The Duomo, Milan
Outside the Duomo is a large square. There are hundreds of pigeons - reminds you of a scene from "Birds" - they are quite tame and not afraid of people at all. There were young men (boys?) selling handfuls of birdseed. The bad part is that they don't take NO for an answer! They practically shove it in your face. My husband almost clobbered one guy. You just have to say "NO, GRAZIE!!" and move on.
Unique Suggestions: Avoid the birdfood sellers if you can.
Around the Duomo in the Piazza, there are a few men who will approach you and hand you a wrist band… sort of like a friendship bracelet and say to you that it is Free!! WALK AWAY!!!! If you try to be polite like we did, then he will engage in conversation and tie one of these wrist bands around your wrist tightly so that you can't take it off; then demand a donation for Africa in the amount of 10 Euros. On a separate occasion, one of them rested it on my husbands arm and when he tried to hand it back he refused to take it back and demanded money for it.
Unique Suggestions: These men are from Africa and they will be carrying a bunch of multicolored wrist bands with them. When you see them....avoid them and do not stop.
Fun Alternatives: If you can't avoid them, then be firm and say no. They will most probably say something nasty as you walk away but it better than being fooled into paying for one of these.
On the place of the cathedral of Milano, but in other places of the city you will be challenged also by sellers of seeds, to give to eat to the innumerable pigeons who live in the city.
Unique Suggestions: They sell the sachets containing a handful of seed, to the same price that if you bought a Kilogram of it in a supermarket. They make a margin therefore of more than hundred times on the price of purchase.
Fun Alternatives: If you want to give to eat to the pigeons, to give their a tip of bread, that will be sufficient. but make attention then, that they don't take you all your sandwich because they are very daring !
Two or three men approach you at the Piazza del Duomo and seem enthusiastic to help you. They'll give you corn to feed the pigeons and they'll offer to take you a photo. Even if you refuse, they'll put the food in your hands. The rudest part is that after you accept, they'll ask for 5 euros for the unrequested service
Fun Alternatives: Don't be shy to leave without tipping them or at least give them some small change.
In the centre of Milan there is the the most important church, the Duomo. Look on the top, there is a statue, she is "la madunina" who protects people of Milan.
Unique Suggestions: Visit the church, the basements and the museum.
Fun Alternatives: visit the roof and go up by stairs!
In the piazza of the beautiful duomo, there are tons of pidgeons, and along with those birds come the local bird seed pushers. These guys stand in the piazza and wait for tourists to come by and then, literally, force birdseed into your hands, on your shoulders, or wherever else they can put it on you - even after you tell them several times, "No." Then, even though you have tried, repeatedly, to get away from them, they expect you to pay them for their generous task of getting several birds to perch upon various parts of your body.
Unique Suggestions: If somebody with birdseed comes up to you, just keep on walking and don't look back!
There's a big business with pigeons - just stop in the middle of the Duomo place to photograph the pigeons and you will be approached by some "specialists" who will offer you some food for the pigeons, will ask if you want to have the photo with the birds and so on and so on. It's quite difficult to escape the following "you need to pay" moment.
Caution everyone! Around the Duomo (the Cathedral) if you want to stop and sit for a beer or anything prepared to pay big bucks!!! We got caught once paying 8 euros for one beer! oh well, it was nice, but It would've be adequate to buy a 2 euro beer and sit on the steps of the Duomo!
Hope this helps and Ciao!
Be very careful with guys who come up to you and thrust corn into your hands to feed the pigeons in from on the Dumo. Even though this makes a fantastic picture with the dones eating from your palm... they guys who give you the corn try to rip you off. They are you where you are from and ask to be compensated like wise... as we were from New York they guy tried to ask for 20 Euros... I said dude take a hike. The corn that you have us was only few pennies however I will give you 3 buck nothing more.
Unique Suggestions: Even though the rip off is post you enjoying the crazy pigeons eating out of your hands. Its a fantastic sight and make great pictures. Do do it the pictures are immemorable.
Fun Alternatives: None other I can remember in Milan.
Prices in the Duomo square area at the cafes and restaurants are pretty high. There is no need to pay 3.50 Euro for a piece of bread or for an espresso! Do a little walking away from the centre and you will probably get a better meal for a more reasonable price!
In popular tourist areas such as the Duomo there are a variety of people who will try to sell you flowers, scarves, bracelets, etc. Ignore these people and don't buy anything from them (that is, unless you REALLY want to.) If you're sitting at the steps of the duomo, you'll undoubtedly see these people and be pestered by them. Just firmly say, 'no' (sometimes mulitiple times) and you'll be left alone.
Unique Suggestions: Show no interest in what the hawkers want you to take/buy. Firmly say, 'no' (sometimes mulitiple times) and you'll be left alone.
If you need a quick bite to eat or an expresso while in Milan, try to avoid the tourist area around the Duomo. I paid $10 for the luxury of sitting at a cafe and having an expresso and a piece of pie.
Unique Suggestions: If you do choose to partake, be prepared for the bill.
Fun Alternatives: I found wonderful places to eat just a few blocks away. They did not speak a word of English, so I got by with my rudimentary Italian and by pointing at what I wanted in the case.
I don't know if you can consider this a trap: at Piazza Duomo there are some photographers selling you food for pigeons and then they make you a photo while pigeons are around you eating from your hands ... the fact is that you do not really need anyone selling you food cause pigeons are used to eat almost everything from your hands ...
Yes.....of course we had to have a nice beer at the Piazza Duomo....I suppose it was too expensive.....