Duomo (the Cathedral) is definitely worth visiting but you should keep in mind that you will have to wait in lines for at least one hour. It is always crowded but still wonderful. From the roof you can enjoy an amazing view on the city and also see beautiful towers. Inside the cathedral there are so many masterpieces of sculpture, paintings and stained-glass windows that it is hard to imagine that they can be concentrated in one place. After visiting Duomo you can walk around and, of course, have a walk inside the Gallery of Vittorio Emanuele II. It is a very old and famous shopping mall and one of the landmarks of Milan. Its’ architecture can fascinate everybody and it is located on the right side of Duomo.
La Scala is one of the worlds most famous operas, so if you have a chance to buy tickets and visit it -jump on it! but even if not, it is worthy just to see its gorgeous architecture.
To finish your first day in Milan I would recommend to have a dinner in Ristorante Maruzzella which is a very well known place in the city. However due to its popularity you should expect to wait in line at the door for a while or consider booking a table in advance. The food and wines they offer are truly Italian and the atmosphere is great.
The first thing to do in Como is to walk around the lake. There is a beautiful park and many restaurants alongside. This place is very peaceful and the scenery is incredibly colorful especially in fall. Also, you can buy some Italian wines and cheese at the local market there.
After having a lunch at one of the restaurants you can take a funicular up to the top of the mountain Brunate or you can hike there like we did. The hiking trail is constructed with stairs, so it is comfortable and safe to go up but pretty tiring though. Expect to climb up for about an hour. On top there is an old part of town which looks like it has been stolen from a medieval movie. Super narrow (even for Europe) streets, everything made of stone, little houses and even a small church.
In Lugano we were hosted by a PhD student in computer science who had a wonderful studio with a mountain view and who loved nature, mountains and hiking just like us. So, we had planned to take an «easy» hike up to the mount Boglia but we started from walking around the nice park in Lugano called Civico.
This hiking trail that we chose was really tough comparing with the one in Como. If you like to challenge yourself and to lose your breath both because of being exhausted and because of the views that you can relish during the hike, do it. Fall in the mountains is for me so far the best time for hiking. Autumn colors make you feel like being in a fairytale, bright and unbelievable experience. Walking on a soft colorful carpet made of leaves is one of the best antidepressants in the world. And eventually you come out of the forest and see endless blue mountains, diamond-like lakes and breath in the freshest air in the world. Landscapes alternate and contrasts are absolutely breathtaking. The trail is really hard and sometimes it turns into very steep slopes, so you need proper hiking shoes to stay safe. Making a little picnic on top of the world is a well-deserved award for your courage and persistance.