GETTING AROUND OF MILAN

Getting around Milan is easier than in many major European cities. Since it is much more compact than, say, London, a subway ride from one end of the line to the other takes only about 30 minutes and costs only €1. Milan’s subway network is the largest in Italy, which is not saying much, but it takes you almost everywhere you need to go. Despite its frequent strikes, when the city is thrown into a chaotic traffic jam, the subway is reliable because the trains generally show up on time. The last ones run at 12:30 A.M.

Trams are also largely trustworthy and certainly the most characteristic of all public transport. Alas, some of the old cars have been sold off to San Francisco and replaced by pan-Europeanlooking green units. They are air-conditioned but lack the charm of the orange trams with their wooden benches, fin-de-siècle light fixtures, and the sound of old wheels rattling on steel.

Milan’s old orange tram Then there are the buses. As in any other part of the country, they almost show up on a whim. If you’re going to an appointment with that rare person who appreciates punctuality, you’re better off in a taxi. Bear in mind that after 9 P.M., taxis start their meters at €6”it’s not a tourist scam, just an added cost for a night on the town. Taxis also have a certain snob appeal. The Milanese always prefer driving to public transportation. Italy has the third highest rate of car ownership in the world, and it seems like every single one of them is on Milan’s streets during rush hour. But driving is a luxury in which you do not need to indulge yourself, unless you live off the beaten path and beyond the reach of the buses.

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