Be warned. If you are one of those people that needs everything to be punctual and organised to be happy, Italy might not be the destination for you.
We booked a table at Pizzeria Da Zero (tempted by its sky high ratings and reputation for the best pizza in Milan) for lunch one week day. At 12.00 we found someone outside putting a few boxes away. “Come back in half an hour” he said, and, used to Italy, we just nodded and went to gawp at a few historic buildings nearby for a while (the monastery just around the corner is worth stepping inside for the ceiling alone) and let the toddler burn off some energy galloping around in the square a few short steps away.
The German people also waiting for Da Zero to open weren’t all that patient, and quite frankly missed out. This is definitely the best pizza any of us have ever had – with huge clouds of light crispy dough and super fresh ingredients, not to mention the exquisite bufala mozzarella. I opted for slices of fresh plum tomatoes and prosciutto crudo, the kids opted for salami and mozerella, and yellow tomatoes and anchovies for Mr R (plus a bowl of the best homemade chips in case the toddler wasn’t feeling partial to pizza that day. How wrong we were, he managed almost a whole one!)…
To feel slightly more comfortable about the amount we had just eaten, we walked the relatively short distance to the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia (the National Science and Technology Museum), which was to be our main focus for the day.
Tucked half way down a blossom lined street this really is a museum that will appeal to everyone, as it contains such a wide variety of stuff (be warned though, the entrance is on one street and the exit on another!)… It opened in 1953, but the bulk of it is housed in something far older – a 16th century monastery building.
This is the largest and most important Science Museum in Italy, and it reminded me of somewhere we spent A LOT of time in Munich – The Deutsches Museum , but this place is not quite as vast. The Museum is dedicated to one of Italy’s most most famous sons (and a local)!, and therefore contains many life sized replica models of Di Vinci’s creations.
You would be best to start off in the main Di Vinci Hall full of his historical models actually, (I recommend you have a toddler on hand to give you interpretations on what he thinks the various models are – we had “stick house”, “bird ghost” and “elephant” for a few of Leonardo’s best ideas)…
Some of them, like the “bird ghost” below, are quite beautiful. Other’s are simple but ingenious, and brought to life in model form it’s much easier to see how something would work (which is helpful if your brain works like mine!)…
Then on from here to a music section complete with a violin making workshop. That lead us through to a jam packed Space section complete with a piece of the moon itself, and several astronaut/cosmonaut suits.
Much to the Toddler’s delight, a Peppa Pig in Space cartoon played in one corner (which meant I had time to actually read a few descriptions for things!)…
Afterwards we drifted off to Mars to inspect a moon buggy, and examine some vintage film posters featuring the red planet across the decades.
We also managed a closer look at all things Hadron Collider, confused the kids with telephones of old, and then spent quite a while in an interactive exhibit dedicated to Food and its impact on our lives (aside from eating it!)…
Don’t miss a peak at the antique pharmacy in this building either, it’s on a thoroughfare so you can’t really miss it, but the crocodiles on the ceiling make me quite sad for places like Boots in the UK today (there are some fabulous looking children’s science labs here, which are probably for dedicated school use, but might be worth investigating if there are any workshops taking place before you visit!).
Then it was outside to the Steam Train Hall which probably made the Toddler’s holiday, they are completely beautiful though, so we didn’t mind the slightly extended chunk of time spent in there at his insistence (you can climb aboard one or two of them!)…
Afterwards it was outside to the giant Enrico Toti submarine once home to 30 men during the Cold War (which you can go in to, but you must book a tour at the desk to gain entry). Then onward into the final hall full of ships and aircraft. They aren’t joking about the ships either, there’s even part of a large vintage ocean liner in here!
This museum is definitely worth visiting whilst in Milan with or without kids, and whether it’s a rainy day or otherwise. As far as I could see, there’s no cafe, but you are apparently welcome to take a picnic, and there are vending machines dotted about, but surely this is another good reason to go to Da Zero for lunch beforehand?…
Allow a good four hours or so to cover near enough everything, and try not to roll your eyes as you are somewhat clumsily directed through the gift shop on the way out (on an entirely different street which is quite disorientating!) That little point would be my only criticism really, but as a family ticket is pretty good value (around €35) , and as it must cost a fortune to keep a place like this running, I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive them. I definitely could!
Milan Science Museum: Open from Tuesday – Friday 9.30 to 17.00 and Saturdays (and holidays) from 9.30 to 18.00.
Pizzeria De Zero, Via Bernardino Luini, 9, 20123 Milano MI, Italy
Jane Batt says
Love that the Italians have a word for “about an hour”. Sounds like you had fun.
It definitely varies too! :D Thanks Jane! (:
Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels says
I’d love to visit this museum #culturedkids
It’s really worth a visit. Thanks Tanja!
We would love this as we love anywhere about space, flight and submarines. This museum must be huge they have some massive pieces! I love that they give emphasis to the Italian scientists. The pizza looks good too – worth the wait! #CulturedKids
Thanks so much Jo, it really is huge, and yes it’s good to learn about the Italian scientists too, especially the most famous one! (:
Baby Loves Travel says
This sounds exactly like the type of museum I like exploring with my toddler, thanks for sharing #CulturedKids
Thank you! My toddler loved it! :) x
Catherine’s Cultural Wednesdays says
Pizza and a science museum what could be better? We too have spent happy hours in the Deutsches Museum, one to note when we next visit Milan #CulturedKids
Two of my favourite things, when they are done well! You know when you get to the stage where you visit somewhere so much you get sick of the place? I was like that with the Deutsches Museum, but I am out the other side of that now, I really miss it! :D x
Trish @ Mum's Gone To says
Wow this museum has so much stuff! I love the Da Vinci exhibits. So your boy has had two exciting train museums now, with your recent trip to York.
I wish I’d kept our old phones now.
Thanks Trish! I think the York one has to surpass even this place though! I know, I really wish we had kept our old phone too! :D Thank you! xx
Scarlett Roitman says
What a fantastic museum, Emma! Love the retro phones and the old pharmacy. Thank goodness for Peppa Pig, she always manages to save the day! Next time I am in Milan, I will be sure to check it out, and grab a slice of pizza as well. Scarlett
The museum is well worth a visit, the pizza restaurant is an absolute must put on your list place! :D Thanks Scarlett! :) x
Elizabeth (Wander Mum) says
A really diverse range of things in Milan’s Science Museum…from steam trains to submarines. Looks great and would have a big appeal for my two…as would the pizza! Thanks for linking #citytripping
Thanks Elizabeth! (:
I have visited Italy 4 times and i absolutely love the casual vibe! Its one of my fav holiday destinations!! The museum looks great!
Thanks so much! (:
Laura H says
I’m not sure I’d ever heard of Italy’s science museum before but I’d love to see some of Da Vinci’s models up close!
It was great to see how intricate some of them are! Thanks Laura! (:
This looks like the perfect day out – pizza followed by the visit to the science museum. My kids would love it
Thanks Kara! (:
Firstly that pizza looks amazing! Secondly a whole ship inside a museum – that’s incredible, my boys would love it here (as would I!)
Thanks Laura. It definitely got a thumbs up from my lot! :D x
Lydia C. Lee says
That could be fun! #CityTripping
What an awesome science museum! My youngest would most definitely enjoy a visit here. I think he’d enjoy a slice of pizza after as well ;)
I think he probably would! :D Thanks Louise! :) x
I always find Science Museums really interesting and this looks like a great one to get lost in for hours taking everything in. Good to know about powering through and being patient as I’d have probably given up and left
I am the biggest fan of pizza! The museum looks fun too!
Thanks Dena! :)
Kacie Morgan says
Being a huge foodie, I know I would be heading straight for the pizzeria – the pizza looks so authentic and tasty
It really was the best! Thanks Kacie! (:
My son would absolutely love the steam train bit too! In fact, I think he’d love everything about this museum – he’s a little scientist in the making. I love your little boy’s names for everything though – bird ghost sounds very apt to me! I love Italy, but I’ve never been to Milan – I’ll bear this in mind if we ever head there, I think it’s right up our street.
Thank you Katy, there’s just so much for them to see here! I think your little one would love it! :)
Looks like you had a great time and that pizza sounds amazing! I’ve always wanted to go to Italy.
We had a really great time, thank you! :)
Mellissa Williams says
What an interesting looking science museum. I like the look of the antique pharmacy. Did it have old potions and remedies on show?
It did! I love things like this! :D Thanks Mellissa!
Su (Ethan And Evelyn) says
This looks amazing really cool museum! We have recently just returned from a trip to Rome, so much to see and do!
Aw Rome is one of my favourite cities, it’s just so amazing! Thanks Su!
Laura - Dear Bear and Beany says
We’re a pizza loving family and we would love a nice authentic pizza! The science Museum looks great, my eldest is really into places like this.
Thanks so much Laura! (:
That pizza looks divine and I love those old coloured telephones!
They are great aren’t they? We had a green one, I loved using the dial! :D