Even though Milan won’t have thousand of parks like Copenhagen, the kilometre-long promenade of Bari, or the breath-taking trails amongst ruins and monuments of Rome, it is still brimming of routes suitable to us runners. All you need is the will to put on your sneakers and wear a season-appropriate outfit: whether it’s early morning, during a longer than usual lunch break or in the evening at sunset, Milan can offer the right setting for a running in freedom.
Do not wait for the fateful moment when the infamous bikini test or the attempt to shed a few extra pounds cause a steep rise in the percentage of runners in town. As spring advances and the first glimpses of summer are seen, paths and parks in Milan are taken over by “last minute runners”, easily recognisable – and of course avoidable – from their clothing: highly fashionable or loaded with layers to sweat more (totally wrong!).
Late August is the right time to start so… don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today! Prepare your playlist (allowed!), fasten your shoes and off you go! Here are our top 5 tips to find your ideal path to run in Milan.
Giardini Indro Montanelli
In the Giardini Indro Montanelli you will run immersed in science and nature because, in addition to a lot of green, you can find the Planetarium and the Museum of Natural History. Granted, these gardens aren’t like Central Park, but several courses are available: you can run around the outer perimeter or inside under tree-lined avenues. This park reaches its splendour in spring, when plants flower and the first warm sunsets arrive. A tip: if you leave late after work you shouldn’t pick this location for you may risk of being locked in. I will tell you how to get out if it happens!
Parco Sempione is the beating heart of Milan. The park perimeter is about 3.5 km long and what make this place unique are its buildings: the Sforza Castle, the Arena Civica, the Triennale and the Arco della Pace. Today, this place is a very safe park where even women and young boys can run undisturbed. More experienced runners can decide whether to do long workouts or vary with repeated and more aerobic exercises. For newbies, however, much variety with slight ascents and descents. Sure, it would be nice to have a few more fountains, but if you are feeling really tired you can end the running at 10 Corso Sempione. At Runbase you will feel at home and you will also find many useful services!
The Navigli are another charming location where you can meet really experienced runners. This route runs along the Naviglio Grande: you can start from the nuova Darsena (new dock), on the side of via Gorizia, and continue through an area famous for its nightlife. Initially, the route will be more urban since this is not a park, but once you arrive near the Canottieri Milano (Rowing Club Milano), the scenario will take on a decidedly greener connotation. Admire young (and not so young) athletes train with great consistency even with the canoe. It’s fantastic to run to the rhythm of paddling rowers. This is a recommended location for those who like long and less tortuous routes.
This pedestrian path flanks for about 38 km the Naviglio Martesana, the Milanese canal that connects the city with the river Adda. This location is the perfect choice for those who wish to exercise for long distance competitions but it also ideal for those who just want a pleasant bike ride. The Martesana is definitely much more naturalistic than the previous locations; it is characterised by some lovely colours in spring and it is even better in autumn thanks to its warm tones, which make it all the more fascinating.
The Idroscalo is not just the sea of the Milanese or the grill paradise for all picnic fanatics, it is also a perfect destination, especially on weekends, for runners who want to test themselves and verify their shape after their weekly workouts. The ring is about 6.5 km long and most of the route has as an asphalt surface (there are only 1.5 km of dirt road). The scenery is very beautiful and you can try different types of training. Among the positive aspects are the large parking lots, for those who want to take the opportunity to spend the day inside, and several green areas for children.