen you will not need a visa to go on an Italy vacation. However you must show that your airline ticket includes a return back to the US. If you are planning to travel to Italy for reasons other than a vacation the requirements are different and usually stricter. When on vacation in Italy you can stay for a maximum of 3 months at a time but remember that this is a combined period to include any time spent in several other European countries. Italy has an embassy in Washington DC that can process visas for non-US citizens. They must go to the embassy for personal interviews. If you are going to Italy for a vacation the prime concern of the Italian government is that you plan to return to your country. Therefore they always ask for proof that you have a full-time job especially if you are a non-US citizen.
The Department of State recommends that during your Italy vacation you register your presence there with the US embassy. This is important in case someone needs to contact you for an emergency home or in case of a disaster abroad so your whereabouts can be confirmed.