Milan transportation guide
Milan's street-plan resembles a spider's web, with roads radiating out from the central Piazza Duomo. The bulk of the city is encircled by three concentric ring roads, although the suburbs and industrial estates are now spilling out towards a fourth ring, the Tangenzianale, which links the main autostradas . The city centre is, however, fairly compact, and most of what you'll want to see is within the first or second rings, each of them marking ancient city boundaries.
ATMÃ‚Â operates a public transport network which is pretty efficient (especially the underground lines and the streetcars). Single tickets are available from newsstands and bars, daily and two-day tickets are available at subway newsstands and the tourist information office. Single tickets are valid for 75 minutes, during which you can use them on as many trams and buses as you like and for one metro ride. Your time starts once you validate it by inserting into a box which prints the date and time on it. These are found inside trams and buses and at the turnstiles at the metro. If you've first used a single ticket on a bus or tram you must also validate it when you enter the metro.
The Metro has four lines, each commonly identified by a color as shown below, and is the best way to get around if you're near a station. The lines are: MM1, red (rossa); MM2, green (verde); MM3, yellow (gialla), and Passante, blue. Note that Passante trains pass less often than other lines' trains.
Trams run above-ground on rail lines running through the streets. Being above ground means you get a view of what you're passing, so if you don't need to go far they're convenient and fun.
Buses should probably be your third public transport option. Less comfortable than the metro and trams but more routes to choose from.
Taxis are pretty expensive and can be hard to find while walking around, since taxi drivers prefer waiting in long lines near major landmarks. Don't bother trying to flag them down as they'll only pick up from taxi stands or by phone booking.
Cars are definitely not a good idea to take into the city centre. Like most major cities traffic is a considerable problem, not to mention the hassle of parking. During working hours traffic is nearly blocked, inside the city and on the highway ring surrounding. Much better at night, but you'll probably have problems finding a place to leave the car near enough to nightlife attractions.
Several buses connect suburban cities and towns surrounding Milan. Some are managed by ATM, other from some other society. You can travel on most on them with an inter-urban ticket (biglietto interurbano) which are sold in two forms: including travel in Milan or without. In the without form you can just arrive to the end of the line, while in the cumulative version you can transfer to any line of the ATM. There are several rules and distance limits associated, inform yourself about them. On some buses managed by ATM (note not on bus of other society and not on all suburban bus of ATM) you can travel on these buses while you keep yourself inside Milan boundary with the urban ticket.
In spite of this, the streets can be smoggy and packed, and at some point you'll want to make use of the public transport system - an efficient network of trams, buses and metro. The metro is easiest to master (and the fastest and most useful). It's made up of four lines, the red MM1, green MM2, yellow MM3, and blue passante ferroviario , meeting at the four main hubs of Stazione Centrale, Duomo, Cadorna and Loreto . The system is not comprehensive, but it's adequate for sightseeing. However, you may need to use a tram or bus to get to your hotel: the system is well organized and integrated with the metro. Buses, trams and the metro run from around 6am to midnight, after which nightbuses take over, following the metro routes until 1am.
For all public transport enquiries the information office at the Duomo or Stazione Centrale metro stations are helpful, and have free route maps. Tickets , valid for 75 minutes, cost L1500/?0.78 and can be used for one metro trip and as many bus and tram rides as you want. They are on sale at tobacconists, bars and at the metro station newsagents; most outlets close at 8pm so it's best to buy a few tickets in advance, or a carnet of ten for L14,000/?7.23. Some stations have automatic ticket machines, although only the newer ones give change. You can also buy a one-day (L5000/?2.58) or two-day ticket (L9000/?4.65) from the Stazione Centrale or Duomo metro stations.
Taxis don't cruise the streets, so don't bother trying to flag one down. Either head for a taxi rank - on Piazza Duomo, Largo Cairoli, Piazza San Babile, Stazione Centrale, etc - or phone one of the following numbers: tel 02.6767, 02.5353 or 02.8585. Apart from taxis, driving in the city is best avoided: the streets are congested and parking close on impossible. Parking in prohibited zones is not worth it; you'll be fined if caught and have your car impounded by the police .
Click on the map for an enlargement.